Faith and Diplomacy in a Modern World

The human race has been struggling to find peace between religion and diplomacy for decades. The start of numerous wars was due to a misunderstanding between policy makers and religious figures. Religion is an emotional thing, something that happens with compassion and understanding and traditions, people will take disrespect of a religion as a personal offence. Diplomacy is something that uses rules and regulations to control and order. This is why the two will never truly be on even playing field where an individual could choose a side.

There needs to be combining of the two to prevent issues from arising. That’s why each religion must be studied and learned. To run any successful government society as a whole needs to have a full understanding of all religions. The Dalai Lama, Madeleine Albright, and Thomas Friedman all give ideas to how this can be done. When you are elected into any political position you have a lot of new powers. The Dalai Lama said “with great power comes great responsibility”, this is very true when it comes to government.

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Political figures have a responsibility to give the people what they want and also what is best for them. They must use their power to please the masses and heal the planet, especially if they wish to be re-elected. Part of the masses that need to be pleased is religious groups. They are different all over the world but they all want pretty much the same thing and that is too be respected, praise their god, and earn more followers. Politicians must use their power in a way that does not step over the toes of people of faith. This does not mean that religion deserves a place in government. Religion is a powerful force but its impact depends entirely on what it inspires people to do. ” Albright understands that religion has its positives and negatives. Friedman agrees, “We cannot live with nuclear terrorism. ” He believes that certain religions push people to do the wrong thing, such as blow each other up (Friedman 76). If a member of a religious group wants to plant trees because their goddess wishes it so, great, go ahead and let them do what they want. But when a member of a religious group wishes to sacrifice his child to his god there is a problem.

We have to limit what is allowed to happen in government. We can not allow people to control us with there religious views on things. “The challenge of policy makers is to harness the unifying potential of faith while containing its capacity to divide” (Albright 2). It is up to policy makers to draw the line on religious freedoms in government. Every religion practices teaching its rules and traditions so that they may be passed down through generations and live on. There are many of these rules that help society as whole, such as teaching compassion and forgiveness.

But, there are times when what religion teaches us is not always for the better. “There are people who are willing to die – and kill – for their faith” (Albright 4). All across our globe there are incidences where people have killed others simply because they believe it will please their god. For instance, in 1578 the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II began his attempts to suppress the Protestants from practicing their religion in his empire. This led to the thirty years war which is believed to be an extremely bloody event with guesses that over six million people were killed.

Now, granted, that may have been awhile ago but as Albright states “this was true thousands of years ago and is no less true today” (4). If humans were able to live with one another’s religions, and teach only the positive lessens, I believe there would be no problem in granting some religious decisions in politics. But, unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and as we have seen throughout history religion can not be trusted to only help the public, and due to this fact religion can not be allowed to decide, or even have any say in diplomatic global decisions.

There have been so many religious wars started mostly by a misunderstanding, which is why it is important to accept and learn about every religion. Albright tells us that religious wars are proven to be drawn out much longer and are much bloodier wars then the average (Albright 2). “As our experience in Iran reflected, the United States has not always understood this well enough. To lead internationally, American policy-makers must learn as much as possible about religion, and then incorporate that knowledge in their surgery – a necessary task, but fatal if not done well” (7).

Albright illustrates that it is important to have a complete understanding of the culture of those you are trying to have diplomatic relations with. As the Dalai Lama said “We must rise to the ethical challenge as members of one human family, not as a Buddhist, a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim. Nor is it adequate to address these ethical challenges from the perspective of purely secular liberal political ideals, such as individual freedom, choice, and fairness” (Dalai Lama 53).

Once we can accept everyone’s religion, we can have a fully functional government. Until then we have to remember to respect one another and all other countries views if we wish global decisions to go the way we want for the best of the people. So many people in America complain about others needing compassion and understanding beliefs. My question to these people is this: Why are you not properly educating every generation to fully understand the world’s religions?

I know the answer, and even though many wouldn’t admit it, these concepts are not taught to children out of fear. Out of fear that these children will have the power to choose there own path, one that daddy does not agree with. I think it is one hundred percent unethical and wrong to limit religious teachings in schools. How do we expect our children to go out in the world or even make informed voting decisions when they have been sheltered and do not fully understand the workings of our planet!

The key would be to teach an even amount about every religion so there is no biasness. Also, teachers would not teach in a way saying that the religion and its beliefs were correct and right, just laying them out, saying “this is what this group of people believes; you can decide for yourself what is right and wrong. ” Limiting what teachers are allowed to say is almost like a sort of propaganda, they only let us learn what they want us to know, so that we will be easier to control because we where raised with closed minds.

We must not let fear influence our decisions, or else we are weak. If we wish to strengthen our country we must fully educate the population, higher our teaching standards. This next generation, is after all, the next round of presidents, house of reps, and senate. Don’t you think they should know about other countries? Another way that we can have peace between nations is to have economic peace with them. Friedman’s theories of Dell Conflict Prevention and the Golden Arches theory are two things that really drive this point home. The Golden arches theory stipulated that when a country reached the level of economic development where it had a middle class big enough to support a network of McDonald’s, it became a McDonald’s country. And people in McDonald’s countries didn’t like to fight wars anymore. They preferred to wait in line for burgers” (Friedman 63). Once a country is successful, you can almost say that they have come out of the middle ages, and they don’t feel the need to war with one another anymore because they have other things to be doing, raising families and just living life in the 21st century.

The Dell Theory of Conflict Revolution is illustrated when Friedman gives a detailed description of the hundreds of parts collected from over thirty different countries that all came together to be made into one Dell laptop. This shows how when countries are involved economically they are going to be more peaceful with these nations because of the fact that if something happened to them it would mess up their own country’s economy as well. In conclusion, if we are to have successful diplomacy between all countries and cultures we learn to accept and come to know everyone’s religious and ethical views.

If we do this then it is possible leave religion out of government decisions. “I was flooded with the feeling of how ridiculous are the various disagreements and squabbles within the human family. I saw how futile it is to cling so tenaciously to the differences that divide us. From this perspective one feels the fragility, the vulnerability of our planet and its limited occupation of a small orbit sandwiched between Venus and Mars in the vast infinity of space. If we do not look after this home, what else are we charged to do on this earth? ” (Dalai Lama 56).

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