Easter: A time of love, hope, forgiveness and new beginnings. Whether your life philosophy originates from theistic or anti-theistic foundations, the Easter Spirit is one that we can all embrace.
There is little need for ongoing religious debate. Surely this only reinforces societal divides. Simply, my beliefs are my beliefs. Your beliefs are your beliefs. Both have come to be through a complex chain of events that is, for the most part, impossible to explain and to be understood.
We must simply choose to accept one another and to learn from one another; seeking to create a society that is built upon the best bits from all ideologies and not to discount the beneficial merely for its religious origin.
There is no right and wrong. Only what is right and wrong for you and I. Surely the time has now come in which we must cease fighting and forcing our opinions on each other; the time has come in which we must simply love one another.
This sense of growing religious stigma is as frustrating as it is destructive. None of us should be defined by what we believe. We should only be defined by how we act, how we treat other people and how we love other people.
There are those that exist within religious communities who fuel enormous misconceptions. Broad generalisations are subsequently made and many lessons of love, hope and forgiveness left to rot by the wayside, lost in the rubble of selfish terror.
What is the point of this?
There are fools who exist on both sides of the religious divide. And yet we are fine to call the atheist fools what they are without going on to label every member of the anti-theistic community with the same label.
How can we not see what we are doing here?
I write this as a young man with thought origins of Christian foundation. I grew up in a Christian home, I attended a Christian school, I try to attend church as often as I can and I pray every day, giving thanks for the blessings that come into my life. Personally, this adds great value to my life.
My beliefs are not founded from what I read in a book. They are founded through real life experience. They are founded in the moments of my life in which I was alone, lost and hurting. In these moments I prayed, calling out for the strength needed to endure such struggles. I believed. I persevered. And hope was revealed and the strength needed provided.
This is where I found my faith.
And whilst I say this, my faith strong, I acknowledge that the universal embodiment of ‘my belief’ is not the way forward. There are lessons I seek to learn from all cultures, all religions and all life philosophies.
The way forward I believe to be through universal understanding of all ideologies. The way forward I believe to be through open conversations with those of differing belief systems; conversations in which we seek not to argue but simply to understand; conversations in which we can walk away content with the knowledge we have gained rather than angry having failed to convince them of our belief.
We must not be afraid to have such conversations. We must not be afraid to engage with those who might not agree with us or share our thoughts. This fear being most counter-productive.
I am excited to be making plans for my life in which my adventures will enable me to learn many of these crucial lessons. And I hope to be able to share some of these with the world so that we may garner a more holistic understanding of humanity’s binding purpose.
Religion, I believe, has now grown to become an enormous obstacle in the way of the advancement and prosperity of the human race. I believe if religion stands in the way of any member of our human family receiving love, respect and equal opportunity, then we as a religious community have failed.
Times like these, symbolic of love, hope, forgiveness and new beginnings, must serve as such a reminder. We are not here to force opinion. We are here to serve. It is not about us, it is about one another. Love is selfless, remember.
Religious or not, this is something we must all remember.