Why is religious bigotry acceptable

father gravestone

I don’t talk specifically about my faith very often because, even at 50, I haven’t figured it all out. Occasionally, religion creeps into my fiction, or I’ll touch on collateral issues, but I loath proselytizing. What I believe, and how I put my faith into practice is very personal. I don’t even insist that my children or spouse share my opinions.

Do I pray? Yes. Do I pray on a regular basis? No. Do I routinely tell people “I’ll pray for you” when I know I won’t? No. Do I believe there is an omnipotent supernatural being who hears and acts on those prayers… I don’t know. And, that is where the faith part of my religion comes in.

There have been days when I have been on my knees, my body wracked with sobs so overwhelming it’s as if my very soul is broken. Other times, I’ve tossed up a little ‘thank you’ when a moment of Quantum Physics could have gone drastically different and I appreciate that the coin flip went my way.

Do I attend church? No, because I am weary of the hypocrisy of organized religion. Do I think that everyone else should believe as I do? No. Do I think that what I believe is the only truth? No, and I won’t know until I die, none of us will.

I have friends of other faiths, and friends who are self-proclaimed atheists. My son would be categorized as an agnostic. I value and love all of them, respect their opinions and beliefs, and they respect me. I would never do them the discourtesy of telling them they are wrong, or stupid, or disillusioned for those beliefs, nor would I try to convert them to my way of thinking. And, I’ve taught my children to not do that.

It’s not my place to judge anyone… from what little I remember from Bible School, that’s God’s job.

I don’t understand why people of faith are the targets of such contempt. Why it’s considered fair game to call into question someone’s intellect simply because they believe in God. Why prayer is ridiculed, why longing for a heavenly reward is a punch line. People can get down right apoplectic about prayer and faith.

If you want to burn incense, face east, count beads, flog your self, or pay homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster… knock yourself out, it doesn’t harm me in anyway.

If I’m delusional enough to believe in a zombie Jesus, to talk to an imaginary white-haired father figure in the sky, or believe that I’ll be reunited with dead loved ones in the land of milk and honey after I die, let me. It doesn’t harm you in any way.

But, make fun of me for all that, teach your children it’s okay to be bigoted and intolerant? Then shame on you.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

27 thoughts on “Why is religious bigotry acceptable

  1. I read every comment , some of them twice, and I am so glad that I live in a world that some of us truly do believe in acceptance and tolerance.

    I have a lot to say on this subject, but after reading all these wonderful comments, I feel like whatever I say is not enough.

    I believe in God, I believe in acceptance and love, I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you..so I try to live like I’m awaiting the love I put out there.

    this was so good, so right, so honest.

    Like

  2. This so readily speaks to how I feel about the subject. I have no problem with people believing in things I don’t. As long as they don’t try to convert me or condemn me for not thinking their way I’m fine. What you said about organized religion is so on point

    Like

  3. Love this. My feelings about faith and religion are a lot like yours. My religious upbringing made me feel that I would always practice and never question the beliefs I learned. But the older I get, the more I question and the less desire I have to attend church or believe certain teachings just because I’m supposed to. But quite honestly, I wish it were easier to believe without question and just go “by the book.” I’m envious of those who are unfaltering in their beliefs. I have no desire to judge. It’s more along the lines of wishing I knew what they know, or felt what they feel.

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  4. I categorize myself as ‘spiritual” and try to keep an open mind. I try to avoid conversations about religion with friends that are pious for fear of offending. I just prefer that the golden rule is followed (treating others as you wish to be treated).

    Like

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