I've been obsessing over religion all weekend, especially having some differing viewpoints with a friend of mine that was very disheartening. Today I took the dog to the vet, and went across the street to grab a coffee while I waited for all her tests to be completed. It was actually pleasant enough to sit outside, so I pulled out my little notebook out of my purse, and started this brainstorm.
People need a sense of community and belonging. That is just a basic human need. However, do you need to belong to a specific religion in order to achieve this? My answer would be ‘no.
Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion?
Do you need religion to know God? No.
You need FAITH. Faith is what matters, not what religion you belong to.
When you are part of a religion, you are adhering to one core set of beliefs. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, you can be Catholic and believe in birth control. But if someone tells me they are Catholic, or Buddhist, or Mormon, or a Scientologist, they are in fact telling me generally what they believe. Otherwise they would not be practicing that religion in the first place. It'’s sort of like being called a Liberal. If I tell someone I am Liberal, they know generally what I believe, and they are correct in assuming so. To know more about specific things regarding my beliefs, they would of course need to get to know me better.
Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion? I was told recently that I was prejudice and stereotyping based on my opinions. I don't think that is fair to say in the least. I am speaking about religion in general, not a race of people or any individual. I'm not even claiming to be an atheist. But if you adhere to one single religion, you are stereotyping yourself as to believing in a certain set of rules.
Do people see religion as openly as they see faith? I don't think they do. Can it be proven? I would love to see that. A person can acknowledge that there are other religions. That doesn't mean that person accepts other religions. Of course, I'm again being general. There are plenty of people who are of one religion who do accept others. I just don't think it is the general consensus.
Do you have to attend church to experience and know about different religions? No, I don't think you do. Church is not religion. I have read about religions, and have had my own experiences being around different religions while growing up. People of different religions are all around us, you do not have to attend church to experience it. I think too many people confuse Religion, Faith, and Church. They are three very different things, yet can be used to complement each other in different ways.
Is the process of Religion a way to make a better world? Not when one religious process includes converting everyone to their way of thinking. Some religions think that is the sole purpose of their religion. If you start attending services for the Church of Scientology, please don'’t tell me they are not going to assume you want to become a Scientologist, and try to convert you to their way of thinking. And the Mormons- why do you think they have people going around trying to talk to others about the religion? My old boss'’s wife sent missionaries to my door. Though of course I wasn't interested, we ended up having a great conversation about faith.
My friend made a wonderful comment that I absolutely agree with:
"The Mystery is going where you're afraid to go.. because there's something there you need to learn to get rid of the fear.
It's too easy to just turn away and say there's nothing there.. but the mystery is to explore that which frightens as much as entices."
Is he so convinced that there HAS to be religion that he cannot look at the possibility of NO religion? My fear used to be that I had to end up with a religion. I'’ve discovered in the past 5 years or so that you do not have to end up with a religion to be happy. I also am open to the thought that maybe I could possibly find a religion that suits me. But more likely than that I would end up at a church that resembles the one he attends, a Unity church of some sort that covers all types of religions, and even non-religions.
I've really got to finally stop at that church across the street from my daughter's school. At least to see what it's all about. Because I do know that sitting and wondering what the answers are is not nearly as effective as getting out there and possibly FINDING some answers.