Religious leaders from different religions discuss ways to resolve religious disputes and discrimination –
On March 26, 2022, HWPL Online Intercontinental World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office was held under the theme of “Religion and Harmony”. 33 religious leaders from 10 countries including Myanmar, South Sudan, and Rwanda from the African-Asian continent attended.
During the event, religious leaders explained the importance of religious harmony based on each scripture and shared their feelings while practicing harmony in their life. The WARP Office is a platform to promote religious harmony by having comparative discourse on their scriptures and promoting understanding of each other’s differences led by religious leaders around the world. The WARP Office has begun in 2014 currently being held monthly in 129 countries participated by Religious leaders of over 30 groups including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism.
Amid persisting conflicts and disputes among religions around the world, according to HWPL, most religious texts share the value of peace, justice, human dignity, respect, and harmony.
The following is a presentation by religious leaders on questions related to harmony in the WARP Office.
Q. Is there a record in your scripture about the importance of harmony(peace)?
Kyow Wang Marma / Wat sanpakha, Meditation and Buddhism
There is a record in Buddhist scripture about the importance of harmony and unison. Buddhism search for Harmony between Self and Others, not confrontation whenever there is a compromise, there will be conflict. We must work on developing harmony among people. Peaceful fraternal relations are very important within the different communities, ethnicities, racial groups, and religions of a society.
Buddhism is a gospel of peace and non-violence. The practice of non-violence is life-affirming which contributes to human unity, progress, and peace. Non-violence teaches one to live in harmony with others and with oneself. It requires adherence to adherence to high standards of truth and self-control.
Therefore, the teaching of Buddhism is based on compassion, non-violence, and understanding of self and offers a moral code for all people irrespective of their gender, caste, religion, or region.
Q. What difficulties did you face when interacting and harmonizing with people of other religions?
Manfred NAMASO KINA / Pastor of Evangelistic Revival Ministry
One of the main difficulties faced when interacting and harmonizing with people of other religions is that of ideology. Often, there is this tendency of the superiority of religion. Each follower of a given religion has the impression that his or her religion is superior to that of the other.
I have witnessed scenarios wherein ecumenical services members of other religions leave the service ground because they don’t want to associate with the host religion. These are situations that can spark conflict if not well handled.
However, in the gospel of John chapter 13 verses 34 and 35, Jesus instructs us to love everyone, irrespective of their religion. In John chapter 4 beginning from verse 6, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well asked her to give Him some water to drink. And her response was that the Jews and Samaritans have nothing in common. Jesus proved to her that being a Jew, He can still have communion with the Samaritans. Hence in God, what is more, required is true worship.
Irakiza Pierre, Pastor of Apostolic Faith Mission Church of Burundi (AFM) said, “On the basis of recognizing religious diversity and differences, all religions should enhance mutual understanding and empathy through dialogue, shoulder the common responsibility of upholding peace and justice through cooperation, and foster intra- and inter-religious harmony and harmony between the religious community and the larger society.”
HWPL, an international peace organization registered under the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC, has been implementing initiatives including WARP Offices, Religious Youth Peace Camp, and Open Dialogue with Religious Leaders across the globe to serve as the platform for facilitating harmony among varying religious groups. In particular, the number of online WARP Office meetings has increased because of the pandemic. HWPL will publish the results of this comparison as an academic journal and provide literature for experts studying religion.