Religion is not usually a topic that I would write about, but I was asked my thoughts on this by one of my readers. So here it is Shana, religion – one of the dinner table discussion taboos! In terms of religion, I grew up in a family where the faith system was based on Christianity. My parents’ attitude was to incorporate the core principles into our daily lives, like showing kindness and understanding to others. But they were very liberal in how we practised our faith system. Practising faith was more about believing and knowing that in your heart you connected to God. As my mum once said, being of faith did not mean that you had to visit a church. So this gave me space to make my own discoveries and even look at other faith systems.
“The root is the same”
I have also been curious about religion and spirituality, especially as I grew up in a multicultural neighbourhood. To me it was a bonus; I would not only be exploring the different faiths but also different cultures. There was even a time, when I would sometimes attend a meet up of women who followed Islam. In this group it was not only talking about religion, but the everyday ‘universal’ topics that came up, and how to deal with them in a positive way. From visiting these different worlds, it brought not only a deeper understanding of people, but also awareness of how we are the same. In the core religions, you can see similarities. For example lets look at the concept of peace: “Peace be with me”; and “Peace be upon him” respectively in Christianity and Islam. Here, we can also see another theme, the theme of love. This is why it is sad when you see in the news, stories about a group of people, usually in a minority, who justify doing something unloving, in the name of religion.
“There is a separatism epidemic”
If you switch on the news recently, you will see how there are wars going on. We see this with the continued conflict between Israel and Palestine. We see it with Ukraine and Russia. We see this also in Syria. There are of course wars going on in other areas. One may argue that there has been different wars’ going on from the beginning of time. Yes, historical there has been battles, sometimes in the name of religion; and other times it was about acquiring more land. Often the conflict can be the result of one group, seeing themselves differently from another. Yes, there are many different tribes, cultures and groups. Yes, we may identify with a specific background more than the general population. But one similarity is that we are members of the Universe! We have desires, hopes, visions, love; and the need to feel connected. Talking about connection, sometimes it is evident that there is a big disconnection. I see this when reading the latest news articles, where a person born into a Western society, decides to join a terrorist cell, then later comes back to their birth country and decides to kill fellow human beings. Yes, this is a big subject as we can discuss issues like countries invading other countries, believing that there should ‘impose’ upon another what their definition of a ‘civilisation’ is. Thus there can be political elements, as well as emotional wellbeing – mental health. But this can be something to think about and leave for another dinner table discussion. Can you however, see the main thread here, that there is an element of ‘separatism. People not realising that we are in fact one. We are not separate from other people, regardless of race, religion, and spiritual beliefs; which neighbourhood we may have grown up in.
“I believe in a religion called love”
A couple of months ago, I attended a talk by the lovely and inspirational soul, Marianne Williamson. During that night, both her and the audience who were present, reminded me of how we are in fact ‘one’. I needed this reminded, as I was sinking into the ‘separatism’ mode. There was a fellow human being who stood up and shared with us, how he was being alienated by both his family and friends. His religious background originally is Judaism. The nutshell of his story was that when he spoke up about how he was not in agreement about how people of another faith was being treated, his family were not happy. It was from this, I realised that I was taking sides too, “saying I do not like a group of people because the way they were treating other people”. I was too acting as a ‘separatist’; as I almost forgot that we are all from love.
In answer to the question, which religion do I believe in? I believe in a religion called love. We start off from love, which is the core. So to love your self, recognise love in others and also see how it manifests into the world. For example in objects like art.
Question: Which religion do you believe in?