Being kind to others despite our differences should be what we are working towards. Not pushing our own personal facts as truths. Better to focus on what ties us together as opposed to what pulls us apart.
Sometimes writers get lucky and come up with a sentence or two that really express a clear idea in a succinct and poetic way. I am always happy when I stumble across a thought that I like of my own, like a chef enjoying his or her favorite creation.
I grew up as an anomaly in many ways. I had a father who had once been an ordained Catholic priest and a grandfather who had once been a Jew. Needless to say, my religious foundation in my youth was more like bamboo swaying in the wind than a sturdy Oak tree.
Luckily, by grace, my apple didn’t fall far from the tree, which has led to a pretty solitary life and one in which I want little. Not because I don’t have ambition, but because I can survive on little. I would prefer others to have more.
So as a teen, I hated God. Probably much like Jesus hated God too when he was an adolescent. When we hate our fathers, sometimes it has more to do with our fear of failing in their eyes than anything else, and this was my case. Having a priest as a father made me feel more directly connected to the Abrahamic interpretation of God.
As I got older, I saw some flaws and was lucky to have my dad be someone who I could turn to and discuss. I remember him saying that Catholicism, I will not speak personally about other religions other than from an observational point of view, is like a guide to how to live life and that all the hocus pocus stuff are stories to learn by and nothing more. That was a relief to learn.
Fish did not collectively commit mass suicide to eat. Water did not miraculously turn into blood. And if these events did happen, it is not to us to judge those who don’t believe. That’s God’s job and certainly should not be the points of contention between two people who are trying to do good and lead spiritual lives.
Organized religions are almost the equivalent of fandom. We go to a stadium of like-minded people to support a collective voice or activity. It’s where we go to find out that we are not alone in our thinking and spiritual journey.
Faith is a personal fact. Faith should not be disputed. Religion is a collective opinion. It’s where we go to find those with similar faiths, but those faiths are not facts. Religions are an agreed upon a system with a common criteria and language with a set of rules in which a community can grow and build together. Best for you may not be best for me.
The problem in modern day is that religions are now businesses and will only survive with customers or fans, much like a sports team or music band. It’s only when we push our opinions on others that we seem to miss the point and veer away from the path that faith provides.
Religion is a collective opinion that teaches us how to be human together. We are on the same field, playing the same game. We are only different by degrees or fractions. If we can learn how to celebrate our differences and embrace our similarities, there is nothing we can not accomplish.
I see this every day in real time with my dog. I have a Jack Russell Terrier. She is 6kg or 13lbs. Her best friend, Brown, is 35kg or 77lbs. They couldn’t care less about their differences. They accept the fact that they are both dogs first. We may want to learn from their example. I have. It has helped.
- All works at Observations from the Spectrum written by Dylan Netter
- On? a third point of view – book of Essays
- Marinehippie.com podcast w/ Docstodden.com – dialogue exploring politics and musings of life
- Horizoncoaching.org – English Tutor and Guide