Thursday, March 10, 2005
By Rev. Raymond Muñoz, PhD
Peace = Understanding and Respect
The Simple Formula For Peace
Peace is something that everyone seems to want, but no one knows how to achieve successfully. The key to attaining worldwide peace is this simple formula: Peace = Understanding + Respect.
Let me give you a few definitions before we get more in depth into the formula. Peace is defined as the absence of war or other hostilities. Understanding, in this situation, is defined as knowing and being tolerant of another's point of view. And finally, respect is defined as a willingness to show consideration and appreciation for the beliefs of others.
In order to achieve a world without war and hostility, you need understanding and respect. Without understanding and respect, we have nothing but a world full of intolerant individuals, each concerned only with their own beliefs and ideals. We currently live in a world full of selfish people that believe that their way is right, and anyone else's way of thinking that differs even slightly from their beliefs is wrong!
The first thing we need in order to successfully complete the peace formula is understanding. What can we do in order to bring understanding into the equation? It's simple really. What we need to do is promote more open-mindedness when it comes to studying other belief systems. I've encountered Christians that believe that anyone that's not a Christian, for example Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., is going straight to hell after they die.
I've also encountered Muslims that believe that Christians and Jews are their mortal enemies and therefore must not be thought of as "friends." Why do we insist on holding on to such outdated beliefs? This isn't the 5th century, this is the 21st century! If we would only take a little time to learn about and understand each other's differing views and get rid of some of these outdated belief systems, we would be much better off and the first part of the peace equation would be complete!
The second part of the peace equation is respect. We can tolerate other people's viewpoints, but without respecting their views and showing consideration for them when making decisions, the concept of understanding becomes moot. If we don't show respect for other people's beliefs and take them into consideration when making a decision, you can pretty much rest assured that not all parties involved are going to be happy with the final decision. Take what's going on in Israel right now for example. Everyone is proclaiming, "Oh, we want peace!" But neither side is willing to respect the other's point of view and make any sort of compromise. Without this, the peace process in Israel may never be fulfilled and the Israelis and the
Palestinians will remain fighting for centuries to come!
Though it may seem that I'm coming from some sort of religious and cultural viewpoint by presenting the two examples above, the concepts of understanding and respect relate to many events that take place in our everyday lives. If we just take a closer look at what's going on and try to understand and respect each other's views when it comes to the decisions we make everyday, the world will definitely be a much better place and the equation of peace will be complete, or at least given a chance to succeed!
Rev. Raymond Muñoz, PhD
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