In a world such as ours where different cultures, beliefs, and opinions are appreciated and accepted, it is important to have a bit of knowledge with regards to the religion of others so that you may show that your friends, family, or business connections that you are an open-minded person that is willing to appreciate faiths other than your own.
Below I have listed a few things about which you would do well to be knowledgeable. You in no way have to be an expert. The religion of most people with which you come into contact is probably not your religion, after all, but having a limited knowledge of these things will allow you to better relate to others.
Know a bit about the founder of the individual’s religion
We all know names like Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddha, but most of us don’t know much about any of them. By knowing when these men lived, when they lived, and how their lives influenced the religion they founded, you will better understand the religion of your connection.
Know a bit about the religious text of the individual’s religion
You don’t necessarily have to read the Bible, the Koran, or the Book of Mormon to do this. Knowing simple things like how many books a religious text contains, when it was written, and if it was written by the founder of the religion itself or by his followers will give you great insight into the religion that adheres to its teachings.
Know the titles of the current leaders of the individual’s religion
We all know that the guy with the huge white hat in Rome is the Pope. However, most of us don’t know a thing about various clergymen beneath him, men such as archpriests, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, monks, rectors, abbots, and deacons. As you can see, there is a lot to learn just concerning Catholicism. Think about all of the world’s major religions. This one is a big one and one on which you should spend some time. Your friend, family member, or business connection will respect these people and care about them. Wouldn’t it impress them if you knew a little bit about these people?
Although I have listed only three things to study, there are many more things you could learn to show your appreciation for the various religions of your contacts. Don’t stop once you’ve gotten to a good understanding of these things. The more you know, the more your appreciation will grow and will be evident.
Do you have any more tips of how to be inclusive of beliefs at work? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: jpellgen / Flickr