Sunday, January 24, 2016

Religion Is Pretty Great

I talk a lot about religion on here. Religion is a huge part of my life, so I suppose that makes sense. It's something I am always thinking about and something the world is always thinking about as well. Even people who don't identify as "religious" kind of are...

Religion
noun
  1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
  2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:
  3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
 
So by definition, even atheists are religious. It doesn't mean you believe in God or Buddha or Muhammad necessarily, it just means you have some sort of belief as to why you're here or what the meaning of this thing called life is. And sure, there are definitely people out there who would rather not try to wonder about it, and that's fine. All I'm saying is religion is more universal than we might think. 
 
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More commonly called "Mormons". I love my religion, and I believe it is true and that will never change. But even though I'm not looking for another church, my parents have always taught me to be open to the ideas and practices of other faiths. Not to look for reasons of doubt in my religion, but to better appreciate how other people live and practice. I think this is such an important thing to do, and I am so happy my parents taught me this. 
 
Now, I haven't been to hundreds of different churches in my life. But I have gone with other family members and friends to their churches on multiple occasions and a couple of weeks ago I had a really nice experience.
 
My good friend, who is a non-denominational Christian, invited me to her church service because she was performing in the worship band there. I had been to her church once before and had a very pleasant time. This time, I went with another one of my friends, who is also LDS. The service started, and a few minutes in the worship band began singing and performing Christian-rock type music. These are the types of songs you would hear on a Christian radio station. I listen to Christian radio a lot actually, and I really like the music. But in my church, the songs we sing are hymns and the only music is from a piano and/or organ. We stay seated and the tone is softer. At my friend's church, everyone stands and a piano and guitar is played. In similar churches I have seen many different instruments, including drums before. I'm not pointing out good or bad here, just the differences. 
 
And that was the thing. It was different. Truthfully, I felt a little awkward because this was a different way of expressing faith and worshiping God than I was so used to. When we see differences, in any aspect of our lives, it is so easy to become prideful. That's what I did. I began to think about how this maybe wasn't a good way to worship, etc., etc. Then I looked to my left and saw a sweet, pretty lady, probably in her sixties. Here eyes were closed and her hands were in the air and she was singing along as loud as she could. I couldn't stop looking at her. Sometimes she would place her hand over her heart, sometimes she would fold them, but the entire time her eyes were closed and she had the sweetest, happiest, most peaceful smile on her face. 
 
This wasn't what I was used to. This wasn't what worked best for me. I still love my church and believe it is true. I still would love if everyone understood the truths of the gospel that I know. But for this woman, this church - this religion - was working just fine. I could see the happiness and peace on her face so clearly. We may not agree with what everyone else is doing. And let's be honest- if you are a part of one religion, you have to think every other religion is wrong, otherwise you wouldn't be a part of that particular one! But it isn't our place to judge others and their way of worshiping. The fact that we are worshiping God at all makes Him so incredibly happy. There are much worse things we could be doing with our lives than going to church. 
 
I'm afraid this post is very jumbled and unclear, but at the very least I got something out of it.