By looking into their sacred texts and teachings on peace, we can gain a valuable insight into how these religions explain peace. The teaching of peace is central to Christianity. They use the sacred text of the bible, mostly the New Testament with emphasis on the Gospels as the source for teachings on peace. The New Testament states peace as a virtue and identifies it as a key element of God. Christians use Jesus’ example to illustrate the ideal model for peace in their lives.
This model allows for adherents to understand the peace of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit and peace in relationships whereby Christians are expected to work in harmony with others in order to achieve peace As well as this the teaching on war and peace “love your neighbour as yourself. ”(Matthew) and the teaching on peace and justice are both exemplified by Pope John XXIII’s notion that there can only be peace if there is justice.
The Christian teaching on peace revolves around the covenant relationship between the adherent and God.
This peace is given by Christ and is shown in the sacred texts of the New Testament “My peace I leave with you,” and is described as “one of the fruits with the spirit. ”(Galatians). Jesus tells his followers that “in me you may have peace,” (John) suggesting that the concept of spiritual peace is embodied in the teachings of Jesus Christ. The importance of peace is clear in the Beatitudes were Jesus stated “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.
Christians believe that through baptism they have been called to follow Jesus’ as their model in life.
By following his example, Christians acquire peace by obeying the commands of Jesus and therefore the principle teachings of Christianity “You must love your neighbour as you love yourself. ” The bible states that Christians can achieve peace through the specific teaching of Jesus to forgive those who have wronged you. “If he wrongs you…you must forgive him. ” (Luke). Forgiveness and compassion is at the heart of the Bibles message. Further to this, Christians can achieve peace through their practice of individual and communal prayer.
The Christian biblical view on peace is one that demonstrates the idea that they should work for it. Through the beatitudes, Christians are encouraged to be the peacemakers in society. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God. ” Further to this, Christians believe in the sanctity of life through the covenant of the 10 commandments which state “Thou shall not kill. ” Peace is work of justice and the effect of charity. In the case of conflict, Christians resort to the idea of violence being a last resort and refer to the Just War theory in order to determine whether conflict is applicable.
The bible teaches adherents to promote peace on an international level, aiming to work for peace, justice and reconciliation. Islam like Christianity was a religion founded on the virtue of peace. Islam is referred to in the Qur’an as “the paths of peace” and it is taught that peace must always be actively sought out by Muslims. The Qur’an sees reconciliation as a basic stance and states that Allah abhors the disturbance of peace. Muslims too believe that there can only be peace if there is justice.
In Islam, peace takes a variety of forms. It is seen as a quality of personal tranquillity and fulfilment bestowed by Allah to reward submission. This surrender of mental and physical devotion begins with the concept of Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah in all aspects of Muslim life. The Qur’an states that “In remembrance of God do hearts fins satisfaction. ” This concept is embodied by the 5 pillars of Islam. Through the Salat, attention is drawn to Allah, marginalising distraction in order to devote more fully to the divine.
Sawm and Zakat illustrate physical sacrifices for Islam which allows the adherent to appreciate Allah’s role as of life. The Hajj focuses on morality by allowing the adherent o come closer to Allah in their individual search of inner peace. Along with this, the study of the sacred texts of Islam, the Qur’an and Hadith equips adherents with necessary theological understanding for a meaningful life of submission which in turn brings peace. This study allows Muslims to understand peace being a reward for following the teachings of Allah and his prophet Mohammad. Peace be upon you because you have persevered. ” Another concept of achieving peace is through collective worship. It encourages commitment in the struggle against the greater Jihad. Like Christianity, Islam encourages adherents to strive for peace. Both typify the complex relationship between religion and peace. The standard greeting to another person in Arabic is “As-Salamu-Alaykum (Peace be with you)” (Qur’an), which encourages Muslims to “Promote peace among men. ” (Sura). There are various organisations in Islam that promote peace.
E. g. The Islamic Conference which promotes world peace and safeguards the interest of the Muslim world. The understanding of peace throughout both Christianity and Islam has been influenced by their sacred texts. It is ultimately through the interpretation of these texts that adherents learn the values of peace. They all demonstrate that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but is also a complex intertwined system of teachings and that there are various avenues to achieving the ideal state of peace.