This Is A Blogging A To Z Challenge Post
I grew up catholic, went to a catholic elementary school where I did my first communion, and to a catholic secondary school, run by Irish priests of the Holy Ghost Fathers. Although organized religion was never my thing, going to catholic schools for me was not bad as most people portray. In the schools I went to, although they had religious classes, the religion was not forced on you. It was your choice if you wanted to go to religious class, or confession or mass. The priests were very progressive for the sixties and seventies, and actually encouraged religious debate.
At home, religion was not a big part of life either. My mother is Anglican, but is not a church goer, so religion was not forced on us. It was our choice if we wanted to go to church or not. My brothers were always “seekers”, people who are seeking answers everywhere other than where the answers are. Within.
My elder brother was a Baha'i, and tried to convert everyone in the family to his way of thinking and that religions beliefs. Now he lives more like an atheist, and basically goes through life doubting that there is any good in the world. My eldest brother was an atheist, and too tried to convince everyone that their was no god. Ironically he would later become a born again Christian.
Me, I practiced Catholicism in my preteens, I think mostly because I was doing my first communion, but in my teens, went with what ever floated my boat. I read a little of my brother's Baha'i stuff, listened to my other brother expound on the absence of a God, and even at one time, around the age of fourteen, invited some Jehovah's Witnesses into my home on a weekly basis to hear what their story was. Eventually I got bored with their need to prove to me that their religion was the only religion, and cut them off. And around that time too, I was good friends with a Hindu boy, who's father also tried to extoll the virtues of his religion to me on every visit. I did really enjoy Divali at their house though, the Hindu festival of light.
The one common denominator I found between everyone was “My religion is the best, and it's the only way you are going to get into heaven”. This revelation, at the age of fourteen made me turn my back on organized religion, and focus not on the opinions of the men and women that ran these religions, but rather on the actual teachings, which all came down to the same thing basically. Peace. Life in peace and do no harm.
I realize that certain actions cause certain attractions. The more you dislike something and have an aversion to it, the more you will attract it. Ever notice that if people dislike cats, when they go to visit someone with a cat, the cat heads straight for them? Well, I noticed that the more I disliked the way people tried to shove their religious believes down my throat, the more they would appear, in person or in social media.
Over the years I became more and more allergic to “bible thumpers” and their need to convert everyone in the world to their way of thinking. And the more it aggravated me, the more it appeared and the more I thought of these people as religious zealots.
Last week I read an article where the author wrote about his similar feelings about zealots, and his aversion to them. But he changed around his way of thinking, and instead of seeing these people as a bunch of over zealous crazies, he thought that how blessed these people were to have found something that made them so happy and passionate that they need to spread the joy with everyone else around them. He said that when they tried to plunge their thoughts on him, rather than argue or get annoyed, he just said “Thank you for sharing” and left it at that.
What a really wonderful way to handle an allergy towards something or someone. Rather than looking at them in a negative way, which in reality, you send that negative energy towards them, but to look at it for the positive it brings to the person. It has nothing to do with you. It ties in beautifully to a lesson I recently got from someone else, that simply put is, It's none of your business, it's theirs.
When we learn to separate ourselves from people and their thoughts and ideals and realize that it is all their thoughts, and not yours, they can't force it on you unless you allow it. So if people want to preach their bible to you, and you are just not into it, instead of getting angry, just stop them, say “thank you for sharing your joy” and move on.