Thursday, August 10, 2006
What is religion? The sound of this very word brings forth many emotions from countless amount of people. To some, it is highly regarded, something of value (often times number one in all the values) and to others, it is viewed in a totally opposite light. Religion or lack their of is most likely handed down from your parents like an heirloom. If your parents were Catholic, most likely you are Catholic as well. The same goes for other religions. I only bring this idea up because of our current situation and also personal lives. It could be that Christians and Catholics are fighting each other in Northern Ireland, or the most blantant example is Jewish Israel vs. the Arabic Muslim World. It could be that you are in love with a person that is not of your religion and that evidently is in direct opposition of your belief system. It would be so much easier if everybody around you were of the same faith. To think of it, if you did not live in America, most likely you would. From my person perspective, if you were living in Vietnam, you were either Buddhist or Christian (includes all denominations). If you were not the majority (Buddhist), you were living in a town that was mainly of one religion. So you would probably meet and marry one of the same faith so to speak. This would probably be true of most other countries (aka Islam in Iran) . However, this is America, one of the few countries in the world that (in theory) does not discriminate against religions. Since we are in America, we come into contact with other religions and cultures. So just by probabilities, we are bound to find someone of another culture, another faith from us and that might lead to lifelong changes. This contact brings our values into focus. Do we break this newly found bond that was formed with another person or do we give up our religion. Our parents are the driving force for our religious faith and oftentimes the bond that we want to form with this person that is not of the same faith causes tension and stress. Sometimes religion says that our faith is the "best" and all others fail. Is that other person a failure? Obviously not, because we wouldn't form a friendship with that other person if we though that person was a failure. Do we try to convert that other person? Sometimes we try, but it is well known that you do not want that other person to live a lie? What do you do? A relationship survives because of compromise and communication. Like in other things, religion because a compromise and for some that compromise is a "no-no." This "no-no" idea is disturbing especially in Christianity. Since this is what i know best, I will take it from this perspective because I do not want to talk for a religion i know much about (which would be a lie in a sense). It is taught in the Bible that we should love one another like God loves us? Now if we are to believe this, then why can't we accept the other person (especially our parents?). We are supposed to see God in everybody, but as soon as someone you know is "non-Catholic," that person cannot be your girlfriend or boyfriend, even before your parents know how nice that person may be to you. It seems to be that our parents and even ourselves sometimes fail to live up to the standards we set for ourselves being Christian. I believe (and i'm not talking for the Church) that if someone lives a good life and follows all the Commandments, that person should have an equal chance to go to Heaven. It is said that Jesus died on the Cross for all of our sins, even those that don't know him. So if a good person who never gets the chance to know Jesus, but lives a good life according to His rules results in failing to get to Heaven, would you think Jesus would allow that? I personally do not think so because their are other people using God's name to do things (terrorism) that definitely does not warrant Heaven. My whole point in this is that one should not judge another's faith. If you love someone that is not of your faith, it is important that this comes up early in the courtship period. Compromise is key in this issue like others in a relationship as is communication. Maybe God wants you to love a person not of your religion; how do you know that the spare rib was meant to be a person of another faith? Maybe you are to convert and maybe you are not. The truth of the matter is listen to you heart and realize what true faith is (in the Christian-Catholic context). These are the ramblings of my mind on this very day, a culmination of thought over the years finally put into words and writing.