Religious Education to Create Peace and Harmony in Society

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, 15:05 WIB


Indonesia is a prototype of pluralistic and multicultural country. Pluralism and multiculturalism in Indonesia are evident not only in the various tribes, languages and races but also in diverse religions and beliefs embraced by its people. Nevertheless, the harmony among religions must be continuously maintained to prevent violence conflict among people of different religions. This is the statement of the Minister of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, in his opening remarks read by Prof. Dr. Machasin in the Luncheon to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) at Grand Sahid Hotel, Jakarta (3/3).

“Conflicts that happened recently are caused by misunderstanding on religious teaching. The 10th ICRS anniversary is a momentum of reflection to the harmony among religions in Indonesia. All religious people have to create peace among religions by dissociating themselves from exclusivism and intolerance. Based on research of research institute of Ministry of Religious Affairs, the level of religious tolerance in Indonesia is 75.6% (2015). We have to continuously try to make it better. Hence, dialogue and cooperation among religions are important and ICRS will have a very significant role to make it true”, he added.

In line with Ministry of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Alwi Shihab, one of ICRS founding fathers, highlighted the importance of ICRS in society. Educational institution including ICRS should contribute in providing descriptive educational system, not a dogmatic one. The process of learning religion descriptively could help students to open their mind to the existence of religion in their life. Conflict and violence that happened among religions are mostly caused by misunderstanding or the lack of knowledge of other religious groups. This could trigger suspicion and intolerance in society. Prof. Alwi considered that by implementing descriptive educational system on religion, ICRS could “produce” excellent graduates that can give positive contributions to the society, respect the other, and understand the role of every religion to humanity and civilization. By doing this, ICRS students and the graduates could transform into agents for peace; to create a harmonious life among religions in Indonesia. (erich)