Throughout history, religion has caused great turmoil between people, countries, and cultures, but has also brought all walks of life to come together under one belief, and that is the belief in the all-mighty. In my opinion, I believe all human beings are free to practice and believe in whatever their minds rationalize as their all-mighty. Nowadays, people and governments tried to indoctrinate everyone to believe that certain religions are evil in nature, but that’s far from the truth. Our founding fathers wrote our Constitution with the ideology that each citizen of this great country is free to practice any religion that one choices. That principle is one of the most important ideologies that the Bill of Rights has to offer, one can express themselves in whatever way they please.
I see my mind as a sponge, and i try to soak everything that i can take in no matter how farfetched the ideas may be because i enjoy listening to people’s thoughts and experiences that have shaped them into the person they have become. There is this Indian gentlemen that owns a thrift shop down the street from me, and every once in a while I’ll drive down the street to pick his brain about his life and his beliefs and usually buy something in the proccess. He is a practicing Hindu, and even though I do not practice Hinduism, I still go into every situation with an open mind because I feel as though i can learn from anyone and everyone. One day we started talking about his religion, and the fact that he was upset that my visits to his shop have been few and infrequent. I apologized for my lack of visits, but soon turned the conversation back to his religion. He preached to me that Hinduism is based on the principles of non-violent action and lifestyle. He indicated to me that his religion believed that life is precious, and anything that has life should be treated with respect. He even went on to say that even life as small as an ant should be treated with the same respect as one's family. This ideology really made me open my eyes to the way I approached things in my own life. Do I show that same respect for life no matter the size, intelligence, or relationship to me? In the end, I take what I learn, and replace it with my old beliefs that I have rendered obsolete.
This past weekend, I met a group of individuals from Saudi Arabia in University City in Philadelphia. When I go to the bar, I'd rather socialize with interesting people than get drunk. They are all studying the English language. Each of them is in their first semester here in America, and they told me they love it here for the most part. The conversation began with me asking why they were in the United States because they were all either engineers or architects. They all indicated that they were eager to learn our language which really inspired me considering they were speaking fluent English after only starting to learn it 2 months prior. It made me realize that hard work and dedication to a goal can really do wonders for one's ambition. I then went on to discuss with a chemical engineer about the power of water as an energy source, and we both had a lot to offer one another because I really am not too good with my hands, but I will give everything my best effort and over a period of time I succeed. As the conversation progressed, I heard a few people in the group discussing something in another language, so i asked the chemical engineer if the language they were speaking was Arabic. He nodded yes, and i went on to say that the language and accent really had me mesmerized because it gets old listening to the same accents and dialects everyday here in America. We went on to talk about oil, and how it is truly a productive and efficient energy source due to the energy you get per volume of content, but agreed it was unhealthy at the same time. As the conversation progressed, I asked him if it’s true that Saudi oil was really the purest in the world, and he answered by saying no, it’s second to the oil of Syria. I went on to say hmmm, that’s very interesting since we are now giving aide in Syria and now I know why. I also asked if Saudi's oil reserves were really the biggest in the world, but once again I was wrong. He indicated to me that I was misinformed, and that America had to the largest oil deposits on Earth. After this thought, we moved onto religion and politics. We both agreed that ignorance of others cultures leads to misconceptions of the truth. We as human beings are all the same, even though we are taught to believe otherwise. I went on to talk about a game that we played as young children. We would play a game where the teacher would give one person a sentence to say, and the statement had to make its way by word of mouth around the room. By the time it got to the end, the original statement changed completely. I connected this idea with religion by saying that when you try to preserve ideologies and lessons portrayed in any religious book have it be the Koran, the Torah, or the Bible, time, humans, and language translation can simply change religious writings over thousands of year. Regardless of this, religion has one goal: to give its followers life lessons to help live a virtuous life free of sin, but as humans we all sin in life regardless of how virtuous one may be.
These conversations lead me to my own Christian faith that I was raised on. Christianity preaches that the key to overcoming your sins is to confess them to the Lord, and in turn, he shall forgive them. My aunt is extremely religious, but she does not follow by this Christian principle of forgiveness. She dwells on the past faults of others; instead of forgiving them for their action the past cannot be changed. Even though this is an extreme case, and not everyone lives like that it got me thinking nonetheless. People tend to dwell on the wrongdoings of others for days, months, or even years, rather than forgiving them, and moving on. Life is too short to dwell on the sins that others committed in the past, so why do people live their life with resentment of others, when the main teaching of the Christian faith is forgiveness?