Monday, 20 August 2012

Bashing The Word

I would describe myself as a relatively open-minded person. Relatively, because there are just some things that I won’t compromise on, but such is life. I can talk or be talked to about a range of topics and even if they don’t interest me, I might try to understand it or make like I’m trying to understand it. If it’s important to someone I care about or maybe even someone I’ve just met, then 9 times out of 10, I’ll engage it. There is just one topic however, that I find very uncomfortable:

Religion.

I believe it was the movie Big Fish where this quote surfaced:

“It’s rude to talk about religion. You never know who you’re going to offend.”

Religion is a very common topic here, nevertheless, and ranges from people preaching in the streets to those who attempt to spread the word by knocking on your front door.

I believe some sort of law was implemented in which Jehova’s Witnesses were prohibited from knocking on doors, but you still get the odd one of two. The law can’t be everywhere unfortunately, but I’m grateful that the numbers have drastically decreased.

Don’t get me wrong. I was raised on Christian beliefs. I celebrate Christmas, sometimes Lent and the like. I understand that the bible dictates that Christians should ‘spread the word’. But I’ve found over the years that a handful of the Christians that I’ve encountered have a rather passive-aggressive way of spreading this word and it’s something that I do not like.

I would describe myself as Agnostic. There might be a God; there might not be, but personally, I feel that it shouldn’t be anyone else’s decision to look into faith and religion, but my own.

A customer I dealt with today asked me if I went to church. I said no. Outside of a christening, a wedding or a funeral, I don’t go to church. So she felt the need to drop me a magazine, which I know I will not read. On another occasion, a Muslim woman asked me if I was Christian. I said no. She then began to encourage me to pick up a Qu’ran. I explained my standpoint to her, but she just wasn’t having it and I tend to find that whenever I try to explain myself, they just won’t have it. These people just don’t seem to respect my difference of opinion, and while I don’t hold it against anyone for having a contrasting opinion to my own, I really think that some people of faith – passionate about said faith as they may be – should take a step back and focus on the people that are genuinely interested, genuinely ready or actually desire to gain a faith or convert.

Maybe they hear ‘agnostic’ and think that I’m lost, but I’m not lost dammit! I’m just not ready to go on that journey yet.

One of my closest friends is a devout Christian and she respects this about me just as I respect that her faith is a big part of her. And I know it’s not every person of faith, but why is it so difficult for certain others to grasp?

I tend to find that this happens moreso with Christianity. I’ve never seen a Jew go around Torah bashing, or Sikhs going around Guru Granth Sahib bashing. But it leads me to wonder if they might preach if they were in greater numbers here; the UK is obviously a Christian country. Even Buddhism seems a bit more laid back, but again, the number of Buddhists in the UK is very small.

I wonder if it might be too much to ask people of faith to step outside themselves for a bit. Continue to maintain your faith. It’s important to you and I respect that, but try to understand why others may choose not to have one or may not be sure if there’s any point in having one.

Some people may feel that the purpose of our existence is to procreate and yet another friend of mine refuses to have children because of the horrors that exist in the world. Her decision. Not gonna hold it against her.

Ultimately, however, I think that it’s all down to respect. Respect the believer, the unsure and the non-believer because we’re all people; we’re all human together. If one can’t exercise that, however, I guess another compromise would be to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

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