I do not discuss religion on my blog when at all possible, because I just don't want the headache of dealing with closed-minded individuals who refuse to understand that people are allowed to have beliefs different from their own. The beauty of all humanity is the diversity of the people who comprise it and, in my many travels around the world, I have learned to love this inevitability of the human condition. This is reflected in my personal beliefs, which are colored by the many religions and peoples I've encountered over the years.
The foundation of my own faith is built on the Buddhist precepts of cherishing all life and doing no harm to any living thing. And though I do not consider myself to be a "true" Buddhist, it is the religion with which I most closely identify, and has been since I first studied it in Thailand a dozen years ago. But I've also studied Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Shinto, Confucianism, Bahá'í, Scientology, Wicca, and dozens of other belief systems like Native American spirituality, Aboriginal world-view, and even voodoo. My attempts at understanding the people who inhabit this planet inevitably lead to investigating their faith, and it is a passion that does not easily leave you.
Studying religion is no easy task. You have to be willing to immerse yourself enough to truly appreciate it, yet be detached enough to see how it works. But there is beauty everywhere, and the joy of getting lost in The Holy Qur'an or The Bhagavad-Gita or The Holy Bible or The Tao-Te-Ching or any text of profound belief is intoxicating. There's always the desire to keep going deeper and deeper... trying to find new levels of understanding in that which others have devoted their lives to studying, yet admit to never fully understand themselves.
And now, in a time where religion is doing such a marvelous job of dividing us, there is one thing which I still believe is true: as a species, we will forever be more alike than we are different... all beliefs considered. Whether this is enough to save us from ourselves remains uncertain.
But sure I hope so.
Because it's about the only thing that keeps me from choking the ever-loving shit out of all the dumbasses running amok during the holiday shopping season.