Reconciling Religion’s Unique Vision/Revelation with the Universal Law of Reconciliation/Love: If My Religious Vision Is Unique Doesn’t That Make Differing Visions Erroneous, Therefore, Adversarial?
Unexamined assumptions about humankind’s basic religious orientation undercut efforts to reconcile human and cultural and religious rights. We will fail in all secondary issues and efforts if not dealing with the apparently inherent, most often I think unconscious, conflict between a religion’s unique visions/dogma and each religion’s law of universal reconciliation. That is, monotheism has historically come to mean for many that “if my religion is right/true, your religion must be wrong/untrue”, which is dangerously close to saying, “if your religion is untrue/wrong, then you are wrong…even perhaps evil…and maybe it’s not evil, therefore, to harm you….” Reconciliation is illusory if participants can’t square (what each calls) its Absolutes with meaningful (end-of-violence) reconciliation– without such squaring of belief with compassion, reconciling might degrade to another strategy of “winning”, imposing in time one’s own worldview under a temporizing guise of tolerance and respect. In short, what’s the human betrayal of Divine Vision in which we blasphemously link Wars of Civilization to the Koran’s “no coercion in things religious”, and to the Bible’s “love God and thy neighbour, even thy enemy, as thyself”?
Keywords: Religion, Reconciliation, Tolerance, Intolerance, Dogma, Doctrine, Inclusivity, Exclusivity, Law of Love, War of Civilization
Dr. Daniel C. Smith
Professor, Department of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University