How does this happen?

Terrorist attacks. Religious protests against someone else’s way of life. Hatred and mistrust of someone you don’t share religious/spiritual/moral/political/whatever views.

However, today I’m thinking of the terrorist attacks that recently happened in Belgium. Any time something like this happens – September 11, Paris – all I can think is that I don’t understand how anyone can do that. How can they rationalize such violence in the name of their religion? How has religion become the basis for such hateful thinking?

In my own personal search in the past couple years I’ve become much more aware of the things said and done in the name of religion. But why? Isn’t religion supposed to be a base of love, kindness, and compassion?

If someone told you to jump off a bridge would you do it? If someone told you to jump would you say how high? If someone told you to do what you knew was morally, physically, lawfully wrong, would you do it anyway?

Faith is an important aspect of any religion. There are so many things that cannot be seen or experienced on earth that we must take on faith and believe without having all the answers. Is there one/many/no god? Were the prophets of the Bible really prophets who received revelation from God? Is there one religion that’s the true church of God or are they all just fragments of the church in the time of Jesus?¬† The answers to these questions cannot be found¬† through research and study, however extensive. There are some small answers you can find but a lot much be based in faith.

I have faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have faith in my Heavenly Father and that the Bible and Book of Mormon are the true words of God. I have faith that I chose to come to earth and experience all the joys and hardships I’ve encountered in my 26 years of life.

But my faith does not give me the right to demean someone else because they are Catholic, or Baptist, or Muslim, or any other belief system. It does not give me the right to hurt, physically or emotionally, anyone who doesn’t agree with my beliefs. Each person is free to choose their own path, without fear of how some stranger is going to react.

Consider your faith and beliefs. Then, take a moment to consider the faith and beliefs of others. See where they are similar, see where they are different. You don’t have to accept their beliefs as truth, nor do you have to respect those beliefs – no one is making you. What you do have to accept is that there will be many, many people who do not share your beliefs. And you have to respect their ability and right to make their own choices and to believe in what they want to believe in.

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