I was baptized and raised a Roman Catholic. I spent both high school and college in institutions run by Catholic congregations during which I was introduced to and embraced the Catholic Dogma in the limits of my understanding. To some extent I consider myself a practicing member of the faithful, at least in my own personal definition, and have tried to sincerely and regularly fulfill the obligations required by the church. I may not have a more profound understanding of the religion compared to some, as my knowledge of it only came initially from the home teachings of my parents, then on catechism during elementary and high school and a few units in Theology during college, but I could not remember having a personal struggle understanding my faith. And as far as I am concern, I have established a relationship with my GOD in the way I have personally conceived him to be.
Over the years, I have come to meet a number of people from practically all walks of life and become friends with quite a few. But while the cliché “birds of the same feather flock together” may be true to some extent, I have, however without conscious intention, become close to some people who do not share the same religion as mine. Some of them belong to the so called Protestant Churches, others are members of Iglesia ni Cristo, at least a couple of them practice Islam and even one who considers himself Agnostic. And all of these people I am referring to, to my knowledge, sincerely adhere to the doctrines of their churches or their personal convictions of what they believe and otherwise.
Briefly defined, religion is “an organized collection of beliefs “. And since a person’s belief could significantly influence ones perception, decision, action and reaction on things and situations, it could affect the way he interacts and deals with other people. Needless to say then, that those who share the same beliefs could likely get along well and could easily spawn a relationship.
So how then was as I able to establish a healthy relationship, a genuine friendship with people whose beliefs may differ from mine? And how are we able to nurture the relationship that we have in spite our significant differences?
My answer would be FAITH. Faith in the omnipotence of my GOD and faith in the innate goodness of man.
As defined, faith is “a firm belief and complete trust on something for which there in no proof”. And I have always believed that there are matters in life that need not necessarily be anchored on evidences and conform to a structured system because there are a great deal of things in this world that are beyond the limits of mortal comprehension.
My faith in the omnipotence of my GOD constantly reminds me that HE has created humanity out of love and HIS overflowing goodness spilled over to his creations and such has become innate in them. And that particular belief has been a guiding fundamental in the way I treat others, regardless of religion or personal conviction. We may differ in any way in the manner in which we profess our faith to our CREATOR, but I certainly believe that we are one in our intention of giving praise and glory to HIM in the way we lead our lives.
I would never question other people’s religion nor would I even attempt to influence or impose mine on them because as GOD has given us freewill, so should I respect other people’s faith.
I guess the reason why my friendship with these people has flourished over time is because we seldom, if at all, discuss religion. But I believe that it is not because we are not comfortable with the issue but because we are all mature enough to acknowledge that issues on faith and religion are often debatable and always have gray areas to be disputed. And we further believe that more than anything else, our respect for our individual differences and our personal relationship with our GOD is what is of utmost importance.
Our respective religions or personal convictions may in some way divide us, but our faith and our friendship definitely unites us.
LIVE YOUR LIFE AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY BUT LET YOUR FAITH GUIDE YOUR WAY!
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