Cheah Meng Kit KEW080006, Chai Ming Yung KEW080004, Chan Xing Khuan KEW080005, Leong Jia Wei KEW080013, Chia Li-Yan KEW080007, Ng Chee Ling KEW080015

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Cheah Meng Kit KEW080006, Chai Ming Yung KEW080004, Chan Xing Khuan KEW080005, Leong Jia Wei KEW080013, Chia Li-Yan KEW080007, Ng Chee Ling KEW080015

Post  CHAI MING YUNG(KEW080004) on Tue 09 Feb 2010, 1:20 am

Assignment on the slide:

According online definition of pluralism:
1) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pluralism
- The condition of being multiple or plural.
- A condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society.
- The belief that such a condition is desirable or socially beneficial.
- The doctrine that reality is composed of many ultimate substances.
- The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.
- Ecclesiastical The holding by one person of two or more positions or offices, especially two or more ecclesiastical benefices, at the same time.
- Philosophy
a. The doctrine that reality is composed of many ultimate substances.
b. The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.
2) http://pluralism.org/pluralism/what_is_pluralism.php

The plurality of religious traditions and cultures has come to characterize every part of the world today. But what is pluralism? Here are four points to begin our thinking:
- First, pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettoes with little traffic between or among them. Today, religious diversity is a given, but pluralism is not a given; it is an achievement. Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies.
- Second, pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but it does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about one another. Tolerance is too thin a foundation for a world of religious difference and proximity. It does nothing to remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves in place the stereotype, the half-truth, the fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly.
- Third, pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments. The new paradigm of pluralism does not require us to leave our identities and our commitments behind, for pluralism is the encounter of commitments. It means holding our deepest differences, even our religious differences, not in isolation, but in relationship to one another.
- Fourth, pluralism is based on dialogue. The language of pluralism is that of dialogue and encounter, give and take, criticism and self-criticism. Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that process reveals both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table -- with one’s commitments.
3) http://www.allaboutreligion.org/pluralism-definition-faq.htm
A pluralism definition has the basis in operating under the principles of acceptance and diversity. It is promoted as a system for the “common good” of all. It is a coming together with common recognition and credence to all beliefs and developments of modern social, scientific, and economic societies.

Wikipedia says, “For pluralism to function and be successful in achieving the common good, all groups have to agree to a minimal consensus regarding both shared values, which tie the different groups to society, and shared rules. . .” This sounds good but is impractical and can we dare say impossible when there will always be certain truths that are non-compromising.

Religious pluralism is a set of worldviews that stands on the premise that one religion is not the sole exclusive source of values, truths, and supreme deity. It therefore must recognize that at least “some” truth must exist in other belief systems. This is one example of “they can’t all be right.”

After doing some research via online method on meaning and definition of pluralism, we concluded that the content of the first slide does indeed clarified the meaning of pluralism, although not comprehensive, but the slide indeed stated out some fundamental understanding of plurism.

References:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pluralism
http://pluralism.org/pluralism/what_is_pluralism.php
http://www.allaboutreligion.org/pluralism-definition-faq.htm

As for the second slide, we all firmly agree that the issue of pluralism is very important to human well-being. As what the slide mentioned, a not well preserved plurality in human life will bring catastrophic event, and these catastrophic event will surely bring terror and suffer to human being. We surely do not want event like May 13, 1969 to occur again. It is a disaster for citizens of Malaysia. Therefore a good inter-ethnic and inter-religious relation in Malaysia is very important and crucial as Malaysia is a country that is made up with a large diversity of ethnic and religion. A good inter-ethnic and inter-religious relation can make sure that citizens of Malaysia can live in harmonic and peace. This can be achieved by actively having dialogues among the people of different ethnic and religion. By trying to understand each other differences, tolerance can be instilled inside every one of them, and with tolerance, different ethnics and religions can live in the same country harmonically. A riot among the citizens of a country will make the country collapse in no time, this of course is what we all want to avoid.

The Quran and Ethnic Pluralism
“O humankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (49:13)

The verse explains:
- The origin of human family
I agree with it that human are created not only from their parents, but the most important part is we are created by God.

- The purpose of ethnic diversity; embracing the theological and the social cultural
I not very agree with the statement above as it not much related to the verse we had seen just now. First of all, it does not explain much about ethnic or ethnic diversity, especially the purpose of ethnic diversity. Second, the verse alone also does not say anything about social cultural.

- The Quranic position on ethnic pluralism: mutual knowledge and acquaintance among ethnic groups, which will lead to God the One.
As a reader, I myself feel a little bit confuse, and blur on the statement above. It is because from the verse I do not find anything about the Quranic position on ethnic pluralism, hence a question such as “where is the Quranic position on ethnic pluralism” may pop up.” mutual knowledge and acquaintance among ethnic groups”? But from what I read from the verse, it is “God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. Actually I believe it means God is the one who know everything because he is the God who creates all things and is well acquainted with all things.

- Human excellence needs to be defined in universal spiritual and moral terms
I agree with the statement above because what we thought as a human is correct may not correct in the sight of God. Human need to improve and achieve excellence by the guide of spiritual and moral terms.
Another verse: ”And among His(i.e. God’s) signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are signs for those who know”.(30:22)

Ethnic diversity: the Quran looks at languages as the most important defining element of ethnicity; language is the soul of ethnicity.

I agree with the statement above where language is the most important defining element of ethnicity. It is because it is a common element among the people of certain ethnic, and from the language used we can know the origins of a person. However, nowadays, due to globalization and other reasons, we facing a problem that certain people cannot speak well or even understand their own language. This kind of trend need to be overcome using effective method.

From the slide I also agree that ethnic diversity is partly the product of the natural factors and partly the product of human cultural development. Speech is also essential to man both in his relation to God and his relation to fellow men. Without a proper communication (speech), a good relation cannot be achieved.

The practical implication: Islam’s respect for language diversity.

The statement above state that the practical implication is respect for language diversity. But, what about the statement that says languages as the most important defining element of ethnicity? In my opinion, language is a useful tool to communicate with other ethnic if they do not understand our language. Hence, learning another language is good for us where by doing this we can have more effective communication.


The Quran and Religious Pluralism
The Qu’ran on religious diversity:
“To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single People, but ( His plan is ) to test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute.”

The Quran recognizes the individuality of each human being as well as the individuality of their groups and communities. If God had so willed, says the Quran, He would have forced people to come together to one point, but this obviously did not exist. He created beings to be different from one another, but He wants all faiths and religions to be part of unity assembling all divergences. He wanted all religions and rites to come under a broad framework that contains and regulates all differences and varieties. Diversities should not create any barrier or animosities among human beings.

Law of divine, a law that is believed to come directly from God. God has been sending many prophets to different people at different stages in human history, to give the people divine guidance as how to live this life. These prophets are Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad. Each of them brought the same basic ideas of Islam which is the submission to God, his words and his orders. As time goes by, book may have been translated too many times inaccurately, and that the original text had been mixed with personal notes of self-appointed apostles or opinions and explanations of one person.

The human factor in religious diversity:

“Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with God, who then will tell them what they used to do.”

They are people who will make sects but we shouldn’t worry about them because if they are doing something wrong, it would be just between them and God. They are allowed to believe what they want to believe. Violence against people who believe something different than you is definitely wrong. Besides, having many sects does not mean that their goals aren’t the same.

The differences that exist among religions are the result of misinterpretations which have taken place over centuries. As times goes by, many changes occur and eventually new things will be discover. Originality will be influence due to these changes.

Every misunderstand that occurs between religion can always be solve in a peaceful way. War and violence should not exist. The respect of diversity comes when we recognize certain principles such as the basic equality of the human beings, universal human rights, the dignity of human beings and fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief. It is not impossible to create unity in diversity. This was proven during the independence day of Malaysia.

The Islamic idea of pluralism is based on concept of unity (al- tawhid) where that is the relationship between the One and the many. From the One we have the many; through the many we are brought back to the One; from unity to multiplicity; through multiplicity back to unity. In natural world, we have biological diversity where it is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or for the entire Earth. In the human world, we have cultural diversity where the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole.

As well as the more obvious cultural differences that exist between people, such as language, dress and traditions, there are also significant variations in the way societies organize themselves, in their shared conception of morality and religions, and in the ways they interact with their environment. By analogy with biodiversity, which is thought to be essential to the long-term survival of life on earth, it can be argued that cultural diversity may be vital for the long-term survival of humanity; and that the conservation of indigenous cultures may be as important to humankind as the conservation of species and ecosystems is to life in general. According to the Qur’an both biological and cultural diversities are manifestations of God the One.
Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of different religions, and is used in a number of related ways:

 As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.
 As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid. This posture often emphasizes religion's common aspects.
 Sometimes as a synonym for ecumenism, i.e., the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denominations within a single religion.
 As term for the condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations.

Ethnic and religious pluralism is sometimes used as a synonym for interfaith dialogue. Interfaith dialogue refers to dialogue between members of different religions for the goal of reducing conflicts between their religions and to achieve agreed upon mutually desirable goals. Inter-religious dialogue is difficult if the partners adopt a position of particularism, but is favored by the opposite attitude of universalism. Interfaith dialogue is easier if a religion's adherents have some form of inclusivism, the belief that people in other religions may also have a way to salvation, even though the fullness of salvation can be achieved only in one’s own religion. Conversely, believers with an exclusivist mindset will rather tend to proselytize followers of other religions, than seek an open-ended dialogue with them.

People should not only care about the concerns of their own group, but care is taken for the concerns of others. All people are under the consideration and love of God in a God-centered human civilization in accord with the divine concepts. We believe that in understanding the relationship between religions, while one set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. We should not assert that only one way is true and all others are in error. The practice of being exclusive with mentality characterized by the disregard for opinions and ideas other than one's own, or the practice of organizing entities into groups by excluding those entities which possess certain traits is strongly prohibited.

Ethnic and religious pluralism has a long history and development that reaches from antiquity to contemporary trends in post-modernity. Muslims consider the monotheistic faiths that preceded it, Judaism and Christianity, to be valid in its original form. Like Christianity, Islam originally did not have ideas of religious pluralism for different Islamic denominations. Islam is still claiming a universal value of their doctrine and moral principles which they feel they are inclusive by accepting other religions in an inclusive manner, believing in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine.

To promote ethnic and religious pluralism, Islam has divided their family into many ethnic and religious groups with the existence of cooperation among them. A healthy competition between them is hopefully to be exist also. Early on, Islam developed into several mutually antagonistic streams, including Shiite Islam and Sunni Islam. In some periods believers in these two communities went to war with each other over religious differences. In Modern (post-Enlightenment) Islamic views, some Shiite, Suni and Sufi Islamic leaders are willing to recognize each other's denomination as a valid form of Islam. However, many other Islamic leaders are unwilling to accept this; they view other forms of Islam as outside the Islamic religion.

To bridging the gap between them, Islamic teachings on diversity in biological and cultural among different religious groups should propagate to avoid misunderstanding. The societal mechanisms Islam is need to be understandable in order to realize the philosophy of different ethnic and religious pluralism. Besides, Muslims must strive to have more meaningful dialogues with the non-Muslims and to promote better inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in order to reducing conflicts between their religions and to achieve agreed upon mutually desirable goals. Lastly, justice is the core of social teaching of Islam by seeks to serve the cause of justice in the human order.
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CHAI MING YUNG(KEW080004)

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Re: Cheah Meng Kit KEW080006, Chai Ming Yung KEW080004, Chan Xing Khuan KEW080005, Leong Jia Wei KEW080013, Chia Li-Yan KEW080007, Ng Chee Ling KEW080015

Post  Leong Jia Wei KEW080013 on Tue 09 Feb 2010, 9:36 am

The statement above state that the practical implication is respect for language diversity. But, what about the statement that says languages as the most important defining element of ethnicity? In my opinion, language is a useful tool to communicate with other ethnic if they do not understand our language. Hence, learning another language is good for us where by doing this we can have more effective communication.
Understanding different languages is important, but people who spoke the same language must also understand each other.
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Post  Cheah Meng Kit KEW080006 on Sat 27 Feb 2010, 2:35 pm

I think it is beneficial to learn as much languages as we can Cool
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