Living in a diverse society is something that, in time, I am sure, we will all have to accept, as more and more people from poorer or warring countries seek peace and prosperity in another land. In western countries, diversity is reasonably new, but in Lebanon, for example, this has been the situation that all have grown up with for many years (hundreds in fact). However, they all appear to manage to live together today in peace and harmony.
In all ages people of one ethnic group have tried to conquer or even eliminate those from another, or in the case of religion alone, tried to convert those of a different religion to their own. Unfortunately this is still the situation in many parts of the world. History tells us that many countries have survived their own civil war, be this against a colonialist, privilege or religion.
So, how do we all accept our sectarian differences as something to cherish rather than a reason to hate? Learning to understand that each religion teaches a particular way of life and pathway to God which differs from your own way doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong. The religious all seem to accept that there is one God. However, as this one God has different names in different languages doesn’t lead to a different God, as there is only one, we all know this. Because our various religions have been taught their religious way of life and their own path to God, doesn’t make another’s religion wrong in their ways and pathway to God.
The majority of our religions stem from the same origins, diversified simply by God’s messages through the ages, it allows all of us to choose which is the best one for each of us to follow. Accepting that each message is correct for whomsoever chooses it is the first major step towards living together in peace and harmony. This doesn’t mean that we can’t explain our way to others as this allows us all to choose which is the best for us; knowledge of each is key. Respecting that we all can choose our own way is another major step towards peace and harmony.
From my recent visit to Lebanon I have strong reason to believe that the different religious groups within this diverse nation have accepted the wonderful diversity that makes this a great and exciting nation. It was almost impossible (apart from some obvious differing in dress) to know what religion any particular person may follow, and even including the difference in dress code, impossible to see any difference in attitude that would lead me to know instantly their religious or ethnic upbringing.
So, it is apparent to me that Lebanon is a leading light in enjoying a heterogeneous society, may it share that way to the rest of the world.
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