Victoria Strassler | Copy Editor
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay
Religion seems to be a topic of great debate not just recently, but throughout history. Various groups not only have differing beliefs about certain topics in the world, but they often have conflicting ideas.
These conflicts in beliefs have escalated to further major conflicts, like war amongst nations, or they have remained a consistent battle amongst friends and family with opposing views.
I used to believe that religion was the root cause of the issues I experienced growing up. I’m a product of interfaith marriage. One of my parents raised me, along with my older siblings, to follow their religion, and my other parent had to accept that we were going to be raised to believe differently than them. Despite there being tension between my parents for years because of this specific difference, they have stayed together.
However, because of this specific difference, I never had a proper, or rather existent, relationship with the latter’s side of the family. I never met this side specifically because they refused to associate with or acknowledge that they are related to those who believe differently than them. They thought that my siblings and I were being deprived of continuing on their faith.
I used to think that their dissociation from us was my fault. I thought I weakened the relationship between my parent and their family. I thought I was robbed of a side of the family because of a faith that I didn’t even get a say in believing.
It took me years to realize this, but I was neither to blame, nor was religion- ignorance was. That side of my family was too ignorant and set in their ways to accept someone different.
I will never understand how people will not associate with family. Family can be a subjective term, yet there are those who will treat a blood-relative as if they are the enemy just for doing what makes them happy because it is problematic to their faith.
I have seen mothers and fathers shun their children because they have gone against what their religion says to do or not to do. How do you turn your back on your kids that you raised and claim to love? How do you shun them when they dissociate with your faith, or when they come out, or when they marry outside of your religion?
Families should understand that their children will not be their exact clones, instead of using religion as a scapegoat for their ignorance. People should stop saying that their faith doesn’t condone an action, instead of refusing to admit that it’s their own closed mindedness that is the cause for dissociation.
I don’t care what my children decide to believe in or what their truth is. That is their business to discover. I can do my best to guide them. But, if they decide to believe in something or someone different than I do, we will no longer be members of the same religious community, but they will still be my kids, not strangers.
If we go through all the trials and tribulations to have a kid only to throw them away when they don’t agree with us or with what our faith claims is “right,” then we need to think twice about why we are having kids.
We need to realize when we are using religion as a decoy to cover up our own selfish and mindless attitudes. We need to stop using religion to justify our ignorance.