Essay about religious acceptance

Submitted By gninworbenna13
Words: 1853
Pages: 8

Being raised by a strong Catholic led me to believe that all followers of religion were close-minded and unaccepting of others. As a child, I was never introduced to any adults besides those who attended my church, so I never experienced being around someone without strong opinions on how one should live. All of the Catholics I met believed that in order to live a good life, one had to be Catholic too, and if they weren’t, they were going to hell. This caused me to have a very biased opinion on followers of religion. My nana, in particular, influenced my thinking. She hated most everyone, especially those who did not have the exact same beliefs as she did. Because of her mindset that she also passed down to my father, I was taught to never question my beliefs; Catholicism is correct, and thinking otherwise means I will be disowned. My dad also forced me to attend Sunday school and church every week in a desperate attempt to force religion down my throat, hoping I would go along with it and accept God into my life. On the contrary, it left me with an even greater resentment towards organized religion. By my eighth grade year, I was determined to break free from the restraints placed on me while I was catholic. I explored the ideas of renouncing my faith and even getting into another religion. By that summer, I was a self-proclaimed atheist and had my heart set on studying religions more closely, so that I would not be as close-minded as my family was. When the opportunity arose for me to take this course, I jumped on it; it was the perfect way for me to begin my studies. Before we began our studies this year, I was completely uneducated on the subject of religion and had no idea what any religion besides Christianity was about. I expected each to be diverse, teaching its own morals and telling its own stories; however, as we discussed Judaism and Islam, I realized how similar the religions are. They all share the same god, moral codes, and ways to worship. This birthed my curiosity as to why these religions try to prove so often why their ideas are correct while everyone else’s are not. Isn’t the main point of religion to teach us the proper ways to act? I always thought that God was created to simultaneously scare and inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be. That’s how he was portrayed to me through the countless tales I was told during my years of attending different youth groups. I was taught that God always punishes evil and rewards the good; there are a myriad of stories in the Bible that say so. One of my favorite stories from my childhood was the classic, David and Goliath. As David approached the Philistine army, he said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD” (1 Samuel 17:45). When I was eleven, a pastor at TLC read that story aloud; that phrase has been stuck in my mind ever since. It always struck me as inspiring how David could have been so strong in his faith that it allowed him to conquer an entire army. Looking back now I understand how symbolic that statement is. It is unrealistic to think that a young teenager could have defeated a Philistine army, but when it is looked at from a metaphysical standpoint (David being a metaphor for those with a “godlike” mindset, and the army being a metaphor for the troubles we face in our day-to-day lives) everything makes more sense. In my opinion now, God isn’t even the real focus of the story. What I gathered from it is that when one faces their problems with love and understanding, they can easily be conquered. Anyone of any religion can learn from and appreciate that the story has to teach, not just Catholics. As we continued our studies, I was able to learn about Buddhism and Hinduism. What intrigued me most were the teachings of his holiness, the Dalai Lama. While watching Beyond Our Differences, I heard a simple yet striking quote from him that has caused me to think.