All my life, I have been a Christian. I was raised in the church, even if I didn't always enjoy the one I was attending, and that was life. I was from a rural town in Missouri. There wasn't anything else. I think I knew maybe one family that was even Catholic. We were all Baptist or Methodist, and that was pretty much it.
That being said, coming to college was a culture shock. I had met so many new people with different backgrounds than me. Whether it was religious, cultural, ethnic, it was a shock to see someone that wasn't like me. Even though it was a shock, it excited me. I was getting to learn new things about new people, and the bubble that I was born into suddenly burst. It was exhilarating.
This semester, I am taken Religion 100. Already, I was ecstatic to learn. I knew about other religions, of course, but I didn't know anything about them. I didn't know how it affected people's daily lives, how they practiced, what they believed, or why it was important to them.
My first week of religion, I was hooked. I knew that I was interested, and I wanted to delve deeper than the surface level information I was getting. I texted my mom that week, and I asked her if I should make religious studies my minor. I'm an English Education major, and I happen to think the two coincide very well. She told me to do it, and I did. About three weeks into the semester, I made religious studies my minor.
The world is a melting pot. There are constantly people that you are surrounded by that are different than you. People aren't always going to agree with the things that you support. People aren't going to believe the things that you do. I'm here to tell you; it is okay to believe different things. It is okay to have a healthy conversation about why you disagree. It is NOT okay to disrespect or degrade someone because of what they believe.
I am a Christian. I believe wholeheartedly in God. That being said, I know what is right and what is wrong. I know that it is wrong to be unkind to someone based solely on what they believe. If you want to be able to have a healthy conversation about religion, it is important to understand the topic. Religion is a touchy subject for most people, understandably so.
I have always tried my hardest to keep an open mind and an open heart. Even though I may not believe something that someone else does, I will love them unconditionally. It is important to understand other people's lives and respect their choices. Through my religious studies, I have been able to see the differences that people have, and understand why they think the way they think. Not to mention, it's good to know things. On top of being necessary, religion is also very interesting. Step out of your comfort zone, and learn about people that are different than you. You won't regret it.