STEP TEN CONTINUED: Seek tolerance and, when possible accept all religious faiths without judgment.
Instruction: Compare beliefs.
Many religions believe in similar concepts, but their wording is often different. For instance, the Golden Rule of doing unto others what you would want done to you is found in most religions, but the wording is slightly different in each occurrence. This makes for different ways of looking at the same thing, which shouldn’t breed confusion, as some would have us think, but it should give us a fuller understanding of a spiritual concept that appears to be universal to all religious faiths. If we consider the concept of “good deeds,” we will find plenty of information from a variety of religious faiths such as Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and more. Many complement each other, some seem to contradict each other at least on the surface, and some expand or bring new revelations about life and how to live it in peace and harmony.
By comparing beliefs of different religions, we discover that a lot of what is being said is similar. Sometimes a different way of looking at the same subject gives us a different slant that helps us grasp some of the deeper meanings that might have eluded us if we constantly looked at those concepts from the same limited perspective. This doesn’t have to be a formal comparison as in studying and comparing different religious texts. It can be an informal study that occurs during the course of events as we are introduced to these supposedly different concepts from a variety of sources. I’ve found movies to be a vehicle that often introduces a variety of these concepts in fun and entertaining ways.
Humor is another source that allows for differences to be couched in fun and laughter. Sometimes the teaching is done through extremes such as when the sitcom “All in the Family” was popular. We discovered things about our lives that were similar, yet when the main characters were at odds with one another, we could look in from the outside and see how silly most of their conflicts were, and, often, how they seemed to be saying the same things while arguing about the proper way to say or do something. Little by little, as we examine the beliefs of our past, we can let go of any prejudices or biases, because we understand how the principle of the golden rule applies here. If you don’t want others to misunderstand your religious beliefs, then try to understand and accept theirs, too. We have more in common than we think, and our differences can make for good comedy if we will let them.
Have our lives become too serious? Religion seems to be such a formal way of thinking and behaving that we might wonder where our sense of fun and play has gone. For today’s lesson, try to find ways of uniting beliefs and opinions in a way that doesn’t lead to seriousness, arguments, or fights. As we recall the lives of Edith and Archie Bunker and how much fun it was to laugh at Archie’s opinionated, biased, and racist beliefs, let us see our world from the outside looking in and learn to laugh at the silliness of some of our own beliefs.
Note: You might need to refresh your screen to see the current day's Inspiration.
Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.