I suppose that life is much simpler if you are born one religion, live one religion, and die one religion.
There have been millions of Catholics who were born Catholic, lived Catholic, and died Catholic … millions of Jews who were born Jewish, lived Jewish, and died Jewish … millions of Pentecostals who were born Pentecostal, lived Pentecostal, and died Pentecostal … millions of, well you get the picture.
The same applies to your religion, however instead of millions it might be thousands, or hundreds, or even fewer.
Of course, it is something of a misnomer to say that someone is born a religion, for infants don’t really practice a religion. But the socialization into religion for many starts at such a young age, you may as well say you were born a religion.
I did a quick Google search to see if I could find any research that indicates the likelihood of staying in a particular religion, but I could not find any data. For example, what percentage of people born into a Unitarian Universalist home will live and die UU?
The likelihood that you will stay in a particular religion varies from country to country, and from religion to religion. Some religions are so laissez-faire that they don’t know (or don’t care) whether you float in and out, but other religions will deprive you of your existence before they let you leave.
I’d also like to know, by religion, the degree of total adherence to the complete creed. For example, what percentage of Methodist doctrine does the average Methodist believe? Is the average Methodist … 90% Methodist, 5% Baptist, 3% Catholic, and 2% Other? And, what all goes into that Other category?
(As you can see, I am using the term religion to refer to each distinct religious group).
I suspect that most Americans are a mixture of various creeds, even if unwilling to admit it. And again, how mixed you are depends on what religion you were socialized into.
So admit it, my Buddhist friend, you got a little Rastafarian in you … don’t you?
Now if you are a mix, and admit it, don’t believe that your mix is the ONE TRUE religion … and don’t try to proselytize the world into your mix. It is good to have firmly held beliefs, and even to share them with others … but when you seek to superimpose your entire belief system on another, you do not love that other like God does.
So then, what religion is God?
SARCASM ALERT – HERE IT COMES! Surely God is my religion, the one true religion, and everyone in my religion will be in Heaven, and everyone else will go straight to Hell. THERE IT GOES – THAT WAS SARCASM!
We all know that is absurd, right? Go ahead and shout it out loud, it is absurd to believe that:
God is your religion
Your religion is the one true religion
Everyone in your religion will be in Heaven
Everyone else will go straight to Hell
Go ahead and feel the love. Shout it out loud. Be free.
Your religion is not THE religion. My religion is not THE religion. Your mix is not THE mix. My mix is not THE mix.
Come on, let it out. It’s in there, just waiting to spring forth. Don’t be afraid, for if you let it out, it will never really leave you … for if you let it out, it will be out there AND in you.
Embrace, truly embrace, your fellow human being. Accept them as they are, listen to them, and learn from them. There is strength in diversity. Thank God for each person in your life, and endeavor to love them as God loves them.
Go into your innermost being, into your heart of hearts … and feel the love that is God in you.