This I Believe

Maureen - Lake Worth, Florida
Entered on October 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

During my life, I have had few experiences that shake the foundations of my understanding of different religions and how I saw them. One, however shines high above the rest. It made me who I am today even though at the time it didn’t seem too terribly important. Now, I believe that others can learn from this as well.

When I was in the sixth grade, my English class read a book about the Holocaust. I didn’t live under a rock and I knew that there were other religions, but I didn’t really have a grasp for what their base beliefs were. During a reading from a chapter, my teacher saw fit to explain that Judaism had many of the same beliefs as Christians except that they didn’t believe that their Messiah had come yet. I was completely shocked. I had no idea that the two religions were so similar. After I went home that day, I went into introspective mode.

As I pondered the new information, I slowly began to change the way I saw the world or at least the people in it. Even though there are many different religions under many different names, many of the fundamental ideals are eerily similar. This fact made me rethink the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that I had developed. Thus, I became far more open minded about my peers and other people in the world. I also became curious about other religions and why certain people in a religion acted a certain way. This led to a better understanding on my part, of others.

Learning from an experience is what makes us human. This event has left me with many new outlooks and empathy for those who do not share my background. I should hope that many more youths and even the older population have an opportunity to learn. Even though on the surface religions may seem like night and day, they all exist to make life better for those who follow them.

As you can see, my religious experience left me changed. I now strive to understand others better and I use every chance I get to spread what I have learned. My passion about furthering insight is paramount. Only through sharing will we better ourselves.