By Dr. Adenike Yesufu
Although Christianity has the monopoly of the prince of peace, it does not possess the monopoly of peace. Soon the whole world would be celebrating in one form or the other; Christmas, Holidays, Hanukkah, Sallah, Kwanza, Winter, Solstice, etc, a season of goodwill, love and peace.
Although some religions have been potrayed as either peaceful or violent, they all have one fundamental precept, that we treat others as we could expect to be treated ourselves, hence that universal Golden Rule.
If this is the case, why do we still see evidence of violence, conflicts, intolerance, bigotry, hatred, among the peoples of the world? It is a sad fact that religion has been used to justify wars, engineer social conflicts, cause societal violence, justify persecution, and sanction slavery.
It has been used as a means of oppression by people in power to justify the status quo, through the claim of divine privilege and authority.
However, all religions have teachings, ethics and values that address humanity and the need for peace and harmony.
Throughout the ages, religious founders have talked peace, preached peace and tried to practice peace. Religion has been a source of strength for all, a way to find meanings to life,Â a way of communal interaction and meeting the needs of individuals.
All religions greet, using peaceful terms. All religions have notions of peace in their scriptures. This season I seek to remind us of some.
*In Judaism, the Hebrew word â€œShalomâ€ means peace. The song of peace â€œSam Shalomâ€ in the Sabbath liturgy asks God â€œGrant us peace, Thy most precious gift, 0 Thou Eternal source of peace”
*In Christianity Isaiah calls the Messiah â€œThe Prince of Peaceâ€. Christianity began with angels singing â€œPeace on earth and goodwill among all peopleâ€.
Psalm 34: 14 states â€œSeek peace and pursue itâ€. In Matthew 5:9 Jesus adds â€œHappy are those who work for peace; God will call them His childrenâ€.
*The name Islam is derived from â€œsilmâ€ the Arabic word for peace. The common form of greeting among Muslims and to all people â€œSalam alaikumâ€ means â€œpeace be on you tooâ€.
*Buddha says â€œThere is no happiness greater than peace.â€ Hinduism says â€œWithoutÂ Â medication, where is peace? Without peace, where is happiness?
*Hinduism echoes â€œShanti, Shanti, Shantiâ€ meaning â€œpeace, peace, peaceâ€.
*Confucius says â€œSeek to be in harmony with all your neighbour, live in peace with all your brethrenâ€ .
* Jainism says â€œAll men should live in peace with their fellows; this is the Lordâ€™s desireâ€.
* Sikhism injunction is â€œOnly in the name of the Lord do we find our peaceâ€.
*Zoroasterism deposes â€œNature only is not good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own selfâ€.
* Shinto affirms â€œLet the earth be free from trouble and men live at peace under the protection of the Devineâ€.
*Taoism says â€œWeapons at best are tools of bad omen, loathed and avoided by those of the wayâ€.
*The Wicca Reed says â€œBide within the Law you must, in perfect love and perfect trust, Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give. Be true in love an ye harm noneâ€.
**Finally, a spiritual sage says, to attain genuine peace, practice True Religion, which he says is not just any formal system, in the home it is kindness, in business it is honesty, in society it is courtesy, in work it is fairness, towards the unfortunate it is compassion, towards the weak it is help, towards the strong it is trust, towards the penitent it is forgiveness, towards the fortunate it is congratulations, towards God it is reverence and love.
* * * The Sermon on the Mount, Buddhaâ€™s Compassion, Hinduâ€™s Ahimsa, Obedience to the Will of Allah and Confucius. Analects can combine as the most potent influence for justice and peace for all.