Why is that when I start doubting and questioning, people think that I am loosing it? The thing they do not know is that I already lost it, so when I doubt and question I am trying to find back my journey. Why is doubting and questioning so threatening? The problem is not in the nature of these two things because I can use them with people around me like coworkers, classmates, family members, and friends. I can question the political, educational, and Governmental system. But when religion is questioned, I can easily be warned and advised to be careful with the things I say. I am a little confused here because I have been taught that I can doubt about any teaching given to me at church; so why I can not doubt about religion.
My point in the article “I do not want to be an idiot” was to doubt about what close-minded religion has done in history and nowadays . It was not trying to desecrate the religious people and place in high altar the irreligious or vice versa. My article was not a comparison between the irreligious and religious; and it was not an attack to religious either. It was just my doubting and questioning motto about close-mindedness. But I can also realized that I can be close-minded the moment I can not deal with the differences of others. So it becomes an endless game of words between the close and open minded, besides I will say that close or open minded are relative to the thinking of others.
I am amazed on how in close-minded religion, people doubt about my personal decisions, and how encouraged I get from those who do not have an specific religion, or practice an open-minded religion. In the close-minded religion there are people still praying for Paula and I to come back together without even thinking about the facts of our relationship and our common decision to separate knowing God has blessed it. (I may have people screaming with this last statement). At the same time I am very pleased to hear all the words of encouragement that we, both, received from people with an open-minded religion or irreligious ones. Divorce is not only the result of a bad marriage, sometimes is a realization that the time together has fulfilled its time, and we need to move forth, in faith.
Before I continue I would like define what do I mean by close, and open-minded religion. This explanation will take any misconceptions about this subject. First of all, according to my own understanding(and one with no Theological studies) religion is a set of rules and ordinances that people follow to reach their god or goddesses. It is their inner and outward expressions in faith of their own believes. Religion helps people to find their peace between their broken humanity and god. I believe religion is good, the problem arise when I take this rules and ordinances and make them the one and only way to get to the “true” god according to my own believes. When everyone else is measured through out my eyes, know one can fulfill my expectations. This is when I can easily become a close-minded, better known, as bigot. A bigot according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary) is “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the member of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”
Therefore according to this definition, bigotry is the way of thinking, or a state of mind of a bigot. In consequence, religious bigotry is the person who can not see other way but his own and he becomes intolerant to be able to learn from others. In a sense religious bigotry is fed by ignorance, in the lack of willingness to be open to new ideas. Ignorance leads to establish a set of strong ideas that eventually will create a person to become a religious bigot and practice a close-minded religious.
The difference with the open-minded religion is that people in it are willing to doubt, to question, to think out of the box, to learn from other philosophies and religions. They become tolerant and maintain this mentality in everything they do. They are inclusive and diverse. They will have rules and ordinances as well, but these are to help them live their faith, and not to place a wall between those who do not agree with them. Disagreement becomes a way to interact with others, not to make sure he/she is right, but to create a conversation where both sides can learn. It is not about who is and is not right; but it is about learning. The problem arise when both sides become deaf to the opinion of the other, and instead of listen to each other, they start defending themselves. And just for a reference I have been in both sides of the fence, but in a way I am glad I was able to cross from one side to another and learn from both sides.
My question about this is: if I have a “personal” spirituality with Christ how come when I make a “personal” decision, suddenly people wonder if I really made the right decision? Suddenly, my God, seems not powerful enough to change my circumstances according to the ones following a close-minded religion. I am measured according to their own personal experiences, and suddenly I am not doing enough, I am not praying enough, I am not fasting enough, or even worst I do not believe in the same powerful God they believe.
I have come to the conclusion that I am a spiritual person who follow Christ as his Rabbi—people could place a label to me called Christianity, the same way it was placed to the early followers, but that will not cover all what I am—and because I do not have any idea on what I am doing, I feel the need to seek the readings of wise people to help me develop my faith, my grace and my understandings of others. Sometimes I am open-minded, and some times I am close-minded. I am tolerant with people different than me, but intolerant with people who are not willing to see the other side of the fence. So I am as imperfect as before, the difference is that today I am learning to love myself as a true beloved person without hiding anything or pretending to live a life that it was not mine, and I am trying, believe me I am trying to walk in this way of simplicity, but I fail most of the time.
Oh well!, in this journey there is one person from whom I want to learn the way of simplicity here on earth; I believe he is the the true example of a person following an open-minded religion, and a life free of complications, even though his life is very complicated. His name Hector Black, nop he is not a preacher, not a professor, nop he is not a writer; he did not study Theology, he is just a simple man. He is like the Pandora’s box—in a good way– when I gave myself the chance to listen and enter to his heart, wonderful things came out from it, specially an open-minded mentality that has encouraged me in this new journey. (By the way behind his overalls, he holds a degree from Harvard University and he plays the piano beautifully!!)