REVIEW editor Chua Mui Hoong raised salient points on how interfaith dialogue begins by understanding other religions, and how this can result in a greater respect for and, in our opinion, acceptance of one another’s differences (‘Quiet contemplation on common ground’; Tuesday).
While we make conscientious efforts to be considerate towards others or perform kind deeds, understanding, accepting and appreciating all religions or faiths are important elements of kindness we need to exercise.
In search of personal peace and fulfilment, every religion teaches its followers to be respectful, loving and honest, among other attributes.
The common golden thread that binds religious communities is kindness which may be defined as religious values in action.
It is in being kind that one finds personal enlightenment and salvation. In any event, enlightenment and salvation leads the recipient/practitioner to be kind and loving to others.
Religious bigotry is a function of our ignorance of the teachings of other religions, and this is a result of insulation and isolation; it can get dangerous when religious bigotry gets out of hand.
Religious leaders ought to seek opportunities to bring their followers together to learn from one another about how each faith practises kindness in their respective communities and the larger community.
This will facilitate in breaking down prejudices and encourage harmony, immeasurably strengthening the fabric of our society.
Exercising kindness towards one another must also mean that we should stand up with and for one another against any form of hate speech or action against members of faith communities beyond our own.
When intolerance directed against any particular religious group goes unchallenged, that intolerance will extend to other religious groups including our own.
As a nation, we cannot afford any form of religious intolerance.
Dr William Wan
Singapore Kindness Movement
Published on Jan 14, 2012 (The Straits Times)