Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
Years ago, in debating diverse points of view, a colleague in exasperation, once said to me “your perception is your reality”.
Those 5 words have resonated with me ever since. In some ways, perception and perspective are interchangeable. Our worldview influences our perception. Our biases influence our perspective.
Though I grew up in and was influenced by the Christian faith, I don’t consider myself overtly religious. I do believe in a higher power – that something beyond our control influences our existence on this earth. But I struggle with the premise of a God that allows atrocities to happen all over the world in His name. It seems counter to everything our Christian bible teaches.
Most wars are fought in the name of religion. Zealots throughout history have attempted to purge those with a different religious perspective. Why does your God hate my god? Why do those preaching the word of God commit atrocities within your religious community against his own people and those He claims to love? Why do those religions dismiss those crimes as God’s will? Why doesn’t God punish those that commit those crimes under his watch?
I know, I know – it is all part of God’s plan!! It is also our human perspective to give a pass on things when they don’t fit our worldview.
Rape, murder, mass shootings in schools – even churches – God’s own home!!
Why are some families burdened with chronically ill children? Were they chosen over others for that particular test? What about tragic car accidents leaving families decimated?
Doesn’t that go against everything that religion stands for? “Love one another”, “Do unto others” etc. Why does our perspective change when it is no longer convenient?
All religions believe in the same general tenets. All purport to believe in a higher power.
Christianity is a worldview that focuses on the figure of Jesus Christ. In this context, faith refers both to the believers’ act of trust and to the content of their faith. As a tradition, Christianity is more than a system of religious belief. It also has generated a culture, a set of ideas and ways of life, practices, and artifacts that have been handed down from generation to generation since Jesus first became the object of faith. Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind. The agent of Christianity is the church, the community of people who make up the body of believers.
Atheism is a worldview that rejects the existence of God, the spiritual world, or gods of any kind. From the atheist’s perspective, there is no such thing as a personal, divine being who caused or created any part of the material world.
Polytheism is a worldview that believes more than one or numerous finite gods are present in the world. Polytheism takes many different forms. In some, all the gods are relatively equal. In others, the gods are subject to a hierarchy. Examples of polytheistic belief systems include Hinduism (which teaches the existence of millions of gods), some forms of Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Paganism, and Mormonism. Mormons typically deny this classification, arguing that they worship only one God. Be that as it may, Mormonism still endorses a belief in an indefinite number of gods.
Pantheism is a worldview held by most Hindus, many Buddhists, and other New Age religions. Pantheists claim God “is all and in all.” He permeates all things, comprises all things, includes all things, and is contained within all things. Since nothing exists apart from God, all things are in some way associated with God. The world is God, and God is the world. In pantheism, God is infinite, but not personal—all is God, and God is all.
Early indigenous inhabitants of our country believed in those things they could see and in many cases still do – Sun Gods, Wind Gods, River Gods, God of thunder etc. Does that make them wrong and other Gods right?
I am honoured to have friends that are Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist and others I am likely not aware of.
Believe what helps you get through life. It is your right, your perception and your reality.
But treat those around you with dignity and respect.
They too have a perception based on their reality. It doesn’t make them different.
It makes them human.