In the early 90’s when I first began finding my spiritual path, things that were “New Age” were often wrongly associated with Satanism. I participated in psychic fairs where religious people picketed outside. I hung out in a metaphysical bookstore where occasionally people would come in and point out that we were Satanic because we had a [hand-painted Native American horse] skull in the window.
I canvassed door to door for an endangered species organization and the people with the most outward displays of their religion on their homes were often the cruelest. “I’ll just shoot the wolves myself”, and “I’d rather save babies than nature” (I’m still trying to figure that one out.) were common harsh comments.
Then, of course I could go on and on about the centuries of wars waged in the name of religion. But then, you would all fall asleep or start to wonder what my point was.
Fortunately, over the years, I have met people who were “religious” who actually weren’t harsh or cruel. I met a woman who, many years ago, made a deal with God, that if her father survived an illness, she would give up junk food. He survived, and she did give up junk food. She also was a kind, gentle and generous person whose faith in her religious beliefs and her actual practice of them, I greatly admired.
More and more, I find people I can have a conversation with about differing religious and spiritual beliefs, and it doesn’t turn into an argument. I meet people who share their view of the way their spiritual world works not only with words, but with action. They love their neighbor, they help others, they are kind to their fellow human beings; without an agenda, without standing on a sidewalk shouting about sin, without calling their fellow spiritual beings Satanists.
I believe that whatever religion you feel is "the right one”, it is your right one. The trick is not to judge others for their beliefs. First of all, if their spiritual path makes them a better, kinder person, who are we to judge how they got there? Secondly, before you judge another person’s beliefs or behavior, you better take a good look at your own.
Before you shout your beliefs from the rooftops and begrudge people the path they walk, think about the words you’re speaking. Are you walking your talk? Can you say, without a doubt, that you are living the ideal of your own spiritual beliefs?
I personally believe that the world would be a much better place if people stopped preaching their beliefs and starting living them.