Basically, religion is the belief in a God or gods and the authorities that are connected with that belief such as praying or worshipping, which either takes place in church, mosque or temple and the world population is dominated by Religious believers. 85% of the world population are Religious believers and examples of the notable religions in the world include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Hinduism.
The word tolerance is one of the powerful values that has kept the world going and it cuts across all spheres of our lives, being it our workplace, school, marital homes and place of abode and the world will extinct the day tolerance fails to exist. Religious tolerance is the ability to appreciate the spiritual values, beliefs and practices which are different from your own. The word Religious intolerance which is the opposite of word, this article seeks to highlight has torn same state or nations apart historically and continues to set nations apart. The question l then ask why wouldn't individual believers, groups or states embrace the concept of Religious tolerance which would facilitate coexisting, rather than going for the opposite which is likely to bring the world to a halt.
Historical antecedence had proven that Religious tolerance is the way to go and typical example is the infamous American May 11th incident which claims thousands of lives. It took Religious tolerance from both the dominant Religions of the world to explain to the world that, such evil actions is not found in any books of the Quoran and that the world must rather come together to prevent the prevailing of a future similar evil actions by similar evil groups. Similarly, to our country, Ghana has witnessed peace and stability for years now because of the level of religious tolerance and coexistence between the various Religious believers in Ghana and this is why within the wisdom of the framers of Ghana Constitution, it was acknowledged that the most ancient religions in Ghana that is Traditional, Christianity and Islamic will pray on each year as we observe our 6th March which commemorates our independence day. I, as a Christian, can mention some few quotations in the bible that encourages Religious Tolerance 2 Timothy 4:1-2 Charge you in the patience of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom preach the word, reprove and exhort with complete patience and teaching. Ephesians 2:4 With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another. Roman 14:1-4 Paul was admonishing believers to avoid unnecessary quarrelling over Religious opinion of who is clean or not clean. Religious tolerance is recognized and highly praised in the Quran. Thus al-Rum verse 22 asserts that in diversity and variations are the signs of God for those with vision and those who are wise. This implies that differences must not only be expected, but be tolerated.Quran chapter verse 22 ” that Among His signs is the creation of heavens and the earth,and the variation in your languages and your colours:verily in are signs for those who know”
Quran Chapter 49 verse 13 recognizes Tolerance and difference in term of gender, skin, color, language and belief, as well as of that rank, and it asserts that differences are not only inherent and will always be there but they are a blessing from God. Al-Hujurat verse 13 “O mankind! We created you from a single(pair) of male and a female,and made you in to nations and tribes,that ye may know each other(not that ye may despise each other).very the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted(with all things)”
Yunus verses 99 which seek to convince the Prophet that matters of religious belief are in the hands of God and that any attempt to spread his faith by coercion would be an exercise in futility.
Quran Chapter 10 verses 99 “If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed,-all who are on earth! will thou then compel mankind, against their will to believe!
In my concluding remarks, am urging the state Ghana to institute more policies targeting how to further strengthen the already existing co-relationships among the various Religions within the Country. Individuals, politicians or any group that will sort in relying on religion to perpetrate any actions toward self gains to the detriment of the entire nation must be name and shame.