I was scrolling through Tumblr this morning when I came across a fight over religion. I grew up Roman Catholic, and still practice it today. The fight essentially boiled down to “the Bible is the truth. My religion is the truth so I will force it on you.”
From the point of view of the law, we are protected under the Bill of Rights with “freedom of religion” without persecution. What this means is that the GOVERNMENT cannot force us to all practice the same religion. America does not have a national religion, and they don’t for this specific reason. The government cannot tell us what to practice.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t sit out on the quad of my university protesting that people need to follow my religion. I am allowed to practice my beliefs on public property. This goes for all religions; Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Atheism, the list goes on. And unless I start to get violent or start harassing people, or things like that, the government cannot arrest me for expressing my beliefs in a public place.
I will also say that every religion has extremists. Yes you read that correctly. Islam is not the only religion where extremists exist and kill and do things that make the entire religion look bad. That happens in every religion. These extremists are the ones we see on the news, the ones who make everyone else look bad. If not all Christians are like the Jim David Adkisson, who shot and killed people because of his hatred of the liberals because his religion was conservative, then not all Islamist people are like Osama Bin Laden. That’s a fact.
As for the issue of the truth of the Bible:
To me, Roman Catholicism is the truth, and in my own personal opinion, I think everyone should be Roman Catholic. And this holds true for every religion; it’s the basis of believing and more importantly, the reason organized religion is still around today. In order to believe in a religion and follow it as whole heartedly as they do, people believe that this is the true religion, this is where they needed to be at this point in time, and that it’s going to get you to whatever heaven that religion believes in, or none at all. (Of course this is not true of all people, and if you do not believe this fits with you, sorry.)
But each Religion is different.
So Buddhists believe that the Tripitaka is the true book. Islam believes the Qu’ran is the true book. Catholics believe the New and Old Testaments are the true books. Every truth is different.
So what truth do we impose upon others? None at all.
Imposing a religion is not like saying “you can’t eat cake because I’m on a diet”. Rather, it’s like telling a student of a different University that “you have to wear orange because it’s my University’s color.” While it is true that my University’s color may be orange, it isn’t the only truth.
We shouldn’t impose a “truth” upon someone because it is the truth we believe in. We must be open to other people’s beliefs, and willing to allow others to believe the truths they want to believe.
We frankly don’t know what the true religion is. We believe what we are practicing is enough to secure our spot in eternal heaven and bliss, but in all honesty, we won’t know until our souls leave us and move onto wherever we believe they will go.