Although some might use pluralism and diversity interchangeably, they are not the same thing. For example, diversity exists where more than one religion exists in a same area, which is not pluralism. When all these religions in the same location share common beliefs and work together to forge ahead without major differences; that can be called pluralism. Polarization, on the other hand, finds differences in the different religions and opts to separate the two based on the differences. This letter is addressed to a community leader and a radical who does not believe in any other religion other than his own. He believes that what all other religions preach is wrong and does not accommodate it in his world.
I am writing this letter as a formal way of requesting you to adopt pluralism and leave behind the actions that encourage polarization. Sometime back, you came out trying to justify the killing of some people in an act of terrorism. You claimed that if the government goes to the country and tries to force some Muslims out of their homes and after war ensues, some are killed, they are justified to revenge. This generates a hot topic on the Muslim beliefs. In my own understanding, killing is wrong and one should not harm the innocent on a basis of revenge. Most religions advocate for forgiveness and repentance as a mode of dealing with such issues. I also believe the governments can also handle their own businesses without you getting involved and preaching radicalism to some of our young generation. This derails them from the true teachings of a religion and by them adopting your way of thinking the world is becoming religiously polarized.
Oslo 2011, Jihadists websites are thrilled to hear a bomb has exploded in the city. This is because Muslims and Christians thrive in a lot of hatred and destroy any dialogue intended for reconciliation. The two religions seek a clash of civilizations. Al Qaeda claimed the bomb was intended for the prime minister and that it was the work of the Helpers of the Global Jihad. They claimed it was a battle of Stockholm and Oslo where they were to punish Norway and Sweden for sending their troops to Afghanistan in a bid to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. To rejoice murder for the jihadists contradicts with the Christian’s belief and faith against the laws of Moses. Intentions to start dialogue or reconciliations are thwarted immediately. These other religions do not understand why Muslims; jihadists rejoice in the face of death. Ayman Al Zawahiri writes a book “Knight Under the Prophets Banner” and compares Jihadists and Osama Bin Laden to the Knights of 1000 years ago who fought the Islam crusaders (Huntington 78). The right wing Christian extremists and the Islamic Jihadis are all violent. They claim they are empowered by God to revenge for the larger group. They share in that they despise those advocating for union of the two groups. In a Muslim world, they would chase the Jews and Christians out of the land that belonged to them previously. The right wing extremists would chase the Muslims out of America and Europe. Although their plan is to kill whom they term their enemy, they end u killing more of their own than their enemy.
In a nation that is considered mostly Muslim, it is important to note that, according to Wuthnow, the religious diversity is widening. People are intermarrying and new religions coming up which regardless of how people try to ignore has an effect on the religious scope of the country. Having such extreme thought will not auger well with what and how people are supposed to interrelate and accommodate other religions. Try to learn a little bit, of what other religions advocate for and try to work out with them from the common area. With research showing that there are approximately 3 million Buddhists, 2 million Christians and almost a 1 million Hindus in the country.
This shows how diverse our religion scope has become wide and as a community leader, you ought to find for ways to ensure coexistence between you and the different groups. After Wuthnow carried out his research, he finds out that only a small number of Muslims are familiar with the teachings of other religions such as Christians, Buddhists and Hindu. As a community leader of a diverse religious community, you have to strive and familiarize yourself with other religions. He asserts that the leaders of different religions are reluctant to deal with the complications and challenges that come from intermarriages of all these religions (Wuthnow 57)
Such actions will bring unity and oneness among the people living together and they will eventually hatch love and compassion. This is the meaning of true pluralism, which you should adopt, and not just to rebuke with your extremists ideas. With polarization mentality, people will go on killing for unjustifiable reasons and hatred will continue spreading. Although pluralism will not solve all these diversity issues and differences, it is an excellent point to start. Although some might think exercising pluralism is easy, it requires and needs a lot of engagement and understanding of others. It is a two-way traffic and you ought to be ready to listen and contribute in finding a way forward. Although you will be required to tolerate the differences, you will also need to have knowledge of what the differences entail. You ought to realize that tolerance is a mere stereotype that cannot form the basis of a complex issue such as religion diversity.
In tolerance, you do not have to know about the other person and it certainly does not eliminate ignorance. Pluralism acknowledges the differences rather than hiding them from bare sight. You will have to share the deepest differences for parties to reach a common ground. Although there will be differences, constructive dialogue is important as it helps in ironing out the differences that come out so prominent. Acquiring documents that propose ways for existing properly as a multi religious society will be an excellent way to start building on Pluralism. Such documents exist in the catholic; Nostra Aetate; Presbyterian; Interfaith Relations Denominational Principles and Policies (Eck 108). These readings will give you a deeper understanding of what the Christians believe in.
People have different religious beliefs depending on their background. However, as a leader you have to see beyond the small scope of one religion and choose to understand even the minority of your followers. By understanding what the different religions purport, you will be able to understand different situations that may arise in your backyard. Increased polarization will always separate people who have respected each other but pluralism will bring extremists closer to each other as a way of religious healing. Choose to heal and not to separate (Putman 16).
Eck, Diana L. A New Religious America: How a "christian Country" Has Now Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Print.
Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Print.
Putnam, Robert D, and David E. Campbell. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010. Print.
Sacks, Jonathan. The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations. New York: Continuum, 2003. Print.
Wuthnow, Robert. America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.