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A Plea Against Religious Discrimination

Author: Muse Sage
Posted: December 16th. 2012
Times Viewed: 1,942

"We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe encompasses us. What does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret." -- Symmachus, 384 CE

There is no excuse for religious discrimination. Every religion is unique and special, and as the great Symmachus also believes, it really doesn’t make a difference in our person what religion we practice. Religion is the tie that holds us together, therefore, does not make us different. If we were to discriminate against everything we thought was different, we would be discriminating against simple ideas, such as women in the work place, men as nurses, one sock at a time, or pets indoors. But these are just minor alterations of our daily lives. Why should religion be any different?

I am aware that it is a major part of most people’s lives, but that is still no reason to treat one differently for being a different denomination, sector, or even a complete different religion. To understand my point better, one might first want to better understand what discrimination actually is. By an objective, dictionary definition, it is unfair treatment of one person or group, usually because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, age, religion, or gender. (Webster‘s New World Dictionary, Revised and Updated) The definition proves my point: religious discrimination is unfair. (By the definition being objective instead of subjective, it is less prone to arguments about whether it is right or not.)

Try to imagine what it might feel like if someone called the religion one practiced “wrong” or “bad.” Imagine how that would feel. Since religion is the purpose in most of our lives, and what keeps us pushing forward instead of looking behind, it would most likely crush his or her dreams. Religion is our purpose, and by this I mean it is what we do to achieve a higher place, a “dreamland.” It is what keeps most of us, the ones who have a religion, behaving in such a way that we try our hardest to do no wrong.

Why would religion be considered “wrong” or “bad” anyway? It is our path to success on the non-mundane level, for the next life, and is our plan for what we do after we die.

Like most prejudices, religious discrimination is generally taught, say most psychologists. It is not just in our minds one day, with no input from society and our parents, or parental figures. Discrimination, on a psychological level, is the ability to respond differently to similar but distinct stimuli. “If an animal learns that he will be rewarded on only one stimulus, we say he has learned discrimination.” If this is so, then discrimination is taught by a reward for treating one stimulus, or religion in this case, differently. Religious discrimination is taught by the response and attitude of our peers, society, and community.

Then what can we do about this?

Maybe we could be more open-minded towards the abstract and unique. For religion, to some, is a thing of beauty, and is unique. There is such a broad range of religions on this wonderful blue floating orb, why should they be treated as if they were rotten apples in a basket? So what if my neighbor is Taoist? Can he not still be my best friend? Does it matter if my bank teller is Muslim? She still calculates my money just the same. Sure, my pharmacist is Wiccan, but we all love her anyway, because she still gives us our medicine. The physician on the corner of First and Main is Roman Catholic, but she is still a very good physician, so I do not treat her differently. The town Mayor is Christian, but I do not make anything of it, because he is still a fine mayor. My point is, religion does not make a person different, only makes him or her who he or she is.

Not only is religion a part of our life, but it is our right. In this country, we have the right to practice any religion that we so desire, and do it freely. It is our way of life, and our personal lives and personal choices. No one has the right to tell us what to believe. In our own minds, it is a new world, and our own world, and should not be interfered with by needless discrimination.

Going back to Symmachus’ quote, "We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe encompasses us. What does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret." I would now like to add that this couldn’t be truer. It doesn’t really matter what path we take to get where we are going. In my opinion, every religion ends in the same place, whatever the religion one practices calls “heaven.”

Religion is not something to be pondered -- whether we should accept certain ones and scrutinize and slander against others. Personally, religions are quite like a pearl necklace, in which the religions are the beautiful, unique, and wonderful pearls, and God, or the deity we choose is holding the pearls together. It matters not what religion we practice, only that we do believe in something greater than our own selves. Therefore, we need not discriminate against any religion, because we all end up at the very same wonderful and beautiful place in the end.

In conclusion, religious discrimination is wrong, should not be tolerated, and should try to be ended now before it gets out of hand. If we strive to push past religious differences early on in life, it will make stronger our ties to our own religion, ourselves, the people around us, and whatever name that we call our God, Gods, Goddess, or Goddesses. After all, we are only the sum of our experiences, and we do not want our experiences in life to be tainted by a person’s discrimination against our way of life.

Webster's New World Dictionary, Revised and Updated


Muse Sage

Location: Nora, Virginia


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