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World Religion: Celebrating Differences and Embracing Similarities

Employee Engagement Strategy

Sometimes we need a little reminder of the good that can come from faiths uniting together for a better world, and that the common foundations underpinning every religion are harmonious.

Here’s the unfortunate truth: the good stories rarely hit the news bulletins. The News at Ten never opens with the leading headline that today, in many locations around the globe, everything was normal and a bunch of people from diverse faiths lived and worked alongside one another harmoniously and peacefully. Instead, it is the stories of atrocities and acts of terror committed ‘in the name of religion’ which are widely reported and subsequently debated. However responsible the reporting, the hyperbole that follows often goes on to shape a skewed image of what religion stands for.

Within a week of his election in 2013, Pope Francis met with leaders of non-Catholic Christian religions such as Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. During the meeting the pontiff highlighted the importance of furthering respect and friendship between men and women of different religious traditions. Later that year he expressed his concern that ‘authentic religious spirit is being perverted’ in many parts of the world, that ‘religious differences are being distorted and manipulated … leading to conflict and violence’ and that ‘terrorist groups are twisting religious beliefs’.

So, how can we address these increasing concerns and make a concerted effort to understand and learn more about each other’s beliefs, and recognise the common foundations that exist across faiths? How do we challenge assumptions, establish some commonality, and develop greater acceptance and understanding of one another’s values?

From schools and offices, to religious groups and local communities, there is no time like the present to make an effort to reach out and get to know more about the religions that surround us in our everyday lives.

As an employer there are lots of ways to engage with the diversity of faiths in your organisation. Here’s our starter for ten, with a few ideas for both the short term and the longer term:

Faith or no faith, none of us live in a bubble. Religion surrounds us, and in many different formats. Above all, religion universally stands for acceptance, inclusivity and peace, and there’s a lot to be said for all three.

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