May 31, 2011

My husband’s words on religion

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:29 am by DivineShantiYoga

There are so many reasons that I am proud to be married to a wonder human being who constantly shows his unconditional love for me and our family. He has proven over the years that LOVE conquers all. Here are some words that he has written about his views on organized religion, how it has affected our family, and we believe inspiring enough to share.

“I think that the basic underlying message of all religions is full of love and hope. There are those who radicalize their faith and use it to justify hate and destruction, as we have seen throughout history in all religions. However, I feel that all of them originate from the same basic virtuous principles-that are based on love, acceptance and understanding.

My belief is that there is no one universal religion for everyone and that each person must find their own faith within. I personally do not agree with established religion, but I respect that so many people have found peace and hope with their religious affiliations. I prefer the idea of spirituality.

I know that there are powers and energies in this universe that we live in and I think they are so far beyond our ability to understand, that throughout our evolution we began to label them with ideas that are easier to rationalize. If you look at all religions throughout history you can see this is the case. As we began to intelligently analyze our physical world we began to understand the root cause of natural phenomenon. We better understood that an illness or a natural disaster was not the wrath of an angry God, but the intricate and amazing world in which we live. We are such a small fraction of the totality that is the sum equation of our entire universe, and I think it is somewhat ludicrous to place ourselves in such a predominant and central role as some religion does.

This is not to say I do not think religion is unimportant or unnecessary. I think it is very much so. It is exactly what many people need to overcome hardship, despair, addiction and so many other afflictions associated with our human state. An established ideology, faith, and set of “rules” give many people the guidance that they are unable to find on their own.

The problem arises when those who subscribe to one religious ideology think that their way is the only true and correct way, and that all others who do not believe what they believe, are wrong and need to be converted to their way of thinking. The severity of this ideology can range from simple-minded judgment of others, all the way to killing someone for not sharing the same belief. Countless wars and deaths have plagued our history simply because a religious conviction drove mankind into hatred and mistrust. No religious sect is innocent of this and unfortunately we still see it happening today. From the Israelis and Palestinians to the Muslim extremists and even in our own country, with people protesting soldiers deaths saying “God hates soldiers” or blowing up doctor’s offices for performing abortions.

I have struggled for many years with what my beliefs are. I was raised by loving parents whom I trusted, to believe in religious ideas as the Baptist faith sees it. Throughout my life, it was never something that truly resonated fully with me. I have had many internal conflicts with what I perceived to be my beliefs and what I felt deep inside myself as my true beliefs. I did not want to disappoint my parents, or let them down in any way. I wanted to live up to what they felt so strongly was correct. I had a lifetime of programming that I did not fully agree with. I knew I would be judged by them and this brought on great shame, which in turn has created its own issues.

Unfortunately, this idea that there is only one way to view things has caused a rift within our family. I am fine with and accept my parents’ beliefs. I am not fine with the judgment and closed-mindedness and the pain that causes. The root of this belief is based on judgment. Judgment of others and of what they believe in (including their own son). From their perspective, if anyone does not believe what they believe; then those people are wrong and need to change, or they don’t accept them. Until they can see how they have damaged relationships from this judgment, then the healing process cannot take place.”

~ Written by Ed Benton




  1. Mel said,

    I feel your pain. No one has the right to judge anyone else. I am a strong Christian and would hope you to be also, but I would not impose my beliefs on you. My religion says to bring people to believe in Christ, but I would not be helping you by judging you if you chose not to. Family and family love is so important – my Mother and Sister and Brother in Law are the best Christians I know and their children have gone all different directions, but they still accept and love them. Their lives are so enriched because of that and their children’s lives are so enriched by their acceptance. I can only pray that your parents will learn to accept your choices aand respect you for those choices. There is so much we don’t know and so much “power” and “spirituality” out there. We know so little. If they are truly Christian, they will let God do any judging.

  2. Jenn said,

    I can empathize with your experience as religious beliefs have caused a great many rifts in my family in about every imaginable way. My family has very traditional Christian beliefs, which have created conflicts within our family as various members, including myself, have decided to chose different paths in life. Unfortunately for many people, religious beliefs create a small, narrow, closed box around their mind and their heart that keep them from loving themselves and others unconditionally. When I was younger this made me angry and outraged, but those negative feelings only led to emptiness and grief. Through my practice I have found peace, self acceptance and unconditional love even where there is ugliness.

    When I am going through difficult times, I like to read the following quote as it reminds me that the only thing I really have control of in my life is my attitude to toward it. I hope that it helps you too.

    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

  3. Melva said,

    Beautiful quote. Thanks.

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