If there is one way to get me fired up, it is to talk about the Catholic church in a negative way, especially if you have no information about the Catholic church or the only information you have gained is through the media’s representation. I’m not saying that’s where this post is going because no one negatively talked about my faith, but I’m saying that religion is something that people debate ALL the time. It makes people mad, it makes people sad, people kill over it, people do things that they may not normally do, all in the name of whatever they believe in.
Whether you believe in God or not, the real problem is our lack of tolerance and understanding. It is through a desire to learn that we become more competent and more understanding. If we do not understand something we should not ridicule it or belittle it for what we believe. We should not impose our beliefs upon someone else in thinking that our beliefs are in some way superior. What we believe is what makes us who we are, and that is not something that should separate people but it does. Religion is one of those topics that can make a lot of people mad.
Let’s face it. We don’t like people coming us with negative comments no matter what the comment, we don’t like criticism as humans and we sure as heck don’t appreciate it when people make fun of our core beliefs. It’s amazing to me that people continually make comments about things they know nothing about. I’m not saying that I’ve never done this, because I have had my share, but it is being aware that we can continue to change ourselves.
In my multicultural class we talked about different religions and religious oppression tonight. We talked a lot about different belief systems and I brought up about Catholicism and some aspects of it, but what I shared after that is something I wanted to share here. Who we come into contact within a religion can make or break our perception of that religion.
I used the example of going to a Catholic mass for the first time. Imagine having a priest who is really old fashioned, talks for 15 minutes and does not make any sense to you. No one greets you, and you have no idea what is going on. You might think from that interaction that Catholicism is stupid or that it’s in personable. On the other hand you may go to a church where you are encouraged to greet your neighbor, the priest preaches for 5 minutes and makes a ton of sense to you. You may enjoy Catholicism then.
This is universal to any faith. It depends on what face we see of the religion, and how they display that religion. If we meet a Baptist minister who tells us we are going to hell, we may not be inclined to like the Baptist religion as much as if we had a preacher teach acceptance and forgiveness to us.
We must remember this as we go on. Take interactions at face value until you really immerse yourself into a religion. Get to know the practices, allow yourself to be critical in a caring way. Do not ridicule others for their beliefs, let others share with you freely what they believe. If we all had a little bit more willingness to learn about each other we may not have as many issues as we have right now. Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Catholics are boring, and not all Baptists are fire and brim stone. Take the time to learn about religions, everyone will thank you.