The Contributions and Impact of Contemporary Religious Rituals on Pillars of Peace (Part 5)


Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

“Contemporary Religious Rituals Are to Be Respected in Interfaith Initiatives Towards Social Harmony Peaceful Coexistence”[i]

A Hindu Funereal Ritual, deeply rooted in religion and spirituality.
Open firewood cremation, returning the physical, mortal body and liberating the indestructible soul to achieve nirvana. This ritual is conducted on the banks of the sacred, holy Ganges River in Varanasi, India, performed by the eldest son in the family and attended by relatives and friends.

This paper, the fifth part in the series on “Pillars of Peace” discusses the impact and contributions the Contemporary Religious Rituals, in general, have made to Peace Activism and highlights the necessity to respect them, whichever religion, humanoids follow.

As a definition, A religious ritual[2] is a prescribed set of actions, behaviours, or ceremonies that hold significant symbolic and spiritual meaning within a religious tradition. These rituals are performed by individuals or communities as a way to connect with the divine, express devotion, reinforce religious beliefs, and mark important events or milestones in the religious calendar. Religious rituals often involve specific words, gestures, objects, or symbolic elements that are considered sacred and imbued with spiritual power. They are typically based on the teachings, scriptures, or traditions of the respective religious faith.

The purpose and rationale of religious rituals [3]vary depending on the belief system, but common objectives include:

  • Facilitating communication with the divine or higher power.
  • Seeking blessings, protection, or forgiveness from deities or spiritual forces.
  • Expressing gratitude and devotion to the divine.
  • Commemorating significant events, such as birth, initiation, marriage, and death.
  • Marking religious holidays and seasons.
  • Promoting community bonding and shared religious identity.
  • Extraordinary rituals, aimed at specific indigenous customs and traditions of a particular country, region or community, to appease the deceased and assist them in their journeys in the underworld.

Religious rituals can take various forms, such as prayers, worship services, pilgrimages, meditations, sacraments, offerings, and festivals. They often follow specific guidelines or traditions passed down through generations, and their practice may vary among different sects or denominations within the same religious tradition.

Judaism Religious Ritual:  Bar Mitzvah of a young boy, transforming him religiously, into adulthood, with divine blessings. Note the details of the serenity and respect of the ceremony, conducted by the Rabbi and overseen by the boy’s father.

Here is a detailed classification of general types of religious rituals in the present era, organized into broad categories:

  1. Rites of Passage[4]:
    • Birth Rituals: Ceremonies welcoming a newborn into the community, often involving naming and blessings.
    • Initiation Rites: Rituals marking the transition from childhood to adulthood within the religious community.
    • Marriage Ceremonies: Sacred rituals uniting couples in matrimony.
    • Funerary Rites: Rituals related to death, including funeral services, cremation, and burial.
  2. Worship and Devotion:
    • Prayer and Meditation: Individual or communal acts of communication with the divine or higher power.
    • Worship Services: Regular gatherings where religious teachings, readings, and prayers are offered to the community.
    • Pilgrimage: Journeying to sacred sites or places of religious significance as an act of devotion.
  3. Sacraments and Ritual Acts[5]:
    • Baptism: The ritual of initiation into a religious community, often involving water as a symbol of cleansing.
    • Holy Communion (Eucharist): The sharing of bread and wine symbolizing the body and blood of a sacred figure.
    • Confession and Absolution: Rituals of seeking forgiveness and spiritual cleansing.
  4. Festivals and Celebrations:
    • Religious Holidays: Commemorating significant events in the religious calendar.
    • Seasonal Celebrations: Marking the changing of seasons with religious significance.
    • Harvest Festivals: Honouring the bounty of the land and expressing gratitude.
  5. Purification and Renewal:
    • Ritual Cleansing[6]: Purifying oneself or objects for religious purposes.
    • Renewal Ceremonies: Marking new beginnings or periods of transformation.
  6. Dedication and Consecration:
    • Dedication of Religious Spaces: Rituals performed when opening a new place of worship or consecrating it for religious use.
    • Anointing: Using sacred substances to consecrate individuals or objects.
  7. Intercession and Blessings:
    • Blessing Ceremonies: Invoking divine favor and protection upon individuals, families, or objects.
    • Intercessory Prayers: Seeking divine intervention on behalf of others.
  8. Symbolic Actions and Offerings:
    • Ritual Offerings: Presenting gifts or sacrifices to deities or spirits.
    • Symbolic Actions: Using gestures, movements, or symbolic items to convey religious meaning.
  9. Retreats and Spiritual Retreats:
    • Periods of withdrawal from the world to focus on spiritual growth and reflection.
  10. Rituals for Healing and Well-being:
    • Ceremonies: Seeking divine intervention for physical or spiritual healing.

The above categories encompass a wide range of religious rituals observed by different communities and faith traditions worldwide. Each ritual type serves a unique purpose in fostering spirituality, reinforcing religious identity, and facilitating a connection with the divine or higher power.  The formulation of different categories of rituals in antiquity can be attributed to various factors, including the evolution of human beliefs, the natural environment, cultural practices, and societal needs. It’s important to note that the exact origins of specific rituals can be challenging to trace due to the lack of written records from ancient times. However, archaeology, anthropology, and historical research offer some insights into the development of these rituals.

  1. Rites of Passage:
    • Birth Rituals: Welcoming a new life into the community was a significant event, and rituals were developed to ensure the well-being and protection of the newborn and to celebrate their entry into the social group.
    • Initiation Rites: As societies grew more complex, rituals were created to mark the transition of individuals from childhood to adulthood, signifying their readiness to take on adult responsibilities and roles within the community.
    • Marriage Ceremonies: As social structures developed, rituals were established to formalize unions between individuals, cementing family alliances and ensuring the continuation of the community.
  2. Worship and Devotion:
    • Prayer and Meditation: The need to communicate with unseen forces or deities led to the development of prayers and meditative practices to seek guidance, blessings, and protection.
    • Worship Services: As religious communities grew, regular gatherings for communal worship and instruction became essential for fostering a sense of unity and shared faith.
    • Pilgrimage: As sacred sites were recognized and revered, people embarked on journeys to these places as acts of devotion and to seek spiritual benefits.
  3. Sacraments and Ritual Acts:
    • Baptism: Rituals involving water were likely influenced by ancient purification practices and symbolized a spiritual cleansing and initiation into the faith community.
    • Holy Communion (Eucharist): The sharing of food and drink has been used as a symbolic act of communion with the divine in many cultures.
    • Confession and Absolution: Recognizing the need for spiritual forgiveness and reconciliation led to the establishment of confession and absolution rituals.
  4. Festivals and Celebrations:
    • Religious Holidays: Marking significant events in the religious calendar helped communities observe important milestones and honor their beliefs and traditions.
    • Seasonal Celebrations: Many ancient cultures were closely tied to agricultural cycles, and rituals were developed to acknowledge the changing seasons and honour deities associated with agriculture and fertility.
    • Harvest Festivals: Celebrations of successful harvests were held to express gratitude and seek continued abundance.
  5. Purification and Renewal:
    • Ritual Cleansing: Purification rituals were performed to cleanse individuals or spaces of spiritual impurities and restore spiritual harmony.
    • Renewal Ceremonies: Renewal rituals marked significant transitions, such as the beginning of a new year, a ruler’s accession, or the rebuilding of sacred structures.
  6. Dedication and Consecration:
    • Dedication of Religious Spaces: Establishing sacred spaces required formal rituals to dedicate and consecrate these areas for religious activities.
    • Anointing: Anointing rituals were used to bestow divine favor on individuals or objects, such as kings, priests, or sacred artifacts.
  7. Intercession and Blessings:
    • Blessing Ceremonies: Blessings were sought to invoke divine favor, protection, and prosperity on individuals, families, and communities.
    • Intercessory Prayers: Intercession rituals were performed to ask deities or spirits to intervene on behalf of others, seeking assistance or alleviation from hardships.
  8. Symbolic Actions and Offerings:
    • Ritual Offerings: The act of offering gifts or sacrifices to deities was a way to establish a reciprocal relationship with the divine and express devotion and gratitude.
    • Symbolic Actions: Gestures and symbolic acts conveyed religious meanings and conveyed intentions to the divine.
  9. Retreats and Spiritual Retreats:
    • The desire for solitude, introspection, and spiritual growth led to the development of retreats or secluded places for religious practices and meditation.
  10. Rituals for Healing and Well-being:
    • Healing Ceremonies: To address physical and spiritual ailments, rituals were performed to seek divine intervention and healing.

Throughout antiquity, these rituals became integral to the cultural and religious fabric of ancient societies, providing a sense of identity, continuity, and meaning in people’s lives. They were seen as vital components of maintaining harmony with the divine, the community, and the natural world. The development and preservation of these rituals were often passed down through generations orally or through sacred texts, contributing to the rich religious traditions that continue to shape human societies today.

Christian (Catholic) Religious Ritual:  Contemporary Baptism of a newborn baby.

Contemporary religious rituals in the 21st century vary across different major religions, reflecting the diversity of religious practices worldwide. While it’s challenging to provide an exhaustive list, I can give you a brief overview of some prominent religious rituals from various traditions:

  1. Christianity:
    • Baptism: A ritual of initiation into the Christian faith, symbolizing purification and rebirth through water.
    • Holy Communion (Eucharist): The sharing of bread and wine, representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ, during a religious service.
    • Confirmation: A ceremony where individuals publicly affirm their faith and receive the Holy Spirit.
  2. Islam:
    • Salah (Prayer): Muslims perform five daily prayers facing the Kaaba in Mecca as a way of connecting with Allah.
    • Fasting during Ramadan: Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan as an act of devotion and self-discipline.
    • Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are required to undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able.
  3. Hinduism:
    • Puja: Worship rituals performed by individuals or families at home or in temples, offering prayers and offerings to deities.
    • Aarti: A ritual of waving lighted lamps before deities to show reverence and seek blessings.
    • Kumbh Mela: A major pilgrimage gathering held at four sacred locations in India every twelve years.
  4. Buddhism:
    • Meditation: Practiced to achieve mindfulness, insight, and spiritual awakening.
    • Vesak: A celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.
    • Offering of flowers, incense, and candles at Buddhist shrines or temples.
  5. Judaism:
    • Shabbat: The weekly day of rest and worship from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
    • Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A coming-of-age ritual for Jewish boys and girls, marking their religious maturity.
    • Passover (Pesach): A major holiday celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
  6. Sikhism:
    • Kirtan: Singing hymns and praises from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture.
    • Amrit Sanchar: A ceremony of initiation into the Khalsa, a community of devout Sikhs.
  7. Jainism:
    • Paryushana: An eight-day festival of reflection, penance, and forgiveness.
    • Pratikramana: A ritual of repentance and seeking forgiveness from others and oneself.
  8. Bahá’í Faith:
    • Nineteen Day Feast: A monthly community gathering with prayers, readings, and socializing.
    • Ridván: A twelve-day festival commemorating the proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh as a divine messenger.

These rituals play crucial roles in the religious lives of followers, fostering community cohesion, promoting spiritual growth, and reinforcing shared beliefs and values. They often serve as pathways for individuals to connect with the divine and find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The 21st century has seen modernisation and “updates” to many basic, religious rituals across different religious traditions. While the core elements and meanings of these rituals often remain intact, their expression and implementation have evolved to adapt to contemporary contexts and technologies. Some of the ways in which rituals have been “modernised” and updated include:

  1. Technology Integration: The use of technology, such as live-streaming services, digital prayer apps, and online religious forums, has enabled people to participate in religious rituals remotely and connect with their faith communities from anywhere in the world.
  2. Inclusivity and Diversity: Many religious communities have embraced inclusivity and adapted rituals to accommodate diverse beliefs, practices, and backgrounds of their members. Efforts are made to ensure that rituals are accessible and relevant to everyone.
  3. Interfaith and Ecumenical Gatherings[7]: Interfaith events and ecumenical services have become more common, promoting dialogue and understanding between different religious groups. These gatherings often include shared rituals that emphasise unity and peace.
  4. Environmental Consciousness: Some rituals have been updated to reflect environmental concerns and promote eco-friendly practices. For example, eco-friendly burials and sustainable offerings are being incorporated into religious traditions.
  5. Gender Equality: Some religious communities have reexamined traditional gender roles within rituals and have made efforts to ensure equal participation and leadership opportunities for all genders.
  6. Social Media and Public Engagement: Social media platforms have become a space for sharing religious rituals, teachings, and celebrations with a broader audience, fostering community engagement and awareness.
  7. Contemporary Music and Art: Modern religious music and art have been incorporated into rituals, appealing to younger generations and offering fresh expressions of worship and devotion.
  8. Global Connections: With increased globalization, religious rituals have transcended geographical boundaries, allowing people from different parts of the world to share and learn from each other’s practices.
  9. Social Justice Emphasis: Some religious rituals have been reinterpreted to reflect a stronger emphasis on social justice issues, advocating for equality, human rights, and compassion for marginalized communities.

While many rituals have been updated, some communities may still choose to maintain traditional practices as they hold deep cultural and spiritual significance. The modernisation of rituals is often a dynamic and ongoing process that responds to changing societal needs and the evolving understanding of faith and spirituality.

“Ecumenical” refers to efforts and activities that promote cooperation, understanding, and unity among different Christian denominations or even among different religious groups. It is the practice of seeking common ground and shared beliefs among diverse religious traditions, with the goal of fostering mutual respect and cooperation.  The term “ecumenical” is often used in the context of interdenominational dialogue within Christianity. It aims to overcome historical divisions and doctrinal differences among various Christian churches and organizations, seeking ways to work together on common issues, engage in joint worship or prayer, and collaborate on projects that benefit society.  Ecumenical initiatives may involve formal theological dialogues, joint worship services, shared social and humanitarian efforts, or conferences that bring together representatives from different Christian traditions. The goal is to build bridges, cultivate understanding, and promote a spirit of unity among diverse Christian communities while respecting their unique identities and beliefs. Outside of Christianity, similar principles of interfaith dialogue and cooperation exist among different religious traditions, though the term “ecumenical” is primarily associated with Christian endeavours.

“Ecumenical” has Latin origins. It is derived from the ancient Greek word “οἰκουμένη” (oikoumenē), which means “the inhabited world” or “the whole inhabited earth.” In the early Christian context, “ecumenical” referred to the universal or worldwide nature of the Christian Church, encompassing all believers across different regions and cultures.  The Latin adaptation of the Greek term is “oecumenicus,” which was later anglicized as “ecumenical” in English. The word gradually came to be associated with efforts to promote unity and cooperation among various Christian denominations and later extended to refer to interfaith dialogue and cooperation between different religious traditions as well.

The term “ecumenical” is primarily associated with Christianity because its historical origins and development are deeply rooted in Christian contexts. The ecumenical movement initially emerged within Christianity as an effort to promote unity among various Christian denominations and to address divisions within the Church.  While the principles of cooperation, dialogue, and understanding among different religious traditions exist in many faiths, the specific term “ecumenical” has not been widely used outside of Christianity. Instead, other terms are often used to describe similar interfaith or interdenominational initiatives in different religious contexts.  As examples:

  • In Islam, efforts to promote unity and cooperation among different Muslim communities are often referred to as “interfaith dialogue” or “interdenominational dialogue.”
  • In Judaism, similar initiatives may be called “interfaith dialogue” or “interfaith outreach.”

The use of specific terms can be influenced by historical, cultural, and linguistic factors within each religious tradition. While the concept of seeking common ground and understanding among different religions is universal, the terminology used to describe these efforts may vary based on the unique characteristics of each faith.

In Christianity, the practice of ecumenism is embraced by a wide range of churches and Christian denominations. The goal of ecumenism is to foster greater unity and cooperation among different Christian communities, despite their theological and organizational differences. Many churches actively participate in various ecumenical initiatives to promote dialogue, understanding, and joint efforts on shared issues.  Some Christian churches and organizations that actively engage in ecumenism include:

  1. Roman Catholic Church[8]: The Roman Catholic Church has been actively involved in ecumenical efforts, especially after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which encouraged dialogue with other Christian traditions.
  2. Eastern Orthodox Churches[9]: Various Eastern Orthodox Churches engage in ecumenical dialogues with other Christian denominations and play a significant role in global ecumenical organizations.
  3. World Council of Churches[10] (WCC): The WCC is a prominent organization that brings together numerous Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox churches to promote unity, cooperation, and common witness.
  4. Anglican Communion[11]: The Anglican Communion participates in ecumenical dialogues and has sought closer ties with other Christian traditions.
  5. Lutheran World Federation[12](LWF): The LWF represents various Lutheran churches worldwide and is involved in ecumenical activities.
  6. National Council of Churches [13](NCC) and similar national councils: Many countries have national councils that include multiple Christian denominations working together on social, ethical, and theological issues.

Regarding exclusions, while ecumenism is widespread, not all Christian churches or groups participate in ecumenical activities. Some conservative or fundamentalist groups may be less inclined to engage in formal dialogues or joint efforts with other Christian traditions due to theological differences or concerns about compromising their beliefs.  Additionally, there are Christian sects or groups that are considered more isolated or exclusive and may not actively participate in ecumenical initiatives. However, it is essential to recognize that the landscape of ecumenism is diverse, and participation can vary widely based on the specific beliefs and practices of each Christian community.

Mormons[14], officially known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), consider themselves Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and strive to follow His teachings. However, the classification of Mormons as Christians has been a subject of debate among different Christian denominations.

Mainstream Christian denominations, such as Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches, have varying views on whether Mormons can be considered Christian. Some Christian groups view Mormonism as a distinct and separate religion due to significant theological differences between Mormon beliefs and traditional Christian doctrines.

Some of the key theological differences between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity include:

  1. Nature of God[15]: Mormons believe in a different concept of the Godhead, which includes God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as distinct beings with physical bodies. Mainstream Christianity generally adheres to the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that God is one essence existing in three persons.
  2. Scriptures: In addition to the Bible, Mormons also believe in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price as sacred texts. These additional scriptures are not recognized as divine revelation by other Christian denominations.
  3. Salvation and Afterlife[16]: Mormons have unique beliefs about salvation and the afterlife, including the concept of exaltation, which teaches that faithful Mormons can become gods in the afterlife.

Despite these differences, Mormons consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ and strive to live according to His teachings. They emphasize family values, charity, and service, and they hold a high regard for the teachings of their founding prophet, Joseph Smith.  In summary, Mormons identify as Christians, but their distinct beliefs and practices have led to varying opinions and classifications within the broader Christian community. Ultimately, how one classifies Mormons in relation to Christianity often depends on one’s theological perspective and doctrinal interpretations.

However, both Islam and Judaism are religions that uphold certain traditional and conservative beliefs and practices. They are also open to interfaith dialogue and engagement with other religious traditions. Interfaith dialogue is a practice of mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation between people of different faiths, and it can be beneficial in promoting peace and harmony among diverse communities.  Interfaith dialogue is actively encouraged by various Islamic and Jewish organizations, religious leaders, and scholars who see it as an opportunity to foster better relations and build bridges of understanding between different faith communities. The key to successful interfaith dialogue lies in approaching it with sincerity, willingness to learn, and a genuine desire to find common ground and address shared concerns.

In both Islam and Judaism, there are theological and ethical principles that emphasize the importance of coexisting peacefully with others and engaging in respectful dialogue. While there may be conservative elements within each tradition, there is also room for dialogue and cooperation with those of different faiths.  Interfaith dialogue allows Muslims and Jews to address misconceptions, challenge stereotypes, and build relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s beliefs and practices. It can also provide opportunities for joint initiatives addressing social issues, promoting human rights, and working towards shared goals of peace and justice.  In the contemporary world, many Islamic and Jewish organizations and institutions actively participate in interfaith dialogues, conferences, and programs to promote understanding and collaboration with people of other faiths. It is a positive sign of how these religions are open to engaging in constructive dialogue and building positive relationships with individuals and communities from different religious backgrounds

While interfaith dialogue has many advantages and can be a valuable tool for promoting understanding and cooperation among different religious communities, it also comes with some potential disadvantages. These disadvantages can vary depending on the specific context and the dynamics between the participating groups. Here are some common disadvantages of interfaith dialogue in the 21st century:

  1. Resistance and Scepticism: Some individuals or religious groups may be resistant to engaging in interfaith dialogue due to deeply entrenched theological differences, historical conflicts, or cultural barriers. Scepticism about the sincerity of dialogue partners or concerns about compromising one’s own beliefs can hinder meaningful engagement.
  2. Lack of Representation: In some cases, interfaith dialogues may involve representatives or leaders who do not fully represent the perspectives of their entire communities. This lack of diverse representation can lead to misunderstandings or the marginalization of certain voices.
  3. Tokenism: Interfaith dialogue can sometimes be perceived as tokenism, where it is used primarily for public relations or to give the appearance of inclusivity, rather than for genuine engagement and understanding.
  4. Religious Fundamentalism: Extreme or fundamentalist elements within certain religious groups may reject interfaith dialogue outright, viewing it as a threat to their orthodox beliefs and practices.
  5. Power Imbalance: In interfaith dialogues involving dominant and minority religious groups, there may be a power imbalance, where the dominant group’s beliefs and practices are prioritized, and the concerns of the minority group are not adequately addressed.
  6. Lack of Impact: Some critics argue that interfaith dialogue does not always lead to tangible outcomes or meaningful changes in the real world. Dialogues may remain superficial, and participants may revert to their original positions after the dialogue ends.
  7. Instrumentalisation[17]: In some cases, interfaith dialogue may be instrumentalized for political or diplomatic purposes, with little genuine intention of building understanding or resolving religious tensions.
  8. Time and Resources: Organizing and sustaining interfaith dialogues require significant time, effort, and resources, which may not always yield immediate or visible results.

Despite these disadvantages, interfaith dialogue remains an important tool for fostering understanding, promoting tolerance, and building bridges between communities. Overcoming these challenges often involves careful planning, honest communication, and a commitment to addressing underlying issues and concerns

Albeit, Interfaith Dialogue[18] in the 21st century offers numerous advantages that contribute to fostering understanding, promoting peace, and building bridges between diverse religious communities. Some of the key advantages include:

  1. Promoting Tolerance and Respect: Interfaith dialogue allows individuals from different religious backgrounds to interact, learn about each other’s beliefs and practices, and develop a deeper appreciation for religious diversity. This helps to foster tolerance and respect for other faiths.
  2. Building Relationships and Trust: Through open and honest communication, interfaith dialogue helps in building relationships and trust between religious communities. This can lead to collaborative efforts on common issues, such as social justice, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection.
  3. Challenging Stereotypes and Misconceptions: Interfaith dialogue provides an opportunity to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about other religions. Participants can gain a more accurate and nuanced understanding of each other’s beliefs and practices, leading to greater empathy and appreciation.
  4. Promoting Peace and Reconciliation: In regions or societies where, religious differences have been a source of conflict, interfaith dialogue can play a crucial role in promoting peace, reconciliation, and healing. It creates space for dialogue, understanding, and finding common ground.
  5. Enhancing Religious Freedom and Human Rights: Interfaith dialogue advocates for religious freedom and human rights, encouraging societies to embrace diversity and protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs.
  6. Educational Benefits: Interfaith dialogue fosters education about different religions, helping individuals develop a broader understanding of global cultures and traditions. It encourages critical thinking and an appreciation for religious pluralism.
  7. Encouraging Cooperative Efforts: Through interfaith dialogue, religious communities can identify shared values and concerns, leading to collaborative efforts in addressing social issues and contributing to the common good.
  8. Strengthening Social Cohesion: Interfaith dialogue contributes to social cohesion by promoting inclusivity and fostering a sense of belonging among diverse religious communities.
  9. Preventing Conflict and Radicalization: By promoting understanding and empathy, interfaith dialogue can play a role in preventing conflicts and countering radicalization based on religious differences.
  10. Advancing Global Peacebuilding: In an increasingly interconnected world, interfaith dialogue is a crucial aspect of global peacebuilding efforts, encouraging dialogue and cooperation on a global scale.

Holistically, Interfaith Dialogue is a powerful tool for promoting mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among diverse religious communities. It offers a pathway to building a more inclusive, tolerant, and harmonious world in the 21st century and beyond.

Determining which religion is most supportive and active in interfaith dialogue can be challenging as it varies based on regional and local contexts. However, several religions have demonstrated a strong commitment to engaging in interfaith dialogue globally. Here are some of the religions that are known for their active participation in interfaith dialogue:

  1. Christianity: Christianity, with its diverse denominations and widespread presence, has been actively engaged in interfaith dialogue efforts. Many Christian organizations and ecumenical bodies work to promote understanding and cooperation among different religious communities.
  2. Islam: Despite misconceptions and stereotypes, Islam has a long history of interfaith dialogue. Numerous Islamic organizations and scholars engage in dialogue with other religions, promoting mutual respect and understanding.
  3. Judaism: Jewish communities and organizations have been actively involved in interfaith dialogue, fostering relationships with various religious groups to build bridges and address shared concerns.
  4. Buddhism: Buddhism emphasises compassion and understanding, making it open to dialogue with other faiths. Many Buddhist leaders and organizations actively participate in interfaith initiatives.
  5. Hinduism: Hinduism’s emphasis on tolerance and pluralism has led to active participation in interfaith dialogue, both in India and globally.
  6. Sikhism: Sikhs place a strong emphasis on equality and service to humanity, making them active participants in interfaith dialogue and community outreach.
  7. Baha’i Faith: The Baha’i Faith is explicitly centered on the concept of unity and actively promotes interfaith dialogue and cooperation as integral to its teachings.
  8. Interfaith Organizations: While not a specific religion, there are several interfaith organizations that actively facilitate dialogue among different religious communities and promote peace and understanding.

It is necessary to recognise that the level of involvement in interfaith dialogue can vary within each religious community, and different factors, including geographic location, cultural context, and historical experiences, can influence their engagement.  Interfaith dialogue is a collective effort that involves individuals, religious leaders, and organizations from various faith traditions. By working together, they contribute to fostering mutual respect, addressing religious misunderstandings, and building a more peaceful and harmonious world.

Regarding the “Church of Satan[19]”, it does not actively promote interfaith dialogue in the traditional sense. The Church of Satan is a non-theistic religious organization that espouses atheistic beliefs and values individualism and personal autonomy. They do not believe in the existence of a literal Satan or any other deity, nor do they worship or engage in traditional religious practices. The Church of Satan’s primary focus is on promoting the philosophy and principles outlined in Anton LaVey’s [20] “The Satanic Bible.”[21] Their principles revolve around self-indulgence, rational self-interest, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment and success. They reject the idea of supernatural forces, including God and Satan. Given their atheistic and individualistic nature, the Church of Satan does not engage in interfaith dialogue with other religious traditions. Instead, they emphasize the importance of personal freedom and self-determination for their members. It is important to distinguish between the Church of Satan and other Satanist or occultist groups, as beliefs and practices may differ significantly among various organizations and individuals who identify as Satanists.  the Church of Satan acknowledges the symbolic use of Satan and Lucifer[22] in its philosophy, even though they do not believe in them as supernatural entities.  In the context of the Church of Satan, Satan and Lucifer are seen as archetypal figures representing certain principles and values. These figures are used symbolically to represent concepts such as rebellion against oppressive authority, individualism, and the pursuit of personal desires and ambitions.  The Church of Satan uses these symbolic representations to convey their core philosophy, which centers around embracing one’s individuality, pursuing self-interest, and challenging societal norms and dogmas. The use of Satan and Lucifer in this symbolic manner is a deliberate strategy to provoke thought and challenge conventional beliefs, rather than an acknowledgment of these figures as actual supernatural beings.  It is important to understand that the Church of Satan’s approach to Satan and Lucifer is not the same as how these figures are viewed in traditional religious contexts. The Church of Satan’s use of these symbols is more akin to metaphorical and philosophical representations rather than religious or supernatural ones.

Therefore, the author proposes that the Church of Satan should be more appropriately named ” MY CHURCH”, in view of its individualistic philosophy.  However, the name “Church of Satan” was chosen by its founder, Anton LaVey, to deliberately provoke and challenge societal norms and religious conventions. It serves as a deliberate juxtaposition to mainstream religious institutions and reflects the organization’s rejection of traditional religious beliefs.  While “My Church” may reflect the individualistic philosophy of some members, it would not fully capture the provocative and confrontational nature of the organization’s name and purpose. The Church of Satan’s name emphasizes its rejection of supernatural beliefs, its celebration of individualism, and its unique philosophy based on LaVey’s writings.  It I necessary to note that the Church of Satan’s approach is specific to their organization and may not resonate with everyone. Different individuals and groups have diverse beliefs and values, and what one person may see as a reflection of their individualism, others may find different avenues for expressing their own perspectives.  Ultimately, the name “Church of Satan” is a deliberate choice made by its founder and represents the unique identity and philosophy of the organization, regardless of how others may interpret it.

In Hinduism, all prayers begin with an offering to Lord Ganesha[23], who is regarded as the remover of all obstacles in any intended task or proposed project.  Lord Ganesha, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. He is known as the patron of arts and sciences, and the deva (god) of intellect and wisdom.  The story of how Lord Ganesha’s one tusk got broken varies in different Hindu traditions and texts, but one of the most well-known stories comes from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata[24]. According to this version, Lord Ganesha was created by the goddess Parvati, who sculpted him from clay and brought him to life.  One day, when Parvati was preparing to take a bath, she asked Ganesha to stand guard and not allow anyone to enter. As fate would have it, Lord Shiva[25], Parvati’s[26] husband, returned home unexpectedly. Ganesha, not recognizing Shiva, stopped him from entering.  Enraged at being denied entry into his own home, Shiva engaged in a fierce battle with Ganesha. During the struggle, Shiva swung his divine trident [27](trishula) and struck Ganesha’s tusk, breaking it. Upon realizing that Ganesha was, in fact, his own son, Shiva felt remorseful and sorrowful.   To appease Parvati, who was saddened by the injury to their son, Shiva granted Ganesha a boon that he would be worshipped before all other gods and would be invoked first in all religious ceremonies. This is why, in Hindu rituals and prayers, Lord Ganesha is often worshipped and invoked at the beginning of any auspicious occasion.  However, different variations of this narrative exist in Hindu religion, but the central theme remains the same, Ganesha’s broken tusk symbolises sacrifice and selflessness and is a reminder of his unwavering, eternal devotion and loyalty to his mother, Parvati Devi and to dharma[28] (duties or righteousness).

Another question, often raised, is that of “what are the possible reasons for a sustained state of acrimony, which often leads to belligerence amongst the inter-Abrahamic Faiths, from antiquity to the present era?  The sustained state of acrimony and belligerence amongst the inter-Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) can be attributed to a combination of historical, political, social, and theological factors. Possible reasons are:

  1. Historical Conflicts: Throughout history, there have been numerous conflicts and tensions between different Abrahamic faiths, often driven by territorial disputes, power struggles, and competition for resources. Historical events such as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and various religious wars have contributed to a sense of animosity and mistrust.
  2. Theological Differences: Each Abrahamic faith has its own distinct beliefs and doctrines, leading to theological disagreements and disputes over interpretations of scripture, the nature of God, and other fundamental aspects of faith. These theological differences have sometimes been used to fuel animosity and fuel a sense of religious superiority or exclusivity.
  3. Political and Geopolitical Factors: Religion has often been intertwined with politics and geopolitics, and religious identity has been used as a basis for national or ethnic identity. Conflicts over land, resources, and power have sometimes been framed in religious terms, exacerbating tensions between different religious groups.
  4. Religious Extremism: Extremist ideologies within each Abrahamic faith can lead to a rejection of pluralism and a willingness to use violence to achieve religious or political goals. Radical interpretations of religious texts can fuel hatred and intolerance towards those perceived as outsiders or infidels.
  5. Misunderstanding and Stereotyping: Ignorance, misinformation, and stereotyping of other religious groups can perpetuate negative attitudes and hostilities. Lack of genuine interfaith dialogue and engagement can lead to further polarization and misunderstandings.
  6. Inherited Prejudices: Historical prejudices and negative narratives passed down through generations can perpetuate hostility and suspicion between different religious communities.
  7. Socioeconomic Factors: Socioeconomic disparities can exacerbate tensions between religious groups, with one group perceiving the other as a threat to their livelihood or well-being.
  8. Identity and Belonging: People often derive a strong sense of identity and belonging from their religious community. In times of uncertainty or change, this identity can become more pronounced, leading to an “us versus. them” mentality.

Overcoming these challenges requires a concerted effort from religious leaders, communities, and political leaders to promote tolerance, respect, and genuine dialogue. Recognizing and addressing the underlying factors that contribute to acrimony is essential for fostering peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding between the Abrahamic faiths.  Of these acrimonious sentiments, it appears that the greatest acrimony is leveled, as well as directed against Islam, leading to Islamophobia, noting that there is not even any words such as “Christianophobia or Judaeophobia?

Islamophobia is a term used to describe the fear, prejudice, or hostility towards Islam and Muslims, while there is no commonly used term like “Christianophobia” or “Judaeophobia” to describe similar sentiments towards Christianity or Judaism. This difference in terminology reflects the particular context in which these issues have arisen. The term “Islamophobia” emerged in the late 20th century as a response to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments and discrimination in Western societies. It was coined to address the growing prejudice and negative attitudes towards Muslims, often fuelled by misinformation, stereotypes, and fear of the “other.” Islamophobia has been identified as a significant issue in many Western countries and has been associated with acts of discrimination, hate crimes, and exclusion of Muslims from various aspects of society. On the other hand, while Christianity and Judaism have also faced discrimination and prejudice in various historical and contemporary contexts, the terms “Christianophobia” and “Judaeophobia” have not gained the same level of recognition and usage as “Islamophobia[29].” This could be attributed to several factors:

  1. Historical Context: Islamophobia emerged in the context of rising anti-Muslim sentiments and the increased visibility of Muslims in Western societies in the late 20th century. There has been a perception that Muslims and Islam have been unfairly targeted and stigmatized in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and conflicts involving Muslim-majority countries.
  2. Global Political Context: In recent years, Islam and Muslims have been central to various geopolitical conflicts and debates, which may have contributed to the widespread use of the term “Islamophobia” in public discourse.
  3. Perception of Muslims: Muslims are often perceived as a distinct and visible religious and cultural group, which may make them more susceptible to prejudice and discrimination. On the other hand, Christianity and Judaism are more deeply embedded in Western societies, making it less likely for people to use terms like “Christianophobia” or “Judaeophobia.”
  4. Context of Marginalisation: In some Western societies, Muslims have been marginalized and face challenges related to integration, religious rights, and cultural acceptance. This context of marginalization may have contributed to the emphasis on addressing Islamophobia as a specific form of discrimination.

It is important to recognise and address all forms of discrimination and prejudice, regardless of the specific term used. Encouraging dialogue, education, and understanding between different religious and cultural groups is essential in combating prejudice and fostering harmony among diverse communities.  Another possible reason could be that Western media is controlled by various governments and politically biased groups, hence there is a collective anti-Islamic sentiment, orchestrated by West, which is plausible explanation?  While media bias and government influence can certainly play a role in shaping public perceptions and attitudes, it is important to avoid making sweeping generalizations. The issue of Islamophobia is complex and multifaceted, and it is influenced by a combination of factors:

There are certainly instances where media outlets, influenced by political biases or agendas, have contributed to negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims. Some media outlets may focus disproportionately on negative news stories related to Islam, terrorism, or cultural differences, which can perpetuate stereotypes and reinforce prejudiced views. Additionally, there have been cases where politicians and political groups have exploited Islamophobia for their own gain, using fear and prejudice as a tool to rally support or further their agenda.  However, it is essential to recognize that not all media outlets or governments perpetuate Islamophobia, and there are also voices within the media and political spheres that promote understanding, tolerance, and respect for diverse communities, including Muslims. Islamophobia is a complex social issue that goes beyond media portrayals and government influence. It is influenced by historical factors, cultural dynamics, economic disparities, and social attitudes, among other factors. Prejudice and discrimination against Muslims can also be perpetuated at an individual level, within communities, and through social interactions.  Addressing Islamophobia requires a comprehensive approach that includes media literacy, education, interfaith dialogue, community engagement, and policy initiatives. By promoting accurate information, countering stereotypes, and fostering empathy and understanding, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and respectful society that values diversity and rejects discrimination in all its forms.

Both Islamophobia and antisemitism, are both scourges of humanity’s anti-religious sentiments, based on stereotypes and specific rituals of these two Abrahamic faiths, probably orchestrated in medieval Europe. Counteracting Islamophobia and antisemitism requires a multi-faceted approach that involves individuals, communities, educational institutions, governments, and media outlets. Here are some strategies that can help address these issues:

  1. Education and Awareness: Promote accurate information about Islam, Judaism, and other religions to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions. Incorporate religious literacy and interfaith education into school curricula to foster understanding and respect for diverse beliefs.
  2. Interfaith Dialogue: Facilitate meaningful and respectful dialogue between people of different religious backgrounds. Encourage collaboration and joint initiatives to build bridges and foster empathy.
  3. Media Literacy: Promote media literacy to help individuals critically analyze media messages and identify biased or misleading portrayals of Islam and Judaism. Encourage media outlets to adopt ethical reporting practices and promote diversity in their coverage.
  4. Government Policies: Advocate for policies that protect religious freedom and combat discrimination. Ensure that laws and regulations uphold the rights of all religious communities and provide legal recourse against hate crimes and discrimination.
  5. Community Engagement: Encourage community outreach and engagement to build relationships between different religious and cultural groups. Promote initiatives that foster social cohesion and unity.
  6. Counter Hate Speech: Monitor and address hate speech targeting religious groups, both online and offline. Encourage responsible use of social media platforms and create safe spaces for constructive dialogue.
  7. Challenging Prejudice: Encourage individuals to challenge their own biases and prejudices. Promote empathy and understanding by sharing personal stories and experiences.
  8. Leadership and Role Models: Support religious and community leaders who actively promote tolerance, inclusiveness, and respect for all. Encourage them to speak out against hate and discrimination.
  9. Celebrating Diversity: Organize events and activities that celebrate the cultural and religious diversity within communities. Emphasize the richness that diversity brings to society.
  10. Supporting Victims: Provide support and resources to individuals and communities who have experienced discrimination or hate crimes. Ensure that victims are heard and empowered to seek justice.
  11. Allies and Advocates: Encourage people from all backgrounds to become allies and advocates for religious tolerance and understanding. Solidarity between different communities can be a powerful force in combating discrimination.

By implementing these strategies, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and compassionate society that respects and values people of all religious backgrounds. The “Burning of the Quran” in Stockholm, Sweden, is a major peace disruptor. This anti-religious act against the holy scripture of any religion, constitutes violation of freedom of expression, on the part of the perpetrator of this singular anti-Islamic act, in some, so called democratic circles.  or is an aspect of the overall concept of “Hate Speech”?  The burning of any religious texts, including the Quran, is a highly sensitive and controversial act that can have significant consequences for inter-religious harmony and peace. Whether it constitutes freedom of expression or falls under the category of “hate speech” depends on the specific context and legal framework in which it occurs.

  1. Freedom of Expression[30]: Many countries uphold freedom of expression as a fundamental right, allowing individuals to express their views, opinions, and beliefs freely. Burning the Quran, as a form of expression, may be considered within the bounds of this right in some jurisdictions, as long as it does not incite violence or harm to others.
  2. Hate Speech[31]: On the other hand, hate speech is generally understood as speech that promotes or incites hatred, violence, discrimination, or hostility towards a particular group based on their religion, ethnicity, race, or other characteristics. If the burning of the Quran[32] is done with the intention of inciting hatred or hostility towards Muslims, it could be considered hate speech and may be subject to legal restrictions in some countries.

It is crucial to note that while freedom of expression is a fundamental right, it is not an absolute right. Many legal systems impose limitations on freedom of expression to protect the rights and safety of others. For example, speech that incites violence or poses a clear and present danger to public order and safety may be restricted.  In the context of promoting peace and inter-religious harmony, it is essential to approach religious symbols and texts with respect and sensitivity. Deliberately burning or desecrating religious texts is likely to be deeply offensive and hurtful to members of the affected religious community. Instead, fostering understanding, empathy, and dialogue between different religious groups can contribute to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.  Ultimately, the balance between freedom of expression and the prevention of hate speech is a delicate matter that requires thoughtful consideration of the specific circumstances and the potential impact on social cohesion and peace.

The roots of Islamophobia are complex and multifaceted, and it is influenced by various historical, political, and social factors. While the term “Islamophobia” was coined in the 21st  century, the underlying prejudices and negative attitudes towards Islam and Muslims can be traced back to much earlier historical periods. The First Crusade, which began in 1096, was a series of military campaigns initiated by the Catholic Church with the goal of reclaiming Christian holy sites in the Holy Land[33] from Muslim rule. It was a complex historical event with various motivations, including religious fervour, political ambitions, and economic interests. While the Crusades[34] were framed as religious wars, it is essential to note that the motivations and actions of individuals and groups involved in the Crusades were diverse and multifaceted. During and after the Crusades, there were instances of hostility and animosity between Christians and Muslims, which contributed to the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and prejudices towards Islam. These attitudes were often reinforced by political and religious leaders to mobilize support for military campaigns. However, it is important to recognize that Islamophobia did not originate solely from the Crusades. Negative perceptions of Islam and Muslims existed in various parts of the world, both before and after this historical period. They were influenced by factors such as cultural differences, geopolitical conflicts, economic competition, and colonialism.  The modern term “Islamophobia” emerged in the 21st century and gained prominence in the aftermath of the 11th September, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. These attacks, carried out by a small group of extremists claiming to represent Islam, led to an increase in negative attitudes and prejudices towards Muslims globally. Media coverage, political discourse, and public perceptions further contributed to the framing of Islam as a threat, which led to the widespread use of the term “Islamophobia.”.

Regarding the Crusades, some historians concur that the pretext for the First crusade, was initiated to search for the “Holy Grail” or the Blessed, Holy Chalice which was narratively used to share wine at the “Last Supper”, as mentioned in the Bible.  However, the following rationale was the genuine motivation for these bloody campaigns in Christianity, in which thousand of women, children and men were butchered, in the name of religion and were a major cause of regional Peace Disruption.

  1. While historical events like the Crusades may have contributed to the development of negative perceptions of Islam, it is essential to recognize that Islamophobia is a complex and evolving phenomenon that is influenced by various contemporary factors as well. Understanding the historical context can provide insights into the roots of Islamophobia, but addressing it requires a comprehensive and nuanced approach that considers the modern realities and challenges faced by Muslim communities around the world. The First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II[35]. He issued a call for a military expedition to the Holy Land in 1095 during the Council of Clermont, a church council held in Clermont, France[36]. In his speech, he urged Christians to take up arms and recapture Jerusalem and other holy sites in the Holy Land from Muslim control. The Pope’s motivations for calling the Crusade were complex and included religious, political, and social factors. He sought to unite Christendom and address internal conflicts within Europe while also promoting the idea of a holy pilgrimage and the defence of Christian territories.
  2. The notion of searching for the “Holy Grail” or the Blessed Chalice is not directly linked to the First Crusade. The concept of the Holy Grail emerged later in medieval literature and became associated with the legend of King Arthur and his knights. The Holy Grail is often depicted as the cup or chalice used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. While the idea of the Holy Grail may have captured the imagination of later medieval writers and storytellers, it was not a central motivation for the First Crusade.

The primary objective of the First Crusade was to reclaim the holy sites in the Holy Land, including Jerusalem, which were considered significant to Christians due to their association with events in the life of Jesus Christ. The Crusaders saw themselves as warriors of Christ fighting to defend Christianity and restore Christian control over these sacred places. While religious relics and legends played a role in shaping the cultural and literary context of the time, they were not the driving force behind the First Crusade’s military campaign.

Being dead can be such a bore, unless there are professional strippers in the funeral. In China’s Donghai region, funerals are actually status symbols. A dead man’s reputation and honor is considered to be directly proportional to the number of people who attend his funeral. So, the relatives hire strippers to attract the crowds, who may be total strangers. The Chinese authorities have started cracking down on the practice after incessant media glare.  Note the body of the deceased in the coffin, with the stripper performing a “Live Show” for the family and the mourners”.

Funerary rituals can vary significantly across cultures and religions, and what may seem unusual or weird in one society might be considered normal or even sacred in another. Here are some extraordinary funerary rituals from different cultures that might stand out when compared to more mainstream practices:

  1. Sky Burial [37](Tibet): In Tibetan Buddhism, a sky burial involves placing the deceased’s body on a mountaintop or other elevated location, where vultures and other scavengers consume the remains. It is believed to help release the soul from the body and facilitate the cycle of rebirth.
  2. Endocannibalism[38] (Fore Tribe, Papua New Guinea): The Fore tribe practices a funerary ritual known as endocannibalism, where deceased relatives are cooked and eaten by their family members. This practice is based on the belief that consuming the deceased’s body ensures the spirit’s continuity and that their life force is passed on to the living.
  3. Famadihana[39] (Madagascar): In this Malagasy ritual, known as “turning of the bones,” the remains of deceased ancestors are exhumed from their tombs, wrapped in new shrouds, and danced with in a joyous celebration. The ceremony is held to honour and remember the deceased.
  4. Hanging Coffins[40] (China, Philippines, Indonesia): In some regions of China and Southeast Asia, certain tribes and communities have practiced the tradition of placing coffins containing the deceased on cliff faces or in caves. This custom is believed to bring the departed closer to heaven and protect them from scavengers.
  5. Mummification[41] (Ancient Egypt): Ancient Egyptians practiced elaborate mummification rituals to preserve the bodies of the deceased for the afterlife. The process involved removing internal organs and drying the body before wrapping it in linen bandages.
  6. Self-Mummification by Monks in Japan[42]. Sokushinbutsu (即身仏) are a type of Buddhist mummy. In Japan the term refers to the practice of Buddhist monks observing asceticism to the point of death and entering mummification while alive. Although mummified monks are seen in a number of Buddhist countries, especially in South Asia where monks are mummified after dying of natural causes, it is only in Japan that monks are believed to have induced their own death by starvation, over a period of 1000 days.
  7. Viking Funeral (Norse Culture)[43]: The Vikings had several burial customs, one of which involved placing the deceased on a boat along with their belongings and setting it on fire. The burning ship would then be pushed out to sea, symbolizing the deceased’s journey to the afterlife.
  8. Zoroastrian[44] Towers of Silence[45] (Iran[46], India[47]): Zoroastrians practice the disposal of the dead in towers of silence, where the bodies are left exposed to the elements and scavenging birds. This practice is based on the belief of maintaining the purity of the earth and fire, avoiding contamination, by interment or cremation of the deceased.

The above list is a few examples of extraordinary funerary rituals that might be considered strange or unique from the perspective of other cultural traditions. It’s essential to remember that these practices hold deep cultural, spiritual, and religious significance for the communities that observe them.

The Bottom Line is that spirituality in Religious Rituals across Abrahamic and Non-Abrahamic Faiths in relation to observance and practise of different religious rituals play a central role in expressing and nurturing spirituality within various faith traditions worldwide. Whether practiced in the context of Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) or Non-Abrahamic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc.), these rituals are diverse in form and purpose, yet they all share a common thread: the pursuit of a deeper connection with the Divine Supreme, or a higher realm. This article delves into the significance of religious rituals in fostering spirituality within both Abrahamic and Non-Abrahamic faiths.  Each and every ritual is in its own context is performed in pursuit of attaining inner peace and harmony with the Guardian of the Universe, called in diverse names and spiritual expressions, varying from “Dancing with the Dead[48]” to sombre religious practices, over the eons of human physical and social, as well as spiritual evolution.

In the tapestry of human spirituality, religious rituals hold a prominent place. Whether practiced within Abrahamic faiths or Non-Abrahamic religions[49], these rituals provide a framework for believers to cultivate a deeper connection with the Supreme Divine[50], find inner peace, and express their unique spiritual essence. Through interfaith dialogue and understanding, societies can embrace diversity, bridge religious divides, and foster a world where different religious rituals can coexist in harmony, promoting peace and mutual respect among all people.  These strategies, both at a personal as well as at a national level in secular and non secular countries will result in sustainable peace, national cohesion and global harmony.

Specialised Religious Ritual of the Zoroastrians:  Towers of Silence in Mumbai, Malabar Hill, India.  The Parsees do not believe in defiling the Mother Earth by the interment of a human body, after death, nor cremating in the fire of the deceased, as the body is considered impure, to be consumed by the purity of the flames.  Note the pallbearers bring the body into the top of the tower, while the vultures, wait to devours the deceased, eating the eyeballs, first. The central pit, is where the bones are washed by rain, from the sloping surface of the final resting place of the deceased.  
Incidentally, the beaks and claws of these vultures are weakened and softened by the arthritis medication commonly used by the geriatric deceased in current times, resulting the vultures starving to death, since they cannot effectively tear the flesh off the bones.


[1] Personal quote by the author, July 2023




















































Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Jul 2023.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: The Contributions and Impact of Contemporary Religious Rituals on Pillars of Peace (Part 5), is included. Thank you.

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