Recently, Bangladesh has seen many refugees come from the neighboring Buddhist-majority country Myanmar. These are Rohingyas, the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Recently, a few Rohingyas started a militia to fight against the Myanmar government. Though the militia is gone and the government is welcoming of all Rohingyas, the army continues to attack them out of xenophobia, despite having to go against the government. Now, Rohingyas are trying to flee to the neighboring Muslim country Bangladesh. The strangest and most worrying thing about this crisis is that many of Myanmar’s army follows Buddhism, a religion that practices love and tolerance for all people, including those of other religions! It’s absurd! And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The Dalai Lama tweeted on the matter:
Whatever our religious faith, showing others loving kindness is the best way to bring about inner peace.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) September 19, 2017
For almost as long as religion was in place, there has been the problem of religions coexisting together. This problem has caused wars, segregation, and hate. Why all of this violence if all religions practice peace and love? Because almost no religious scripture tells of how to deal with those who do not believe in it. The Bible only applies to those who believe in it, so its text makes no note of those who do not believe in it. This same rule applies to every other religious text. Therefore, when religious people are faced with the reality that their religion is not the only one, the natural response is: we are right and they are wrong. Violence and terror all spawn from this response to the problem of multiple religions.
The truth is beyond all the legends, prayers, traditions, dressing, etc, all religions preach the same ideas. They all preach to do good and be kind to others. In this sense, there are no bad religions, but only bad people who misinterpret the religious teachings, or use them as a way to rally the masses.
This does not mean you cannot peacefully criticize other religions. After all, a religion is simply an idea about something. If I told you that I worshiped the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you would act as if you had all right to criticize my belief. Yet if I told you I was Christian, you would act as if you were obliged to respect my ideas. In the end, there is a fine line between a silly-looking cult and a legitimate religion, so all ideas should be treated the same way: you can think what you want, and nobody can discriminate against you or physically harm you for what you think, yet everybody has the right to criticize what you think, and you have the right to criticize what everybody else thinks.