I am always thrilled whenever I receive comments!
Even opinions with a view dissenting from my own, whether I agree with that view-point or not, I encourage and look forward to them.
For the topics I’ve been posting about recently and the World’s own topic at the moment, is that of Religion.
Living in America, most people you met were Christian. I grew up in what’s called the Bible Belt of America, in a Christian town, a Christian neighborhood and a Christian home.
But I was lucky. My parents encouraged us to learn as much about other religions as we could. They felt that religion was a personal choice and not something you are born into. They also felt that if we understand other religions as well as our own we would have a better understanding and respect for other people and different cultures. My parents recognized that we were fast becoming a globalized world and that living strictly within our own sphere would be a detriment to our future.
So I studied as many as I could by taking classes, attending temple services, reading and talking to people of other religious backgrounds. I learned about Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and the Tskirirara religion. When I got older I read and researched online Hinduism, the Subud – Latihan, Scientology and Mormonism. My father said I was a Jack of All Religions and a Master of None. But he also said that I was spiritually aware and resolved in my own beliefs and faith.
It wasn’t until moving to India that I saw, not only from within India herself (and her history) but also with an outside view of the rest of the world, that atrocities and divisions occurred more in the name of Religion and Politics than any other thing in the world.
And what I’ve come to realize is this, most of us that are afraid of another Religion only are because we know so little about it and that which we DO know is what the Media and Governments most want us to know.
Imagine what the Buddha, the Eastern Press and Government would have had to say about Christianity during the time of the Holy Crusades.
It seems, that as a people, humanity needs to have something or someone in whom to place blame, to give an evil countenance, someone or thing to fight against. And we perpetuate that by purposely remaining ignorant of the same people/culture/religion in which we fear.
So, here is my CHALLENGE.
For two months let’s not discuss Religion at all. In any way, shape or form.
In that two months I want you to do as much research as possible on a faith other than your own. I want you to seriously and openly (without disdain) speak to someone from that faith and ask them your questions. If you need to email a religious site anonymously to ask questions that’s fine too but speaking to a person face to face makes that person HUMAN and therefore, not so much the enemy that we thought they were.
Then, in two months time I’ll write a follow-up Blog to get your input.
Here are the rules.
- You may choose to research more than one religion.
- You must do research on both the good aspects AND the bad of the religion of your choice for study.
- Attempt to remain open-minded and non-judgmental, even if you have these thoughts continue with your studies and do not stop there.
- Speak with or email at least two people who are active participants in your religious study choice. Ask them at least these two questions: What do you like most about your religion and what do you like least?
- Try to not read the news about this particular religion during this time.
- When it’s time to comment, you will need to prepare it ahead of time and proof read it to be sure that even if you are criticizing the religion you chose to study, that you are NOT doing it in an aggressive, accusatory or inflammatory way.
I am also taking this challenge as the one thing I never finished during my years of research and study was the reading of the Torah or the Quran.
Of course, if you’re too afraid to learn for yourself what the truth of a new religion might be, if you’re afraid that you might no longer see people of different faiths as the enemy or if you would rather just remain ignorant and continue to make inflammatory statements, that is your choice.
But I won’t be accepting or posting those comments anymore. There is a way to express your belief in the wrongness of something without committing the wrong yourself. I will always welcome a difference of opinion (even a strong one)! However, something I deem to be a statement that points all the blame in one corner and depicts a person, religion, culture or country as evil is not a statement that I will publish.
So, if you’re ready for the challenge, I’ve helped you out by posting below links for the online reading material. For the dissenting opinion, I have faith that you can find that on your own!
Click on each of the pictured Religious texts below to go to a corresponding website that will allow you to read the Religious Scriptures of that religion or to learn more about it. These are not definitive and please branch out to find your own sources of information!
Enjoy your studies and I look forward to discussing this with you ALL in two months time!