Discussing religion with someone is like treading on a mine field. It’s the one topic that I always try to avoid, mostly because I have several terrible experiences in the past with people trying to convert me that ended, usually, with my indignance (on the inside; I never confront directly)–but overtime, I realize, there’s no need to feel angry or insulted or misunderstood, people just simply believe in different things, even if sometimes those beliefs can be condescending. It’s really not my problem. I can just chill with my own beliefs.
I think I’m just inexperienced. Sometimes I don’t know how to talk to people about religion or spirituality. I believe in all religions. I believe religious teachings offer us some of the most beautiful things in this world, but it’s also the one place laden with politics. A lot of religious texts are filled with political statements, and they often the reflect the social climate during the time they were written. Why are many religions sexist? Because they reflect on patriarchy, which governed the world as the norm for some time.
Perhaps I am being inarticulate here. I don’t much about the religions. I know some things about Buddhism and I know a few things about Christianity. I have never read the Bible but I have read books referencing the Bible. I read a lot of New Age stuff, and I guess my “religion” is a kind of neo-religious fusion/zen kind of thing. I believe in oneness and God. I believe in spirit guides. I believe in our abilities to create and the rhythms of the universe. I believe we’re all part of a whole, and that we can transcend the physical world. I believe in forgiveness and freedom. I believe in a pure state of being that we are all capable of achieving.
I don’t really know…I mostly just call myself spiritual instead of religious, and I don’t have a clear standpoint…like…I can’t just say to people, “Hey, I’m a Buddhist.” Or, “Hey, I’m a Christian.” Does that make things easier or more complicated? I just say I’m spiritual and not religious. I grew up in a Buddhist family but my parents are pretty open-minded, and I was able to grow up without the conventional formalities of Buddhism.
Sometimes I talk to people who believe deeply in the Bible–and at times I try to point out that Bible, like all books, is a kind of narrative. And like all religious texts it’s been edited. I don’t mean that it’s been tempered with, or that it’s fake, or I think it’s illegitimate or anything like that. I question the intentions behind it, the people who wrote this text. The words of God can be pure, but not necessarily the hearts of men, whose minds filtered those words. I don’t question religions in general. I question the motives and politics and structures within it that can sometimes complicate things which make things problematic. When I’m talking about religion, I try to maintain a neutral attitude and address all religions in general: like if I want to talk about Christianity I talk about Buddhist texts too, since these are the religions I am most familiar with, but I am usually reserved in my comments…like the things I know about each religions, a lot of the things came from books involving conversations “ascended masters” or the voice of God, and the process itself produced the book. I think rather the authors actually have had the conversations is irrelevant. What’s important is the message. But because of its origination, a lot of details cannot be verified.
Anyway. Like, I’ve encountered some frustrating individuals who completely disrespected my beliefs and just tried to convert me. At one point I was told that I should “upgrade” from Buddhism to Christianity. Right now I just don’t want to talk about religions with ANYONE anymore, because it’s too difficult and I don’t like fishing around and trying to figure out what’s safe–it’s just easier to not talk about it altogether. Eventually I will overcome this barrier and be able to accept and see through all religions with ease, but right now, I’m haunted by my memories. Religion is just not the best topic, especially among friends. I just tense up when someone starts talking about God or the Bible. Even though I really crave for a good spiritual discussion, and I’ve always wanted to read the Bible, and the Koran, but to be honest..
Alright. I’m going to say it. I’m scared of Christians trying to convert me. I’m a bit tired of it too. Of course, it’s probably just the few that I’ve met. But these encounters have really made me anxious towards religion–especially when talking about it, I guess.
I want to quote my uncle, who is awesome. He said that, “The purpose of having a religion is to become a better person.” I agree with him. What other purpose is there?
P.S. Apologies for the disorganization and the randomness of this post. Just wanted to get some thoughts out.