Religious pluralism is a loosely defined term that means accepting and understanding the fact that more than one religion exists in the world. Ellis (2009) shows the difference between this term and religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is accepting the fact that each and every person is entitled to his or her own beliefs and should not be forced to conform to other people’s beliefs. It is a hidden law in the USA constitution which gives everybody the right to freedom of religion (Ellis, 2009). Religious pluralism is different from this and it asserts that many different religious dogmas have possible similarities in values and truths that are not limited to any one particular religion. It encompasses religious tolerance and suggests that all religions originate form one original source and they all posses similar truths. The doctrine of omniscient deity, for instance, is one truth that seems to be similar across all the religions. This doctrine asserts that there is a God who created all religions with the sole purpose of speaking to different people in ways that are most relevant to their circumstances in life (Ellis, 2009).
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Religious pluralism has since led to interfaith movements where different religions work together in unity towards the achievement of common goals like social justice, eradication of poverty, peace movements or a particular belief. The religious leaders of the different religions put their efforts together to form an umbrella spiritual body (Ellis, 2009), a movement that is often used to fight for a particular issue. This is usually seen among the influential leaders of the Christian faith as they endeavor to encourage unity among the Christians. The leaders and practitioners of the interfaith movements put their efforts together for the good of the global community.
The interfaith movement is a way of responding to other faiths in today’s world. It is a form of organization, connection, commitment and creation of a society among believers of different doctrines and faith traditions. There is a wide variation in its practitioners and leaders ranging from recognized World Leaders to leaders of the communities at the grassroots. When people are killed or persecuted in Holly Wars and crusades, there is always a religious connection associated with such acts (The United Religion Initiative, 2004). Therefore, interfaith movements have a common belief that there is a God in each and every religion and so people of faith must collaborate to put to an end the religious injustices and unfairness and instead work together for a better humanity.
The United Religions Initiative (2009) records that International, National and Local religious groups are responding to other faiths through interfaith movements by:
- Providing correct information about their faith and beliefs to other religious groups to eradicate prejudice and ignorance,
- Enabling people of their religion to meet and make friends with people of other religions.
- Developing harmony and social welfares in the communities that serves everybody regardless of their religion.
- Protecting human rights and the environment.
- Seeking a world order founded on moral values shared by other religions.
The most important response that people should have towards other religious groups is respecting other people’s religious practices and beliefs in order to promote peace. There is no doubt that wars can arise if people don’t respect other people’s religions and cultures.
- Ellis, J. (2009). What is Religious Pluralism? Conjecture Corporation, Web.
- The United Religion Initiative.(2004). Interfaith Movement.