Today I concluded that all that is wrong in the world today is a direct result of our fear. Think about it, fear of Muslims has people wanting to go to war. Fear of Black people has lead to police shootings and now the random “call the police every time a black person walks by” mindset. Fear of Mexicans gangs leads some to see the need for a wall. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include that fear of EVERYBODY has teenagers carrying AR-15s to college. Fears of the past, keep us reliving the same story in our future.
Fear is amazingly powerful. It has the ability to keep anyone stagnant and worst of all, ignorant. Fear won’t allow us to learn about new things or people. This is the piece that catches me off guard the most because truly I can’t see the problem with learning something or meeting someone new. I recently encountered some folks who shared that they had fears around reading the Bible. Not surprising because I’ve also encountered people who had fear of the Qur’an, fear of Buddhism and even fear of meditating. It’s funny though, Facebook has people sharing quotes and teachings from the very books they fear the most! LOL. I often chuckle to myself when someone shares a quote from a Buddhist teaching when if you talked to them you’ll find that they are extremely conservative Christians who believe it’s a sin to study other religions.
Now, let me be clear, I’m not talking about rational fears like taking caution while going through a neighborhood that you KNOW is filled with drugs and gang violence. I’m not saying that we should walk around acting as if there are no dangers in life. Healthy fear supports us in many ways but irrational fear is different. Irrational fear is dangerous.
Irrational fear is especially dangerous when it involves religion. You see, more wars have been fought over religion than just about anything else. More hatred of others who don’t believe as we do amazingly takes a front seat in religion. I remember once attending a church where they taught us to fear meditation, other religions and even avoid attending other Christian Churches they may not interpret the Bible as they did. Me being the curious person that I am, didn’t pay that any mind at all! LOL. These statements promoted me to learn even more about other religions. If I met someone from other beliefs, I would sit like a sponge waiting to hear what they had to say about why they believed as they do. Honestly, I found a lot of beauty and even found answers to questions that made what I already knew make more sense! Having let go of my fear around learning these things, I developed a philosophy of life that elevated me and continues to elevate me mind, body and spirit. Now I even share it with others who are willing to learn.
The irony of it all is that if we would only overcome our fear long enough to learn, we would find that almost all religions share similar core beliefs (haven’t found one yet that doesn’t but I’ll keep looking though). Just as we share similar beliefs, we share similar lives! As we get to learn more about each other, we will find that we have more in common than we do not. This is the gift of my approach to religion and life. I’ve found brothers and sisters that don’t look like me but are my spiritual identical twins! I’ve found smiling faces and genuine love in people who don’t even speak the same language that I do. The end result was an appreciation of the beauty in our diversity.
I encourage you to learn something new today, talk to someone you never have before, experience something that makes you a little nervous. Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power, love and soundness of mind! Be blessed!