Religion. It's something meant to be personal, yet it is so far beyond personal. Why does everyone judge those who are not the same religion as if they're destined for some sort of impending doom if they don't convert to the 'right' religion?
Newsflash: every single religion is 'right' for whoever has chosen it. Is it not better to have faith and to live a good life than to judge others for not being spiritually aligned and force them to assimilate to avoid being mistreated?
I was raised around Christianity. My parents and I attended Southern Baptist churches regularly. As I've aged, I've become aware of the amount of hypocrisy among religions and it kills me. History shows wars and atrocious acts committed that were excused by the attacker because their religion was 'right'. How is any religion right for telling people to kill those who won't convert? What hurts the most is having friends I've had for years suddenly go poof because of a newly discovered religious devotion. The irony is, by avoiding friends that may no longer suit your 'standards' you are losing an opportunity to spread your beliefs and multiply. Something is very wrong when someone preaches salvation only to leave friends in the shadows as if they're not good enough for it.
I believe in equality. Freedom in all things. I don't care what religion you are, used to be or will be. As long as someone is only providing intellectual discussion and not judgmental drama or changing how they treat someone over their beliefs, what does it matter the religion they choose? I grew up on Christianity, but believe God exists in all things and is the same in other religions, just interpreted differently among them. Nature is my church. I feel more peace while exploring the rugged beauty of creation than I ever did falling asleep inside a pew while the paster preaches about the sinfulness of worldly possessions and yet goes out to buy a brand new car or mansion because they are 'blessed' while many of the congregation is encouraged to tithe heavily despite living paycheck to paycheck...or barely surviving on government assistance. In nature, there are no walls to restrict my prayers or expectations to conform to fit in to a room full of hypocrites who act one way at church and another at home, work and beyond. Not hindered by the physical expectations, my spirituality is left free to flourish.
I have an appreciation for the ideals of alternative religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Both ancient religions far outdating Christianity. Yet, despite their elder status of origin, they are judged by those who understand nothing but what they were taught to believe. Hinduism for instance may involve multiple Gods and Goddesses, but it's far deeper than that. It's not about worshiping idols, though it has that outward appearance...it's about man finding a way to better understand the divine. A visual interpretation to represent different areas of devotion. In the end, does it really matter to you what religion someone else has provided they are good to nature and humanity? If it does, you need to do some serious soul searching.
People judge fashion. People judge income. No one has the right to judge religion, for that is personal. Respect and love each other, but do not hate or assume someone is destined for a fiery eternity all because they do not believe as you do. Such ideology will only push people farther away from that religion. So, please...regardless of your religion: love and accept everyone. There's nothing wrong in communicating your beliefs, but give people the option to learn on their own terms. Show your religion's beauty by being the change...not by abandoning friends that are not in your religion club, judging those following a different religion or by any other overzealous negative behavior. The irony in all of this, even by encouraging not judging...I am judging. I've great respect for faith and respect the dedication involved, just am so saddened by the things I see in society all excused because of religion. I've friends and family that are Athiest, Baptist, Catholic, Druid, Pagan, Methodist, Wiccan and more. Do I treat them differently? NO. Do they treat me differently? NO. That is how it should be....