Being bullied over religion has gone on since time began. It starts in childhood when parents force their children to believe as they do. At first it seems okay because the youngster has no perception of life other than what they are told. It even makes sense that a child is taught some values. When they are teenagers going into young adulthood, this is when they begin to question their identity. Some kids begin to wonder if what their parents believe makes any sense.
My own recollection as a teen, I questioned religion with the minister at our church and I found that his answers did not make sense to me. While I wanted to practice devotedly, I found myself wondering about life more and more. As a senior in high school, I wrote a paper on religious cults for Political Science. This paper determined whether I was ready to graduate, it was a sample of what college work would be like. Even though cults are not exactly a serious religion or paths in which I felt destined to follow, researching this paper put me on the trail of other religions that I did not know existed. I was not allowed to believe anything except what my parents knew and understood. Luckily my journey took me thousands of miles away and I took the path that made the most sense – to me. A quest for spiritual knowledge and enlightenment.
I believe that everyone has a right to their opinions. There are those I meet that I find so jaded, uneducated, twisted and frustrated but they are in this place because this is where they need to be in life. We choose which direction we will head down whether it is consciously or unconsciously. It does not matter that I or you think they are full of it, right now this person we have met, unless they ask for our guidance, we must let them be.
A lack of tolerance for religion worldwide is hideous, ignorant and childish. Killing people in the name of religion is no different from a man killing his wife or a serial killer out for bodies. Violence and murder are not justified when it comes to your vision of a creator. Whatever you call your God or Goddess, there is no belief that exists which has at its foundation hate. There is no religious text that calls for hatred toward one’s fellow-man. Religious texts talk about wars in the name of God, from a historical context, and this is often misinterpreted to mean life is about killing and destruction and ego and narcissism. Religious texts also talk about loving thy neighbor, which is also misinterpreted to mean only if they believe as I do.
The destruction we see in our world today is caused by bullies not Gods. It is caused by people who are afraid to live in a world that does not believe as they do. Fear causes hatred and violence, not religion. Poverty causes cult leaders to prey on wounded souls, sweep them up with food and money and force them into rigid, destructive beliefs. Bullies picket other religions. Bullies picket abortion clinics. Bullies make movies that make fun of others beliefs. Bullies kill people who do not believe as they would. Bullies are the perpetrators of hatred in this world, not religion.
People who are enlightened beings, who are spiritually in line with their God/Goddess, who are good neighbors, good friends, good souls do not even consider hatred, violence and war. This is not even a feeling in their heart as they are so close to that higher power that they believe in and so happy to be of assistance to others, in gratitude for their life. These people are in alignment with their beliefs and do not need to preach to others as their actions are exposed on a daily basis that they are love and God is love. If your path is so wonderful, people around you will feel this and wish to live up to your example. You will not need to say anything as it is made clear already. If you allow your children to question their faith, to learn more about world religions as they grow into adulthood, most likely they will return to you in gratitude for your love. They will return because they will respect you for giving them the opportunity to grow.
It is our expectations that kill our souls. Our need to force others to do as we do or we will be damned. Our inability to really get in touch with this world that we have been brought into. To smell the flowers that were created for us to enjoy. To touch a tree and feel the years of life that it has been here. To look up at the sky and see the heavens and wonder about what is beyond. To hug a friend or lover or our child and receive acknowledgement of existence beyond ourselves.
Everyday that you walk out into the world you are with your God. Those around you are with their God. No one can take this away from you but you. Whatever you believe in believe it lovingly and know that it is yours because it exists within you. The world is God and IT has many names, just as we all have many names, cultures, races, ethnicities, ages, and faces. There are many interpretations around the world, around your street, in your house and it is the right one for them. You and your God are one. God is love. We all say this. No one says God is Hate. Think of this the next time you are shoving your words or signs or guns that say God is Love. God is Love and God does not Shove. People do.