Belief systems revisited
In a prior post I explored the good and not so good issues regarding beliefs. My personal view is to attempt not to judge any belief system as long as the “golden rule” is a “core” tenant. In my opinion, the details beyond treating others as you would like to be treated are not as important.
There are many thousands of belief systems with ardent supporters. If I had been raised in a different environment of indoctrination I am convinced that I would be a subscriber to that belief system, at least for a time. Based on my personal experience I am convinced there is not only “true path”. There may be thousands?
I raised as a Roman Catholic throughout my formative years. Mom was Catholic and Dad was Methodist. Mom’s mother was raised a Baptist, but converted to Catholic when my mom was 12. Converts are often the staunches believers and mom is no exception. She took control of the kids’ education. As a result, I attended Catholic School through grade 10. My indoctrination was intense. I served as an alter boy and sang in the children’s choir. I was VP of my 9th & 10th grade class in an all-boys Catholic high school. Religion class was mandatory for all ten years. We studied both the bible and Catholic Dogma. We were convinced that the path we were one was the one and only true path to salvation. While I did not really enjoy all of the church activities, I was a believer.
Over time & travels I started to question my faith. Could my path be the only one allowed? Why were so many others convinced otherwise? What about the abuses of the Church (Popes operating as kings and ignoring celibacy)? What about the Inquisition and the purge of the South American natives?
Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of dedicated, well meaning, priests and nuns that personify the golden rule. I absolutely admire their efforts. I also recognize that there are numerous other belief systems that provide important moral and ethical paths. My view is that if a “faith” has the golden rule at its “core” and it is working for you, then I fully support your path. If you do not subscribe to an organized belief system, but strive to live a moral and ethical life then again, you have my admiration. I like to believe that I fall into this last category, albeit with much room for improvement.