Melting Pot of Religion: Are We There Yet?

Pelopor wrote an interesting post on religious beliefs and practices, which raised a couple of issues on how I perceived the issues myself. As imperfect as we are, we naturally apply double standards on how we view others’ religions and how their own religious practices affect us. We accept those who are different from us, as long as they are not too different. We are totally not comfortable with those who conflict with our own beliefs. Of course this does not apply to everybody, maybe just me.  

Months ago, I came across an open forum on Indonesian Yahoo discussion group where people were sending religion-related hate messages. Whose religion was stronger, whose was the more ridiculous. I was shocked and scared to my very core. No wonder these people were killing each other! They were using the worse possible languages to describe others’.

There are three points to be worked on if things are to improved in this area; tolerance, understanding and respect. Tolerance is the easiest, we just need to live with the fact that our religion or belief is not the only one existed. Others do have the same rights to carry on their religious affair, aside of the fact that whether or not their practices conflict our own.

Understanding is more of a technical term in my point of view. To gain deeper understanding on roots of different faiths and religions not only testing the intellectual nature of somebody, but definitely requires logic and unconditional-unbiased-straightly objective views.

Respect is to do both things above together. Harder than it sounds, but it is the ultimate goal for all countries that act as a melting pot of different faith and religions. Indonesia, sadly to say, is still struggling at step one – tolerance. But things are definitely looking up.

Why are these so important is that if not carried out thoroughly, it will cost the minority beliefs and practices their future, which finally lead them to their extinction. People will be afraid to nurture their beliefs because they will be deemed as strange and non-mainstream. The lack of government support also not helping in the preservation of these unique individual expression. Do we want to live in the world of conformity where everybody is everybody? Or do we want our world to be as colourful as it can be where everybody is somebody? Interesting, isn’t it.


10 Responses to “Melting Pot of Religion: Are We There Yet?”

  1. 1 colson January 16, 2008 at 8:49 am

    What can I say? I totally agree and sympathize with your stand on this (very, very) important issue.

    But I like to add that the way I experienced Indonesia, fortunately religious tolerance still is deeply rooted in society. Here and in most parts of the world, it’s only a minority of narrow minded zealots who try to poison the relations. Just like you, I do hope we, the large majority of mainstreamers plus governments, will succeed in keeping them in check.

    One more thing. I for one would be satisfied if everyone would practice unconditional tolerance in this area. Real understanding – your ( and my son’s) plea – would be great, but too big a challenge for mankind to achieve, I think.

  2. 2 happysurfer January 16, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Religion is a touchy subject. The world would be more peaceful if there is religious tolerance all around and most importantly, not to mix religion with politics.

  3. 3 L B January 16, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Yeah, and all that, but it’s totally possible to live a moral life without religion, and also live a life full of hate and evil while steeped in religion.

  4. 4 andiesummerkiss January 16, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Dear Colson,

    I couldn’t agree more. Things are more different than you said. Indonesia is in very difficult stage right now. There are so much hatred if you really look closely.

    Dear Happysurfer,

    That would be really hard to do, isn’t it. Not to mix religion with politics. Religion is a very useful card to be used in countries where there is one dominant religious group.


    Yes I like yours. Sometimes atheistic life is so much easier where to do the right thing is just to do the right thing. No strings attached.

  5. 5 bonnie2405 January 16, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    hehehe as forever optimism person when it comes about indonesia…I believe there will be a better tolerance in Indonesia. It is quite hard to be just simply human without the social, culture, race, any kind of possible differences. Anyway, without religion…I guess world can be peaceful but certainly dull 🙂

  6. 6 hanny January 17, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I think if we concentrate on our similarities as human beings (with feelings, anxiousness, fear, sadness) as opposed to concentrate on our differences, we will be able to understand others better.

    Then again, why do we have to see the world merely in black and white if other colors are there to beautify life itself?

  7. 7 Giddy Tiger January 17, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Religion is always a sensitive topic to broach, but you have done it well.

  8. 8 Ecky January 18, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I think what happen in Indonesia is much better than in any other country, especially for Moeslem as minority.

    Soeharto regime has did good on keeping the tolerance among religion.

    Btw, I tagged you.. check out my blog…

  9. 9 tere616 January 19, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Andie, what bother me is nowadays we have more educated people but they become less tolerance if they discuss religion issue.

    But I do believe that someday we will live in the melting pot religion world where people respect each other, no differentiation of minority and majority.

    I once bumped into the melting pot religion discussion in facebook, I was surprised that there are a lot of people out there who dream the same things like ours.

  10. 10 mer January 21, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    agree with all three points you brought in here. except that in practice, society at large would not embrace those points easily.

    ah… religion religion…. do people need religions to have moral values in life? i don’t think so. though, i admit, some people need external force to have a morally ‘proper’ life…. unfortunately it could go other way.

    but anyway, on the lighter note…. without religions, there’d be no beautiful cathedrals, great architecture of mosques and temples….. wonderful musics and attractive dances…. :p

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