I believe religious beliefs have gone too far in controlling the world we live in. I live in a world filled with intolerance. We see it on the news, we hear about it, and for a large number of us, we live it. I believe that we have the ability to be accepting of one another, but we have to learn to accept each other’s differences.
There are hundreds if not thousands of religions in the world and all of them as far as I know are supposed to improve the quality of living. Yet the beliefs they teach can, many times, be lessons on intolerance for social differences. Examine the largest in this country Christian (catholic and protestant), Jewish and Muslim. Throughout the course of history they have gone to war with each other and killed each other strictly because of the god they worshipped.
Today in society I really believe that we have taken these beliefs to an unhealthy and dangerous level. How many non Muslims in this country were angered or even hated Muslims after 9/11? How many Christian senators and congressmen will never allow two men or two women to wed because their religious beliefs do not allow them to accept that concept?
Midway through high school I was pretty sure exactly who I was. I knew early on that I was gay I just chose to hide it for a long time. I grew up in a neighborhood listening people talk about how God punishes “Fags,” and how they will spend eternity in Hell. So I decided to keep that part of me a secret for all but a select few. My biggest disappointment, however, was not that. I was the death of Matthew Sheppard. The Wyoming college student was beaten and left for dead right about the time I was getting comfortable with myself. Two people raised in a world of hate beat him, tied him to a fence, and left him for dead.
I ask myself why, and for what? I used to believe that we fear what we do not understand. As a person yes, but what I see is when a large group of people have the same beliefs they try to impose those beliefs on those in society. What really scares me is that there are many who will try to not only impose those beliefs, but they will use violence to force those beliefs on others.
I wish that people would learn that the differences in religions are what make this country great, and letting everyone worship in their own way is important too, but as long as we try to control others we will continue to go too far with those beliefs. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.