Religion is one of the most controversial topics around the world. Religion is said to be “a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny” (wordnetweb.com).
In Madeleine Albright’s, “Faith and Diplomacy”, she makes a valid point that religion plays an essential role throughout the world and should be separated from the government. In her article, she quotes that “….without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell” (Albright 26).
She is basically stating that a world without religion would be a pure tragedy. She then states another point in her article about how religion and faith could actually bring us together under a shared humanity. This is an impossible feat to achieve. Yet, “religion is a powerful force, but its impact depends entirely on what it inspires people to do” (Albright 24).
Due to the various religions throughout the world, there is no possible way that faith and religion could bring us all together as one.
Religion cannot bring us together due to our world’s history. Religion and history are well connected to one another. People have a mental block in their minds, allowing whatever happened in the past to have an affect on their future decisions in their life. They don’t want to explore for themselves, they just want to live their present and future off of things done in the past. A great example of this is the history of the Twin Towers. We all remember, on September 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York. Thousands of people died in this tragic event. Nine years later, now, the government and people of New York proposed a plan to build a mosque at ground zero. Statistics show that “52% of New Yorkers opposed the idea of the ground zero mosque, 31% support the idea, and the other 17% are undecided” (Scharr).
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The main reason for the high percentage of opposition of this idea is because the mosque will be established for the Muslim Community. Most of the terrorists that attacked on September 11th were from the Muslim community. People see it as if; the Muslims attacked our city, then they shouldn’t be rewarded with a prayer sanctuary on our historical landmark. People fail to realize that Americans weren’t the only people to die in the September 11th tragedy. There were many different cultures and religions that lost their lives in the September 11th tragedy. Americans hate terrorists for what they did to our people, but we shouldn’t hate the Muslim community. We should forgive them like the Lebanese woman in Albright’s article did to her attacker. The Lebanese woman viewed it as “I forgave him because my God forgave me…it’s as simple as that” (Albright 26).
Hating them only makes us look ignorant because we are discriminating against the Muslim community as a whole, when there were only a few bad individuals that attacked us.
Religion and ignorance goes hand and hand together. Lack of knowledge about religions places a major effect on how we can’t have shared humanity. There are ignorant people all around the world. People already have their minds set to one thing. They choose not to look beyond someone’s imperfections. Some people [non-believers] see it as if “religion is not the solution to anything….people have been making each other miserable in the name of God” (Albright 24).
With mind sets like this, there is no possible way you can get religion to bring us to one common ground. We, as people, fail to educate ourselves about something that doesn’t relate to us. Actually, Albright makes a good point in her article by stating that, “It is often simpler to deal with people of completely different faiths than with those who share a religion but disagree about how it should be interpreted” (Albright 31).
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Learning about other religions may help clearly understand the reason on how people act the way they do and their way of life. Learning one’s religion may also help you better understand your inner self. It may get you to think about if what you believe is really true or do you just believe in it because you were raised that way. Many people only believe in their religion because they were raised that way. Yet, if people actually took the time to learn their religion, they would probably actually realize that they don’t really agree with some of the components of their own religion. Classes about different religions and cultures should be enforced in schools. It should be a graduation requirement to take a religious/cultural class in order to receive a diploma. While this may spark up some issues, but we should educate ourselves about others who surround us. This idea wouldn’t be 100% effective, but it could possibly open up some of the closed-minded individuals. Indeed, there will still be some ignorant individuals. Ignorant minds are all ready made up and nobody can change it. In “Faith and Diplomacy,” Albright talks about an Institute for Global Engagement, which strives to have religious freedom improved. The institute’s motto is, “Know your faith at its deepest and richest best, and enough about your neighbor’s faith to respect it” (Albright 30).
While she isn’t saying that you have to agree with your neighbor’s faith, but just respect it.
Religion most of all couldn’t bring us together as one humanity because of fear. Religion and fear definitely have strong alliance with one another. people fear to learn new things. Some people were brought up a certain way, so they are scared of change. They feel that if they learn about someone else’s religion, that it will influence their religion. Albright’s article constantly talks about instilled fear within people. She discusses a story in her article about a 5-year old boy in Kenya, who was being raised in a fearful village. Fear was instilled in him since his early childhood. Albright greatly stated that “Fear is a powerful motivator…” (Albright 27).
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She couldn’t have said it any better. Often, there are times when people force their faith on others. This instills fear in people because they feel if they don’t believe in what others believe in, they will be looked upon differently. People also fear to profess their faith. Profess your faith, if it is something that you believe in. Step out on your faith and don’t fear on how others may perceive you. Bill Clinton stressed a point in Albright’s article that “If you’re dealing with people that profess their faith, they must believe that there is a Creator….and that God created everyone” (Albright 31).
With putting this quote into effect, people may start to realize that we do share some similarities, yet we have our differences. We should set aside our differences. But like Albright said, “some differences are too great to be reconciled” (Albright 29).
People constantly blame religion for everything. “It is easy to blame religion for our troubles, but that is too simple” (Albright 24).
Religion is not to blame for our troubles, yet it is history, ignorance, and fear that cause our problems. History digs up the past and affects our future, especially on the goal to become one human race. Ignorance allows us not to open up our minds to things outside of our comfort zone. Finally, fear causes us to divide because people fear to learn new things. “What complicates matters is that religion can be interpreted in ways that exclude large numbers of people from any claim to kinship” (Albright 28).
This makes it nearly impossible to bring us all together on one common ground because “persuading people of different faiths to work cooperatively requires separating what is debatable in scripture from what is not” (Albright 31).
Albright goes on to state that “Once they [the people] acknowledge their common humanity, it becomes harder to kill each other; then compromise becomes easier because they’ve admitted that they are dealing with people like themselves, not some kind of Satan or subhuman species” (Albright 31).
She is completely right by saying this. But until we reach this moment, religion and faith will continue to divide us as a human race.