I have recently been teaching some world religion classes. My role in each class is not to explain the merits of one religion over another. My role is to share information about each religion so that, in our increasingly global society, we can better understand the world around us. These discussions also include topics such as spirituality and pluralism, and they have the potential to become volatile when challenging beliefs. But, I also find there is potential in the class to have discussions about religion that remain calm, open, and peace-filled without a need to change any current individual beliefs already in place.
In the United States we hover at around 70% Christians, so the balance of beliefs may not be as greatly felt in the United States as in some other parts of our current world. Many countries look to find ways to manage the struggle between opposing religious views. Sometimes this is accomplished with a live-and-let-live lifestyle (pluralism), and sometimes with conflicts or wars.
The United States is possibly emerging in this struggle as the population shifts ever so slightly in its religious perspective. This shift in perspective includes people who have chosen to find other ways of connecting to self, other people, and the world (spirituality) in a format that doesn’t include a formal religious affiliation. Another shift relates to an embrace with other forms of religious expression.
So how do we manage these changes and prepare for any future changes in this slowly evolving world? I am uncertain of a simple response to answer this question for everyone.
I would, however, like to offer you some questions. The goal of this blog is not to say one way is good or bad, or wrong or right. The goal of this blog is to give you pause for thought about any role that religion and/or faith might play in shaping a life and work culture for you or your organization. Here are a few questions that might help guide your process:
What are my current beliefs?
How willing am I to understand other beliefs?
What role does peace play in my faith?
What role does inclusiveness play in my faith?
Can religious practices play a role in my organization?
Are there common goals that peacefully pull me and others together outside of the religion? (work goals, social responsibility, creative process)
How well am I able to keep the focus on the common goals regardless of religious beliefs and practices currently found in my environment?
These questions may bring you to other questions in the ongoing discussions about religion at work.