Religion is a strong backbone of our society. Though many people don’t practice any type of organized religion, most know of the major ones. If you do have a religion, then you know that studying one and living by one are two completely different things. That said, sometimes, it’s good to understand what other people believe in order to relate and find common ground with them. Additionally, if you want to find a religion in which to believe, researching and contemplating different religions will help you to make a quality decision. Here are several ways to learn more about world religions.
Learn More about World Religions #1: Ask People You Know
Undoubtedly, the best place to start your quest for knowledge about world religions is to ask friends who are of a different religion than you or your family. Most people are happy to share their beliefs and why they have chosen their particular way of life. You may find that some of your friends don’t have a set religion but are more spiritual, meaning they choose to create their own set of beliefs.
One thing to remember is that, no matter what others believe, you are free to make your own decisions about your life. I recommend having these conversations with an open mind and without judgment. First, let him/her know you would love to learn more about them as a person. Allow the “religion” chat to open up naturally. You might start by sharing your present belief system and see where it goes.
Do avoid heated discussions and debates. Religion can be the topic of many fights between even the best of friends and family. It helps to have a “mission” in mind when seeking. Ask yourself what you really want to know and why. This will help to keep the conversation on track and amicable.
Learn More about World Religions #2: Visit Places of Worship
Visiting churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues is a perfect way to get a taste for the primary world religions. Of course, you will want to call or email the organizations first to ensure your visit is appropriate. There may also be rules or procedures you want to know before you step through the doors.
Again, have an open mind as you visit these places and speak with religious leaders and others in attendance. If your visit is strictly for academic research, make this known up front so you can get the information you need. Alternately, your personal needs are important, too. Speak openly about your thoughts and concerns.
Learn More about World Religions #3: Read Books and Articles
Ask for book and video recommendations at your local bookstore. They may also know of local groups that could shed some light on various religions. Many houses of worship have their own libraries as well. Keep in mind, if you do searches online, such as, “who was Muhammad?” you might get biased articles that are meant to promote a certain belief system. Though spreading the word is a part of some religions, you might feel more confident and comfortable reading objective materials. If something interests you, the next steps could be reading testimonials.
Learning about world religions and the people who live them helps us all to be more connected. After all, our beliefs really aren’t that different when you look at the main points. One last tip, if you have the time and really want an in-depth look at the various religions, read the texts associated with each one. This will help you to see how they are different and how they are alike.