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Lions Roar : September 2010
world’s religions. Faith is associated with such psychological states as cognitively oriented “belief,” as well as more affec- tively oriented “trust” and “confidence.” in contrast, respect is associated with ap- preciation and reverence, deriving partic- ularly from the recognition of the values and importance of the object for which one has respect. in the context of religion, then, faith pertains to truth—especially doctrinal truths—as proposed by one’s own reli- gion. Therefore, for a devout religious per- son, it becomes important to reserve faith for his or her own religion, while cultivat- ing respect—in fact, deep reverence—for other religions. in the sanskrit Buddhist tradition, a distinction is made between three types of faith: faith in the form of admiration, in the form of conviction, and in the form of emulation. of these, admiration—the first form of faith—is effectively equivalent to respect or rever- ence, which as we have noted, can be fully extended to other religions. There are two broad arguments for this idea of respect for other traditions. The first is the undeniable fact that, as men- tioned earlier, these traditions have pro- vided solace and spiritual development, as well as a laudable system of ethics, for millions of people and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The sec- ond, perhaps stronger, argument is that despite the doctrinal differences between religions (which cannot be bridged), just as the doctrinal teachings of my own faith admirably inform the ethical way of life of my own faith, so the doctrines of other faiths inform no less valid ethical ways of life in the other religions. The doctrines themselves cannot be reconciled, but the way they make it possible to ground strik- ingly parallel and praiseworthy ethical systems is a wonderful fact. This fostering of deep and active respect for other faith traditions is certainly doable, and it is how i practice myself. ♦ adapted from Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s religions Can Come Together, by his holiness the Dalai lama. © 2010 by his holiness the Dalai lama. reprint- ed with permission from Doubleday religion.