Isn't It Wrong for Religious
People to Disagree?
Each one of us sees the
world differently. The very beauty of life is that each being is
unique and has his or her own unique perspective. Such differences
need not be a problem. We should honor and respect them. Through
them each person provides a new vision of the universe. Such
differences only become a problem when we insist that one
perspective is correct for everyone.
For example, there is an
underlying unity of all human beings but we all have different
faces. To arrive at human unity it is not to make all people have
the same face, but to see the common humanity behind and through all
different human forms.
It is not wrong for us to
disagree with one another. After all, no opinion of any human being
can be regarded as the absolute truth that no one can question, and
no verbal formulation is final or incapable of being distorted. We
must hold to the truth that we perceive, even if no one in the world
agrees with us.
To find truth we must
express how we see things and compare it with how other people see
them, and try to find out what is really there. This clash of
inquiry leads us to discovery. But we should not promote
disagreements or refuse to recognize common truths merely to uphold
a particular identity or belief as opposed to others.
We must recognize the right
of others to see things differently than we do. We must create a
culture that honors many different points of view. This does not
mean that we should create a culture in which all things are
permitted. We must base our lives on higher universal values, like
non-violence, truthfulness, compassion, and self-discipline. But
this should allow any number of names and forms for the spiritual
life and its activities. Universality is not a matter of agreement,
which may be no more than a social consensus or blind uniformity,
but of integration in which one goes beyond all dualities.