and faith among co-workers
how important is it to understand
by Tim Ryan
says: At first I was surprised by the greater level of
cultural diversity in larger companies, compared to when I worked
there years earlier. Many more people were of Hindu and Islamic
heritage. My immediate reaction was to be curious - I’ve
always wanted to understand other world religions, but never had
the opportunity. I had always theorized that we had more in common
spiritually, and upon speaking with my co-workers, I wasn’t
disappointed. In one discussion with a Hindu friend, I was fascinated
to discover he was just as interested in learning about Christianity
as I was in learning about Hinduism. Another co-worker and I had
some great discussions about what is going on in the world today.
For example, he explained to me what jihad really means. The jihad
we hear about in the news is a holy war within the physical realm
- that is a small jihad. But the greater jihad, the one
that really counts, is the holy war or spiritual battle that takes
place within each of us. No different than the spiritual journey
we, as Christians, embark on every day.
The expert says:
We are often confused, as Catholics, as to how we should approach
and interact with those of other faiths. Do we just ignore and
avoid the subject? Sometimes that’s hard to do. The Catechism
of the Catholic Church states that the church acknowledges a brotherhood
with the Muslim community. “The plan of salvation also includes
those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst
whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham,
and together with us they adore the one merciful God, mankind’s
judge on the last day” (CCC 841). Basically, we are expected
to find common ground. The church considers much of the righteousness
and truth found in other religions as foundation for knowledge
of the Gospel (CCC 843).
Keith’s approach is probably the healthiest. Being curious
and seeking to understand is how we become better informed about
the faith of others. This opens the door for us to share our own.
The best thing we can do is simply witness God’s love wherever
we are. We evangelize through our actions, not our words. Maybe
we won’t convert anyone, but we can be disciples and diplomats
in our own sense, in our own little part of the world.
- Tim Ryan