Freedom from fear

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Much of what drives xenophobia today is the fear of people that are not like us. The crazy part about it is that we are born with a sense of xenophobia and are biologically chained to it. Back in the old days, people different from us typically did not have our best interest in mind. Tribalism is something that has always existed, and humans have always been in competition with one another.

And while this is still true, the competition is different as is the sense of tribalism in our world. We are afraid of people different than us because we are conditioned to be, but we are also advanced enough that we can get past that and realize that we don’t need to fear them anymore.

Breaking the mold

It is time we realized that we are no longer competing with other tribes for food, and any difference that we see in other people is simply one of race and culture. We are evolved enough as humans to think past our biological roots and begin treating other people with respect and dignity.

Tribalism served its role in getting us to where we are, but we should honor our ancestors by finding a better way to exist with the rest of humanity. There is no longer a need to fear thy neighbor, because chances are they are not after your land or food supply. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can work at living in a peaceful and accepting world.

A matter of faith

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Faith is something that is very important to many people including myself. However, it causes a great deal of problems when people disagree. It is something about what makes faith so important to us that makes it difficult to share our most passionate ideas with others. In a way, faith is a double edged sword that is both positive and negative.

Although faith brings people together, it also divides people. Even people of the same religion, not counting those of different religions can become divided when it comes to religion and how it pertains to their beliefs. Why is it that religion is so polarizing and so unifying at the same time? People make the pilgrimage to Mecca every year, but may disagree on many things.

The hard part

The difficult part about religion is that it is something that we hold so near and dear to our hearts. Having studied religions of many types, I know that there are different sects in every religion, each with their own specific beliefs. It is amazing to me that faith is something that is so dividing and yet something that we identify as being the fiber of our being.

It is impossible to agree with someone on everything, but perhaps we can agree on our faith and that every faith teaches us to treat others with respect and value for human life. Maybe we can all be unified knowing that no matter our religion, it teaches us to love one another.

Fighting Fear

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Fear is something that has kept people divided since the beginning of time. The fear of others and the fear of the unknown are both very powerful emotions that dictate many of our emotions. Unfortunately, this is how the world works and unfortunately it is up to us to counteract this natural emotion. We are living in a world where we cannot afford to be afraid of one another anymore, and if we don’t correct this it may be difficult to come back from.

Fear is a natural reaction to something we don’t know. As part of our survival, it is something that is ingrained in our minds, and something that in a way keeps us alive. However, in order to truly live in harmony we need to perhaps not get rid of fear but define what we are to be afraid of.

Changing what to think

We can’t help but be afraid of the unknown, but we can learn about new things so that they cease to be unknown. Part of what makes us human and the world so great is the differences in each culture and within each individual. By learning about others, we can begin to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of. That we are all human beings no matter our faith or culture.

Be afraid of what you should, the unknown, but by learning about other people and cultures we can begin to realize that we need not be afraid of other faiths and cultures.

Our responsibility

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Every person is wrapped up in their own lives, making it difficult to think critically about the world around them. We have so much on our plate at all times that thinking that our actions can make a difference can be difficult. However, if we are to achieve peace in this world, whether it be individually or collectively, we must understand that it is all of our duties to be considerate.

When I say it is our duty to be considerate, I do not mean that it is our duty to be tolerant. To me, tolerance means that you tolerate other beliefs without understanding them. I believe that in order for people to achieve harmony, that they must understand one another.

The hard road

As previously stated, people are so inundated with the demands of their lives that it is difficult to step outside of that box. Religious beliefs are so ingrained in people that it is almost impossible to think that there is another answer. The truth is that nobody knows the true answer, and even though we may not agree with other ideas, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand them.

As someone that has read quite a great deal about religion, I have the luxury of having studied other ideas, and while my ideas are still my own, I can see how other people think they way that they do. That said, I think that by putting forth a bit of effort in understanding that we can begin to achieve harmony.

Coming together

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Every human life is important regardless of religion, race, social status, and virtually any other factor imaginable. We have a duty as Muslims and Christians to support one another and even though we acknowledge our differences, not let that get in the way of loving all humans. And while there are separate sects of religion that preach intolerance, it is up to us as good Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, or whatever to rise above this.

The world today is full of enough strife and turmoil that we need not blame one another for the way the world is. There is no doubt that there are evil forces in the world, but we must always remember that most people, regardless of their religion are good.

How to do this

We have all had conversations with people that we fundamentally disagree with, and sometimes this bleeds into the way in which we treat people. Everyone is unique and we have our beliefs, but it is time to come together as humans and realize that there in some way exists a world where everyone can appreciate people and their differences.

Perhaps it is easy to say from where I am sitting, but being a humanist is something that people should really pride themselves on becoming. Beliefs are very important, but what is more important is valuing human lives and realizing that it was these differences in thought that got us to where we are today. The world is coming together, and we need to continue to strive for equality.

What is the Haj

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The Haj is the official name for the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the holy cities of Islam. According to Islam, the pilgrimage must be done every year and is the duty of every follower of the faith. And although many people cannot do this for obvious reasons, it is a goal for most practitioners of the Islamic faith to make this journey at least once in their life.

Every year millions of people meet in the city to worship, making it one of the largest gatherings of any group worldwide. As someone that has immersed myself in academia, I have learned about the Haj on many occasions, but there is much more to the journey than just following the religion.

Historical significance

The Haj has its roots in the beginnings of Islam. No matter when it began, it has been one of the pillars of the religion, which are the rules that all Muslims must live by. This is what makes it so historically significant and culturally relevant in today’s world as well. The sheer number of Muslims that make this pilgrimage not only annually but in their lifetime is truly remarkable.

Just like with any religion, this is an important tradition that allows people to gather in a place of historical significance to show their faith. Islam has so many supporters that it is almost strange to think about how the perception of them worldwide, or at least in this country is defined by just a few of their supporters.