As I get ready to embark on the Columbus Day holiday tomorrow (hurrah for no work!), it makes me reflect on last weekend and the fact that it was truly a holiday weekend... October 4th was the Muslim holiday of "Aid Ul Adha" and the Hebrew celebration of "Yom Kippur". WHAT?!?! TWO MAJOR RELIGOUS CELEBRATIONS ON THE SAME DAY... I BET YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THAT. Luckily for facebook the awareness of these holidays on a bigger global spectrum is more noticeable than ever, but the lack of understanding for them is still limited, which saddens me greatly.
I can remember grade school being a truly special place for me because within my 30 person classroom I was introduced to people of various faiths: Jewish, Christian (Catholic to Quaker), Jehovah Witnesses, Islamic... My teachers had us learn about Kwanzaa alongside Menorahs and Christmas trees. I felt lucky to be so culturally exposed. This allowed for me to grow up with an understanding that people have different faiths - not only is that ok but it is something you should respect about others.
I realize that as you grow older religion becomes a taboo that is not supposed to be discussed as to not offend others. But I think that mentality is what keeps society ignorant. Instead of not discussing religion with others, people need to do it in a more educated manner. Discussing means asking what they believe, what that entails, what they celebrate, what their faith does for them (how it makes them feel) - and just trying to gain an understanding and sense of respect. I think that this deteriorates quickly when instead these religious discussions become less about listening and more about pointing out that others beliefs are wrong because they are dissimilar. I yearn for a world where people used their ears more and words less. Where people earnestly wanted to learn why their Buddhist friend does so much meditation - or why their Muslim cousin prays 5 times a day - or what the next Hindu holiday is and what it involves.
With wars happening constantly due to lack of respect for other religious beliefs, the only way we can move away from this continually occurring, is to start facing each other with more open ears and understanding hearts.
How many of your friends or co-workers had a big holiday last weekend and you were not even aware? How many people that you care about do you have no clue what they believe or why? When is the last time that you allowed yourself to silently listen about another's beliefs (or agnostic disbelief's) without judgement but full of interest?
I challenge you to make yourself aware of the next upcoming holiday of a religion that isn't yours. I challenge you to open your ears and hearts more to the religions of others. Because religion is not about being right or wrong- its about finding happiness and peace. If we all do that a little more, I believe that we can truly make the world a better place.
originally posted on my first blog 'lovesomemore'
Believer that everyone is special.