religion and peace: how to define them
Some people often confuse religion and peace. They may believe that when a country is at peace, this means that they are religious. And they also think that violence is due to people's attitude because of their religious belief. What exactly are religion and peace?
Religion is based on a belief
In Christianity and Islam, religion is based on faith or strong belief in a Supreme Being or God and on God's messenger on earth. Some other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism believe in many deities or gods and goddesses. They believe that God created the universe and he puts man and everything on earth to live there. He knows everything about what is good for us; therefore, he sets behavior rules for them to follow to live peacefully.
Religion is based on principles
Religion is established by a divinity or a God who gives the principles that believers have to follow. Rules were given through God's messenger and prophets. The principles consist of behavioral rules, laws and commandments that followers have to follow to be at peace.
Some of those laws may refer to the kinds of food that believers have to eat and what to avoid for good health and for sanctity. Some rules are to guide people in harmonious living in society. Other principles concern family rules, like how to treat children and maids in the households. Other rules are related to spiritual growth.
In religion, there is a spiritual leader
Religious believers are often under the guidance of a spiritual leader who is responsible for explaining the religious principles and fundamental beliefs to them. A spiritual leader or a prophet is like an intermediary between God and us. In Islam for example, a prophet was used by God to teach us about the religious principles.
Spiritual leaders meet with the believers and explains the rules and laws to help man reach the goal of the religion. In Hinduism and Buddhism, spiritual leaders connect with deities and teach believers to behave according to the religious beliefs.
Religion aims at peace and love
Most religions which are based on the belief of God as a Creator are directed towards peace and love. God gives laws, rules and regulations to us so that we could love each other and be one. When believers are united in their faith, they can help each other; and through mutual help, they can create a harmonious society. Love and peace are the fundamental values in religion: love for God and love for the others.
Peace is the fruit of religion
Just like love, peace is the ultimate goal of religion. Peace if a state of serenity and there are many leading factors to serenity. The main factor is due to the faith in God and in his messenger, who can solve our problems for them. Such a belief leads to a state of mind tranquility and hope, which cause peace.
Therefore, regardless of the problem, whether it is related to health or conflicts, or whatever reason it is, faithful believers hold tight to their faith and this leads to inner peace. That is the inner peace that the ambassador of peace, Prem Rawat has been talking about.
Peace is based on love
The basis of peace is love; in other words, without love of God, man cannot receive peace which is offered by God to believers. In addition, without love for the others, peace is impossible.
When people hate each other, they do all evil acts to their surroundings like lying, jealousy, stealing, killings, robbery, rivalry, adultery, idolatry and any other evil conducts. However, with love, man can respect each other, be tolerant; they avoid despising and criticizing the others. Love makes people help each other and live in harmony.
Peace is not always possible in religion
Peace is not always a value in some religions. It is true that people of the same belief respect and listen to each other; they also help each other in many things. However, they show contempt to those who do not share their belief and mistreat or discriminate them. In some context, difference in the point of view makes the environment toxic especially if people from different religious beliefs live in the same community.
They may be tempted to violence and killings which are committed in the name of their religious belief. This is why Prem Rawat, the founder of the TPRF Foundation which acts for the human good said that wherever we go, people are always in the search for peace.