How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

China is home to many diverse and ancient cultures, thus Chinese people traditionally have certain superstitions. When in China or interacting with Chinese culture, it is best to learn and understand these superstitions to avoid offending people.

Steps

Part 1 of 6: Numbers

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Avoid the number 4 whenever possible. 四(four) is pronounced si (四 sì (si) [ssuh] – like a snake with ‘uh’ (say the vowel in the back of your throat)). The word for “death” 死 is pronounced si (with falling intonation). Because of the similarities in pronunciation, the Chinese avoid anything to do with 4.

  • Some buildings may “lack” a fourth floor.
  • Avoid giving gifts in sets of four.
  • Some more modern buildings may also lack a thirteenth floor, having adopted the Western superstitions.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Celebrate eight. In contrast, the number 8 is considered extremely auspicious. It is associated with wealth.

Part 2 of 6: Gift Giving

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Avoid giving anyone (particularly the elderly) clocks. The Chinese word for clock 钟 (zhong1) is pronounced exactly the same as the word for end 终. Giving a clock as a gift in Chinese culture is the equivalent of wishing death upon someone.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Avoid offering pears to close friends. The Chinese word for pear 梨 (li2) is pronounced the same as 离, meaning to leave. Giving pears to friends is considered bad luck, as it is considered an omen for the end of your friendship.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Avoid giving shoes to friends or significant others. Giving shoes implies that you want them to walk out of your life.

Part 3 of 6: Colors

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

When in doubt, wear or use red. Red is an auspicious color in Chinese culture.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Avoid giving white gifts, or gifts wrapped in white. Unlike in the West, where black signifies death, China uses white for the same purpose.

Part 4 of 6: Chinese New Year

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Celebrate with noise. Fireworks were used in ancient times to frighten bad spirits. Fireworks in China, particularly 鞭炮, are loud. These are used during holidays like 春节 (Chinese New Year) to frighten away spirits who would bring bad luck.

Clean out the old. Cleaning during the New Year will bring good luck. You essentially “sweep out” the old.

Eat fish on 除夕 but leave some leftovers. Chinese has a saying “年年有鱼,年年有余”, meaning that if you have fish every year, then every year you’ll have surplus; however, you need to leave surplus in order for this work.

Hang 福 upside down on your door or in your house. The word 福 (fu2) means happiness or prosperity. By hanging it upside down (倒 dao) then 福 will arrive (到 dao).

Part 5 of 6: Pregnancy and Birth

Learn the interactions between superstitions and pregnancy/birth:

  • During pregnancy, women must be very careful about what animals they interact with. The presence of some animals is said to influence the characteristics of their baby.
  • Women avoid cutting their hair during pregnancy and after birth. Some women believe it will affect the life expectancy of the child.
  • Many Chinese families will plan their child’s birth to coincide with certain years. Every year is represented by a different Chinese zodiac animal. Most often, people will aim for the year of the Dragon or Pig and avoid the year of the Sheep.

Part 6 of 6: Miscellaneous

Eat noodles to celebrate. On birthdays, Chinese people eat a special kind of noodle. These noodles are very long, symbolizing longevity.

Understand feng shui. Feng shui 风水 is the Chinese art of balance. Homes, businesses (and originally graves) are designed in certain ways to maximize benefit and maintain an overall balance of qi.

  • Avoid facing beds near doors.
  • Certain locations are associated with certain elements.
  • Avoid clutter, which disrupts the flow of qi.

Three major religions or philosophies shaped many of the ideas and history of Ancient China. They are called the three ways and include Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

Taoism was founded during the Zhou Dynasty in the 6th century by Lao-Tzu. Lao-Tzu wrote down his beliefs and philosophy in a book called the Tao Te Ching.

Taoism believes that people should be one with nature and that all living things have a universal force flowing through them. Taoists didn’t believe in a lot of rules or government. In this way they were very different from the followers of Confucius.

The idea of Yin and Yang comes from Taoism. They believed that everything in nature has two balancing forces called Yin and Yang. These forces can be thought of as dark and light, cold and hot, male and female. These opposing forces are always equal and balanced.

Confucianism

Not long after Lao-Tzu founded Taoism, Confucius was born in 551 BC. Confucius was a philosopher and thinker. Confucius came up with ways that people should behave and live. He didn’t write these down, but his followers did.

Confucius’ teachings focus on treating others with respect, politeness, and fairness. He thought that honor and morality were important qualities. He also said that family was important and honoring one’s relatives was required. Unlike Taoists, followers of Confucius believed in a strong organized government.

Confucius is famous today for his many sayings. Here are a few of them:

  • Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
  • It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
  • When anger rises, think of the consequences.
  • Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

Buddhism

Buddhism was based on the teachings of Buddha. Buddha was born in Nepal, just south of China, in 563 BC. Buddhism spread throughout much of India and China. Buddhists believe in a “rebirth” of the self. They also believe that the cycle of rebirth is complete once a person lives a proper life. At this point the person’s soul would enter nirvana.

Buddhists also believe in a concept called Karma. Karma says that all actions have consequences. So actions you take today will come back in the future to help you (or hurt you) depending on whether your actions were good or bad.

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For more information on the civilization of Ancient China:

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were the three main philosophies and religions of ancient China, which have individually and collectively influenced ancient and modern Chinese society.

Religion, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History

Lighting Incense for Luck

In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.

Photograph by Mark Leong

Monday, August 19, 2019

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the “three pillars” of ancient Chinese society. As philosophies and religions, they not only influenced spirituality, but also government, science, the arts, and social structure. Though their specific beliefs and teachings have occasionally been at odds with each other, there has been much room for overlap. Instead of one tradition taking over and pushing the others out, the three philosophies have influenced society alongside each other, changed each other, and at times blended together. Understanding the unique interplay between these three traditions gives great insight into ancient Chinese society, as well as modern times.

Confucianism

Though closer to a philosophy than a true religion, Confucianism was a way of life for ancient Chinese people, and it continues to influence Chinese culture today. The founder of Confucianism, named Confucius, lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E. He was a philosopher and political figure who lived during a time when traditional Chinese principles began to deteriorate under competing political states. He took older religious precepts and translated them into guidelines for social mores. His teachings gave guidance on all levels of ancient Chinese life, from interactions between family members and in the public sphere, to educational standards and how states should be governed. Confucius saw every aspect of life as being made up of obligations between people and entities, and rituals to convey the mutual dependency between them. His teachings focused on humanism, including treating others the way you would want to be treated. He taught that if everyone fulfilled their roles and obligations with respect and kindness towards others, it would build a stronger state. While religious rituals were mentioned alongside all of the other rituals a person was expected to perform, Confucius did not focus on spiritual concerns like the afterlife, gods and goddesses, or mysticism. This is why Confucianism is considered a philosophy rather than a religion, even though it is often lumped in with other major religions.

Confucianism became the dominant political philosophy during the Han Dynasty from 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. Because Confucian teachings were conservative and told people to maintain their role in social order, the philosophy was used by the state to keep the status quo from that time forward. The structure of Chinese society and its focus on rituals, familial respect and obligation, worship of ancestors, and self-discipline, remains greatly influenced by Confucius and his teachings.

Taoism

Taoism (also called Daoism) is a Chinese religion that developed a bit after Confucianism, around two thousand years ago. In contrast to Confucianism, Taoism is mainly concerned with the spiritual elements of life, including the nature of the universe. The guiding principle of Taoism is roughly translated as “the Way,” which is a harmonious natural order that arises between humans and the world, and that Taoists should strive to achieve. In the Taoist structure of the universe, humans are meant to accept and yield to the Tao and only do things that are natural and in keeping with the Tao. This is the concept of wu-wei, which translates as “non-action,” but really means to go with the true nature of the world and not strive too hard for desires. This puts Taoism in opposition to Confucianism in another way: it is not concerned about with humanistic morality, government, and society, all of which Taoists see as inventions of humans and not necessarily part of the Tao. At the same time, Taoists were interested in longevity, both of the human body and the soul. Achieving spiritual immortality through becoming one with nature is an important part of the Taoist religion.

Despite their differences, Taoist and Confucian ideas are not completely at odds with each other, so Chinese society was able to absorb concepts from both traditions. Taoism had influence on literature and the arts, but the biggest area of Taoist influence was in science. The Taoist focus on natural elements and observing how the natural world works helped to create Chinese medicine. Similar to the modern scientific method, Taoists observed how different medicines affected people and animals through experimentation. Their collective knowledge gained through trying to improve human longevity made a huge contribution to health sciences.

Buddhism

Buddhism was the third major belief system of ancient China. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also called the Buddha, who lived in India around the sixth century B.C.E. Buddhism is a philosophy that focuses on personal development and attainment of deep knowledge. Buddhists seek to achieve enlightenment through meditation, spiritual learning, and practice. They believe in reincarnation and that life is impermanent and full of suffering and uncertainty; the way to find peace is through reaching nirvana, a joyful state beyond human suffering. There are many different sects that place different emphasis on various aspects of Buddhism. The two largest sects are Theravada Buddhism, which is found primarily in southern Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism, which is found in east Asia, including China.

After its founding in India, Buddhism spread to and became popular in China in the first century C.E. Part of the reason Buddhism became popular in China was because of Taoism. Some Buddhist practices were similar to Taoist ones, and Buddhist monks would use Taoist concepts to explain Buddhism to the Chinese, overcoming the cultural and language barrier between Indian and the Chinese people. Buddhism also influenced Taoism with its institutional structure, which Taoists copied and modified. A competition between Buddhism and Taoism arose to gain more followers and greater government influence, and this competition increased the vitality of both religions. As Buddhism became more prevalent, its concepts merged with Taoist and Confucian ideas to become the basis of ancient Chinese society and government. Its influence is seen in Chinese art, architecture, and literature.

Values and ideas from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are still prevalent in Chinese culture today. Despite the differences and occasional contradictions between the three traditions, the ancient Chinese society held each of these philosophies in high importance and incorporated the different teachings into multiple areas of life.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.

Ancient Chinese traditional customs are manifested in all the spheres of life of the Chinese. Take a look at some of the traditional customs of the Chinese.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

Ancient Chinese traditional customs are manifested in all the spheres of life of the Chinese. Take a look at some of the traditional customs of the Chinese.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

A custom is often an established behavioral pattern that prevails through years. It is commonly the result of social influences on the people of a society. Traditional customs have their own analogies. They associate certain things or actions with certain happenings in life. Traditional customs are meant to invite good omen while warding off the evils.

Traditional Customs of China

  • Chinese considered tea as one of their seven basic necessities. Firewood, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar were some of the other basic needs. Ways of tea preparation, the ways of tasting it and the occasions on which it is consumed make the Chinese tea culture unique. Children serve tea to their elders as a token of respect. People of lower order are supposed to serve tea to people of higher ranks. This custom is still practiced on formal occasions. When a person is served tea, he knocks on the table with bent index finger and middle finger to say, “thank you”. Chinese tea is not only their drink but also an ingredient of herbal medicines.
  • Chinese weddings have certain traditional customs associated with them. As a form of expressing gratitude, the bride and the groom kneel in front of their parents and offer them tea. In response to this, parents drink a small portion of tea and gift the pair a red envelope. The tea ceremony was once an occasion of the families of the newly wed couple to know each other. In olden times, drinking the tea offered showed acceptance of marriage while refusal represented opposition to the marriage.
  • As a part of the Chinese tradition, the husband has to carry his wife over a pan of coals so that she can successfully pass through labor. Pregnant women are supposed to be very careful in everything they do, as it is believed that their actions influence the unborn baby. The hour, day, month and year in which the baby is born determine the Eight Characters of Chinese Astrology under which the baby falls. The Chinese believe that these characters are highly influential throughout the life of the newborn.
  • Chopsticks form an integral part of Chinese cutlery but few know what they stand for. Chopsticks are believed to symbolize kindness and gentleness. Confucianism taught the Chinese to abandon knives and forks from the dining table. So they have their food cut to bite-size before it comes on the table.
  • New year is one of the most prominent festivals of the Chinese calendar. According to a Chinese myth, Buddha had asked animals to visit him on the New Year’s Day. Twelve animals came and Buddha named the year after each of them. The Chinese celebrate the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of each lunar month. New Year is about getting together. Red is believed to abolish bad luck. So people clothe in red for the New Year celebration. A long dragon made of silk, bamboo and paper is carried along streets. Young men hold the dragon and dance while carrying the dragon along. The Dragon dance is an ancient Chinese tradition.
  • On meeting someone for the first time, the Chinese shake hands. A handshake may be accompanied by a bow to show respect. According to the Chinese customs, guests always gift their hosts on visiting them. It is best to present the host, fresh flowers or fruit. The hosts are not supposed to unpack the gift until the guests leave. Hosts usually escort their guests to a considerable distance when they leave.
  • In ancient times, people used to cover the bodies of the dead with brushwood and clay and leave it in the family’s home. They left utensils filled with food near the corpse. They thought the spirit of the dead would re-enter the body and would need food. Food items, which would not perish soon were kept beside the dead body. The ancient Chinese dwelt in natural or artificial caves. The Chinese tradition of burying the dead in caverns emerged from this kind of dwelling. As time passed, people sought a separate place to bury their dead and this ancient practice changed.

Many of the ancient Chinese traditional customs are followed till date. They have undergone modifications and reforms due to the changing times. But if you visit China, you will realize that hospitality is a Chinese tradition!

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Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were the three main philosophies and religions of ancient China, which have individually and collectively influenced ancient and modern Chinese society.

Religion, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History

Lighting Incense for Luck

In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.

Photograph by Mark Leong

Monday, August 19, 2019

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the “three pillars” of ancient Chinese society. As philosophies and religions, they not only influenced spirituality, but also government, science, the arts, and social structure. Though their specific beliefs and teachings have occasionally been at odds with each other, there has been much room for overlap. Instead of one tradition taking over and pushing the others out, the three philosophies have influenced society alongside each other, changed each other, and at times blended together. Understanding the unique interplay between these three traditions gives great insight into ancient Chinese society, as well as modern times.

Confucianism

Though closer to a philosophy than a true religion, Confucianism was a way of life for ancient Chinese people, and it continues to influence Chinese culture today. The founder of Confucianism, named Confucius, lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E. He was a philosopher and political figure who lived during a time when traditional Chinese principles began to deteriorate under competing political states. He took older religious precepts and translated them into guidelines for social mores. His teachings gave guidance on all levels of ancient Chinese life, from interactions between family members and in the public sphere, to educational standards and how states should be governed. Confucius saw every aspect of life as being made up of obligations between people and entities, and rituals to convey the mutual dependency between them. His teachings focused on humanism, including treating others the way you would want to be treated. He taught that if everyone fulfilled their roles and obligations with respect and kindness towards others, it would build a stronger state. While religious rituals were mentioned alongside all of the other rituals a person was expected to perform, Confucius did not focus on spiritual concerns like the afterlife, gods and goddesses, or mysticism. This is why Confucianism is considered a philosophy rather than a religion, even though it is often lumped in with other major religions.

Confucianism became the dominant political philosophy during the Han Dynasty from 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. Because Confucian teachings were conservative and told people to maintain their role in social order, the philosophy was used by the state to keep the status quo from that time forward. The structure of Chinese society and its focus on rituals, familial respect and obligation, worship of ancestors, and self-discipline, remains greatly influenced by Confucius and his teachings.

Taoism

Taoism (also called Daoism) is a Chinese religion that developed a bit after Confucianism, around two thousand years ago. In contrast to Confucianism, Taoism is mainly concerned with the spiritual elements of life, including the nature of the universe. The guiding principle of Taoism is roughly translated as “the Way,” which is a harmonious natural order that arises between humans and the world, and that Taoists should strive to achieve. In the Taoist structure of the universe, humans are meant to accept and yield to the Tao and only do things that are natural and in keeping with the Tao. This is the concept of wu-wei, which translates as “non-action,” but really means to go with the true nature of the world and not strive too hard for desires. This puts Taoism in opposition to Confucianism in another way: it is not concerned about with humanistic morality, government, and society, all of which Taoists see as inventions of humans and not necessarily part of the Tao. At the same time, Taoists were interested in longevity, both of the human body and the soul. Achieving spiritual immortality through becoming one with nature is an important part of the Taoist religion.

Despite their differences, Taoist and Confucian ideas are not completely at odds with each other, so Chinese society was able to absorb concepts from both traditions. Taoism had influence on literature and the arts, but the biggest area of Taoist influence was in science. The Taoist focus on natural elements and observing how the natural world works helped to create Chinese medicine. Similar to the modern scientific method, Taoists observed how different medicines affected people and animals through experimentation. Their collective knowledge gained through trying to improve human longevity made a huge contribution to health sciences.

Buddhism

Buddhism was the third major belief system of ancient China. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also called the Buddha, who lived in India around the sixth century B.C.E. Buddhism is a philosophy that focuses on personal development and attainment of deep knowledge. Buddhists seek to achieve enlightenment through meditation, spiritual learning, and practice. They believe in reincarnation and that life is impermanent and full of suffering and uncertainty; the way to find peace is through reaching nirvana, a joyful state beyond human suffering. There are many different sects that place different emphasis on various aspects of Buddhism. The two largest sects are Theravada Buddhism, which is found primarily in southern Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism, which is found in east Asia, including China.

After its founding in India, Buddhism spread to and became popular in China in the first century C.E. Part of the reason Buddhism became popular in China was because of Taoism. Some Buddhist practices were similar to Taoist ones, and Buddhist monks would use Taoist concepts to explain Buddhism to the Chinese, overcoming the cultural and language barrier between Indian and the Chinese people. Buddhism also influenced Taoism with its institutional structure, which Taoists copied and modified. A competition between Buddhism and Taoism arose to gain more followers and greater government influence, and this competition increased the vitality of both religions. As Buddhism became more prevalent, its concepts merged with Taoist and Confucian ideas to become the basis of ancient Chinese society and government. Its influence is seen in Chinese art, architecture, and literature.

Values and ideas from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are still prevalent in Chinese culture today. Despite the differences and occasional contradictions between the three traditions, the ancient Chinese society held each of these philosophies in high importance and incorporated the different teachings into multiple areas of life.

How to understand and respect chinese superstitions

In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.

All cultures have systems of health beliefs to explain what causes illness, how it can be cured or treated, and who should be involved in the process. The extent to which patients perceive patient education as having cultural relevance for them can have a profound effect on their reception to information provided and their willingness to use it. Western industrialized societies such as the United States, which see disease as a result of natural scientific phenomena, advocate medical treatments that combat microorganisms or use sophisticated technology to diagnose and treat disease. Other societies believe that illness is the result of supernatural phenomena and promote prayer or other spiritual interventions that counter the presumed disfavor of powerful forces.Cultural issues play a major role in patient compliance. One study showed that a group of Cambodian adults with minimal formal education made considerable efforts to comply with therapy but did so in a manner consistent with their underlying understanding of how medicines and the body work.

Asians/Pacific Islanders are a large ethnic group in the United States. There are several important cultural beliefs among Asians and Pacific Islanders that nurses should be aware of. The extended family has significant influence, and the oldest male in the family is often the decision maker and spokesperson. The interests and honor of the family are more important than those of individual family members. Older family members are respected, and their authority is often unquestioned. Among Asian cultures, maintaining harmony is an important value; therefore, there is a strong emphasis on avoiding conflict and direct confrontation. Due to respect for authority, disagreement with the recommendations of health care professionals is avoided. However, lack of disagreement does not indicate that the patient and family agree with or will follow treatment recommendations. Among Chinese patients, because the behavior of the individual reflects on the family, mental illness or any behavior that indicates lack of self-control may produce shame and guilt. As a result, Chinese patients may be reluctant to discuss symptoms of mental illness or depression.

Some sub-populations of cultures, such as those from India and Pakistan, are reluctant to accept a diagnosis of severe emotional illness or mental retardation because it severely reduces the chances of other members of the family getting married. In Vietnamese culture, mystical beliefs explain physical and mental illness. Health is viewed as the result of a harmonious balance between the poles of hot and cold that govern bodily functions. Vietnamese don’t readily accept Western mental health counseling and interventions, particularly when self-disclosure is expected. However, it is possible to accept assistance if trust has been gained.

Russian immigrants frequently view U.S. medical care with a degree of mistrust. The Russian experience with medical practitioners has been an authoritarian relationship in which free exchange of information and open discussion was not usual. As a result, many Russian patients find it difficult to question a physician and to talk openly about medical concerns. Patients expect a paternalistic approach-the competent health care professional does not ask patients what they want to do, but tells them what to do. This reliance on physician expertise undermines a patient’s motivation to learn more about self-care and preventive health behaviors.

Although Hispanics share a strong heritage that includes family and religion, each subgroup of the Hispanic population has distinct cultural beliefs and customs. Older family members and other relatives are respected and are often consulted on important matters involving health and illness. Fatalistic views are shared by many Hispanic patients who view illness as God’s will or divine punishment brought about by previous or current sinful behavior. Hispanic patients may prefer to use home remedies and may consult a folk healer, known as a curandero.

Many African-Americans participate in a culture that centers on the importance of family and church. There are extended kinship bonds with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or individuals who are not biologically related but who play an important role in the family system. Usually, a key family member is consulted for important health-related decisions. The church is an important support system for many African-Americans.

Cultural aspects common to Native Americans usually include being oriented in the present and valuing cooperation. Native Americans also place great value on family and spiritual beliefs. They believe that a state of health exists when a person lives in total harmony with nature. Illness is viewed not as an alteration in a person’s physiological state, but as an imbalance between the ill person and natural or supernatural forces. Native Americans may use a medicine man or woman, known as a shaman.

As can be seen, each ethnic group brings its own perspectives and values to the health care system, and many health care beliefs and health practices differ from those of the traditional American health care culture. Unfortunately, the expectation of many health care professionals has been that patients will conform to mainstream values. Such expectations have frequently created barriers to care that have been compounded by differences in language and education between patients and providers from different backgrounds.

Cultural differences affect patients‘ attitudes about medical care and their ability to understand, manage, and cope with the course of an illness, the meaning of a diagnosis, and the consequences of medical treatment. Patients and their families bring culture specific ideas and values related to concepts of health and illness, reporting of symptoms, expectations for how health care will be delivered, and beliefs concerning medication and treatments. In addition, culture specific values influence patient roles and expectations, how much information about illness and treatment is desired, how death and dying will be managed, bereavement patterns, gender and family roles, and processes for decision making.

Cross-cultural variations also exist within cultures. Strategies that you can use in working with patients from different cultures as displayed in Table 14.

Strategies for Working With Patients In Cross-Cultural Settings

MICHELLE LEE

CLASS

Showing kindness to others is something virtually all religions teach; however, religion is one of the most common causes of conflict. Recognizing and respecting the religious beliefs of others is essential for peacefully existing with people of other faiths and cultures. This requires developing religious tolerance, or a non-judgmental attitude toward other beliefs.

Explore this article

  • Communication
  • Exploration
  • Religious Teachings
  • Transposition

1 Communication

Communication creates an opportunity to correct misunderstandings or preconceived ideas about a religion. This is important, since each individual interprets religion uniquely and applies it to his or her own life in a unique way. In addition, giving others the opportunity to express in their own words what they believe and how they practice their religion fosters understanding and religious tolerance. Similarities between religions are also often realized during non-judgmental conversations.

2 Exploration

Exploring other religions is another way to enhance your world view and develop religious tolerance. The best way to accomplish this is by attending another religion’s worship service, but make sure to ask about the proper etiquette for outsiders before you go. It’s important not to simply follow the actions of others, since some religions view this as disrespectful. Reading the sacred text of a religion or watching a documentary about a religion’s beliefs and practices are other ways to explore religion. Keep an open mind during your research to gain a better understanding of religious beliefs and practices.

3 Religious Teachings

When members of a particular religion use their religious beliefs to harm others, it is easy to develop a negative perspective of that entire religion. However, it is important to remember that it is the individuals who cause harm and not the religion as a whole. In general, all religions have similar core values and teach that practicing good ethical and moral behavior is important. Remembering this fact is essential for respecting all religions, especially when individuals act in a way that is opposed to their religion’s teachings.

4 Transposition

Transposition occurs when one thing is substituted for another. Putting yourself in the place of someone else is one way to develop respect for other religions. Most people learned religious beliefs and practices from their family or their community, so it is a central part of their identity. As a result, speaking of another person’s religion in a negative way is extremely hurtful. Consider how it would feel to have your religion attacked or spoken of in a negative way to understand the importance of respecting the beliefs of others the same way you want your beliefs to be respected.