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Re: similarities and differences between "religions"



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Economy
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Dear Antony

As you describe yourself as a "commoner", I hope you will not mind if I examine 
your "common" view on the similarities and differences between religions:

>"1) Existence of a power that is super-human (Supreme governance).>

This is not quite correct.  Some Hindus believe in a "power" that is superhuman,
others believe in a "being" that is superhuman.  Most Christians and Muslims (as
far as I am aware) believe in a being that is superhuman.  Most Buddhists and 
Jains believe in a "power" that is superhuman.  

>"2) The importance of leading a good life  and being fair to others (Social 
Laws)"
This SOUNDS a safe statement, till we examine what is meant by "a good life" in 
these religions.  

First, are the rules of a good life intended to be the SAME FOR EVERYONE or are 
they different for different classes.  or Islam and Christianity, the rules for 
a good life are the same for kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Priests and 
Commoners (one has to make a slight exception for Priests in certain varieties 
of Christianity, who have some additional rules on the margins).  For Hindus the
rules are different, depending on whether one is a Brahmin, a Kshatriya, an 
outcaste, etc.  For Buddhists and Jains, the rules are again different, 
depending on whether a person is a layman or a priest, etc.  

Second, what are these rules anyway?  Is there commonality between the major 
religions on what these rules are?  To a certain extent, yes, as evidenced by a 
certain document released recently by someone from the British royalty, King 
Hussain of Jordan and some eminent Jewish authority (my recollection of this is 
obviously not very clear!  But the document was a good one!).  However, there 
are also differences on key questions, such as how many wives should or can a 
man have (or vice versa)?  In Christianity, clearly only one. In Islam, equally 
clearly a man can have four wives and an unspecified number of concubines as 
well as temporary wives (at least this is so in most versions of Islam with 
which I am familiar).  Hinduism of course provides no guidance on this "social 
rule" at all, and appears to sanction (depending on which text one is examining,
or which tradition one comes from): one man and many (unspecified) wives, one 
woman and many (unspecified) husbands, one man and one wife, and so on.  The 
only thing on which these religions seem traditionally to agree is in not 
accepting the modern Western notion of "homosexual marriage".  I only give one 
example.  One can take different examples from economic, political or other 
matters.  

And I have only looked at some of the major religions in India so far!

If one classifies other belief systems as "religious" (since they are also 
arrived at by faith), such as materialism, Marxism and so on, then your third 
statement, Antony, ("A good life leads to a good after-life (Rewards)") is also 
questionable.

Anyway, all this has the following bearing on the question of tolerance: it 
difficult to separate arguments and discussion about religion from discussion 
and debate about other topics.

The policy solution is clear: everyone should have the freedom to think and 
practice what they like, provided it does not impinge on my freedom to think and
practice what I like.  Any use of economic or physical force to take away or 
limit my freedom is reprehensible.

Professor Prabhu Guptara
Director, Organisational and Executive Development
Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre
(a subsidiary of UBS AG)
CH-8272 Ermatingen
Switzerland
Tel: + 41.71.663.5605
Fax: +41.71.663.5590
e-mail: prabhu.guptara@ubs.com

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: physical versus economic force
Author:  antonyj (antonyj@tm.net.my) at nyuxuu
Date:    13.10.98 20:03



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