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Religion and Cultural differences

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Religion refers to the act of praising or worshiping a supernatural power; usually a personal God or even gods. Culture on the other hand refers to some form of conformity to established norms. Religion and culture have for many years formed the basis of discrimination between different classes of people viz. the indigenous, and the marginalized few or aliens. With this regard, the indigenous people and the aliens are being treated differently in various aspects of life. Discrimination on the basis of culture and religion has persisted in various modern organizations such as schools; several faith schools have been established to only serve people who profess a certain faith. This implies that there are schools meant for Muslims, Christians, and so on. Furthermore, indigenous people have an unfair advantage over the minority in schooling. Some educational institutions do not take into account the religion and cultures of the minority while coming up with policies. A sikh man, for instance, will not be allowed to wear a turban at school, even though this is par of his faith. This is a negative aspect of religion since religion should be used to unite people rather than separate them. Furthermore, in some other modern organizations, employment opportunities are only available to members of a certain religion. With this regard, only the religion of the indigenous people is recognized while other people are discriminated against. To teach in a faith school for instance, one must profess the faith in question. This gives the indigenous people an undue advantage over other people. In the modern society, discrimination on the basis of religion or culture can be combated by enhancing awareness among the members of the society. People should be enlightened on the civil and other rights an individual is entitled to. It is also important to create systems in the society that promote equity in all aspects.

Fisher argues that here and there around the world, many people still follow the local sacred ways handed down from their remote ancestors and adapted to contemporary circumstances. Indigenous people comprise of at least four percent of the world population, many maintain a sacred way of life that is distinctively different from all the other religions. Fisher says that religion is not a museum piece, but it is something that is alive in people and places around the world. Fisher identifies two major approaches used by people looking for answers to life dilemmas and questions;-

       I.            Seeking help from without.

    II.            Seek freedom from problems by changing ways of thinking.

Freedom from problems lies in recognizing and accepting the reality of temporal change and devaluing the “small self” in favor of the eternal self. Changing ways of thinking can be considered as the overall best way of seeking answers to the hard questions in life. In a nutshell, Religion should not be used as a scapegoat and an excuse in engaging in unproductive activities in the world today.

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