Paradigms For Religious Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence: Comparing Catholic Liturgy with Ghazali’s Islamic Faith and Practice


Religion is a potent force that binds the lives of many people across the world. Religion on the other hand can also divide many others through sectarianism and denominationalism. Vladimir Bakrac argues that every religion thinks it is the only and true carrier of the real truth. He further posits that all religions believe there are two truths; theirs and nobody's.2 Whereas some people, for various reasons, convert from one religion to another, majority of religious people hold on to their religion. Unnecessary conflicts which often come with devastating consequences can be avoided if people who belong to different religions learn to mutually tolerate their differences. To lay a background for such tolerance and peaceful coexistence, this paper seeks to examine similarities in the faith and practice of Catholicism and Islam. The insight of Imam Ghazali on the deeper understanding of the faith and practice of Islam is compared with the Catholic liturgy. Data for the paper is mainly secondary using both Islamic and Christian resources. The main finding is that the names and details of religious practices may differ between Catholics and Muslims but the spirit and content are essentially similar and in some cases hardly different. Thus the practices of the two religions examined reveal that the form or vehicle through which religious life is expressed may differ from one religion to the other but the essential substance of caring for one another may be the same. The major recommendation the paper seeks to make is that with a deeper understanding of each other's faith and practices, Muslims and Christians have a lot more to unite than separate them. Thus they should be able to mutually respect, understand and coexist peacefully.

Zakaria Muhammad Seebaway is a Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, KNUST, Kumasi; Augustine Kingsford Aidoo is an MPhil candidate at the Department of Religious Studies, KNUST; Makafui M. Tayviah, PhD a lectuerer at the Department of Religious Studies, KNUST, Kumasi