Column: Be respectful of non-religious beliefs

Kate Rehwinkel, Columnist

Religion. It is a hot topic and has been for centuries.

I am someone who has struggled with the grasp of religion and the faith that people have in God. To say I understand the Bible is a massive understatement. I have tried to go to different types of churches; however, I still come out feeling the same.

I have not “found Jesus” yet. I grew up in the Catholic church during my formative years, but after my parents got divorced I stopped going, along with my mother. I guess the reason I am not religious is because I have never felt that God existed.

From my interpretation, God is perfect and can do no wrong; however, humans sin every day because we are not perfect. I always assumed God was a human, so what makes him anymore different than us? 

I have many friends who are religious and many that are not, but my best friend is a non-denominational Christian and she is the type of person I wish some religious people would aspire to be like. For example, she does not push her religion onto me and tell me that all my problems would be fixed with Jesus and God.

We differ on many topics; however, we talk about it civilly and respectfully because we respect each other’s opinions because they are both valid. Forcing religion onto someone is not going to make them want to practice religion. In fact, it will make them want to do the opposite. I do not dislike people because they are religious; I dislike ones that spew their hatred or prejudice statements toward me because I choose not to believe in God.

Do not get me wrong, I am sure believing in a higher power is comforting in some ways, but just because I do not believe in one means my life is not as fulfilling? 

I know a while ago, there was a debate about adding prayer time in public schools and having all the kids pray, but what happened to our freedom of religion? Prayer time should be optional, do not force your religion onto someone because it is convenient for you. If you want your child to practice their faith, send them to a religious school or private school. 

I know not every religious person is trying to convert every agnostic or atheist out there, but being respectful of other people’s religion is important because it is our 1st amendment right, and forcing someone to convert is revoking their rights.

I encourage every religious person to just stay open-minded about other people’s beliefs, as I try to stay open minded about others. Remember one thing, it is completely possible to be friends with someone who is on opposite ends of the religious spectrum. 

Kate Rehwinkel is a senior management major. She can be reached at [email protected]