R is for Religon- A to Z Challenge

Are you shocked that my R is not for reading? I am, a little. It almost was, but I wanted to do something different than I did last year during the challenge. So, this time around my R is for Religion. Crazy topic, hard topic, varied topic. But hey, here we go...

I my mind religion is both a personal and public thing, even if you are atheist. It is personal, because everyone has a slightly different view. Even if they follow identical teaching from identical sources, because the moments of life shape and color our points of view. It is a public thing every time we share our views, have a discussion about them, worship with others, or follow or beliefs in our words and actions. No matter what happens, I think that the most important aspect of religion is the personal part, because that will color the most important part of the public side, how we treat others. I will never understand how people claim to follow a religion that includes ideas like loving your neighbor or living a loving life in general can bomb abortion clinics, wage war based of different beliefs, or simply be hateful to people because they are different. I just do not get it.

I am a practicing Lutheran (ELCA for those that know the differences) and am thrilled to be part of a congregation  that is generally welcoming and accepting of everyone. I am sure there are a few holding prejudices, but I have not seen evidence of it thus far. However, there are people from the same branch of the church with much less accepting views. I think tat every congregation, from every different church, and everyone that holds any personal beliefs at all, has slightly different takes on the whole thing. I think that is fine, everyone should think for themselves. It is the mindless following of what people hear, are told, are taught; that leads to problems. Those that fear, hate, and inspire violence in the name of religion are typically those that have never sat down and realized that they might not have all the answers, that someone else's views might be different but hold as much value as their own, that they might be the focus of someone else's misguided fear.

Over the years I have taken the time to learn about several different religions, from pagan religions to catholic ideals. The one thing you can find, at least in all of the ones that I have studied, is at least some mention for the responsibility we have towards the earth and all the living creatures we share it with. There is almost always some mention of helping those with less, and taking care of the creations around us. Even if the larger picture of the religion's teaching have every one that believe differently as heathens, they are still a part of a bigger picture, and should be treated as such. If they have different views, I have no problem with a conversation comparing, and even trying to argue that yours is more correct. But, respect them for the living and thinking being that they are, and respect that they have their own beliefs which have as much value to them as yours do to you. Before trying to convert, or damn, and individual with your words think about how you would feel if someone were trying to do the same to you. Most of all, remember that it is not our job to judge others. Regardless of religion, each individuals job is to be the best version of themselves they can be, not to condemn or condone anyone else's attempt to do the same.

So, with all this thinking done, I am going to work harder at being the best me I can. I am going to work to stop getting angry at those that want to control my actions in the name of their religion. Instead I will put my efforts into helping people maintain or gain rights that have us all with equal say. I am going to use that energy to take care of my family, and to try and make life better for those with less than myself. I am going to try harder to offer my shoulder, ear, and time to those that need it. I will try and do more good than harm to the earth and all of its creatures. All of that is easier said than done, but I can try. I can work towards being the best me I can.

What do you think?


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