The holiday season is a time of celebration, reflection and personal pilgrimages throughout the world. During this time of year, I am always struck by how much conflict seems prodded by religious differences when the religions of the world share so much in common.

The major religions all have some form of dictates or principles that try to capsulate their doctrines. They prescribe how to profess faith in God, but they also offer prescriptions on how to conduct your life in relation to others. Righteousness comes not only from what we profess to believe, but from how we translate those beliefs into the treatment of others.

The Judeo-Christian creed is captured in the Ten Commandments. Although not the only commandments, they establish the foundation of a covenant. One can find various nuances of how these commandments are translated, but take out the directives on how to worship God, and they boil down to some pretty straightforward commands:

“Honor your father and mother,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house… or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Islam has its own set of directed virtues in the Koran, many of which mirror those of Judaism and Christianity in the Torah and the Bible. Several coincide with those in the Ten Commandments. Honor and be kind to your parents. Do not take any human being’s life. Do not commit adultery. No bearing of witness to falsehood. And do not covet the bounties of others.

Also common is an emphasis on giving and taking care of others less fortunate. Islam is constructed on five pillars, one of which is charity. Based on the principle that all things belong to God and wealth is held in trust, charity is a necessity for every Muslim. Generosity is obligatory and considered a freeing of oneself from love of possessions and greed. (MORE)

Ron Eachus of Salem is a former legislator and a former chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission.


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