Many essential truths that help deepen and expand our minds and spirits are present in many religions. One example is the teaching of the Golden Rule. This essential spiritual truth is at the heart of many of our faith traditions:
- Baháʼí: "He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfill." (Bahá'u'lláh, Kitab-I-Iqan, p. 194
- Buddhism: "Treat not others in ways that you would find hurtful." (Udana-Varga, 5:18
- Christianity: "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
- Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you". (Mahabharata 5:1517)
- Islam: "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself." (The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith)
- Jainism: "One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated." (Mahavira, Sutrakritanga)
- Judaism: "What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary." (Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
- Sikhism: "I am a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to me; indeed, I am a friend to all." (Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299)
- Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien, 213-218)
- Zoroastrianism: "Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself." (Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29)
As in the teaching of the Golden Rule, we will see these world religions have many of the same teachings on love of neighbor, forgiveness, compassion, peacemaking, respect of others, and more. Each of the world's religions can be twisted to justify violence, but each is rooted in peace. The more we can understand our neighbor's faith, the better chance we can build paths of peace.
We need to help people see that we have much more in common than what divides us. My book is entitled "The Peacemaker's Path: Multifaith Reflections to Deepen Your Spirituality" because the purpose is not to blend our faiths into one single religion but to offer us a greater understanding of each of our faiths. Learning about other's faith traditions can enhance our religious beliefs and help us see the other as a child of God.
I have crafted a forty-day journey through religious traditions such as Bahá'í, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Native American spiritualities, and more. For a fuller picture of the divine, we must not focus on what separates us from others, but rather, what unifies us; this is the work of the peacemaker.
Each chapter includes:
- Thought-provoking meditations and stories
- Holy scriptures from various faith traditions
- Questions for reflection
- Daily call to action
- Closing prayer
Loving our friends is easy; loving the other will bring shalom.
Jerry Zehr is an ordained minister and has been a leader in interfaith ministries for over thirty years. He has helped create four interfaith organizations, including the Carmel Interfaith Alliance and the Indiana Multifaith Network. You can learn more about his book here.