Every time I teach the introduction to Religious Art to my students, I feel weird. The stories from the Bible and beliefs of Christianity are those of which I grew up immersed in, but having to explain them to my Japanese students is always a challenge. There are things such as Abraham and his covenant with God and his circumcision at age 99 (the horror on their faces when I had to explain this concept to them was priceless), Isaac, Daniel and the lions, Moses and the parting of the Red sea and the ten commandments. They are awesome stories, and I enjoy them.
We make fun of Scientologists and are wary of Mormons, but when you step back, the stories from the Bible are every bit as fantastic as their beliefs. Who’s to say which is the one true religion? If they have true faith and believe as strongly as any Christian, who’s to say that they’re wrong? If they’re not harming other people, and contributing positively to society, then they deserve to be in their own version of heaven.
Christianity has become this exclusive club, and the way some of them treat and judge others is appalling. Maybe in the end, the Hindus are right, or the Muslims, or the Buddhists, or heaven forbid, the Westboro Baptist Church.
But until then, we’re all people of different faiths and beliefs, and nobody’s really right or wrong when it comes to religion. I think that problems arise when we impose our beliefs on other people. We need to respect each other more, and treat each other the way we want to be treated. The Golden Rule that exists in every religion that everybody often forgets and breaks.
It all boils down to respect for oneself, other people, and nature. It seems so easy, but the easiest things are often the most difficult.