Think about this before you start condemning others due to their religious (or non religious) belief systems.
Is there a single religion anywhere in the world that has not been tainted by extremism, violence and other abuses? I am struggling to think of any at all. (I am including atheism in this also)
The answer to peace lies within acceptance and tolerance of the differences we have. To embrace that we can each have a belief system (or not) that is different from others.
By alienating, hating and dehumanising anyone because of their belief system is itself a path to destruction and provides the necessary environment for extremism to exist.
Get to know the people around you, accept them for who they are, do not try to forcibly convert them to your ideologies or belief system. Let there be a meeting of minds and hearts.
Have a good open conversation not just about what someone believes, but why they believe. It is a fantastic thing and sometimes you find you have similar experiences even though the outward expression may be different.
Perhaps you will find out more about other people and even more about yourself.
Think about it.
What is a community?
Community is a group of people who have some form of relationship with each other or share a commonality of some description or another. Communities are as infinitely varied as the people who are part of them.
Communities can be very informal or strictly formal associations.
Communities exist for as many reasons as there are people on earth. They can be skill based, task orientated, faith/religion/church based, non-faith, political, secular, work related, geographic, ethnic, gender, sexuality, or age based, anything at all.
There should never be an assumption of a unified reason that a community exists, as you can never know the true intentions of all the participants.
The best you can hope for is that everyone, or at least most, will have enough shared intent to work together for a stated outcome.
It is always good to be reminded that where there are people, there will always be politics and there will always be at least one person who will assume, or usurp, control or power.
People do good for many reasons, some reasons are selfless and some selfish, for many it is a combination at one level or another. None of us have 100% pure motives for everything we do.
Why assume community organisations do?
Never blindly follow a “leader”, always be willing to question and act on the answers you get. I have said before, “People who blindly follow a leader, political ideology, belief or value system without questioning, are fooling themselves with a false sense of security.” (Think – your country needs it)
Do not let this stop you from getting involved in your community, the only assurance is that change can only happen if people are willing to get involved, what ever the reason.
All you can do is work on your own motives for getting involved in community.
Paul S Allen
I have seen this in practice in some churches, it is not healthy or desirable. I would go as far in saying that if you see a religious or church leader/pastor behaving like this, leave that organisation or at least investigate the true motivations of such a person.
I am a man of faith, but I have an issue with “god told me to” or “god has told YOU to…” statements. I think they’re dangerous and an excuse to do your own thing regardless of how irrational it is.
A friend once said “God has given you a brain so use it”, I agree with this statement. We have all been given the ability to freely think through things and come up with rational or logical decisions. Whether we choose to do that is a another question.
Do I believe that God is concerned with our daily lives? Yes.
Can God interact with us? Yes
Have we been given the ability to think and make decisions for ourselves? Yes.
Should we have to give up/surrender free will or logic or critical thinking just because someone tells you (or you tell yourself) “god says so”? NO.
It was not that long ago when people who said they heard the voice of god were institutionalised.
Recently, someone made a great statement “blind faith equals stupidity” and I agree entirely.
It is a dangerous situation when people in positions of authority make absolute statements like “God said…” and that people will follow blindly without thinking for themselves.
Being a person of faith does not mean that you should become someone who cannot think for yourself.
Questioning is not wrong – but some will be threatened by it.
Doubt can be a good thing – it can lead you on a journey of discovery.
Thinking is to be encouraged – it will help you grow in understanding.
If you disagree with something, investigate it, hunt for the truth (whatever that is). Don’t just take someone else’s interpretation, misunderstanding or manipulative personal agenda as truth absolute.
Faith is a choice, make your choice an investigated one.