In our nation’s past and present, the phrase “for religious reasons” has been used by people for many reasons. Some of these reasons are obvious, some dubious and some confusing. In essence, what is being stated is: “I use my beliefs in God to do this/that, or not do this/that.”
The issues I offer here in acting or not acting “for religious reasons” are (1.) Do we want to use our religious beliefs to decide our actions? and (2.) Do our actions really reflect our religious beliefs? These are legitimate questions to examine within ourselves. And they absolutely must be examined deeply, earnestly, honestly and in full light for ourselves.
Why must they be examined this way?
Because the statement “for religious reasons” has been used for many harmful and destructive acts. “For religious reasons” has been used to justify slavery. “For religious reasons” has been used by people to justify segregation. “For religious reasons” has been used by people to justify judging, condemning, lynching, the Spanish Inquisition, burning people at the stake, stoning people, drowning people, and been used by people to demonstrate prejudice and hatred against so many minorities.
Throughout the world’s history, “for religious reasons” has been used to bring about horrendous atrocities, killing and wars. And today in our world, “for religious reasons” is used to justify murder and killing still.
“For religious reasons” does get used by people to justify whatever prejudice or hatred anyone has within their hearts towards any group. Of course, we can take this further and say that if “for religious reasons” weren’t available, “some other reasons” would be used to justify an agenda of prejudice and hatred.
There are many that are willing to hide behind and abuse religion to justify their inner desire to continue the pain and suffering of others. As time passes, more and more, we will see those that espouse “for religious reasons”, and that they are not espousing the love that religions were, and still are, meant to foster. They espouse instead the separation and prejudice that has been in their hearts all along.
So, examine deeply, honestly and earnestly how best to use the statement, “for religious reasons”. It is very easy for us to use our religions beliefs in God to justify not helping those that need help, but whom we’ve judged, and therefore, decide not to help. It’s very easy to act in some way, siting “for religious reasons”, when there is a deeper agenda hiding within us. It takes self-honesty to act from our beliefs in a way that can truly serve and help our world.
Yet, how do we then tell if we, ourselves, are acting righteously with regards to our own beliefs?
Follow what Christ said, when asked how will you know the ones that are followers of Christ, “by demonstration of the fruits of the spirit”. Forgiveness, loving kindness, mercy, patience, understanding, humility, cooperation, faith, charity, unselfishness, joy, etc. – these are the fruits of the spirit. These are the actions of followers of religious beliefs based on God’s love.
Christ’s two commandments were Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked who is our neighbor, He told of the Good Samaritan.
When we use “For religious reasons”, we cannot avoid demonstrating the truth of where we are at. While we may tell ourselves one thing about our statement, others may see what we choose not to see about ourselves.
“Everyone has their own different ideas about how to proceed with spiritual growth… even God.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2013, Jodie Senkyrik)