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Dalia Rubin

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Religious Bridge

It seems that the debate between the 3 major religions centers on the differences between them, instead of the similarities. Each one is based on the belief that it alone knows divinity on all its aspects.
It would be wiser to understand that one person - even a prophet or messiah - can learn only a narrow angle of the divinity, and build a bridge over these differences rather than sustain the theological battleground.
Further more: the evolution of each of these religions shows a huge gap between it's historical foundation and the way it is practiced today. Going back to these foundations will emphasize the similarities and reveal their mutual source - a fertile starting point for a change.

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    Dec 14 2011: I don't think we should bother with this.
    Children should not be taught that myths are true. Period.

    It seems easier, and safer, to educate little atheists than to bend existing belief systems.
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      Dec 15 2011: Gerald, people are not only logical, and some of them need some kind of belief. One can not dismiss that need for the simple reason that it's out there, and for a very long time: the question of exixtance is as ancient as the spoken word.

      Let me tell you about me. I'm an artist and an amateur scientist, and from time to time I find myself looking around, wondring - not HOW this beauty was created, that I know (geology, astronomy, physics). As an artist I find myself thinking of a creator - an artist, just like me - not the kind of god that tells you what to do. This beauty - a smile, a flower, landscape - moves me in an unlogical way.

      People believe in what they learn, mostly at home. Some reach out and look for a religion thay can belong to. It happens all over the world, even to highly educated people, scientist, former skeptics. We can't dismiss their need to believe because we believe in something else, like science.
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        Dec 15 2011: I wasn't refering to scholar education. I know a lot of doctors who believe in homeopathy, even though they've been students for over two decades.
        I was thinking of something that, sadly, is missing in our schools. The right and the duty to say I don't know. Most teachers are uneasy with this, and would rather seem confident than doubtful. This is authority. And pupils are taught to yield their minds to it.

        I know that people think they need their beliefs. But I don't think they would if they had been taught about rational ways of investigating reality.

        And science is not a belief system.
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          Dec 16 2011: True, science is not a belief system, but some see the scientific method as the other side of the coin.

          I agree with you about authority and the confidence of teachers (and alsoo parents). Luckily, I had some teachers that addmied they didn't know everything. One of them, a high school tacher, used to say so, and then suggested to explore the isuue with us in the library. We learned more from his "don't know" answers than from all the others, and so did he. What a way to learn... Most teachers Suffocate curiosity, but that teacher preserved my natural curiosity. I'm 52 and still learning :)
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      Dec 15 2011: Gerald your right . I always found it much easier to train someone in my field of work with no previous experience of the subject , rather than someone who had the slightest idea of what my work entailed or involved. People have been trying to train and retrain people over religion for centuries. examples Judaism to Christianity to Islam , to Reformation to Evangelical it is not like we haven`t been down this road before .Is it not time to stop beating this dead horse and move on. Just let it die a natural death and be done with it.Maybe we can start off with a Pokemon mythical theme or something , or take a census put up some options and let people vote and whichever one wins then that will be our next mythical belief.I think this would be more productive and certainly more fertile than the Suggested option.
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      Dec 16 2011: What kind of compass or guide do athiests have to lead their lives. This is a serious question . Do they have a creed ?
      • Dec 16 2011: Do they have a creed ?
        Survival of the fittest, I guess :)
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        Dec 17 2011: "What kind of compass or guide do atheists have to lead their lives?"

        Glad you asked, Helen.
        The same guide that religious people have: The mores that have been developed and been passed down through the tens of thousands of years of human social existence.

        Religious people often think - perhaps encouraged by their priests - that morality and ethics are grounded in religion or in commandments of God. They are not. Something as useful as the "Golden Rule" was written by Confucius 1500 years before Jesus quoted it, and it was not based on religion or any god's words, but on already-long experience with the best way to live together.

        In the distant past, priests - who served both ruler and society by promulgating and enforcing rules of behavior - found it very useful to give such rules the authority of deity. Thus ten laws coming from God were easier to enforce than the same from the ruler. But their inspiration was entirely worldly, long pre-dating their publication in stone.

        I think you will find that those of us who don't use the concept of gods in our daily lives are just as ethical, just as moral as those who believe they should follow ethical and moral rules because someone above tells them to. We follow them because the history of humanity has shown them to be useful and in tune with our species' innate sense of conscience. The rules for living can perhaps best be summed up in Confucius' (secular) Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

        I recommend Karen Armstrong's TED talk on the Golden Rule, at:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/karen_armstrong_let_s_revive_the_golden_rule.html
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          Dec 17 2011: I am an admirer of Karen Armstrong......Read several of her books. Signed the Charter of Compassion
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        Dec 17 2011: The trouble with monotheists is that they will commit the bloodiest deeds in His name, acts they would never commit in their own name.

        As an atheist, agnostic or polytheist, you have to assume full personal liability for all your deeds: there is no way to pass the buck by kicking it upstairs and claiming you were "just following orders."
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          Dec 17 2011: I am an admirer of Karen Armstrong.
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          Dec 18 2011: "God" is in business for Himself -- likely HERself, actually: if we attribute to such a being the power to both give and take life, then woman is the better analogy for women can be taught to kill and, I'm told, make better hitmen than men because, in some situations, a man will break down and abort whereas a woman won't.
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        Dec 18 2011: From what I gather, Ms. Armstrong seems to focus on the monotheisms. Personally, I like having lots of divinities on my altar, always leaving space to add in more. Otherwise it's like having a box of 64 crayons, all the same color.

        Just an opinion.
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          Dec 18 2011: I would hope to live life to the fullest without hurting anyone else. (:>)
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    Dec 16 2011: The three major religions according to me are complimentary to each other. Like a baby growing up to full term in the mother's womb. With each progressing month it is complete and formed in relation to that particular month, in the next month, it includes the development of the previous month, and it develops further, until it reaches full term.

    I refrain from elaborating further, for the fear of being misunderstood, but this is what I have understood. Take it or leave it.
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      Dec 16 2011: Your view is very interesting. Are you refering to the evolution of each one of these relitions, or to the evolution of their relationship with each other?
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        Dec 17 2011: Thanks. I believe each though complete in it self in that particular time evolved further incorporating the truths of the previous. In the example, what was required for the baby in the 4th month was all there, in the 5th month it develops further. So it is relationship with each other, the common binding thread in ONENESS.
        Dalia I do not like to impose or propagate my views, then it becomes messy, and the entire purpose is lost. Each one has to make their own call. The intrinsic purpose of all religion is to help in the evolution of humans into angelic beings. If any one who believes in the ONENESS - you may name it GOD - ALLAH - BEING whatever and follows their religious not dogmatic, but spiritual inherent teaching of their particular religion, believe me, that person is on his way, it may take eons, but he/she will finally be there.
        If you feel interested you may log on to my home page www.hikmaah.com and although it is a particular faith and belief system based, you may find some nuggets of truth. In the shaitan ppxs I have tried to understand how Satan evolved, you can skip a few slides will be difficult to follow, none the less some may surely give you an insight
  • Dec 16 2011: Celebrating diversity is the way to bridge different religions, I truly believe so.
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      Dec 16 2011: The daughter of a friend of mine who is a Jewish liberal and her best friend that is a Jehovah’s Witness had a conversation years ago. She said to that Jewish girl: "I'm so fond of you but I had to think about as we die, I will go to heaven and you will go to hell, it made me cry". The Jewish girl answered: "If we love each other then hell and heaven will probably be the same place".
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        Dec 16 2011: This illustrates how dumb religions are, really...
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        Dec 16 2011: Amen.
      • Dec 16 2011: Thanks Frans, for bringing this story here !
        It can be interpreted differently, it's always the case, we find what we seek.
        For me it is a triumph of naive wisdom over a kind of religious egocentricity. As to my experience, religious people quite often act like one extended ego, dividing all humanity into 'us' and 'them' .
        The Jewish girl was right as many other wise intuitive people "All we need is love !"
        Evelyn Underhill said,"it has been a tragedy of the founder of every great religion to have had re-erected in their wakes the very barriers they laboured to cast down."
        A union of separately evolved, different religions, should happen within each of us, individually, and only then the "the very barriers" will be "cast down'.
        And all sacred teachings, which I'd like to be celebrated will complement each other and different religions as different ways of perceiving the world will be bound together on the level of beauty and love.
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          Dec 17 2011: You're very right Natasha,
          an ego is the accumulation of thoughts and beliefs about who you are and if you're raised within a religious family you identify yourself with all what such a religion prescribes and teaches. Ultimately you can't deny your religion without losing yourself or at least all you always thought you were. All worth and self esteem someone builds over time within their religious community falls apart if that person renounce the value of it. Family and friends will condemn you for the truth poses also a threat to their own values.
  • W T 100+

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    Dec 15 2011: If you are worried about our planet, then please see this 7 minute presentation.
    It is eye opening.

    http://youtu.be/eScDfYzMEEw
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      Dec 16 2011: Mary, I'm certainly worried about the planet, but much more about my fellow humans.

      I always enjoy George Carlin's view:
      "Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We havn't learned how to care for one another."
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw
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    Dec 15 2011: Various Interfaith groups are currently working on this:

    A Google search for "interfaith action coalition" returns 7,290 hits

    See URL below for an example:
    http://www.azifm.org/
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      Dec 15 2011: James, the example in the link includes the Bahá'í Faith, which alrady believes in the unity of most religions:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%AD_Faith_and_the_unity_of_religion
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        Dec 16 2011: Most of the belief systems commonly called major world religions have beliefs that are very similar, some examples are:
        1. A variant on “We are one!”

        a. Some version of the golden rule, (includes the idea of karma)

        i. An awareness that if we are ever to experience world peace the various religions need to treat themselves and each other with kindness and respect

        1. Balanced by an EGO centric belief that they possess or have special knowledge of the one true path and/or teaching, thus making their belief system superior to all others

        2. We will actually have a true lasting world peace when we can really see how ridiculous this is and learn to laugh at ourselves.
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        Dec 16 2011: The reason I brought up the "interfaith action coalitions" is that I believe this is an excellent example of one of the first steps involved in having individual members all of the major world religions attain true wisdom and understanding.
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    Dec 15 2011: Does anyone ever say just how absolutely wonderfully great it is not to believe in a GodMy God its liberating.
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      Dec 15 2011: It's absolutely wonderful!
      The brainwashed have no idea how mysterious and interesting the world is.
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    Dec 14 2011: Syncretism is not the bridge to spiritual truth.
    The Koran, the Holy Bible, and the Jewish Scriptures present three different truths.
    If any one of these books is correct then the other two must be incorrect.
    Harmony and co-existance, while better than what we have now, is not the same as spiritual truth.
    You can't bundle mutually exclusive ideologies and call it spiritual truth.
    • Dec 15 2011: Ed, it is possible that all 3 are efforts to control OTHER people and impose erroneous ideas on humanity. Perhaps spiritual truth lies within our truthful selves. Truth works. No one needs a big fat book to tell them the correct thing to do in a given situation, if they are honest and check in with their own positive heart/will/mind/body. POWER TO THE POSITIVE!
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        Dec 15 2011: Absolutely right Rhona! Please notice I said "IF any one of these books is correct. . ."
        Dalia's question is about religion, specifically the three major ones.
        What is the name of the religion you are advocating?
        • Dec 15 2011: RHONAISM. It happens to be the one true religion. I am confident that everyone in all other religions will agree that RHONAISM is the only true religion. I believe what I believe and I live according to what I believe. Positive everything only always to you and all you love.
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        Dec 17 2011: I love Rhonaism.
  • Jan 3 2012: There will always exist fanatical elements of all three religions. This is due to the reverence society has for interpretation. As long as someone can interpret their scripture in a radical way theology will not provide for tolerance within that context. At the basis of theology, even if it is tolerant of the other two thoughts on divinity, there still exists an element of one sect thinking it is right and the other is wrong. This is as close that man could get to tolerance as utopia a concept as it is.
  • Dec 17 2011: Thank you for expressing your true thoughts and feelings explicitly now while I am still alive. Frans. HAPPY TODAY to you and all you love. ("TODAY" is the name of the only high holy day in Rhonaism.)
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    Dec 16 2011: The only problem arises IF one of the 'Religions' happens to be right, and there is actually only ONE way off this planet alive. Love one another; & keep an open mind.

    :-)
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    Dec 16 2011: Never Give Up, Always Persevere

    Miracles are 98% effort, 1% faith & 1% patience.

    Be careful what you wish for,all things are possible.

    With effort, faith, and patience any being can change creation and/or build a bridge over the theological differences between all of the major world religions

    If the best way to convince a fool it is wrong, is to give it exactly what it desires.

    What is the best way to achieve your dreams?

    Always Persevere, Never Give Up.
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    Dec 15 2011: I've got to agree with Gerald. Its just no use barking up the wrong tree.
    Let it go. Come with us.
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    Dec 14 2011: Paul I read your essay on your website and was impressed with your insight of the situation. very eloquent. I hardly think I could have had the self control to write such a dissertation on the subject. In your reply to Dalia you mentioned the only solution is to move back from certainty and accept uncertainty in their beliefs. what then is the point of religion ,without its dogma and certainty what is left for us to gain from it. shall we just keep it around because we have come to find it comfortable in its familiarity ,like an old shoe. Perhaps we could just get rid of it and replace it with any other number of myths and legends we have created . such as the legend of King Arthur or the story of Robin Hood for that matter we could find plenty to adhere to morally or otherwise in the writings of Shakespere my question is in regarding religion what is the point of keeping it at all. If its purpose only serves to tantilize and titilate the human senses,. Any good narrative could accomplish the same thing. Certainly Shakespere is as good a read as the bible. Or is it as my brother believes it is like the lottery you cant win unless you buy a ticket. Better to believe than not believe. Hardly seems to me a good basis for a belief system .
  • Dec 14 2011: Dalia, I suggested as an experiment that all Islamic, Christian and Jewish people use ONE TERM to refer to ONE GOD for ONE YEAR and ONE DAY. I suggest we experimentally and temporarily use the word "HAJEAL" representing HAshem, JEsus and ALlah. I seem to be the only person willing to participate in this 366-day experiment. Another solution to the religious people expressing superiority and hostility to each other would be to prohibit the brainwashing of children in any religion. That would show respect for the personhood of children. It would allow adults to conduct themselves with integrity so that, as role models, they may have even greater influence over the future behavior of their children, rather than preaching what they do not practice. Since I live in a free country, I created my own religion and it works quite well. I call it RHONAISM. I believe what I believe and I live according to what I believe. I believe in positive everything, only, always. Truth, Love, Joy.
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    Dec 14 2011: @Dalia. I'm sure your grandfather was a great person :)
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      Dec 15 2011: Yes, he was. He was my mentor and guide. One of the most important lessons I learnd from him is how much one smile can change someone else's life, as well as your own :)
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    Dec 14 2011: I think you're quite right, Dalia. I wrote about this a few years ago on my web site - you can check the essay at http://www.blueridgejournal.com/brj-theologians.htm . (There are other essays on similar themes as well.)

    What has happened is that the early religions based on the once-flexible, mythic stories of Abraham and his descendants lost their flexibility, while theologians came up with ever-new doctrinal details that split groups apart. And the uncertainty that was reflected in the mythic stories became doctrinaire "truth" that must be believed in order to be properly "saved." When Jesus failed to reform the Jewish faith in the 1st century, his adherents broke with Judaism and became the Christian faith, with their own belief system. The deification of Jesus in the 3rd-4th centuries, with the creation of the "trinity," led eventually to Mohammed's effort to return to the "one God" in the 7th century. And so forth. By now we have innumerable sects of all the Abrahamic religions, all claiming absolute truth and ready to wipe one another out, for the love of God.

    The only solution to this situation, other than giving up the religions, is for the religions to move back from certainty and accept uncertainty in their beliefs: To understand that to "believe" does not mean to "know" absolutely, but to hold a view that one accepts as likely true, while allowing that other interpretations may possibly be true. And above all to respect one's differences.

    Of course the key question is how to move three major religions and dozens of sects toward an acceptance of uncertainty. There has been some movement toward that in Christian modernist seminaries, but it hasn't touched most of traditional Christianity. And I'm afraid that it will be a long time before the tens of thousands of priests, ministers, rabbis, imams and mullahs will be affected by liberalizing thought. In the meantime we can support movements away from absolutism, but it's hard to see anything more concrete.
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      Dec 17 2011: Good observations Paul.

      Instead of to reform it all again wouldn't it be better to get rid of it all and to start all over?
      One culture celebrating love, beauty and harmony.
  • Dec 14 2011: The simplest of Religious bridges are the problems(trials) we face every day. People from different religions will most definitely treat these in different ways. It's not just nice, but it is essential, to talk about how we treat things differently.

    Sometimes, a simple talk is enough to save the world. These dialogues can happen everywhere if we let them. Once these dialogues occur we will uncover: "Who's really practicing their religion?" "What's their religion about?" "What do they do about this issue?" "How can we collaborate?".

    It is clear. Either we try to understand each other or make our lives harder by choosing to be ignorant and insecure.
    We do not need to create new religions because God made one for us and we'll never find which if we shut up and try to go about our own business ignoring our fellow humans.
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    Dec 14 2011: let us explore the origins of these religions to determine if the soil is fertile or sallow.Abram is considered to be the father of Judaism (monothiestic religion) Begining a religion or belief based on self preservation may not be the best way to start. Let me explain abram faced the dilema sacrifice his son or face the wrath of his people.Since this was the practice of his time nothing else would satisfy his people.He devised a plan to save his son (the son it took him 120 years to produce) and give his people a more civilized way of satisfying their gods(god) by sacrificing the lives of lessor beings those of animals.Thus was born the Hebrew religion.Jump forward a few thousand years.His decendant Jesus was not happy about the manner in which this sacrifice was being carried out,bothered a lot of important people and offered up himself in place of the animals.thus started a new religion. Jump forward another 600 years or so ,along comes a prophet with a different slant on the situation and begins a rivival of the older religions.(His connection) happens to be from the wrong side of the house Abram (his bastard child by a handmaiden gets tossed out of the house) hardly great beginnings for a new religion, dubious pedigree.These are the similarities, pedigree and this is where it ends. Anyone see the reasons for derision and devisiveness here.they could not be more different in origin and concept. Nothing about this calls me to think of inclusiveness or mutual sense of purpose. The best thing for these religions to do for mans evolution is to be tossed into the refuse bin of history.This would be a fertile starting point for a change....
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    Dec 14 2011: That ´s truth, but what you wanna do with it? Make a new religion..kind of universe for everyone..? People..obviously they have a problem to understand, just because they do not want.. So many time I try to show people different point of view...but for them is hard to open their minds.

    But consider few other opinions..the new age of riligions is coming to be there soon.
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      Dec 14 2011: Miloš, I'm not naive and I know what people are made of. I do not attempt to start a revolution - only a dialog.I discussed this idea a few yers ago with a priest, and to my surprise he thought the same. He said that humans do not have the ability to grasp the full extent of divinity, and therefore should be humble.
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    Dec 14 2011: Let us explore then these points of origin to see if the soil is fertile or sallow. Abram is considered the father of Judaism ( monothiestic religion) starting a religion for self preservation purposes does not exactly sound to me like a good enough reason to start a belief system or religion.But then who knows.Let me explain. Abraham had a dilema kill his son or share the wrath of his people. For this is what they expected of him since human sacrifice was the order of the day at the time. Nothing short of this act was going to satisfy his people.So he devised a plan to save his son ( the one it took him 120 years to produce) and give his people a more civilized way of satisfiying their gods(god).Through the sacrifice of lessor beings ,animals. Jump forward a few thousand years Christianity arrives on the scene (the connection) Jesus is a decendant of Abram but is not happy with the way the whole sacrifice thing is going. Gets upset pisses off some people . offers himself up as the new sacrificial animal. New religion born. jump forward 600 years or so along comes a prophet tells everyone , no this is how it is supposed to be a kind of revival of the old religions of Christian and Jews and oh by the way traces his roots back to Abram as well however on the ill fated side of the house that got thrown out into the desert for being a bastard. Not exactly a good start for any religion.Having a so called dubious pedigree. Now can anyone see the origins of derision and devisivness in the entire senario. The commonality that I see is simply the pedigree nothing else they could not be more different than apples and oranges in the origins and concepts. and as for their evolution when that can be explained by mans inate ability to corrupt anything he touches.Should this be a surprise to anyone , no I dont think so. Sorry to say that best thing that these religions can do for mans future evolution .is to be tossed into the refuse bin of human history .
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    Dec 14 2011: Dear Dalia, All the Religions (in my humble opinion) are like rivers which flows to the same sea.

    Differences, on the other hand, are created by men to achieve their personal objectives. People see what they wanna see and hear what they wanna hear. Bu their is only One Truth.

    Does any religion not encourage tolerance? They all do. But sadly Religion is being/has been used as an excuse to do all evil. If you can manage a nice marketing compaign you can easily justify your war.

    "If you kill an innocent person, it would be as if you killed whole humanity" www.quran.com/5/32
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      Dec 14 2011: You are very right, Kareem. There is a difference between religious belief and religious establishment. In order to gain power, religious establishments turn to politics - a platform that does not encourage dialog and the exchange of ideas between people. This leads to extreme interpretation of holly books, and prevents people to establish their own relationship with their god.
      My grandfather told me once that the whole world is his worship place, and that synagogue for him is a duty and a place to share his belief with others. My father doesn't like the establishment, and says that he doesn't need a mediator between him and god. They both agreed that religion should have no orgenised power, only the power of internal morality and ethics that it teaches: love thy neighbor.