Today being a Sunday, and me not having time to write such an extensive and lengthy post as I’m prone to when talking about politics I have settled for a different theme for this post. I’m going to talk about Religion…
Over the years and centuries, religion has been used as an excuse for all manner of things, especially used to excuse acts of violence, wars, discrimination and other acts which in the current day and age would not be tolerated by a vast group of the population. In fact, very gradually, religion is being brought into the 21st century (albeit kicking and screaming), gradually we are seeing religions reducing a hold on some of their archaic traditions, becoming more liberal, embracing and accepting of adaptation and refocusing on their core values.
I, for one am religious. I don’t really care on a day to day basis whether those around me hold any religious conviction or not, in the main my criteria for my friends revolves more around their personality, common interests and character. Yet, from time to time this topic arises and invariably there will always be someone who can’t quite grasp where I’m coming from in my religious beliefs… Here is one such conversation/exchange I had on twitter recently…
So, there it is – I consider myself a Christian and Hindu… which might just make my twitter name easier to understand! Now, the response to my tweet was of course in jest, but personifies the fact that so many people can’t grasp such a concept.
So, I hear you ask; How can you believe this? Surely the Bible says there is only one God? Surely Hinduism has many Gods so how can you believe in Christianity as well? How can you be sure which one is right because they can’t all be right surely? What about all the other religions? So maybe I ought to give some explanation…
Well, I’ll go one step further, I believe the all religions are right, religions share the same values, the appeal for people to adopt strong positive morals and ethics. All religions believe there is a God, a spiritual being that guides us. In my opinion, if you strip away the terminology, the names, the rituals, the buildings, the religious costume, the wealth, the power and look at the core messages of each religion they all teach love, respect, faith, friendship, hope and trust and so many other values.
Now, at this point in my explanation I give one of two explanations…
The Blind Men and the Elephant (this is based on a story used in many traditions, see trusty Wiki here for more info)
- In this example, there are several Blind Men and each one has a part of the elephant, one holding the trunk, one holding the back foot, another an ear, another the tail etc, none of them can see and yet they all think they know what it is. In the end they are all wrong, yet all partly right they just can’t see the full picture.
- I feel that as humans we are partly like this, the full truth is beyond our comprehension as humans. We all sense and understand one part of the truth but not the full picture.
The Model and the Artists
- In this scenario, there is an entirely empty room, then chairs are placed in a circle around the room with space in the centre. A model stands in the centre and artists are asked to sit on the chairs. Now, they are asked to draw what they see… they will all draw something different, and even those who have an almost identical view will draw something different. Each one of these drawings in my opinion is a religion/viewpoint of the world .
So, maybe you can understand my viewpoint? Granted, it’s a more flexible way of understanding god and not necessarily something you agree with. Thats fair enough, I’m not writing this to convert anyone, I just want to share with you my thoughts on why I feel those who are religious can afford to be welcoming to those of other religions and more tolerant, or in some cases you might even observe the traditions, ceremonies and beliefs of more than one religion… it certainly makes you a more tolerant person thats for sure. My multi-faith background has made me who I am today, I wouldn’t change it for the world and whenever I hear of conflicts which exist on the basis of religion it makes me question their commitment to their religion that a belief in love, faith or trust that all religions espouse should be swept away to be replaced by weapons, discrimination and conflict.
So, to round off, whether you are religious or not, be accepting of others beliefs, be tolerant. Love, respect, have faith and trust. If the world became a more tolerant place we might have fewer conflicts and more harmony, then we could focus on things which really matter like poverty, disease and famine across the developing and parts of the developed world.
And occasionally I get asked, what about Atheists, are they wrong? Well, as far as I am aware atheists don’t believe there is a god. But my belief is that there is a spiritual guide, whether it is something other than a ‘god’ remains to be seen… after all we’re incapable of understanding the complete truth… in other words, I really don’t know. What I do know is that the values that religion teaches us are important, crucial and should guide those who aren’t religious just as much as they should those who are.
Hope that wasn’t too preachy! Hopefully you got the point.
Follow me on twitter @Chrindu