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God around the world – different religions share the same message

Anjanae Crump, Managing Editor

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Religion is one of the oldest pillars of human society. As history has shown, it can be difficult to coexist peacefully with so many forms of spirituality in existence, each equipped with its own system of values, beliefs and traditions. Four religious student associations at the University of New Orleans shared their differences along with the similarities that ultimately connects them all.

Catholic Privateers President Margaret Earles said, “Obviously, Catholics and Protestants both believe that Jesus is our lord and savior, and share many similar prayers and beliefs. Catholics also have periods of fasting like those of Muslim and Hindu faiths. Islam and Christianity, including Catholicism, are both monotheistic and recognize certain religious figures, like Jesus and the archangel Gabriel.”

Member of the Muslim Student Association, Sanzid Haq confirmed this. “Muslims believe in the one God, Allah, and Muhammad, as well as that the messengers before him like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, to name a few, are his worshipers and messengers.”

Despite differences in interpretation, the base for these religions share the same ultimate goals.

Vice president of the Chakra Student Association Saranyan Senthivel said, “All religion says the same: love everyone, including all humans, animals and plants. When there is love, there is peace.”

Claudio Gomes, member of the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, added a similar message: “If we get the love-your-neighbor-as-you-love-yourself part [of the Bible], then there shall be peace. I see one God, only one who created all of us, and he wants all of us to come to know him and live in peace. That’s what Christianity is all about.”

Advisor of the Muslims Student Association, Mohammad Kabir Hassan said, “The very meaning of Islam is ‘peace,’ and its primary message is to have a peaceful life on earth, living peacefully with each other. All humans, regardless of religion and ethnicity, are creations of God, who has given Islam, the last revealed religion, as a gift to humanity.”

While members of  all four religious associations said they accept all others and promote peace and love, there are indeed differences that are vital to each.

Earle said, “What sets Catholics apart is our interpretation of books of the Old Testament in context of what authors of the day wrote. For example, a metaphorical story versus a historical account. [Also], our strict adherence to the New Testament, culminating in a firm belief that Christ Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.”

According to Senthivel, what separates Hinduism is that it “does not have one founder or core doctrine that can be referenced. The religion is an assembly of religious, philosophical and cultural ideas and practices that originated in the country of India.” He said Hinduism believes in karma and the saying, “Satyameva jayathe” which means “truth alone wins.”

 

“The whole world is formed by vibrations so elevate yourself by chanting ‘om,’” said Senthivel.

Each said that they believe religion should be important in today’s society.

“The religious aspect makes humans think above themselves, striving above mere humanity to better themselves on a spiritual level and others on a more physical, but possibly spiritual one; if we govern ourselves as if this Earth is all there is, then more people will only look out for themselves, and society will become corrupt,” said Earles.

The spiritual aspect of religion is also a point Gomes, Earles and Hassan agreed should be important.

Gomes said, “To me, it’s more about spirituality because culture changes geographically and periodically … Culture can shape the way we think from place to place, and so I feel like if I stick to a certain culture or be devoted to it, then I’ll be very limited.”

Earles said, “Religion is more about spirituality, but I believe religious culture enhances spirituality. Catholicism teaches that humans are both physical and spiritual beings; it is very hard, if not impossible, to concentrate so fully as to only exist on a spiritual plane, so structures such as mass and the rosary help to focus our scattered thoughts towards a higher plane.”

 

Senthivel, on the other hand, said, “It is more about culture. There are some parts of spirituality, but mostly, our religion defines the culture … we follow those practices not in the sense of religion, rather say it as there is a science behind everything. Some examples are using turmeric as a face wash, using cow dung as pesticide.”

Another tradition practiced by the Hindus is the Holi Fest, which the Chakra Indian Student Association helps to put on every year on campus. During this festival colored powder is thrown into the air to fall down upon everyone participating.

 

Senthivel said, “It briefly signifies the victory of good over evil, play and laugh with colors, arrival of spring and the passing of winter.”

 

Christianity, Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism all have differences but manage to stand on common ground to promote the betterment for all of its followers.

Earles said, “I believe that the world may benefit from more practice of tolerance. One of the core duties of religious membership is evangelization, but we must also recognize the concept of human free will. We must calmly inform others about the teachings we hold as truths, but ultimately we must let them follow their own paths.”

 

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God around the world – different religions share the same message