06/25/2006 Mike Ghouse
Indeed, interfaith and inter-cultural marriages are best examples of people living in harmony. A dream come true - of learning to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of us.
Let me add a raw example with apologies as I have not gone to the cave and contemplated on it...so it is raw.
In any given office, let's say there are people from all faiths and non faiths working together. There will be coffee breaks, lunch hour and bath room visits. When people take lunch break they may go to a restaurant together and order different foods, from pure vegetarian to Kosher, Halal, Beef or pork to whatever. No one would be trying to convert the other to eat their foods, although they may invite them to taste. No one would be trying to abstain from eating certain food out of respect for the other, as the other would be saying, please eat what you enjoy I respect you for who you are. Perhaps, all of them will enjoy their food and come back to office without conflict.
Every one visits the bath room on their own terms and in their own privacy, when they come back to work, there is no conflict or discussion about the method, products or style.
Like wise, each one can go back and do their prayers ( meditation, yoga, exercise, silence ) in whatever spiritual mode they choose. No one will ever have a problem with that and should not either. What you do for your soul is your business and should not be a conflict.
In all the three situations above, religion is not a problem. It never has been one. It is the politics of the religion that plays the role and that comes from fear and ego. If we can recognize these, and hone on what is wrong, rather than religion, we can solve the problems.
There have been extremely successful interfaith marriages. The ones that fail are not due to religion, but due to ego and fear of the future or of what people would say. Most people simply blame the religion - that is called barking at the wrong tree.