Religion and Concept of Peace: Christianity Versus Judaism

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Peace is the ideal state of tranquility, barren of dispute. Eirene, meaning Peace in Christianity, alludes to a sense of wellbeing and serenity. Christianity establishes that peace is made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Christian PrincipalTeachings of Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Agape, the Divinepeace of God and Justice and Compassion are drawn from the New Testament. Shalom is the Hebrew word for ‘peace’ and is imbued into the PrincipalTeachings of Living Out The Covenant, being People of Peace and shalom. With this, both Judaism and Christianity provide adherents with unequivocal duties to adhere to in order to attain inner peace, subsequently contributing to world peace.

Inner peace (Eirene) is the state of tranquility and harmony that Christians achieve through being at peace with God to ‘make peace with (them)selves, ultimately obtaining ‘peace in the outer world. Jesus is the Prince of Peace is a key PrincipleTeaching extracted from the New Testament, which motivates adherents to emulate the life of Jesus as a means of obtaining inner peace. As the model for Christian living Jesus is the archetype, fully human & fully divine, encouraging adherents that a right relationship with God and others is pivotal in acquiring peace within (our)selves. At the core of his ministry is the practice of prayer, an expression able to nurture and sustain the relationship with God, fulfilling the duty of adherents to attain peace. Particularly the ‘Our Father’ prayer taught by Jesus, emphasises to adherents to be in constant communion with God, through the genuine engagement of prayer. Jesus himself “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke5:16). Depicts Jesus’ solitude and silence which gave him the strength to live virtuously in serenity with himself and the outer world, derived from a deep and trusting relationship with the triune God. In imitation of Jesus, adherents are called to integrate Jesus’ teaching of prayer to maintain and cultivate the relationship with God. Once peace with (one)self is made adherents, are able to promote eirene, in the outer world. The PrincipalTeaching of the Divine peace of God is further explored in the NewTestament. Establishing God to be the source of peace guiding adherents to build the Kingdom of God by becoming the hands of Christ. The beatitude revealed by Jesus “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”(Matthew5:7), teaches it is the father who forgives and exhibits mercy. Peacemaking requires forgiveness if it is fostered, relationships will be renewed and the body of Christ will be strengthened. This acts as a motivator for adherents to be merciful, as the relationship with others is inherently linked to the relationship with God. Enablingadherents to draw on God as a source of guidance and Innerstrength.A contemporary example is Mother Teresa, her work and life exemplify the attainment of eirene by living a life of love through service to others. She gave up her congregation at “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.’ Mother Teresa emulates the corporal works of mercy in the outer world, by emphasizing the significance of God as the source of peace in her spiritual life through prayer. She encapsulates how adherents can obtain inner peace by internalizing God’s divine peace. Christians are encouraged to avoid selfish motives and be merciful by seeking peace with (themselves), to project Jesus’ integrity and selfless qualities of prayer and mercy in the outer world to achieve eirene. Without inner peace in the personal lives of adherents, peace in the outer world ceases to exist. Consequently, teachings within the NewTestament enable Christians to lead a life of peace with (them)selves incorporating elements of Jesus’ life &ministry, deepening the relationship with God, thus attaining ‘peace with (one)self and in the outer world.

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Christianity has a fundamental commitment to working towards peace, as the outer world encompasses anarchical chaos and decision. To counteract this issue achieving world peace is idyllic, motivating Christian adherents to embrace the PrincipalTeaching of Justice and compassion holistically. It collectively consists of catholic social teachings as a means of forming peaceful relationships with others. This promotes harmony within the outer community, reminding adherents that “God created mankind in his own image” (Genesis1:27), demonstrating the inherent dignity of adherents. Urging adherents to develop peace in relationships in the outer world, as no individual must compromise their dignity.

Thus in order for peace to occur justice must be established. The beatitudes directly correspond with this teaching envisioning Eirene on earth. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be the children of God ” (Matthew5:9), calls upon adherents to extend their love, justice and compassion in the world, by bringing forward God’s peace. Compelling adherents to support one another and settle disputes serenely, ensuring injustices are responded to. This depicts how Eirene is developed through ‘ones’ contribution to those in the ‘outer world’. Highlighting that promoting peace is a duty for adherents to experience the wholeness that Jesus offers, adherents are to carry his justice forward in the world.

The society of friends (Quakers) emulates this beatitude through their service in the outer world. Pacifism exemplifies the application of God’s vision for humanity in union with Christ as it cultivates values of mercy, forgiveness and love which is evidently encouraged by Jesus. Quakers have a campaign that actively aims towards nuclear disarmament to create a peaceful environment in the world. They accept that all human beings contain goodness and truth calling adherents to live “in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars”. Thus they are fulfilling the beatitudes which are imbued in their fundamental beliefs in order to make peace with oneself and extend it into the outer world. Following the teaching of Jesus to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness/justice” (Matt6:33). This motivates adherents to consciously spread justice and compassion to minimise the detrimental effects of antipacifism in the world. By living out a life of generosity and service, Christians can then develop a sense of fulfillment in (one)self whilst carrying out the will of god in attaining world peace.

A second principal teaching, guiding adherents on the path of world peace is the notion of Agape. This is revealed in the New Testament through Jesus the prince of peace. Agape is the highest form of universal and unconditional love, offered to God, neighbours as well as enemies. It Corresponds with the greatest commandment of love, expressed in Jesus’ ministry “Love one another as I have loved you” (John13:34). Jesus’ explicit teaching encourages adherents to practice love despite the behavior that is shown, in order for adherents to live as a part of a fellowship together. Once peace is made within adherents are urged to extend each other love and generosity as they are one body united by the Holyspirit. Pax Christi International (PCI), is a catholic peace movement working towards a global vision of eirene. PCI implements agape through a long-term commitment to active nonviolence as a way of life and as an effective political strategy. PCI emulates the notion of agape through their peace-motivated actions in the outer world. They emphasise for adherents the importance for a renewed culture of nonviolence, stating unequivocally that “military responses to conflict only breed more violence”. This in turn encourages adherents to “live in peace with everyone” (Heb 12:14) as a positive force to counter injustices and violence in the world by fostering the principal teaching of justice, compassion and love in ourselves to project in the outer world.

Shalom (peace) is a state of fulfillment and completeness that is central to Jewish adherents as they are obliged to pursue peace. Through living a life of peace ‘with (them)selves and devotion to god, adherents are able to manifest ‘peace in the outer world. Living out the Covenant is a PrincipleTeaching found in the Torah, which enables adherents to enact their devotion to God, encouraging adherents to “seek and pursue peace” (Psalm34:14). At the core of maintaining a covenantal relationship with G-d, adherents can attain peace for purposeful living, through deeds of loving-kindness. The prophetic vision of BalTashchit encourages adherents to have a sense of mindfulness in order to retain balance, to stay true to the sacred Covenant between the adherent and G-d. BalTashchit motivates adherents to ‘not destroy’, thus nurturing and respecting the Covenant. It assists in attaining inner peace through cultivating a sense of moral conscience and selflessness. “‘For I know that plans that I have for you,’ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’’ (Jeremiah29:11). Prophet Jeremiah outlines the ultimate form of trust should be placed in G-d, as G-d has a plan of peace through the abstinence of destruction for adherents which fulfills Covenantal obligations. Compellingadherents to utilise G-ds creation wisely, so adherents may make use of it, promoting a healthier and balanced world derived from inner peace. Shalom is manifested in the practice of Shabbat as it maintains and cultivates the Covenant between G-d and the People of Israel, by pursuing personal peace, and has a positive effect on the outer world. Encouraging adherents to find peace within (them)selves through regular prayer and devotion in order to achieve a sense of fulfillment of their covenantal obligations.

The PrincipalTeaching of People of Peace reflects the belief that inner peace is the goal for purposeful Jewish living. This is reiterated through the prophetic vision of the GemilutChasidim, expounding the belief of ‘acts of loving kindness. GemilutChasidim teaches adherents to live a virtuous life with (one)self by being devoted to the advocacy of Shalom. “Seek good, not evil, that you may live.” (Amos5:14). Amos encapsulates the obligations that a Jewish adherent is obliged to follow by practicing good works, as outlined in Halakhah, to truly embody the title ‘People of Peace’. It motivates adherents to do beyond physical charity, inspiring them to visit the sick or comfort mourners. GemilutChasidim is inherently linked with the notion of leading a righteous life with (one)self. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has achieved inner peace as he recognized the significance of observing the Mitzvotof Shabbat. In his work, The Sabbath, “Unless one learns how to relish the taste of the Sabbath…one will be unable to enjoy the taste of eternity in the world to come.” Heschel depicts how the Sabbath is a time of peace and serenity so that adherents appreciate G-d’s gift to them, demonstrating the importance of pursuing inner peace.

Thus, the prophetic vision and Heschel’s teachings and Shabbat are notable in achieving inner peace with (one)self and extending it in the outer world, as they model the teaching of being People of peace and adhering to Jewish covenantal obligations.

Inner peace (Eirene) is the state of tranquility and harmony that Christians achieve through being at peace with God to ‘make peace with (them)selves, ultimately obtaining ‘peace in the outer world. Jesus is the Prince of Peace is a PrincipleTeaching extracted from the NewTestament, which motivates adherents to foster peace with (them)selves. By consistently practicing the Jewish PrincipalTeaching of Shalom, in daily life. Once Inner peace is established attaining world peace is made possible. Shalom mirrors the belief of ‘peace being fulfillment’ and evokes a sense of completion for adherents which echoes the attribute of G-d is one. The PropheticVision which correlates with this teaching is Tikkun Olam. It is intertwined with Jewish ethics as adherents are instructed to bear for their own moral welfare. Tikkun Olam assists adherents in attaining a balance between the spiritual and secular ‘outer world’ world, and the dissociation of these two contrasting worlds is made possible through prayer. Micah calls on Jewish adherents “To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8), advocates the dual responsibility of rectifying inequalities in society by helping the poor and needy, by promoting social justice acts to motivate adherents in acting as stewards. By caring for the earth they faithfully observe the covenant as set out in the Torah and the Prophetic Vision.

Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam, is a non-profit organisation that aims to subdue the dispute from the Arab-Israeli Conflict by replacing the tension with world peace. This organisation reflects TikkunOlam strives to create a just world as it exercises the ideologies of egalitarianism to promote peace and equity amongst the people of Israel.

One of their outreach programs includes ‘The School For Peace’. Where each cohort of teenagers assembles a group of 30 Israelis and 30 Palestinians to discuss political and cultural topics. This clash in culture, community and beliefs raises awareness and evokes adherents to work towards the will of G-d, transforming preconceived thinking of adherents thus transforming the future world. Motivating adherents to take action according to the prophetic Teaching, of TikkumOlam when required. “All that is written in the Torah was written for the sake of peace.” Tanhuma Shoftim 18, emphasises the entirety of the holy book seeks to achieve peace. Thus Givat Haviva is a non-profit organization founded in Israel that strives to achieve world peace and models TikkunOlam by attempting to eradicate the adversity that threatens world peace. They use equality programs to, enhance the skills of Hebrew for Arabic students, as well as contribute to the welfare of Arab villages and towns, as demonstrated through their standpoint, “Equality is a critical condition to building a shared society.” Rabbi BradleyShavitArtson states, “Tzedakah is not about giving; Tzedakah is about being.” Through this quote, it reflects how Givat Haviva also models Tzedakah as adherents are compelled to participate in Tzedakah, by being charitable and exercising moral values to achieve social justice and be of merit as expounded by Shalom. In summation, adherents are encouraged to attain world peace by embedding the teaching of Shalom within their philanthropic duties influenced by Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah to achieve peace in the outer world.

To conclude, both Christianity and Judaism demonstrate how the PrincipalTteachings of each religious study motivate adherents to attain inner and world peace, through sacred texts such as the Tanakh and NewTestament. The Jewish PrincipalTeachings of Living Out The Covenant, People of Peace, Shalom and the Christian PrincipalTeachings of Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Agape, Divine peace of God and JusticeandCompassion provide guidelines and contemporary examples for adherents to instill peace within themselves, thus preparing them to work in unity to contribute to world peace. In summation, both Judaism and Christianity establish that world peace can not be attained without first achieving inner peace within (our)selves.


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