A man told his grandson: “A terrible fight is going on inside me—a fight between two wolves. One is evil, and represents hate, anger, arrogance, intolerance, and superiority. The other is good, and represents joy, peace, love, tolerance, understanding, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, and compassion. This same fight is going on inside you, inside every other person too.” The grandson then asked: “Which wolf will win?” The old man replied simply: “The one you fee.” Anonymous
In a world that claims to want peace, it is sad how much hatred consumes us. Hatred against another race, sex, culture, lifestyle, or even social standing, but there is none as asinine as hatred bread in the name of religion.
For twenty years, I spent my life as a Christian that had no questions about my faith. I did not go outside of the box to understand another religion. My family was very pacifistic; they believed that Christian outreach was the only way to the peaceful world they wished for. Liking to look different, I got my hair cut to about two inches long, colored it fire engine red, and began spiking it. Not long after this, I attended a regional 3 day youth rally. I met many fellow Christians and made quite a few new friends. There was one girl that will always stand out in my mind. Her father was the pastor of their church and had accompanied their youth group to this rally. After making a superficial judgment about me based on appearance alone, he informed his youth group that it was in their best interest not to associate with me. I could not believe what I was hearing. A Christian minister was discriminating against me because I looked different. This event got me to thinking. How can we outreach and spread God’s love if we avoid those who are different? Isn’t that the purpose of outreach? We are supposed to spread God’s love, not human hatred!
One of the speakers at the very same convention was giving a sermon on how unacceptable religious tolerance was. In his speech, he quoted Randall Terry, saying “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good.” I was astonished at what I had just experienced; a promotion of hatred urged by leaders of a youth rally. I had always been told that the love of God was for everyone. This contradiction forced me to wonder what was right. Do we pass our Christian love on to everyone, or do we push our Christian belief on to everyone? I felt that the only way to find an answer was to find out what was so different about other religions. Why were they so wrong and so unacceptable to us?
I began to research every religion I had ever heard of. I was greatly confused at what I discovered. Virtually every religion had the same basic Ethic of Reciprocity, to love others as you would love yourself. Numerous verses stating the same basic principal could be found in the handbooks of each religion. The only true exceptions to this were religions such as Satanism and The Creativity Movement. It seemed so obvious to me now. Different religious sects go on fighting and hating each other, failing to realize or accept the fact that, in essence, we all have the same goal in mind. We all want a better and more peaceful world to live in. The amazing thing is that we have all been given the magic formula for such a dream! Regardless of what God, or God’s, we choose to follow and believe in, each one wished for us to promote a selfless love for all living things, a basic respect for mankind. Tolerance really is the key. Tolerance does not mean that we have to accept the beliefs of others, but that we must respect their choice to believe differently. We must love the world around us before we destroy the world around us.
Whether we choose to pray to God, Buddha, Allah, or the Holy Ghost, we should all remember that love and respect are the foundations set forth by these teachings. We should practice these even at times when it seems impossible to do so. We should promote them even if those around us fail to do so. And if, as we love the world around us, we find ourselves still forcing our faith onto others, remember that “honey gathers more bees”. The love we are willing to show for the faith in which we believe, might just change the world.