Is being a Good Person the same in Every Faith

Is being a good person the same in every faith? A guiding light Rushdy El-Ghussein, former president of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City: In Islam the good is to follow God’s commands as conveyed by his prophets and messengers, to accept and grow from everything that God sends, to establish right dealings among human beings, and to conserve and protect the environments we live in. Although I cannot speak for other faiths, I would consider that other God-revealed religions would agree on this. However, human beings have limited knowledge and experience to understand all issues concerned, so differences in interpretation and opinion develop. It is in the nature of human beings to revolt and doubt everything. Sometimes we heed the advice, and sometimes we ignore it. Our parents Adam and Eve lost paradise after not heeding the command of God and listening to their enemy Satan. I have no doubt that the majority of people want to see good prevail. What they mean by good can be different. Some may look at war and decide that it can bring good; others might decide that there is nothing good about war.

Who is right and who is wrong might cause a debate that could bring the two opinions closer or drive them further apart. Then we might need a philosopher to judge who has misjudged or misinterpreted. Besides being difficult to ascertain, good becomes a goal that most of us will seek to better ourselves and community. It becomes a guiding light to excel and seek what is best for all. Universal values Arvind Khetia, engineer and a Hindu: The primary goal of all religions is to bring about the transformation of a material being into a spiritual being. Simply stated, to make one into a better person. The Bhagavad-Gita states that the essential virtues required to achieve this transformation are fearlessness, purity of heart, charity, self-control, nonviolence, truth, renunciation, tranquillity, gentleness, forgiveness and freedom from anger, malice and pride. Thus, one’s goodness is not contingent upon belonging to any particular faith, but it does require the practice of these universal spiritual values.

Therefore, being a good person is the same in every faith because one’s goodness is inspired by these spiritual values common to all faiths. When one only believes in religious doctrine, dogma and the exclusiveness of one’s own faith over other faiths, then fear and hate of others follows. Thus, instead of setting a positive example of unity, love and goodness, one becomes a cause of division and unrest in society. According to Vedanta (spiritual philosophy of Hinduism), goodness is our intrinsic nature. We have to manifest it by cultivating spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom allows us to recognize the divine presence in oneself and other human beings. When one’s thoughts and actions follow from this realization, goodness naturally follows. Swami Vivekananda has said, “That alone is good, who does good for good’s sake, and that is the mark of true character.”

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