Religious Views That Will Make My Southern Baptist Momma Cringe

I am currently reading An Introduction to Islam by Frederick Mathewson Denny in preparation for upcoming travels to Indonesia. Basing my opinion on the first three chapters, it is one of the most interesting religious texts I’ve read thus far. I appreciate that the book begins with the historical and philosophical backgrounds of several religions. The parallels of the religions are not shocking but show how man, over hundreds of years, have diverted attention from the true aspect of praise.

I’ve become frustrated with religious institutions over the past few years because of their increased focus on self-promotion, finger pointing at wrongdoers, and emphasis on money. It is my understanding that the goals of any religion are to: (1) live a humble and balanced life; (2) refrain from wishing ill-will toward others; and (3) seek to become the best you can be with God as your standard. Because of these reasons, I don’t understand why the focus of religious leaders is not on unifying people, regardless of religion, instead of tearing down other religions. Many walk around as if their religious doctrines blaze the top of a spiritual hierarchy while every one else’s religion drags along the bottom.

I don’t believe the religious prophets prayed to different Gods. Even as the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians prayed to several gods, the overall essence of these gods derived from one omnipotent spirit, which they recognized through various divine forms. There is still much for me to learn, but in my small mind, God is God. In my view, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Bethel, God, and Allah are the same, a spirit and source of energy that heavily influences cosmos. When people die and see God, I doubt that He will tell them they had it all wrong, that each religion has a different God and they were following the wrong one.

I am not afraid to admit that my views on religion are ever-changing. Tomorrow I may have an epiphany that changes how I feel about everything I’ve just written. I realize that the people of this world have been in religions wars for hundreds of years and it is obvious that their views of religion are not as simple as mine. But, I love that fact that I am constantly seeking out my own truths through prayer, meditation, reading, and analyzing different viewpoints instead of saying, “This is how I was raised to think about religion so it must be right. Anyone who disagrees with it must either be headed for hell or in dire need for me to convert them.”

Know of some good reads that provide an unbiased look at various religions? Suggest them in the comment box. I would love to check them out, or better yet, send me a copy.
 
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3 thoughts on “Religious Views That Will Make My Southern Baptist Momma Cringe

  1. Pingback: A Little Housekeeping on God | Life On My Gay Island
  2. Wow. As I think about religious views, I guess some do operate on the premises of doing the right thing and living in harmony. However, I think the controversy is more so how one should honor God and through which method saves one soul. Again, one could argue my point as being invalid. But nevertheless, the conversation is very interesting.

    • Your point is very valid. Majority of our religious institutions and followers do just that. My frustration stems from those that divert their followers’ attention from what will truly honor God and focus more on church politics, status quo, and other actions that discourage the very people they should be trying to save.

      For example, if my neighbors are Mormons who follow their religious doctrines and are overall good people, then they are living a life that will honor God according to their religious views. There is no need for me to constantly pressure them to convert to my religion or think they are less than me because their religion is different from mine– because we our both seeking God, but through different ways. That family is not better than mine, nor are they less than mine. We are simply seeking God through different avenues.

      I feel a lot of times, followers of any religion may lack adequate understanding of other religions and may be misguided into thinking that other religions are less than theirs when they actually are 90-95% similar.

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