Religious Freedom For All…..Except

The following is a personal attempt to understand how things in the world are at the moment. To clarify I am a Christian but not a Theologist so my knowledge of various aspects of religion are limited. I am always open for discussion on topics so my views can change over time. 

2016 has proven to be a year of social and moral extremes. The increased threats of terrorism in the name of religion have created great divides in our world. With the proliferation of social media in our lives, the spread of discent and disinformation is just a great as the spread of truth. The most noticeable is the increased distrust of Islam thanks to extremists. 

Now I’m not labelling all Islamists as dangerous. That would be very hypocritical of me. History is full of moments when religion has been the catalyst for wars or massive changes in the world. To say one religion is worse than another makes as much sense as playing Russian roulette with a loaded Uzi.

What I have noticed is that while as a whole society preaches religious acceptance, there is an equally large part that ridicules religion. Social media platforms allow people to post all sorts of stuff with the knowledge that most people can claim ignorance of the source. After all who bothers to check facts these days? 

Now as a Christian I see posts and memes and wonder, “what have I done to offend?”  It seems that just being of faith these days offends some people. I will admit I used to be the sort of person that probably would join in on the ridicule, but after a series of events I had a reconsidering of my faith. Now that being said I’m not a born again evangelist who stands on street corners shouting at people to repent. I’m just as likely to make a wise crack about hell as I am heaven. Some may consider my views too relaxed but I feel that I am always true to the one core belief that I have had since I was young enough to remember. Treat others as I want to be treated. Yes I know very cliche and I’ve not always been good at leading by example. 

But I’ll talk about myself another time and back to the world we live in. It seems that people are quick to have a go at religions because of either misinformation by the media, political opinions, lack of understanding or past negative experiences. Now I’m not nieve and know that politics and media are a major factor in the world’s views on things. After all when you hear 15 times in 30 minutes about some extremist blowing himself and others up it’s no surprise opinions are formed so quickly. It is strange when people go on about how religion should not interfere or criticise their lack of beliefs, yet they themselves attack those of various faiths. 

So what am I blathering about you are probably wondering? As a whole the world is diverse and has a wide range of faiths and beliefs. Even if everyone all followed the same set of rules there are many ways to interpret those rules. I have a simple request for 2017 that some may find odd. I would like everyone to respect each other’s views and rather than ridicule or fight over them, let’s discuss things openly. Don’t let media and political speech tell you what is truth. Not everyone one of faith is an extremist. Not every unbeliever is a heathen. We are human. We are imperfect but it is those imperfections that make humanity what it is, yet it’s is those differences that we need to have a better understanding of in order to prosper.

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