During my younger years, adults would frequently remind me not to talk religion or politics with family members in order to keep things civil. This concept confused me, sort of still does.
While many who’ve read my blog will probably remember I tend to avoid reading or watching anything political or convoluted, it’s more to avoid stressing about issues outside of my control, and less about being civil or appropriate. Regardless, it’s weird for me to think how people tend to blame the topics themselves for causing disputes, as if the words and ideologies somehow take on physical forms of destructive beings, when it’s the people that are the issue.
When it comes to religion, specifically different belief systems both inside and outside organized religion, sometimes conversations can be quite fun, even educational. The only time I find things turn for the worse, is when the other party takes on a “saviour complex”, feeling the need to either convert, or have their beliefs validated. Failure to sway one another seems to create a frustration, or in my opinion, an insecurity.
While not being a “master” on the subject, I have studied a lot of different belief systems in my life, and even bounced between a dozen or so different churches while my mother fumbled with direction. Out of everything I’ve learned, two occurrences seem to be frequently apparent. One, that most religions are actually quite similar at the core, using repeated saviours, or saviours adjacent. Second, they were also all written by people.
I’ve probably used this example before, but I view religion and popular beliefs kind of like a game of Telephone one used to play as a child. You know, when you would whisper a sentence in one person’s ear, then they would whisper it to another, so on and so forth until it returned back to the original; often becoming a ghost of its previous form. These stories, while impactful and influential, were usually created hundreds to thousands of years ago (almost exclusively by men), and since then have been written and re-written countless times.
For the record, I don’t condemn anyone for their particular beliefs, as every person has the right to believe what they wish. That said, is it asking too much to sprinkle in a little common sense? I mean, even if these books, scrolls, stone carvings were the actual words of god (in any of its forms), are we really so narcissistic to think we can interpret them properly? People often believe what they wish to believe, and perceive things based on the context of their wants and experiences. So how do you know for certain when god says “this”, it doesn’t actually mean “that”?
How can anyone walk away from a thousand year old game of telephone, confident they received the proper message?
Heck, some of us can’t even remember what we had for breakfast last week, or understand / agree with thoughts we wrote in a journal 10 years ago.
Additionally, isn’t the concept of a wrathful deity sort of a juxtaposition? They are said to be all loving, literally at times the embodiment of love, yet only under very specific conditions? All loving literally means ALL, also defined as “consisting entirely of”, or the one “greatest / dominant quality”. You can’t be all loving if you you’ll damn someone for eternity because they “lose their way”, or disregard your teachings. Someone who truly cares for people excepts and understands the bad with the good, and would never pass judgment.
Love is not judgment, Love is acceptance and understanding (in my opinion).
Oddly enough, my original idea for this post was to ask / discuss why people of different religions can’t get along and accept one another; hence the picture chosen above. But I kind of veered off in a slightly different direction, one I think has merit as well. On the bright side, it gives me the enthusiasm to turn this into a multi-post subject. Which is good because stuff like this should be discussed openly and happily, regardless of what I was taught as a child.