Saturday, August 21, 2010
Master of Religious Philosophy Final Essay
by Rev. Douglas Grant
The religion a person practices is less important than that they practice. Regardless of what divinity a person swears by, a good deed conducted faith-fully is a good deed and for that they should be commended as being a faithful follower of their faith.
As members of the ULC, we are enjoined to not judge others for their faith, because we have no confirmation that the path we walk is the One, True Path. The only assurance we can have as fallible mortals is that this is the Path we walk – and it is a solitary path. Others may walk beside us, but since we are not that person, we can never be assured that they truly believe the way we do, or practice as we do; and for that reason, we should always keep our judgments and opinions about the faith of others to ourselves.
In a very different context, our last great president said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Although he was intending a very different meaning, this is an adage members of the ULC should take deeply to heart and actively and strongly practice. By walking softly, we practice discretion, doing our best not to step on the many and diverse beliefs, values and faiths of others, for we have not the right to judge, nor would any sane mind want such a responsibility. We should also carry a big stick, that we may lean upon the strength of our own faith and beliefs to support us in times of trial and need and to guide our steps upon our Path.
This course had been educating its students to develop a greater understanding of the diversity of religious practices. We should complete this class with a deeper appreciation for those practices. We should be especially mindful of those religions that we do not agree with, and carefully and sensitively examine why we feel this way. No question is answered by the patent nostrum of “Because.” Until that ‘because’ is followed by a well reasoned and insightful statement it remains what it is, merely a preface, and never a true declaration.
Although I am fortunate to have been raised in a very enlightened environment, we should also be careful to understand a practitioner of a particular Path in light of their environment. The worldview a person holds is almost indelibly shaped by their upbringing. Be sensitive to that and little harm can occur. Be at Peace. Be Peace.
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