Every year, on the third Sunday in January, people of myriad cultures and backgrounds come together on World Religion Day in celebration of the commonality of faiths throughout the world.
World Religion Day was inaugurated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States to call attention to the harmony among spiritual principles of all faiths and to recognize religion as a primary unifying force.
The Day calls on those of faith to promote the unity of religious peoples, recognize that despite their diversity, all religions have a common spiritual goal, and to commit to overcoming historical differences that have pitted religions against one another for ideological and physical dominance.
There are more than 4,000 different religions in the world today. Three-quarters of the world practice Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism. With an estimated 2.4 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims and 14.3 million Jews, the potential that religious unity could have on society is formidable.
Despite media denigration and government attacks, religion and religious people provide hope and help and they play a primary role in shaping the morals, ethics and customs that hold cultures together.
In an essay titled “Religious Influence in Society,” Scientology Founder
L. Ron Hubbard wrote:’
“For thousands of years on this planet thinking Man has upheld his own spirituality and considered the Ultimate wisdom to be spiritual enlightenment.
“Religion has also been attacked as primitive. Too much study of primitive cultures may lead one to believe religion is primitive as it is so dominant in them and that ‘modern’ cultures can dispense with it. The truth of the matter is that at no time is religion more necessary as a civilizing force than in the presence of huge forces in the hands of Man, who may have become very lacking in social abilities emphasized in religion.
“The great religious civilizing forces of the past, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and others, have all emphasized differentiation of good from evil and higher ethical values.”
“When religion is not influential in a society or has ceased to be, the state inherits the entire burden of public morality, crime and intolerance. It then must use punishment and police. Yet this is unsuccessful as morality, integrity and self-respect not already inherent in the individual, cannot be enforced with any great success. Only by a spiritual awareness and inculcation of the spiritual value of these attributes can they come about.”
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.