Redressing Our History of Intolerance

Redressing Our History of Intolerance - English 3, Sec. 30...

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English 3, Sec. 30 Dr. P. Gilmore Essay #3, Final Copy December 10, 2007 Redressing Our History of Intolerance Intolerance and contempt for life have marked the history of humankind. Looking back at thousands of years of warfare and imperialism, one can easily come up with this conclusion. However, during the same timeframe, humans have been practicing various religious traditions and Secular Humanism. Such traditions have offered paths to cure the world of such ills. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions of religion, extremists and fundamentalists have misused religion, sinking the world into an even deeper abyss of intolerance and contempt for life. The study of the unity of various traditions, and of humankind itself, offers a path to truly cure the world of such ills. Many writers, including The Dalai Lama, Michael Lerner, and Frederick Franck, have written on this issue. Those three writers—a Buddhist, a Jew, and a Secular Humanist, respectively—while differing in details, convey the same central message: Treat others and the entire world with tolerance, compassion, and reverence. Doing so can redress the ills caused by our history of intolerance and contempt. In “The Journey of Dialogue,” the Dalai Lama writes that religion is like medicine “in that the important thing is to cure human suffering.” He goes on to explain that no religion is superior to others. However, a particular religion can be the most effective for an individual. He asserts that for this reason, one must respect every religion. To promote this respect and understanding of various religions, believers must engage in some sort of interfaith dialogue. According to The Dalai Lama, interfaith dialogue includes religious leaders meeting each other,
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scholars discussing various religions in an academic way, and followers of various religions going on pilgrimages to the holy sites of different religions. Moreover, with believers of each tradition implementing their beliefs to the fullest potential, a state of “constructive competition” occurs, bringing out the best of each tradition (16-22). To demonstrate that no religion is superior, The Dalai Lama even places his own religion under fire. While comparing Buddhism to Christianity, he asserts that Christianity places a greater emphasis on “service to the world,” while Buddhism is more isolated from the outside
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ENG 3 taught by Professor Steinberg during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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Redressing Our History of Intolerance - English 3, Sec. 30...

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