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.
I have often heard religious people say “god told me to do…” and worse are the religious leaders who say “god told me YOU should do…” and expect unquestioned and total compliance.
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.
Beware of leaders who tell you what to think. Think for yourself, if they are threatened by that, good.
One of the problems of society as I see it today is that we spend far too much time trying, and succeeding, to not think. We have been spoon fed doctrine, ideologies and propaganda without taking time out to analyse what we are being fed. It is far to easy to go along with the masses with the assumption that everyone else is doing it/thinking it so it must be right.
To think for yourself carries its risks. Your independent thought might just upset the people around you, it might upset those who manage the status quo and those in authority.
A true leader will always encourage free thought amongst their team.
One of the keys to successfully solving problems, fixing that which is broken or bringing about longstanding change is to simply allow yourself to think freely, independently and then collaboratively with other such free thinkers.
I dare you to have an opinion, don’t just mouth off over some minor irritation, investigate the issues, ask questions – expect and demand answers, be prepared to be wrong and to back down, but you must have your opportunity to think. The problem often is not what you think, it is whether you actually do think.
Never be made to feel inferior because you have your own thoughts on an issue. You do not have to just believe everything that so-called leaders teach you. Learn to question do not be put off or intimidated. People may not like the question, those in authority may especially be threatened because you question them, or seek clarification on points that you do not understand.
A belief system should be able to withstand rigorous questioning. Any belief system that does not allow deep questioning of its core beliefs and values should be treated with utmost caution.
The older I get the less afraid I become, and I find myself questioning the very core of my faith systems. What I find out is that there is so much I don’t understand and that I don’t have all the answers (and neither does anyone else), I do not have all the wisdom and I especially do not have any right to judge others.
The older I get the more issues become grey, and so does my hair.
The black and white taught thinking patterns I had when I was young have changed because I realise so much is beyond my limited understanding of the universe. As such I will not blindly follow any doctrine, belief, ideology or mass hysteria. I will question, I will not be satisfied with the status quo, I will think for myself and if others do not like that, tough.
I will not tell you how or what to think but I will encourage you to think. We may not agree on many or any issues and that is good as long as we respect each other for having the ability to think freely. May be one day we can dialogue and collaborate on an issue and bring about great and positive change. In the meantime think for yourself.