“I don’t believe in religion.” That would be a direct quote from an obvious non believer, nothing special really. Nothing new, to be honest. It’s just one of many things in this world that pushes my buttons. Not because one may not believe, because guess what…I’m not sure I do either. What I do believe in is always hearing someone out. What do you believe? Why? A person with or without a religious belief may not sway me or anyone else for that matter, but it certainly can help us understand one another. It’s a topic just as rich as ones political views. I may not feel the same as you do, but again I will listen and learn your point of view. 

It’s the above that says who I am. I am understanding, I am open, I have compassion, I empathize and have the ability to sympathize. I see no reason to belittle someone or refuse to discuss such taboo topics. To some, these topics may be scary, cause anxiety and even lead to social seclusion, potentially exclusion. One may remove themselves from such topics, for various reasons. I believe the main reason to ultimately be fear. While some may say it’s because they will not defend themselves to YOU, really it’s fear. Fear of being wrong, not judgment or even rejection for their belief/non belief. 

Religion is something one carries inside of them, a true believer of any religion would not judge another. They may certainly try to sway the other, plead their case and give personal examples of why they feel the way they do. Non believers most likely have experienced religion at its worst. I can’t argue with that, there are valid reasons to not believe. However, if your story begins with a horror story of extreme mistreatment, I would be happy to listen. If your story begins with a testimony of a beautiful miracle or a turnabout in your life, well I would be happy to hear such a story as well. 

It’s a given right as a human, at least in America to have a choice. However, that choice feels like it is quickly unraveling. People are judged based on their belief and non belief. It’s as if no one is right, no one has rights and certainly no one has the right to express their position. 

The world appears to be following suit. We judge on the gruesome stories of all religions, the extreme. No one looks at the whole picture, no one sees those who are simply living their life with their right to choose. We judge groups as a whole and only see the bad. 

 I want to mention the other part of the quote earlier, “You can count me out, if you discuss religion.” This person alone is an extreme case, but really they are not alone. So many will be quick to judge a topic based on their experience alone. People do not take in to account that someone else may have a story that is equally important to our growth as humans. 

Have compassion, patience and just because, have love for one another. Differences and all. 

Photo credit:

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©RemiHarte/LS 2017

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