Why bother about other
Objectives of the Lesson
At the end of this Lesson, the participant will:
- Tell the importance of knowing about the religion and worldviews of their neighbours;
- Share with others possible ways to relate to non-Christian neighbours better;
- Share their faith with non-Christian friends with greater confidence.
This last set of lessons focuses on the many different points of views about religion that exist in the society. We are Presbyterians, but as we learned in Step 1, Lesson 3, there are other Christian denominations apart from the Presbyterian. In the same way, apart from Christianity, there are other religions in our communities. Examples of such religions in Europe are Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Furthermore, there are people who are not religious in the conventional way but claim they have a view of the universe, which nevertheless, impact their decisions and behaviours in life. You may have come across persons who say they are atheists, humanists, or freethinkers. Then also, some people belong to groups, which many Christian churches dissuade their members to avoid because their ethos poses a danger to sound mind and spiritual health. Among these are groups that may be described as ‘cults’ or ‘occult.’
Reasons why a Christian must be interested in religions other than their own?
In creased migration and the spread of different religious view points mean that religious diversity has become a permanent feature of most societies in the world. In our own neighbourhoods, we encounter persons or families who are not Christian and who belong to another religion, or are not interested in religion. What people believe often informs how they treat other people, what they eat and how they eat it, and their manner of dressing. To be able to relate to them with respect and confidence, some knowledge about their religion is important. Thus, for the following reasons among others, it is important to be bothered about other people’s religion:
- They are a permanent part of contemporary societies;
- Their members are our neighbours, and we are commanded by the Lord Jesus to love them;
- Understanding their religion, which is an important aspect of their culture will enable us relate to them properly;
- We need to know about them to prepare ourselves and our children for the challenges involved in living in a multi-religious society;
- To help us make informed decisions about issues such as: inter-faith marriages, joint-business ventures with friends of other faiths, decisions about changing religions;
- We have to understand their ideas and terms that are becoming common in the society. For example, halal, Gurdwara, haram, deva, guru, karma, nirvana, avatar, etc.
- Sometimes, comparison helps you understand some aspects of your own religious tradition better.
Main Message: It is important for Christians to have adequate knowledge about the different religions and viewpoints about religion;
After reading the information and watching the video, go to the quiz for this topic and check your understanding and newly found knowledge
Now go to the Puzzle to have some brain excercise to make you grounded in this topic. when you are not sure about anything, come back to the text or rewatch the video as a reminder.
Christians have always been aware of the existence of other religious traditions and worldviews in their environment. In the scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament, we find several examples of God’s people encountering other people whose religious beliefs and ideas were different from their own. For example:
Before Abraham was called by God, he belonged to a country where the worship of many gods was the norm (Joshua 24:2); Moses grew up in the royal court of Egypt, where magic and the worship of spirits dominated (Exodus 7:11-13);
Daniel and friends in exile encountered the religion of their captors (Dan.1:19-20; 3:1-6)
Elijah knew about the worship of Baal and confronted the cult (1Kings 18:19-24)
Paul knew about, and encountered people of other religions (Acts 14:18; Acts 17:16, 18ff). Paul’s knowledge was profitable to him personally and for the cause of the gospel.
Have you met persons of other religions, or those who hold different views about religion than your own in your neighbourhood? At work? At school?
How have you related to them?