How to Choose a Religion
Religion is a touchy subject. Wars have been fought over this topic. There are so many different kinds of religions out there. How do you decide which one is for you?
This is not a question easily answered. It is a question that has to be explored by you and you alone. Never go into choosing a religion without giving it serious thought. This isn't deciding on which ice cream to have today.
So, how do you go about choosing a religion? Start off with these suggestions.
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Know Why You Want to Choose One
Start off answering the question of how to choose a religion for you with knowing why you want to choose one. What is the reason behind you needing to choose a religion?
Is it pressure from family?
Do you feel an innate desire to have one?
Do you feel that something is missing in your life?
Are you curious about the afterlife?
Why do you want to choose a religion?
Answer this question before you go any further. Be honest with yourself. If you don't know, spend some time exploring that before you being exploring religions. Look into your heart and find the driving force.
Decide What is Most Important to You
What is important to you when it comes to religion or your spiritual life? For some it could be a sense of peace. For others it could be needing structure. Others want to feel love. What is most important to you?
Every religion is different. Though they appear similar when you first glance at them, they are different. Even within religions, there are sects that differ greatly. Before diving into them, decide what is important to you. Knowing this up front helps you weed out the ones that can be confusing or not well suited to you.
Some religions focus on a strict life. That is important to some people. Therefore, that religion could fall into the consideration pile.
Some religions focus on obtaining peace and avoiding strife. How important is that for you?
There are some religions that stress second chances while others do not. There is a lot to consider in this. Know before hand why you want a religion and what is important to you. This will help you avoid confusion later on as you actually begin to explore the various religions.
If you have answered the first two questions about yourself, you are ready to begin researching the various religions. You need to know what you are getting yourself into.
First of all, don't take a religions site or information at face value. They could be not telling you the truth or not fulling understanding it themselves. Also, they might not answer the questions you have as they are approaching describing their religion from a different viewpoint.
Also, don't take any of the research you find at face value. I have my religion that I believe is the right one. If I put out material on other religions, is what I say trustworthy or biased? It might not be. I'm one that strives to look at things in an unbiased manner, but can that be said about everyone?
When you conduct your research, see who you are taking material from, what agenda do they have, and how reliable are they? This should be done with any research you do, even research about something you are going to buy. Never accept things at face value.
Discover the history of religion at this museum in Pennsylvania.
Talk to Others
One of the best ways in narrowing down the religion for you is to talk to others that follow that religion or have followed it in the past. They'll know more than some academic writing on the matter. Though.....
Keep this in mind when you talk to others about religion:
- They can be biased. Whether they are for or against a religion, they can be biased. Look beyond all glowing or all negative comments. Try to weed through that and see the truth.
- They might not know what it is all about. I've known too many even within my own religion that do not fully understand what they say they believe. More than likely it is because they don't want to or want to avoid any accountability. If you keep getting the same answer, stop and find someone else to talk to.
- Talk with those that understand the religion. I knew an old man who went to our church for years. When a person seeking spiritual help asked him a question, he directed him to his pastor instead. The question wasn't that hard. The old man did not understand his religion. He only knew what he had been told. Avoid those. Look for people who can talk to you about what they believe and why. They might still direct you to someone who understands more because you have asked a question that is hard for them to phrase. That's okay. Be thankful they directed you instead of answering incorrectly themselves.
Know Your Heart
In the end you need to know your heart. If you feel uncomfortable about a religion or even just a sect of a religion, pay attention to that feeling. It will serve you well. Know where you stand in regard to this religion you are choosing. If it is not for you, you will only find misery. You need to find not just where your heart is comfortable, but where it belongs.
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