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Don’t turn religion into a weapon

Hayley H.
December 8, 2011
Filed under Opinion

It’s Christmas time again! Among other things, this time of year brings about all kinds of religions and types of celebrations, unique to each culture. During this month of December, everyone is full of acceptance and togetherness. Now, if we could only transfer these sentiments to the other eleven months.

It’s extremely ironic that the time of year with the most diversity brings about the most acceptance. During the rest of the year, I am greeted with religious intolerance and the sentiment that everyone else’s beliefs are wrong. To me, it doesn’t matter how you worship, who or what you worship, or if you worship at all. I know that the saying “why can’t we just get along?” is cliché, but really, why can’t we? I get really tired of people constantly being close-minded to any deviation from their beliefs. If someone tries to have an intellectual debate about beliefs nowadays, the pious one usually does the verbal equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and chanting “I’m not listening to you”. They say that it’s the truth and they won’t question it. I have no problem with believing in something with everything you have. When it gets dangerous is when the believers become militant in their stance. If I make one offhand comment about a book I read or something I think is worth investigating and I’m bombarded with “well that’s wrong” and “well, if that’s what you want to believe”. Yeah, it is what I want to believe, and maybe some of us should be reminded that this country and its ideals were founded on, among other things, freedom of religion.

Now, I’m not one to mention religion in a conversation and I doubt that I’ve ever discussed it with anyone, except a few close friends. Mostly this is because I want to avoid conflict, but it’s also because I just don’t think someone should be judged based on their religion. I’m just as likely to be friends with a Christian as I am to be friends with an Agnostic. The truth is, religion isn’t a problem. In fact, the root of all religion is wonderful. I am all for someone believing in something. When religion is used for arguments, wars, and nasty dealings – that’s when religion turns into a weapon.

I’m not attacking anybody here or singling out any religion, but I think that everyone could be a little more open-minded and accepting of other’s ideas. I’m also not saying that anyone should change what they believe in to conform, but there is a point when the constant putting down of ideas starts to push nonbelievers away from your religion. Isn’t that the point? To show people the right way? Perhaps if everybody was more accepting, society would have more converts than Holy Wars.