Commonalities and Differences among Religions

By: Rashid Farajzadeh  

Research on commonalities and differences among religions is on the rise and it has greatly attracted the attention of both religious and non-religious intellectuals. Investigating these similarities and differences has led to the emergence of the concept of “pluralism” during the Enlightenment, mainly originating from the work of Christian Wolff and Emmanuel Kant over two hundred years ago. Since then, different Western philosophers have studied the striking similarities as well as significant differences among various religions. The conceptualization of religious conflicts and commonalities has a long history in the East, however, it has not received as much attention as it has in the West.The importance of this issue has been reflected in Al-Ghazali and Muhammad Rumi’s-the two most prominent Persian philosophers, mystics, and theologians- books and thoughts. The present study is an effort to investigate the concept of religious commonalities and differences briefly but clearly aiming at providing a selective review which focuses on the studies that introduce these two historical Persian philosophers’ points of view about the issue of commonalities and differences among religions. the authors concluded that the commonalities among religions are common religious/spiritual experiences, different interpretations and definitions of religion, the existence of holy prophets who had experienced spiritual and mystical revelations, and piety on the basis of causes and not reasons. On the other hand, the differences lie in various manifestations of God in the universe, human’s different mental and existential capacities over time, and interference of human’s imagination and mentality with religious instructions.

Pluralism, Religious Commonalities, Religious Diversities
Religious Commonalities and Differences
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Mr. Rashid Farajzadeh

Instructor, English, Iran Language Institute

Having graduated in the field of English translation, I found myself interested in philosophy of religions. The more I read about it, the more fascinated I became. This is why I changed my field of study to philosophy of religions as an M.A. student.