By Neilan D’Souza
The month of April is very important for us Christians as we celebrate the feast of Easter. The significance of Easter as we all know lies in the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus on the third day from the dead. His resurrection is the most important miracle of the Christian faith. Easter also marks the beginning of a liturgical new year. With this message of newness that ‘Christ is risen’ and a renewed spirit of the new church year, how should we Christians introspect our own faith?
One simple way of introspecting our own faith is to recognise the religious diversity of a society (where we live) or country, promoting freedom of religion; in other words practicing ‘Pluralism’. Asian society today has become extremely polarised religiously due to the prevailing political situations. Harmonious and peaceful religious teachings are being fundamentalised in order to provoke hatred, leading to drastic attacks in our own societies.
Many such examples can be observed today, be it the misunderstanding & mistreatment of Muslims in Korea by the majority (Buddhists, Confucians & Christians), Hindus & Christians in Pakistan by major Islam, Christians & Muslims in India by major Hindus, Intolerance against Christians and between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka, Disputes between Christian and Islamic communities in Indonesia; all which has broadly been used to instigate fear in minority communities leaving them vulnerable.
When we observe such events taking place in our communities, we must not refrain ourselves from helping the oppressed communities because it does not involve our faith or religion, but rather support, protect or become a voice for the suffering communities. This engagement is very important because it strengthens our faith and helps develop ties between religious communities in our society and largely in Asia.
On the 24th of April as we commemorate the The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, we as Christians must practice ‘Pluralism’ which in many ways aids the world in developing multilateral relationships including diplomacy for peace.