August 6: Day 37
STEP SIX CONTINUED: Take inventory of ourselves to discover any way in which we have hurt, disappointed, or abused anyone by our religious beliefs.
Instruction: Examine your religious biases.
How do we decide what religious organization to attend? For many people, it is a matter of being born into a particular religious faith. For others, it is often through invitation from a friend. For the most part, people exclude religions that they are not familiar with or that are not a common religion in their community. In my world, I know few Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or Native Americans. I rarely even considered attending a religious service other than a Christian-based service, because I was not raised in those traditions. The worst part is that I was taught, not necessarily directly as much as indirectly, that those religious traditions had nothing to offer me, and they were mistaken about how to worship and reach The Divine.
Although I am not to blame for my early teaching, as an adult I have learned that it is time to take responsibility for my beliefs and to make them my own. What I’ve decided is that these religious biases are unfair, unreal, and unfounded. If I had grown up in a different religious culture, I would most likely be prejudiced against the religious faith of my youth. I have chosen to be more open-minded and to accept that there could be, and probably is, something that can be learned from nearly all religious belief systems. Each is trying in their own way to understand the Great Mystery. If we can gather a little bit of knowledge here and a little bit there, we will be wiser, more loving, and closer to understanding why we are here and what we are supposed to do with this worldly existence.
Examine your life today for religious biases. Where did they come from? How do I know the people or organizations that passed those biases on to me were right? What if they were wrong? If I were to open my mind, would it destroy my faith, or could it enhance my faith? What if I chose to concentrate on the things that other religions have in common instead of looking for the differences?
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