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Beyond Our Differences

by on July 17, 2009
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A multi-cultural look at religion and getting along, “Beyond Our Differences” implores those of all faiths and creeds to put aside hate, grudge and anger and embrace people, not judge them by their religion.

The film explores religion as one large entity, speaking with leaders and scholars in all of the major faiths, including the Dalai Lama, all of whom speak the same general message: religion is meant to bring order, respect and faith to the world, not chaos, war, death.

The film more or less stays on focus, but also plays it safe by not going too deeply into the heads of the religious leaders who spearhead these centuries-long bloodlusts. It remains idealistic, even when a priest who has been working hard to change attitudes is attacked and shot. We’re told he briefly questions why he continues, then he gets up and continues.

More than anything, “Differences” is a footage and interview documentary, displaying file film from horrible atrocities, then showing a soundbite from a leader.

“Differences” is not a wake-up call not that the world is changing; no, it’s actually saying the world has always been this way, we’re just finally wising up to the fact that those people who dress funny and pray to strange gods and have customs we’re not accustomed to seeing are not the enemy, and most of them don’t live to kill us, regardless of the words of those who want their oil or land.

We get a picture of both the idealized version of spirituality, love and peace and live-and-let-live, as well as the stark, miserable reality of zealotry and terrorism in the name of God’s higher purpose for a small group, but not all groups.

“Differences” dreams of a world where everyone lives in harmony, and it’s a nice dream. Is it a particularly realistic one? Not at this moment. Is it something we can strive for in the future? Possibly.

Hopefully.

Rating: 3 Yaps out of 5

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