The Importance of Teaching Our Children Religious Tolerance
The world today is a much different place than it was even a generation or two ago in that there is growing statistical evidence that believers are fewer in number (per capita) than ever before. While some sociologists and theologians blame the cause on everything from science to drugs, many believe that the ultimate demise of religion is due to intolerance.
With so much fighting going on between religions and even sects within a religion, there is no wonder those who haven’t chosen a path are unlikely to do so. What good is faith in a Supreme Being who couldn’t possibly exist with there being so much warfare and hatred going on in the world? Could God really exist and if He does, who is He? Perhaps the way to raise children in a world that is increasingly lacking in faith is to teach them about the power of religious tolerance.
Is Being Tolerant the Same as Being Unfaithful?
Believe it or not, being tolerant of other faiths is not the same thing as being unfaithful to your own. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the first definition of tolerant is “willing to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” Being tolerant simply means accepting the fact that other people are different than you are.
They were raised in different traditions and as a result, may have a different faith than you were brought up to believe. By embracing our differences as human beings we are making a real effort to get along on a planet that seems to be growing smaller by the day. It doesn’t mean that you need to believe as they do, or worship their God. Being tolerant simply means that you are willing to concede the point that they simply don’t believe in the same God as you do.
Take the Time to Learn about Other Faiths
It might be a good idea to take the time to read about other faiths at Deily, a site for all religions. Here you can see exactly what it is that other people believe and what the tenets of their faith really are. Instead of assuming what you think they believe in you can read about the religious beliefs, celebrations and lifestyles of other religions. Learn what they base their beliefs on and a little about the history of their faith.
Children Learn by Example
Children do learn by example. You have heard the old cliché, “Do as I say, not as I do,” because children will mimic their parents from an early age onwards. If they see you acting with intolerance they will grow up believing there is something inherently wrong with that religion, or worse yet, the people who adhere to those beliefs. Whether you believe that Jesus Christ came as the Son of God, Savior or that there is still a Messiah yet to come as our Jewish brethren believe, we have many things in common such as the Old Testament and God the Father.
If you look closely enough at all major religions around the world you will see that there are many core beliefs that we share in common such as peace, love and understanding. Why not let that be a starting place when teaching your children the importance of being tolerant? There is nothing written in the book that says we can’t peacefully coexist if we don’t share common beliefs. This is how you teach your children to live in peace while sharing with them what you believe. Want them to follow in a path that you consider to be right? Tolerance is the first step so take it carefully.