FACTORS COMMON TO RELIGIONS. Positive and Negative

It is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that our own religion is the true faith and that other believers have got it wrong. The following two lists show that religions, even from different cultural and historical backgrounds, have more in common for the good or for ill than we may think.

Positive factors

1. Acts of compassion, service, and generosity.

2. Affirms moral basis for life.

3. Change through devotion, faith, meditation, realization, or revelation.

4. Enduring values—love, peace, justice.

5. Means for social change.

6. Recognition of community life.

7. Rituals pointing to “mysterium tremendum.”

8. Support in the face of suffering.

9. Transcendence of cultural conditioning.

10. Points to the highest truth.


Negative factors

1. Belief in the absolute authority of book, master, or tradition.

2. Belief in the superiority of one’s own faith.

3. Discrimination against women.

4. Male hierarchical structures and privileges.

5. Lack of real appreciation of the sacredness of life.

6. Priority of nationalism before enduring religious values.

7. Promise of a Utopia—herein or hereafter.

8. Submissive, unquestioning obedience.

9. Support for wars and the political establishment.

10. Acts done in the name of God that produce suffering.




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