Why can’t more religious discussions be like this?
TVO’s The Agenda, with Steve Paikin, recently held a dynamite discussion about the evolution of religion. It pulled together five very engaging experts of various faiths. The discussion that unfolded was both refreshing and enlightened.
Try and have an intelligent and subdued discussion about religion and faith and it usually spirals into a question of “I’m right, you’re wrong” with intimations of whose religion is better or proper. Lord knows I’ve tried and ended up in some barn-burning debates turned verbal jousting, with no one really willing to back down.
In fact, ever since I was called “one of those worldly faith-snob-know-it-alls”, a title I now wrap myself in, like a favourite blanket on a cold February night, I simply avoid a discussion of religion or faith in my immediate circles.
“What is harder to quantify, which requires faith of a different kind, is how much good or peace has unfolded thanks to faith and religion- that stuff doesn’t make the headlines but it is all around you,” On Deadline.
Why avoid the discussion? Well, because that title bestowed upon me fits. Ok, I’d rather not have the words “snob” and “know-it-all” applied to me but I will admit, I do have a global view of faith. I’m not saying my view is right or better but it tends to be more wide angle and not cut-and-dry, which creates frustration, generally with me and anything I say.
Look, I really have no clue if God or some other omnipotent being under a different moniker exists (though God does have a wiki page) but I do know that faith does and from where I sit that is all that matters. Also, it is hard to ignore the evolutionary evidence around us.
Travel this world far enough or explore the varied places of faith in a multicultural city like Toronto, with an open heart and mind and you will see the spiritual threads that unite us all through so many beautiful paths of faith.
Faith, in my book, is what gets you through the night, through your crisis, your pain or your personal test at any given moment in your life. If it is right for you, that is all that matters. Your faith is not inferior to others just because people do not believe in it.
The wrongs committed in the name of a religion are lengthy and extremist elements exist in a majority of religions. These elements cloud the discussion and sway first impressions and insights. What is harder to quantify, which requires faith of a different kind, is how much good or peace has unfolded thanks to faith and religion- that stuff doesn’t make the headlines but it is all around you.
Ultimately, why be so intolerant about something that is not readily tangible, something that one cannot hold in their hands but only in their heart. This is what makes faith the most intimate and personal thing one can have, beyond the judgment and reproach of others.
What is faith to you? Do you ever run into problems having a healthy discussion on religion and faith?