Monday, November 17, 2008

Internet moguls call for religious harmony/unification

I always find it amusing when experts in one field (i.e. computers and internet) decide to apply their expertise to another field (i.e. religion and mass psychology) and think that the simplest of all solutions is the way to go. Consider this report which reports a plan to create a "universal charter" for religious harmony based on the Golden Rule.

Armstrong's wish is to combine universal principles of respect and compassion into a charter based on a "golden rule" she believes is at the core of every major religion.

The Golden Rule essentially calls on people to do unto others as they would have done unto them.

"The chief task of our time is to build a global society where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony," Armstrong said.
While the goal is laudable - a more peaceful world with less religious conflict - it simply ignores thousands of years of history. In general, peace between religious groups has not come about by smoothing over differences. In fact, that tends to exacerbate problems by allowing each religious group to see the others in overly-simplistic terms that tend to exaggerate the strangest differences between them.

Rather, historically, engagement between individuals - usually thru trade - has been the way to defuse religious rivalries. If Bob only knows Achmed by vague reputation, he can hate him because of religion, nationalism, or vague historical notions of wrong. But if Bob deals with Achmed daily for mutual benefit, then irrational hatred becomes far more difficult.

6 comments:

bowHunter said...

deep

shadowmom1 said...

The "golden rule" is distinctly Judeo-Christian.
Many who were raised in a Christian culture assume all religions have it.

Sean said...

shadowmom makes a good point. most people don't realize how much their view of religion (along with several other things) is based upon the dominant paradigm of where they live/grew up.

"Nick" said...

Very true Sean. Islam, I believe the biggest religion and certainly the fastest growing, allows and even promotes treating people differently depending on their "status". "Infidels" can be lied to, killed, etc.

In Christianity we are told to love our enemies, which I think is unique to all religions.

Nomad said...

Nick,

Not to get techncial, but Christianity is still the largest religion (taking into account all sects and related cults), Islam is #2 (yes, fastest-growing currently), then Hinduism (which I believe is the fastest-shrinking).

If the population decline in the West and population explosion in the East continue, the two may change position in the next 3 decades, from what I have read.

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

Nick said...

I knew I should have checked... Although the comment still stands since it was about the differences.