(Heck yeah, alliteration.)
Oh, religion. It’s such a funny thing.
I don’t like it very much.
Because here’s the thing: religion doesn’t save you. Religion doesn’t make you a good person. I’ve met Muslims who displayed the love of Jesus better than some Christians. I’ve been snubbed and disdained by Jewish people because of my belief in Jesus as the Messiah, only to be welcomed with love and acceptance by atheists.
I took a Diversity in American Literature class during the last semester of my undergrad. We talked all semester long about the danger and pointlessness of ethnocentrism: the belief that one’s culture is better than anyone else’s. As a culture, we frown at racism, sexism, and classism, but we don’t hesitate to damn each other to hell if our religious beliefs differ.
Do I have certain aspects of my belief system that I follow? Absolutely. I didn’t create this post to talk about those points. (Believe me, it’d take more than a post. I’m kind of complicated.) It’s also not to talk about salvation issues. This post is (going to attempt) to point out how stupid it is to mock other people because of their belief system.
I’ve never understood hating or mocking someone because of what they believe. I can disagree with someone (strongly!) and still be able to have an open, respectful conversation. I’m always blindsided when I overhear rants about stupid Christians and their barbaric belief in human sacrificing. I don’t understand telling atheists or Muslims or Catholics that they’re going to go to hell for their beliefs. It doesn’t solve anything. It just further alienates one human being from another.
I recently read a book in which two characters were talking about the discord between Palestinians and Israelis. “Why so much hate between relatives?” one questions.
“It’s because we haven’t learned much from the prophets and hardly anything about the rules of life,” the other responds.
“Then what’s to be done?”
“Give God back His freedom. He’s been hostage to our bigotries too long.”
Here’s the deal:
I’ll respect someone’s views as an atheist.
I won’t respect the fact that he/she shames, berates, and mocks people who do believe in God.
I’ll respect someone’s views as a Christian.
I won’t respect the fact that he/she self-righteously condemns other non-Christians, going against everything Jesus stood for.
I’ll respect someone’s views as an _______ (fill in the blank with any religion)
I won’t respect the fact that he/she supports extremist ideas or beliefs that injure themselves and other people, or views certain individuals as lower than others.
I’ll respect reindeers.
I won’t respect the fact that they bully and exclude another reindeer simply because of his red, shiny nose.
It’s as simple as that.