REL 120 Study of World Essay Project
Are The Religions of the World Essentially the Same or Completely Different? – Discussion Board Group 3
This week you read the “Introduction” to God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero (the book that I used to use as a textbook for this course!) as well as “Unity of Religions” by Swami Sivananda, a Hindu yogi.
In these readings they make very different claims concerning the relationship between the religions of the world. Prothero emphasizes that the major religions of the world are very different from each other, and that those differences matter. According to Prothero, therefore, we should learn about the specifics of each religious tradition so that we can be respectful of those differences.
Swami Sivananda, however, believes that when we do study the world religions in-depth, we will see that they are simply different paths to the same destination. Sivananda claims that while there are differences in the details and names they give to the ultimate reality – God, Jesus, Allah, Nirvana, etc. – they are the same in their essentials.
What underlies both of these arguments are two different beliefs as to how we should create religious tolerance in the world. Both Prothero and Sivananda want to see people of different (or no) religions respect each other and live peacefully together – they just have very different ideas about how that is possible!
For this discussion, I would like you to tell me:
When comparing God is Not One by Stephen Prothero to “Unity of Religions” by Swami Sivananda, I mostly agree with Protheros perspective. When reading a part of Prothero’s book, I felt as if he were being more realistic than Sivananda. Sivananda points out that the broadness of religions is similar, which I cannot disagree with, however I do not think all religions would define the word religion the same, therefore there is no way they could be so similar. Sivananda states, “All religions have come from God; every religion is good” (Sivananda 25). This statement alone makes me question the validity of Sivananda because it is blatantly untrue with the word “every” in the sentence. Protheros states the truth of, “…it is comforting to pretend that great religions make up one, big happy family. But this sentiment, however, well-intentioned, is neither accurate or ethically responsible (Protheros 3). There is a comfort in thinking all religions are similar because of the history of argument and fighting they have. If religions were to be thought of as similar, there wouldn’t be a reason for argument between them, however that is not the way it is. I think that the right path would be choosing to acknowledge these inevitable differences. You can’t pretend to be similar, knowing in the back of your mind, they’re not. Accepting the differences is challenging for many religions because they all want to the is biggest, best one out there. With accepting their differences, religions also should learn to accept one another which would not be an easy task, but a necessary one for the most possible way to a peaceful world.
In the wake of perusing of the two course books “to God isn’t One” by Stephen Prothero and “Solidarity of Religions” by Swami Sivananda I like more the reading material of Stephen Prothero on the grounds that his clarification is intrigued to me, and furthermore I am concur with him this entry. The argument that I agree with is that all religions agree that God is one, and everyone believes in it. “According to Mohandas Gandhi, “Belief in one God is the cornerstone of all religions,” so it is toward this one God that all reliably gious people are climbing. When it comes to divinity, however, one” (page 1). Every religion no matter what kind of religion they believe in one God. There are some differences in each religion in how they pray or on how they celebrate their holidays but they all have their own special book. There are some religions believe that there is no god, “Many Buddhists believe in no god, and many Hindus believe in thousands. Moreover, the char- acters of these gods differ wildly. Is God a warrior like Hindu- ism’s Kali or a mild-mannered wanderer like Christianity’s Jesus? Is God personal, or impersonal? Male, beyond description altogether? female (or both)” (page 2).
In my view we can use both path similarities and differences if we understand the difference of all religions. We can teach everyone these are the differences you should respect because you both want to reach the same destination. The difference is that they are using the different way but in the end you all are the same. So, we can use both. We can understand the difference by Prothero. We should learn about the specifics of each religious tradition so we can be responsible for the difference. Swami Sivanadnda quotation for similarities- there is difference in the details and names they give to ultimate reality-God, Jesus, Allah they are same in their essential.