Finding Inner Peace: The Role of Religion in Personal Well-being

Peace is a living concept of everything coexisting in harmony. Eirene is the sense of wellbeing and harmony that Christian adherents use to pursue in order to achieve inner peace. In Christianity World peace can be reached through respecting human rights and human solidarity. This is Religion and inner peace essay in which the topic is discussed within Christian anf Jewish perspectives. 

Christians are guided by the teachings of ‘Jesus is the Prince of Peace’, Diving Peace of God, Agape and Social justice. Jewish adherents support and promote peace in their teachings. The Torah is for the purpose of guiding adherents and promoting peace. The teachings that guide Jewish adherents are Tikkun Olam,Gemilut Chasidim, Tzedakah and Bal Tashkit. Through inner peace world peace can be achieved and peace cannot be obtained in the outer world until we make peace within ourselves.

The Christian understanding of peace obtained through the new testament and is outlined through the concept of Eirene. Eirene is described as the restoration of something broken, making it whole again, bringing a sense of wellbeing and harmony, leading adherents to achieving inner peace through lived relationships with God, leading to a more peaceful sense of self. Exemplified through the christian teaching of ‘Jesus as the Prince of Peace’, this teaching aims to pursue adherents to follow the teachings of Jesus to develop a relationship with God and follow in his model living until we make peace with ourselves. The prophet Isaiah predicted the life of Jesus, “...a son is given to us…and he will be called...Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6). This statement highlights that Jesus’ peace being ‘being given to us’. Additionally Jesus embodies peace through living a life of prayer. Luke 5:16 says “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” this supports the principle of solitude and prayer are part of the journey to inner peace. Prayer is the communication between adherents and God in order to form and strengthen an emotional bond. This motivates adherents to make peace within ourselves. The gospel states that Jesus was a man who had continuous communication with the father. Through prayer adherents engage in communion with God, allowing adherents to relieve themselves of daily worries while praising God. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7, In this verse, it is clear that the Christian belief is that through prayer, God will assist in removing factors that cause distress for adherents, allowing them to achieve inner peace. The Divine Peace of God expresses that God is the source of peace and he desires to transfer his peace to guide and empower people on earth. God’s forgiveness is a choice that individuals make, this is done through having faith in Jesus Christ and following his teachings to bring about peace. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16, this shows that when individuals obtain salvation, they are saved by God’s grace. Mother Theresea is an individual who achieved inner peace by fulfilling the teachings of God throughout her life. She was a Catholic nun who lived a life filled with purity and followed God’s teaching to achieve inner peace and influenced others to make peace within themselves. “Faith is Love, Love is Service, The Fruit of Service is Peace'' illustrates that the following God’s word will inspire adherents to find peace within themselves and extend it to others.

The commandment of love (Agape) acts as the biggest motivator for Christians to make peace. Agape is an act of putting the welfare of others above adherents. Compassion is conveyed through John 13:34 “Love one another as I have loved you”, this expresses Love for God and others, giving adherents the choice of being people of peace through relationships. ‘Caritas’ is a Christian organisation that demonstrates how the teachings are lived through adherents to achieve world peace. Caritas allows adherents to donate to those in third world countries through ‘project compassion’, this shows that adherents make peace within themselves by helping the less fortunate and restore the imbalance thus contributing to world peace.Christians are also taught that peace is achieved justice, compassion and love also known as ‘social justice’. Christians believe social justice to be respecting human rights, human solidarity and help form equality and common good hence resulting in world peace. Christian Churches recognise that all individuals' lives are valued and are focusing on human rights and the injustice in communities such as poverty and the escalation of conflict. Pax Christi is another organisation that intends to achieve world peace by working to spread eirene and encourage the works of ‘social justice’. Through non-violence initiatives and defending the rights of the minority, to education and voluntary works Christian adherents are able to contribute to ‘social justice’.It is evident that by defending the rights of individuals to education and voluntary works adherents are able to reflect on their understanding of agape while “make peace within ourselves” and achieve world peace.

Jewish adherents have a responsibility to “Seek peace, and pursue it” through Shalom. Shalom is the hebrew word for ‘peace’ and is living out the covenant, and people of peace. The Torah provides guidance to adherents in achieving to “make peace within ourselves”. Through Tikkun Olam and Gemilut Chasidim inner peace can be attained. Tikkun Olam is known as the repair/transformation of the world. It incorporates both inner and outer peace, by service to society and to the Divine and aims to repair the world through equality justice and peace. The halacha law triggers the conscience of adherents, to pursue spiritual identity and inner peace to purify the heart and strengthen the soul. The practice of shabbat and prayer repairs the hearts of adherents and can repair the world by being in the right relationship with God. “The meek shall inherit the earth and delight in the abundance of peace” Psalms 37:11, this states that those who are gentle will have peace in this world and the next. Shabbat is the resting on the Sabbath. It includes the pause on everyday activities for prayer, rest and time given to personal reflection and family interaction. This is a time of peace and joy for Jewish adherents all over the world, including food, prayer and relaxation. This allows adherents to be in touch with themselves and God. Shabbat reminds adherents of the greatness of God in creating the world and the covenant between the israeli people and God which is the centre for Judaism (Exodus 31:16). This provides guidance to “make peace within ourselves” through reconnecting with God so a right relationship is maintained. Gemilut Chasidim (acts of loving kindness) is the giving of an individual's time and energy. This includes visiting the sick and feeding the hungry, those who are wealthier should donate to the less fortunate or adherents can help provide others who may not have the ability to provide for themselves. This teaching stems from Deuteronomy 15:4 “There shall be no needy among you”. Gemilut Chasidim also expresses that adherents should not only show love towards themselves but to others “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” Leviticus 19:18. Rabbi Abraham Joshua stated “The hand of God is extended to all who seek God. Let our deeds reflect that we share the image of God” this emphasised that adherents must follow the teachings to achieve inner peace.

Jewish adherents are guided by the Torah and are taught to understand that peace is the will of God. The role of the Torah is ‘to make peace in the world’. This can be done through the teachings of Tzedakah and Bal Tashkit. Tzedakah is defined as ‘charity’, righteousness, fairness and justice. Adherents are obligated to engage in Tzedakah in order to accomplish the requirements of ‘Tikkun Olam’. This is seen as more of a duty than a voluntary donation. Every jewish household must give 10% of their income to charity. “(God says:) Just as I create the world and bring the dead back to life, you, human beings, are also capable of doing the same '' Midrash Psalms 116:8, expresses that individuals should not only have a connection to god but must assist others. Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam is committed in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between people. Bal Tashkit states that the tree was created to prolong the life of man, so to use it for war and end life would be incredibly wrong as the Torah prohibits wasteful destruction. “When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy it’s trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them ? Deuteronomy 20:19, it is evident that abuse of nature brings about the violation of biblical prohibition. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) stated “that the ‘bal tashkit’ is the most comprehensive warning to human beings to not misuse the position which God has given them as masters of the world and its matter through capricious, passionate or merely thoughtless wasteful destruction of anything on earth”. The Jewish Peace Fellowship was inspired to achieve a nonviolent commitment to life, there can be no peace without justice and no justice without reconciliation. The lifestyle instructed by the Torah coordinates disciples towards a peaceful way of life and expects them to abrogate war so as to accomplish universal justice and carry humankind into concordance with the remainder of the world.

In summary, It is evident that Jewish and Christian adherents both aim to attain peace while living out the teachings. Christian adherents seek direction from texts such as The New testament whereas Jewish adherents use the Torah. With guidance from these texts adherents may live out their lives and attain personal peace and assist in world peace. 

10 October 2022
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