Religion is one of the great unmentionables; along with politics, itís a topic to avoid in polite conversation. But on that issue I have to say Iím something of a social deviant; I like talking about religion. Having cut my teeth on "The Life of Jesus"-type books, I know a plethora of information about Christianity, and Iím constantly learning more. But I like to know about other peopleís beliefs, or lack thereof, and why theyíve chosen them.
Iím one of those questioning sorta people on the whole religion issue, but recently Iíve gotten involved in the Christian church more and more. I was never much of a religious person until just recently; intellectually, I think about religious issues and I love discussing them, but my heart has been wavering. What's funny about my situation, though, is that most of my friends are agnostics or quasi-Satanists. So when I started to become more Christian, I think it weirded them out a little bit. Which amuses me, since stereotypically it's the majority who are Christian and the Satanist who's looked upon as the weirdo.
Anyway, I think most people agree that religious tolerance is the way to go. Itís not very P.C. to slag other religions, so most people keep their prejudices quietly filed away in their subconscious. Donít think, "But Iím not prejudiced," because you are. (ooh! A sweeping generalization! Yikes!) Maybe not religiously prejudiced, but Iíd hazard that everyoneís got subtle prejudices against some other group. Itís grained into us from near birth. But back to our sheep. I would certainly never force my religion on anyone else, and Iíll thank people to do the same for me. It seems to me that leading by example is the best way to convert, not going door-to-door. But Christianity would still be a secretive little cult - or have vanished completely - without the help of evangelists and door-to-door religion-peddlers. So while you wonít catch me doing it, Iíll try to refrain from putting them down.
I, like many people who've written before me, have something of a problem with organized religion. I've spent a few years (well, five) as a choirgirl in the Episcopal church, and it is at once amusing and disheartening to see the difference in volume between the ordinary Sunday service folks (or holiday weekend smattering, if you want to scrape the barrel) and, say, the Christmas Eve or Easter jam-packed standing-in-the-aisles crowd. All those "Christians" who don't think about God but once or twice a year. Even many of the people who attend church regularly seem to do so more to avoid committing a social faux pas than out of any true devotion. Itís that which really bothers me.
I guess the real point is, I believe in the teachings of Jesus: love your neighbor, don't seek revenge, and practice peace (among many others, of course). It's just all those "pious" people who listen to the Sunday sermon and nod and then turn around and screw over anyone they can to make a buck the next day that are threatening to drive me away from the church. I'm just living each day as best I can, and I don't think which sect I belong to makes much of a difference to God as long as I believe in Him and do my best.
Jesus practiced peace and tolerance, so what's with all this "my religion is the best" crap? if someone whose religion claims the rest of us are all going to hell would explain that to me, i'd be grateful. ~sparky