One Teaching All World Religions Have in Common (That Can Fix the World)

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At times, it can be hard for the Christian to relate with the Buddhist, or the Muslim with the Jew. There are plenty of ways these faith, and all major world religions, differ from one another. Tragically, the fear and ignorance that can be spawned through differences in belief has marred the history of mankind with hatred and violence.

But as different as the world religions may be from one another, there is one message that can be found within the foundation of every major belief system in the world. And when truly understood and implemented, the one thing the world religions have in common, is more unifying than religious differences are dividing.

Buddhist Teachings on Loving One Another

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Buddhism is a major world religion, with 500 million or so practitioners, representing 8% of the world’s population. This 2,500 year old religion is often explained as a philosophy or way of life that emphasizes morality, being aware of thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom and understanding.

Buddhism is a great exemplar of tolerance towards other people and belief systems. Compassion and kindness being at the root of this tolerance. The Dalai Lama, an internationally recognized ambassador of Buddhism, has long emphasized the importance of loving one another

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

-The Dalai Lama

Hindu Teachings on Loving One Another

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Nearly 1 billion people adhere to Hinduism, which is the major religion of India and Nepal. Considered by many as the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism is hard to define because it does not have a single founder, scripture, or set doctrine. But, the majority of Hindus agree that love and kindness lay at the heart of their belief system.

Hinduism is very accepting of other religions, believing that other religions are derived from God’s light and deserve tolerance and acceptance. Hindus also believe in “ahisma” or that all people are sacred, so they should be loved and respected, with great effort taken to avoid injuring another person, neither in thought, word, or deed.

“What sort of religion can it be without compassion? You need to show compassion to all living beings. Compassion is the root of all religious faiths”

-Basavanna, Vachana 247

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Islamic Teachings on Loving One Another

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Islam is the fastest growing, and second largest religion in the world, with nearly 3 million Americans identifying themselves as Muslim, out of the 1.6 Billion (or 1/3 of all people) worldwide. As with many other religions, fanatical terrorists can use the veil of religion to sanction violence, but even a small inquiry into Islamic teaching reveals it to be a religion that promotes charity, giving to the less fortunate, and compassion.

In fact, Zakāt, or Alms giving, is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. The principle of Zakāt is reciprocity. Essentially, Islam teaches that wealth, in whatever form, comes from God, and those who receive it are obligated to redistribute a portion of it to those who are less fortunate. In 2011, financial analysts estimated that Zakāt, along with Sadaqah (voluntary alms-giving,) accounted for $1 trillion in charitable donations. This is a whopping 15 times more than global humanitarian aid contributions!

Besides charitable giving, Islamic teachings connect loving one another with Holiness. Those who “enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion, such are the Companions (of paradise).” Quran 90: 17-18.

The Sahih Muslim Hadith, records The Prophet Muhammad as teaching “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.”

“All [human] creatures are God’s children, and those dearest to God are those who treat His children kindly.”

– Hadith of Baihaqi

Bahá’í Teachings on Loving One Another

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The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion that originated in Persia in the 1800’s. This relatively young religion has more than 5 million followers, in more than 200 countries.

Along with the teachings of Báb and Bahá’u’lláh (the founders of the religion,) Bahá’í collects upon the teachings of past “messengers” from various religion’s, such as Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as well as the Buddha and Krishna. The central theme of the Bahá’í Faith is unity: unity of God, Unity of the various religions, and Unity of humanity, which cherishes all mankind, and appreciates diversity. The purpose of life, according to Baha’i teachings is to learn about and come to know God, which is accomplished through prayer, reflection, and serving human kind.

“It is your duty to be exceedingly kind to every human being…until ye change the world of man into the world of God.”

 -Abdu’l Baha

Judaic Teachings on Loving One Another

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Judaism, founded more than 3,500 years ago, is one of the world’s oldest and largest religions, with more 13,000 million Jews dispersed across the world; the majority residing in the United States and Israel. Both Christianity and Islam is said to have originated out of Judaism, or the Abrahamic Faith.

Showing love and kindness to one another is one of the oldest, most fundamental concepts of Judaism. In fact, when Jesus taught “love thy neighbor as thyself,” he was quoting Torah, one of Judaism’s holy scriptures. Jewish teaching emphasize “Tzedakah,” or charity to the needy or less fortunate and “g’milut chasadim,” translated as “lovingkindness” or the act of caring for others.  The Mishnah, another sacred Jewish text teaches that “the universe is built on kindness” (Avot 1:2)

“When we treat others kindly, fairly, and lovingly…we are living Torah.”

– Laura Weakley (Author of “What the Torah Teaches Us About Life.”)

Sihk Teachings on Loving One Another

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With upwards of 30 million Sikhs across the world, Sikhism is among the top ten largest world religions. Sikhism originated in India during the 15th century when it broke off of Hinduism, partly to reject the caste system. It’s sacred scripture is the Guru Granth Sahib which emphasizes faith in one creator, striving for social justice and the prosperity of all people, honest conduct and engaging in selfless service towards others.

The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, strongly correlated loving one another with godly worship:

“Those who have loved are those that have found God”

― Guru Nanak

Christian Teachings on Loving One Another

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Many Christians would argue that Christianity, the world’s largest religion, is based on the principle of love.

“Love is the measure of faith”

-Pope Francis

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As recorded in the New Testament, Jesus Christ taught the sanctity of loving others on numerous occasions. In the John 15:9, Christ teaches that love should be reciprocated, saying “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love.” Furthermore, Christ established loving one another as a fundamental part of Christianity, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;” (John 13:34.) Love was so central to Christ’s message that he glorified it as a distinguishing characteristic of followers of Christ saying “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

-Mother Teresa

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