Forum: Inculcate in believers importance of inter-religious harmony

The case of the 16-year-old Protestant Christian who planned to attack two mosques is sad and disconcerting.

Self-radicalisation is a misguided personal endeavour. However, could it have been avoided if family, friends and the church he belongs to played a more active part in inculcating the right religious values in him?

I am a Roman Catholic, and I often encounter other Roman Catholics and Protestant Christians who say Christianity is the only religion which ensures salvation. This has been used by some religious leaders as a basis for proselytising.

But doing so undermines inter-religious harmony.

Getting the basics right is paramount. To begin with, we must believe that all religions preach good values. Hence, there are no bad religions. There are only bad people, who misinterpret the tenets for their own evil agenda.

Religion is a very sensitive and private matter, and it is a personal choice. Therefore, no one should have the right to impose his beliefs on people of other religions, free-thinkers, agnostics or atheists, even through marriage.

Religious organisations and religious leaders, in their endeavours to teach and develop their believers, must also inculcate in them a need to respect other religions and other denominations of the same religion, as well as the importance of fostering inter-religious harmony.

If efforts are not spared in inculcating the right religious values and behaviour, the chances of producing wayward believers will be minimised, if not eradicated.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

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