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“Religion is defined by Christopher Partridge as a system of beliefs and worship, held by a community who may express its religion through shared myths, doctrines, ethical teachings, rituals or the remembrance of special experiences.” The question of this essay is: With so many different religions throughout the world, can there possibly be any way that they are compatible? Is there one or more beliefs that bind them together or is there a universal spirit? With an open mind and the willingness to accept without judgment ways of others, I believe religions like Christianity, Mormonism, and Sikhism could be compatible.
As one looks at each of these religions, one should look at what is morally acceptable for their community of believers. How each of these groups views: family, gender roles, marriage, and treatment of others are areas that can be compared. Whether these beliefs are written in the Bible, Book of Mormons or Guru Granth Sahib’, they are all listed and explained for all to understand and practice. Christians and Mormons refer to the 10 Commandments as their list, while the Sikhs refer to the 10 commandments of Sikhism. Christianity, Mormonism, and Sikhism all believe that the family unit is an integral part of their religion. Christians view the family unit as important in the growth and development of all individuals, in connection with the teaching of their religious views. Mormonism also places the family as an important institution, viewing family life on earth as important as family life after death. “Sikhism values the joint family or extended family as the basic unit.” Along with family importance come gender roles. All religions have in the past believed the male should be the head of the household and the females remain at home with the children and the household chores. As times have changed, they all are changing their views on this practice and offering more equality for women. This also includes women in leadership roles within the religions. Sex and marriage are two other areas that the three religions seem to share similar views. Premarital sex is not a morally acceptable practice in any of the religions. They believe that marriage should happen first with the idea of the family later. Sikhism finds marriage in their community very important. “They view it as more than a simple unification of a man and woman: it is regarded as an alliance between the two families. It is considered a spiritual bond of one spirit in two bodies.” Mormonism has similar views in which they” place a strong emphasis on marriage, keeping sexuality within the marriage and one being “sealed” to one’s spouse forever.” Christianity also emphasizes the union of a man and woman, hopefully with both families’ blessings and in front of family and God. A final view that all three religions agree on is “the Golden Rule”, in which people treat others as they wish to be treated. This idea appears in many different ways and different forms depending on the religion. For Christians, as well as, Mormons it is “Do to others what you want them to do to you (Matthew 7:21).” Sikhism views it as “I am a stranger to no one, and no one: is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. “Looking at these religions these are some moral issues that can be considered compatible amongst them.
Another comparison between religions is their spiritual beliefs. Most religions believe in a “God or Gods” which are the central figures of their religions. The exact name or form of that individual or spirit may be different but their importance to each group is similar. They are the one being or spirit everyone hopes to emulate to sometime within their life. How each religion carries out and practices these spiritual beliefs may not be the same. Each religion has a specific building where they come together to share worship and practice these spiritual beliefs with others; the “Sikh join as a congregation at the gurdwara,” and Christians and Mormons come together in their area established churches. One practice that is common to all three is prayer. The exact way they pray may not be done the same. Some may pray once a day, others more than once a day, some pray at home, while others in a certain building; all with the same result, that of asking for goodwill or health to someone in need, and thanking those above for all the good happenings in their life and to others. Spiritually they all believe that certain things need to be done in this life to get to that “special place” later. All three emphasize that people should serve others and do good for their communities. Mormons often have a time when they are sent to do missionary work in areas of need, Christians (depending on the church) also may partake in mission service projects to provide help to families or communities due to economic or weather-related issues and “Sikhs engage in Seva which is voluntary service to help society through social or cultural enrichment.” Along with doing service, the three religions emphasize giving a portion of their earnings back to the place of worship. This is an attempt to help their community of faith, and at the same time not giving in to the evil of “greed”. Another spiritual commonality is the idea of “the after-life”, will it be heaven, hell or neither? Mormons believe that eventually, everyone will get to heaven, but there are different levels of glory before you get there. Christians believe that based on your acts during your life and God’s forgiveness you will be able to enter heaven. Sikhs believe in reincarnation, in which the good or bad you did while alive will determine how your soul is reborn, so there is no heaven or hell concept.
To conclude the essay, looking at these three religions one can draw some common moral and spiritual beliefs which could make them compatible. They are not necessarily the same but they all end in similar results. It is all about believing in a ”higher being” who represents all the good things in a person and what they should be doing for others. If people could keep an open mind and not bring politics or violence into the differences, all would be much calmer and more peaceful. If people could look at a difference and accept it without judging it as right or wrong based on what they think, disagreement and conflict could be prevented. Who is to say that the way one religion believes or practices, is better than the way another religion does it. If people could forget about all the things they don’t like about another religion, either from the past or present, and just look for the “good”, then harmony could exist. As one of the Sikh Gurus wrote, “Recognize all humankind, whether Muslim or Hindu as one. Recognize no distinction among them. The temple and mosque are the same. So are Hindu worship and Muslim prayer. Human beings are all one.” If all could accept that quote, what a great world we would have to live in.
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