Thich Nhat Hanh was once quoted as saying: “There is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion, and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like yoga. You can be a Christian and practice Buddhism. I met a Catholic priest who lives in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes me a better Christian.”
Religion is a very fluid thing in the modern world. In recent decades, the newer generations have moved further and further from organized religion. Some of this is simply the way of the times; where science and an evidence-based society have moved away from the theological and the unknown. More and more answers that were once provided by religion have been “updated” by science, and faith often takes to the wayside.
I had a rare opportunity this morning as I attended Sunday mass with my mother. As a die hard Catholic, she trained in a convent with the eventual goal of becoming a nun. As I sit here typing this, it dawns on me that I’m quite grateful she chose not to pursue that particular vocation.
As my eyes took in the grand hall of the majestic structure I was seated in, it dawned on me that I had very clear memories of being in church during my childhood. The seats were usually full to the point that there were some services that we had to step out from. But there was probably about 30% to 40% of the seating space occupied, leaving the place feel reasonably empty, which is unfortunate.
While I was listening to the sermon, it dawned on me that Catholic mass is, in effect, like an extremely old form of blogging. Seriously! Think about it for a moment: you have a person who has studied a specific topic or subject for quite a number of years. He then selects excerpts of subject matter, sometimes at random, sometimes not, and provides the pertinent information to a specified audience of interested listeners. Sound familiar? that’s pretty much what blogging is, for the most part.
One part of the sermon that peaked my interest was the fact that the priest was covering subject matter related to death and what comes after, a subject I’ve covered myself in previous blog posts and in other discussion-based forums. The similarities between what the catholic faith believes and what I’ve written about were many, and it brought me to the realization that more often than most of us choose to believe, most mainstream religions will have more similarities than difference in their core beliefs.
There is enough room in this world for everyone’s belief system. At the end of the day, sometimes having faith just means you’re faithful. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sitting in a specified building and following along out of a specific manuscript; our beliefs can be just that: OUR BELIEFS. But whatever those beliefs may be, remember to be tolerant of others’ perspectives, especially at times when they may conflict with yours. The true test of genuine faith is trusting that even though not everyone will believe your point of view or share your theological views, we ultimately all come from the same place. ☯