Even Gaza Strip and West Bank. Palestine’s

Even imagining a world where there could be peaceful religious relations seems unfathomable to many, as the world has been stained by religious pluralism and controversy. What if all religions were truly respected and accepted on a global scale? The world would be a perfect utopia. It would erase history’s past of religious persecution and the pre-existing religious controversy of the world today. History is abundant with evidence that controversies among religions have been one of the primary causes of suffering, tragedy, and war. According to the Huffington Post, “The Potato Famines were a systematic effort to thin the Catholic Irish population. The Nazis spun a brew of Christianity and the occult as mythology and theology and inspiration for war and mass murder”. In 1096, the Crusades, a series of wars among Christians and Muslims, began in order to gain control of holy grounds. In the sixteenth century, Protestant Reformation caused Christianity to split into different sub-religions, and in the Roman Empire, the emperor continued his faith as a Catholic. Impeding his views on others, he made regulations for the empire that corresponded with his religion and made Protestants fight for their rights. The result was a thirty-year war to decide what churches Europeans were allowed to attend (Sailus, study.com). The Ku Klux Klan was revived in 1915, waging their wrath against Catholics and Jews. The list of religious persecution and holy war goes on and on. Religious dissension isn’t just a dilemma of the past; it continues to persist in the current world today. The Palestine-Israelite conflict today is causing tragedy in the Middle East as the two neighbors fight over sacred territory. Daily, the media show the continuous violence in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Palestine’s leader, Yasser Arafat claims that there will be no peace between the two until Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine; while the Israeli leaders demand that Jerusalem remains under Israeli jurisdiction (Spiro, aish.com). In addition, Muslim-Christian fueds from hundreds of years ago wage on today. Old hatreds from the Crusade wars control the opinions of Muslims toward Christians and vice versa, leading to Islamophobia in the west. This Islamophobia has resulted in sectarian and militant groups, including ISIS, that believe that they should wage war against Christians and Americans due to the jihad of the sword. The jihad of the sword states that if necessary, as a last resort, Muslims may fight against social injustice. Muslim extremists manipulate this jihad in order to call for a holy war against other religions, especially preaching anti-Christian sentiment. For example, one of ISIS’ major goals is to overcome the Middle East, consolidate its control of territory in Iraq and Syria, advance into other Middle-Eastern countries, and convert the world to Islam. Ultimately, this creates even more Islamophobia, partly because of some Christian ignorance and the belief that ISIS represents all of the Islamic religion.Yet, none of these horrific events and beliefs would have happened if all religions were respected. Religious disagreements have proven to be a cause of the populace resorting to violence. In a world where all religions were respected, there would be no conflict among religious groups, allowing humanity to live together harmoniously. Humankind would be united by shared ethical values. Countries would communicate more productively and create better diplomatic relationships because religious differences would no longer be an arguing point. Cultures would be much more unified, and diversity would be abundant. Individuals would be able to embrace their religion to the fullest extent because there would be nothing holding them back. The world would be infinitely more peaceful, as there would be one less thing dividing everyone. Could this really be possible? Could humankind come together and learn to accept others’ differences regarding religion and learn to respect them? Obviously there are no simple solutions to dire religious conflicts; however, there is a way that peace can exist. Take slavery for example. “For thousands of years, slavery was an integral and accepted element of most cultures. Yet today most nations voluntarily outlawed slavery. How did this happen? It happened because we have gradually been increasing our understanding of certain aspects of life” (Kim Michaels, kimmichaels.info). If humanity began to open up to different religions, they would find that there are large similarities among many religions. Taking the time to recognize common ground among the religions would lead to more understanding, respect, and acceptance. Developing a certain level of understanding of each religion would display to humankind that they can move past conflict. In conclusion, the world would be greatly more peaceful if all religions were respected from the beginning of time. The history of past holy wars and religious persecution would be expunged, and current religious conflicts would be non-existent. However, only with a greater understanding of each religion and recognition of common ground amongst religions is the only way to achieve acceptance, respect, and peace.