I’m pretty serious about my religion. I pray and make offerings every day, and my beliefs permeate everything that I do. I don’t view Hellenismos as something that I do on the festivals or when I have time; it’s a part of my life – one of the most important in fact – and it needs its own dedicated time, just like cooking, sleeping, working and keeping in touch with my friends do. I am completely devoted to my Gods.
That said, whenever I meet someone of a different religion who is as devoted as I am, I am always deeply inspired. I love to see Wiccans, Kemetics, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Baptists, even atheists and agnostics whose faith (or lack thereof) moves them to become better people. I love and honour my Gods above all, but I can’t help but respect other Gods who inspire kindness and positivity, too.
Accepting that there is beauty in other religions is crucial to interfaith dialogue. Whether you believe that all Gods are the same, or (as I do) that there are many Gods who each offer their own perspective on things, all our beliefs stem from the same place: hope. Hope that our lives have meaning, hope that death is not the end, and hope that we can make this world a better place while we are here.
And through this hope, if we genuinely do carry it in our hearts, we are led to the same qualities: love, kindness, selflessness, peace, and all that is beautiful. When someone is loving, kind, selfless and peaceable, does it really matter why?
I believe in my Gods because they called to me, and because following them feels right in my heart. But if you find the same inspiration in your God(s)… Your religion is just as beautiful as mine.
It’s time that we stop focusing on which religion is right, and focus instead on how good they are. It’s time to look beyond our own Gods, and accept that others may also be a positive influence on their followers. Most importantly, it’s time that we apply our religious values to people of other faiths – be kind to them, be at peace with them, and love them just as much as someone of our own faith.
And that, to me, is what interfaith is all about.
What does interfaith mean to you? How does your religion inspire you to be a better person?
(The video above is a Sikh singing a Catholic prayer – a perfect example of love that crosses the boundaries of religion.)