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Defining Religious Freedom and Interfaith Harmony

“A Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian walk into a bar,

They take a few shots, and starts discussing about their faith and about to make a bet on who can convert the bartender first...”

I was about to type in some unfunny punchline, but it can wait. The problem that I wanted to point out is that may be reality. Many people are using interfaith dialogue as an excuse to try to convince other people that there are some flaws in their religion.

With this day and age, people are supporting the idea of religious freedom, where everyone can freely talk and practice their religion. This usually comes in the form of interfaith harmony, where everyone from different religious beliefs can talk about their religion and experience with other religions.

Right now, many people are confusing interfaith dialogue as an opportunity to convince other people that their religion is superior and doesn’t have any flaws. They are speaking only from their experience yet acting like they know every single minute detail of their religion. These types of people are making interfaith dialogue unachievable in this era, and people end up learning nothing about the other person’s religion.

I’d like to argue that these exact problems are the ones that lead to many people unable to find their own way to achieve harmony with their creature. Many people become atheist because some of them find religion as a never-ending coherence problem with people in another religion. So, they choose to be unaffiliated. How do I know this? Because my family had the exact same problem.

My grandparents believe in the teaching of Confucius, and my parents are Christians. There are some other family members that are Muslims. Every time there is family time, and the topic of religion comes up, it is never peaceful. All of them pushes their believes to the other family members, and sometimes straight up telling them their religion is wrong. Other family members who hear about their conversation, ended up being mad at some of the statements that are being said. My grandpa ended up getting tired of religion altogether and became an atheist. I’m not saying it is wrong to becomes an atheist if they have completed their journey to find their creatures and ended up nihil, but it is not the best reasons to become an atheist because it is tiring to see religions fighting. In other ways, it can be said that my grandpa’s adventure to find a connection to his creature is ‘cut short.’

I remember every single ride home from our grandparents’ place, my parents ended up complaining about how Confucius teaching won’t get you to heaven, only with Jesus’ sacrifice people can go to heaven. But if I recall correctly, Jesus also didn’t teach you to set a bad example in front of your kid talking about another people’s religion, huh?

Interfaith dialogue can only happen if there is cooperation from all the members that are involved. Interfaith dialogue should be used as a platform for everyone to learn and grow. The key to interfaith dialogue is trust, put trust into the other person’s word. Believe that they are being honest about their own religion. Everyone should feel safe to express their own ideas and feelings about religion without fear. This etiquette in interfaith dialogue should be applied by everyone in their daily lives as well.

If there is one thing that every religion taught, it was to always be kind to each other. Religion exists as a boundary for us to behave accordingly. With religion, everyone can remind each other to treat everyone else with respect, especially when talking about religion.

“...Nah that wouldn’t happen, their religion forbids them to take a shot.”


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