Be frank and honest about your religious beliefs!

When it comes to religion, we must be frank and clear about what we believe. Religions often lump many different teachings together and expect their members to subscribe to all of these beliefs. We do not have to go along with this. We can be Christians, for example, without subscribing to every word in the Bible. This indicates a healthy degree of inquiry, rather than blind faith. Not only is this important for our own spiritual development, it also gives us more credibility, and that may attract others to our religion.

So it is fine to disagree with aspects of a religion or religious text, and it is important to be open and clear about this. For example, the English translation of the Bible makes several references to homosexuality, all of them negative. Clearly we can be Christians without being against homosexuality, but we must state openly that we disagree with this portion of the Bible. Failure to do so is insulting and harmful to homosexuals, and also to the reputation of Christianity.

Similarly, we may believe that Genesis is just a metaphor, rather than a literal contradiction of evolution. There is nothing wrong with thinking this, but we must be clear about that view too. If we say that God created man on the sixth day, but privately believe in evolution, then we are liars. We undermine our own integrity, as well as the integrity of our religion. So simply say that this part of the Bible is a metaphor, or a poor translation, or whatever! It will not undermine Christianity – if anything, it will give it more credibility. There may be people out there who cannot accept Christianity solely because they believe in evolution. Do not alienate these people by refusing to admit to the contradiction!

If we do not think that Mary was a virgin, we can say this too. That will not make us bad people, or even bad Christians. We can still follow the teachings in the Bible without believing in the virgin birth. It is better to state disagreements openly than to ignore them and keep them quiet. By being open, we uphold our own integrity, and also encourage an environment of open-minded inquiry. This may help a religion to move forward, or may help us and others to realize that a religion is not satisfactory and must be abandoned. In either case, we are moving closer to the Truth.

I think that many people keep their disagreements quiet because of the close-minded attitudes present in some religions. When a religion claims to know the full Truth, then it is difficult to disagree with some aspect and still remain in that religion. Yet it is better to speak out, even if we risk alienation by doing so, than to keep quiet about our skepticism. After all, it is impractical to think that any religion is completely correct. Religious texts have changed after years of translation anyway. We must not be afraid to have disagreements, and we must speak out. This is the only way to be honest pioneers on the path of spiritual inquiry.

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