Religious tolerance among youths
One of the commonest complaints I hear frequently is that things are not working well or not working at all. Why are things working for some and not working for others?
God created everyone to be a star and to shine. The question is why do so many people struggle in life and die without ever being known or fulfilled? God promised to give Abraham a great name. We are connected to that promise through redemption. But most believers never end up with a great name and with a great name comes great influence and resources.
How then can one shine and not die unknown? How can one win all the time? How can one make a great impact in life and be remembered long after he or she is gone? How can one find fulfilment in life?
Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
What did Abraham, Joseph, David, Daniel and other great people in the Bible do right? What did Apostle Peter, Paul, etc. do right? They discovered, embraced and served divine purpose; they fulfilled divine destiny!
If your destiny is blocked, sold, stolen, jailed or substituted, you will live a life of frustration and deprivation. Your destiny has to be discovered, delivered and recovered. 3 major battles There are three major battles you will fight as a Christian:
1. The battle to keep your salvation. The battle to remain as a child of God. Nothing else matters if you cannot remain saved. Satan sends persecution the way of new converts to steal the Word of salvation they have just received. It’s a
God created human beings in love and commanded that human beings should love one another. God did not command human beings to tolerate one another. You only tolerate what is ordinarily unacceptable. I guess that some people use the expression “tolerance” in the context of peaceful co-existence because we now live in a world where the value and dignity of the human person has been sacrificed on the altar of religious fanaticism and intolerance. Moreover, religion has been hijacked by mischief makers to enrich themselves. Millions of people have lost their lives in various religious riots in Nigeria. One wonders for how long we may go on like this killing and maiming human beings. The youths who were born and have lived in this situation where human beings have become wolves to their fellows would think that this is normal and therefore need to learn the art of tolerance to promote peaceful co-existence. Given that the state of anarchy we today find ourselves is not the design of God, we shall begin this conversation by establishing the value and dignity of the human person to debrief any youth who may be living under religious and ethnic indoctrination to be aware of the abnormality of the life they have been conditioned to live.
The Catholic Catechism gives the mission and vision of life first by establishing the fact that we are created by God. The reason God created the human person defines his mission. God made us to know him, love him and serve him. The goal and ultimate vision for creation is that the human person should be happy with God on the last day. In the narrative of Adam (humanity) in the Holy Bible and Quran, Man has a higher dignity than the angels whom God commanded to bow to Adam. For the youths to promote peaceful co-existence, the knowledge that our common factor is humanity is imperative. Many of us belong to a particular religion not by choice. Some of battle you must win.
2. The battle of inheritance. This battle is only won by engaging covenant forces of sacrificial giving, planning, smart and studious work, etc. When you become a habitual giver, you begin to enjoy the Abrahamic order of wealth.
3. The battle of destiny. The battle to enter into your calling and fulfill your divine assignment. This is the place of your preeminence where you are crowned as king. There is a throne for every believer. The place where your star begins to shine. Joseph did not get into trouble with his brothers until he started to talk about his place of pre-eminence. He had to first be delivered. The enemy took him through slavery and prison to try and destroy him but he failed. David’s trouble began when he used his anointing to lead his people into victory over Goliath and the Philistines. Like Joseph, and Moses, David became a marked man when he stepped into his assignment. They all had to be first delivered. Their destinies were temporarily placed on hold and needed to be delivered before they could step into their assignments. The completion of your assignment is the devil’s nightmare. Unfortunately, most believers never pay attention to this very important issue. The book of destiny There are many books in heaven. Revelations 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” You find the same thing in Daniel 7:10 In the volume of the book Living out of the book of destiny- God’s blueprint for you as an individual us who are Christians today could have been Muslims if we were born to Muslims parents and some Muslims could have been Christians if they were born to Christian parents. We did not choose our parents, tribe, state and country. This is why the most stupid venture of the human person is religious and ethnic violence. The sky is wide enough for every bird to fly. Both Christianity and Islam profess that there is no compulsion in religion. This is why the Christian and Muslim youths must quest for justice in every aspect of life. Equal rights cannot lead to anarchy.
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council made a declaration on religious liberty because the root to interreligious conflict is religious intolerance that robs free citizens of religious freedom. The document on the dignity of the human person is a call to bring the human person back to the consciousness and awareness of the right of the person and communities to social and civil liberty in religious matters. The Second Vatican Council, in the light of revelation states the general principles of religious freedom that “All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it” (Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, 7 December, 1965. No 1). “The human person has a right to religious freedom. All men should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others” “Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered by legislation or administrative action on the part of the civil authority in the selection, training, appointment and transfer of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities in other parts of the world, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of the property they need ((Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, 7 December, 1965. No 4). Let us look at three examples 1. King David. King David wrote that God documented his design in a book (Psalm 139:1516). God is a great architect who conceived you, decided your purpose, planned you, documented or drew your plan and then created you. Just like the architect, he not only planned your exterior, he planned your interior in detail. He planted some great gifts in you according to his purpose and unleashed you to make a great impact. But this is the tragedy; many have rejected God’s plan out of ignorance and gone after worthless pursuits missing out on God’s best for them!
2. Apostle Paul. Jesus said concerning Paul; he is a chosen vessel to bear the name of Jesus. Acts 9:15.
Apostle Paul later confirmed this in Galatians 1:15-16. God separated him from his mother’s womb yet for a long time he did not know God until that memorable encounter.
God revealed to Jeremiah something amazing, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. Like an architect, he decided what he wanted to use you for, then designed you and captured you in his book; and proceeded to create you. He worked out every detail until he was satisfied then proceeded to put you in your mother’s womb. Then he brought you out and waited until you were ready to be deployed into service. Your assignment on earth is not your decision; it is your discovery.
3. The Lord Jesus. Hebrews 10:7-9, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God…” I have come to do your will which is written in
If the youths are conscious of these human rights, they may be able to resist those who employ them to fight unjustly for the selfish benefits of those who finance and promote violence. They would know that peace is a virtue that is deeply entrenched in Christianity and Islam. Justice is a very powerful ingredient for peaceful co-existence hence the Christian and Muslim Youths must demand justice at all levels especially freedom of religion and promotion of human dignity. For the youths to promote the dignity of life, they need Dialogue at all levels and in all ramifications. The youths need intra-personal dialogue whereby a person encounter himself or herself interiorly. Through intra-personal dialogue, you ask yourself, who am I? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? What does God want me to do in life to be happy? The next level is inter-personal dialogue. Here you ask yourself, “what do I owe my neighbour? What must I do to make him happy? This is dialogue with the other person. It is a “conversation between two or more persons. Inter-personal dialogue helps people to resolve long-standing conflicts and to build deeper understanding of contentious issues. Dialogue is one sure way to heal wounded memories.
Other types of dialogue are Intracommunity, Inter-community, Intra-ethnic, Inter-ethnic, Intra-cultural, Inter-cultural, Intra-religious and Inter-religious. In dialogue, understanding is the key word. Nigerians have gone through many faces of violence, slavery and colonialism. The value of trust has been replaced with prejudice, preconception and mutual suspicions. These, call for education, debriefing, healing of memory, mental reconstruction, reconciliation and compassion. No one should really claim the right to reject another person or attempt to kill a person for holding a different opinion. There are different types of dialogue. Dialogue of Life is what we do in ordinary events of life. Muslims, Christians and traditional worshippers in Nigeria live in the same family, attend the same school and work together in the same office and other the volume of the book.
He confirmed this in Luke 4:17-20 (please read).
His mission on earth was written in books. He found it, pursued and fulfilled it. Your success begins when you locate your book of destiny, retrieve the information in it and begin to operate from it. Failure can only occur when the book of destiny is ignored or what is revealed from it is rejected. For most people it is simply ignored altogether.
Benefits of finding your purpose and living it
All things worked together for Joseph because he served divine purpose. The hatred of his brothers took him to the place of his promotion. Potiphar’s house took him closer. Prison gave him the connection to Pharaoh who promoted him.
1. All things work together for good for those who embrace and fulfil God’s purpose. 2. We’ll be richer, happier and more fulfilled. 3. We’ll make greater impact in the society 4. We’ll be blessed like Abraham and be a blessing.
5. And of course we’ll have great names that will open doors in important places.
6. We can then influence the politics of our nation and other nations. 7. We will struggle less Sadly, for many people their destiny is blocked, imprisoned or diverted. Like Joseph, they will need to be delivered. You will not die unfulfilled! places of work. These are avenues and occasion for people to share life together in love and peaceful coexistence.
In the Dialogue of Social Engagements, People of different religions meet in different life situations, like ceremonies, trade and even join together to fight injustice and diseases. This collaboration between Christians and people of other religions promote the integral development and liberation of people. In Nigeria some Muslims and Christians have issued joint statements to condemn terrorism and other forms of social ills. In the Dialogue of Theological Exchange, scholars of different religions organize seminars and workshops to discuss theological issues. This has led some scholars to go beyond the study of their theology to the study of the theology of other religious. In the Dialogue of religious experience, people of different religions in Nigeria sometimes use any given opportunity to share their religious experiences and dreams. This sharing of testimonies and narration of what God has done in their individual life has led others to be converted. If there is an existing friendship and mutual relationship, conflict management, resolution and transformation are easy. I visit the national Mosque regularly. In the process, I establish a dialogue relationship between some Christian and Muslim youths who have expressed the need for religious re-education in Nigeria. This means that there are so many Christians and Muslims today who bear true witness to the scriptures. When the youths from different religions collaborate in peace projects, all will be convinced that that there is nothing wrong with religion? It is those who practise the different religions that need proper education and awareness. Let us begin to think of how to redeem our God given religions by living in peace!