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There are many religious traditions that dominate the world, including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Muslim to name a few. Most religions are considered "self contained discrete entities" meaning they carry with them "distinctive personalities, events, beliefs, practices and rituals" (Fletcher, Kawanami & Smith 5). Religion may influence many aspects of ones culture, beliefs, values and behaviors within society. As such one must investigate whether world peace is possible in a multi-religious global environment. Is peaceful co-existence even possible in this context? The answer is yes.
For peaceful co-existence to occur in a multi faith society the following must happen: (1) people of varying faiths must recognize that traditional interpretations of peaceful co-existence are outdated, (2) governments and individuals must recognize that religion needn't be homogeneous or institutionalized to serve an important purpose for people, (3) members of varying faiths must learn to respect the religious boundaries of one another, (4) religion and politics must be separate and (5) people must agree to disagree regarding certain moral values and beliefs and come to recognize that all religions promote benevolence and just actions toward one another.
Contemporary models suggesting that people practicing various religious cannot peacefully exist are outdated and often misleading (Fletcher, Kawanami & Smith 299). They are misleading because they prey on the notion or paradigm that globalization involves "the inexorable spread of a homogenous, rationalized and standardized modern culture" (Fletcher, Kawanami & Smith 299). Realistically speaking however, globalization is the combination of interconnected processes and the spread of heterogeneous cultures and beliefs, not of a homogeneous system of practices. What makes the world modern and facilitates globalization is mankind's desire to explore new ideas, faiths, beliefs and incorporate them into a global marketplace or community.
Religion serves as a powerful and dynamic vehicle through which people can express their beliefs, values and culture in an interesting and personal way. Religion doesn't have to be institutionalized to serve an important purpose for people. It is not a single set of beliefs that people arrive at via reflection but "rather a set of symbolic systems which confer identity and mark out social, ethnic and other boundaries" (Fletcher, Kawanami & Smith 300). People can learn to respect the rituals and beliefs of others in a manner that does not require they adopt the values and belief systems of others in a global society. The idea of religion does not suggest conquest or colonialism (Fletcher, Kawanami & Smith 300) but rather reflection and expression. As such in a global environment peaceful co-existence is possible when others realize they have a right to practice their religious rituals and beliefs without necessarily imposing their beliefs or ideals on one another.
Part of peaceful co-existence requires that individuals respect the boundaries of one another. Religion is merely an institution that people can use to define their boundaries and what values, beliefs and ideals need to be respected so that people may live in harmony. What makes peace impossible does when one religious part attempts to overcome or conquer one belief system or another establish another in a violent manner, disrespecting the boundaries.
When religion becomes involved in the political landscape of a nation, disruption often results. Hence for peaceful co-existence to occur in a multi religious society it is important that religious idealisms are not associated with political causes. Religion and politics must remain separate for peaceful co-existence to be realized or rationalized (Sanneh 1). This may be difficult in some religions such as Muslim, where principles of religious toleration and inclusiveness may be differ
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Kawanami & Smith,
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