Religion and traditions come in many forms

I was delighted to read the Interfaith Week activities at Brighstone Primary School (CP online, 11-30-21) where children were briefed and talked to each other about Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

The teachings of these schools of thought are rich and varied; some believe that there is only one God, others that there are many; others that there is only one God but that there are three people in this God.

Some believe that Jesus Christ is God, or an aspect of God; most do not. Adam and Eve, original sin, Christ’s resurrection from the dead are just a few of the differences.

They all say that you have to be kind to your neighbor, which is a blessing, although some subgroups are ready to kill those who do not agree with them, as Christians used to do. Christians tend to insist on “Christian principles,” but the only one that is not shared by all is to love your enemies and turn the other cheek.

I would be interested to know if a bright spark among the students pointed out that the beliefs of religions are incompatible, and if one of them is true the others must be false and misleading.

And since no religion has more than half of the human race, the tenets of each religion are considered false by most of the world’s population. If no student did, it suggests that no one was listening, or that they had been told not to, for fear of offending (I’m not saying that would be wrong; that might be the way the nicest.)

But if a student brought it up in private to a teacher, how would she react? It’s a minefield; to suggest that they are all myths would bring a lot of trouble to true believers. To suggest that one of the creeds is true, or more true than the others, would be worse. I can imagine the teacher throwing it into the tall grass saying something like “You’ll understand when you’re older”.

The United Nations adopted the resolution in 1981: everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; no one shall be subjected to a constraint which would affect his freedom to hold the religion or belief of his choice.

And the same body adopted in 1993 the resolution: every child has the “right” to have access to religion or belief “in accordance with the will of his parents”.

The second resolution effectively rejects the first and allows parents to inflict on their children, during their formative years, beliefs that most of the human race thinks are wrong. At least parents should make sure their children learn other beliefs. It is a step in the right direction.

In my last article I asked where to find the words “I often wonder what winegrowers are buying, half as valuable as the goods they sell.” This is from Omar Khayyam.

Now who wrote “My country is the world and my religion is to do good.”

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