Source: The Huffington Post
By Jeffrey Small: Author, ‘The Breath of God’
We fear what we do not understand. Creating opportunities for those of different faiths to interact can reveal that behind the doctrines of these faiths, we find many similarities. For example, the Golden Rule (“treat others as you would like to be treated”) is found in every one of the world’s religions. But one of the greatest benefits of interfaith dialogue is that by studying another’s faith we might learn a bit of wisdom, a new way of looking at reality, that we can incorporate into our own. Here is just a single insight from each of the five largest religions — Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity — that might have meaning to someone from another tradition:
1. Judaism’s monotheism
In contrast to the religions of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, in which different deities oversaw various aspects of the universe, Judaism great contribution was the declaration that there was only one ultimate source of all that is: one God. The name of this deity, YHWH, translates as “I am that I am.” God cannot be defined or contained. This development of theological thought (which took centuries even within Judaism) meant that behind the physical realities of our day-to-day lives was a single indescribable Ultimate Reality.
4. Islam’s peace through surrender
The world Islam literally means a peace found through surrender. What is it one needs to surrender in order to find this peace? Islam teaches one must utterly surrender oneself to Allah, to God. Since Allah is the ultimate truth and source of the universe, we suffer and we cause suffering when we elevate ourselves over Allah. We find peace through a complete surrendering of every aspect our lives to this greater reality. The purpose of Muslim prayer five times a day (Salat) is to connect with Allah, to remind oneself throughout every day to surrender.