Toni Valencia
Oct 24, 2017

Why I think different religions are not all that different.


Edited: Oct 24, 2017

I was born and raised in the sunny islands of the Philippines where the majority of the population are Roman Catholics. My foundation of values and beliefs were built from my religion. One often repeated value is to "love thy neighbour as you love yourself."


Talking to two of my friends, one who is Muslim and the other who is Jewish, I found that our religious texts connected to one another. More specifically, Judaism's religious text shares similar stories to the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. Christian text then continues the stories of the New Testament, which is then continued in the Islam's religious text known as the Qur'an. Since our stories are similar and are a continuation of one another, we investigated further and found that our values and beliefs are similar as well, just practised in different manners.


Living in Japan where Shintoism is the main religion, the same core values to love and help one another is evident. Even with some of the friends who are not religious, they still learn the importance of charitable actions and helping the community.


I found that religion is more of a guiding path to building a foundation of core values and beliefs. While different religions have different practices, I think all religions still embed the similar core values of kindness, integrity, and spreading peace and love to one another. Due to this, I still continue to question why some conflicts in our present day are based on religion. To be fair, the practices are still different and that may be the source of conflict. Also, I must admit that I am not exposed to every religion on this planet, neither am I well-versed in many, but at least the ones I know of so far are quite similar in values in my opinion.


But hey, that's just my two cents.


What are your thoughts on religions and values? Do you think that each religion is different or similar?


Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you would like to engage in a discussion :)

Nov 5, 2017

I think the similarities between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are fascinating, as those three are extremely similar in their texts but often are the most engaged in religious conflict. I also think it's interesting how people refer to the Muslim god as "Allah", who is the same "God" that Christians and Jews worship to. This seems to me like a tactic to make Islam seem more different from Christianity/Judaism than it actually is, (a.k.a. "other"-ing Islam), as in the English language, no one refers to the Jewish God as "Adonai"!

Felicity Wong
Jul 25, 2018

As a religious Christian, I think I would agree that most religions often preach about the same values, i.e. practicing goodness, charity, etc. Many people often use their religion and their faith in order to guide their own moral compass, and that’s something to be respected and celebrated. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share a lot of the same cultural roots that date back thousands of years ago. However, I think there are some key characteristics about each religion that are often overlooked -- these nuances go beyond dictating what is moral and immoral. For example, Lutheranism, the Christian denomination that I am a part of, states that Jesus was sent as a gift from God to save a sinful humanity; good works are only an act of gratitude towards God. That theology (justification by grace through faith) would not apply to Judaism, Islam, or even Catholicism. The way and intention that you view a moral act I think differs from religion to religion if that makes any sense, and is often one of many distinguishing factors between them. Even beyond morality, there are parts of the Gospel and the catechism that make my faith unique from others.


With regards to your question about conflicts as a result of religion -- I think a lot of the wars either occur because of political tensions or because of extremist sects within a religion (cf. the Middle East), which may not necessarily espouse the beliefs of most people who identify with that religion.

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