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Coercion and Consent

I am a proponent of many different religions and I feel that the devoutly religious often share the same values and goals no matter what their religion; but what I do find offensive is the use of coercion to punish and/or convert people who hold other as deeply held beliefs

This also leads to the radical members of some of these religions to doing offensive, repressive, and unGodly things to convert others to their beliefs or to try to rp_364105908_e38b34117b_m.jpgeliminate them all together.

I realize that for some people just by saying this I have lost my chance for a happy life in the hereafter or even here on earth.  I know this stance is offensive to some people and that they feel that I don’t even have the right to say, feel, or think this way.  Somehow I don’t think of this as practicing freedom of religion.  Oh, don’t let me forget, the rights of atheists, possibly even those of agnostics, idolaters, and people who don’t have any religious beliefs at all and may feel that they don’t need them or want them.

We should practice what we preach even if it makes us uncomfortable.  So far, I have a great admiration for Pope Francis even though I am not Catholic as he practices what he preaches and still reaches out to all.  Look at the ecumenical movement.  Pastors in some cities and small towns share their burdens as pastors, preachers, and priests, chaplains in monthly get togethers..

I believe we are all children of God.  you may not believe this; and both of us should be able to exercise these beliefs as long as we hurt no one.  I also believe in the ultimate sense that no one is innately better than someone else.     This to me forms a caste system where a group or groups by virtue of certain characteristics has privileges that are denied to others.

The most beautiful thing I have seen is when people of different religions share and help each other out rather than  shunning each other and inadvertently making each others lives miserable, both their own and other people’s.  Hanging on to negative thoughts can be as debilitating  as forcing them onto others in the form of guilt and shame.  Finally once you take a person’s life (even if in the name of God) you devalue the lives of all including your own.  War and the accompanying deaths of the “enemy” and civilians who “accidentally” get in the way  is a very serious thing and those who take it seriously and feel that such a thing is really necessary carry a heavy burden and they realize it.

This post  is not an attempt to answer the question, “Is war necessary or Godly.”  Think for yourself.  To me, thinking is a God given ability.  Don’t too easily give this (what I think is a right) away to someone or something else even though you also have the right to do this.  Also when it comes to the practice of your religion is it not a good idea to explore the “Word” (usually considered to have come from “God”)  that you may  base your religious beliefs on.

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