Let’s give it up for the positive things that different religions teach.

Photo: Eddi 07(OFF)

During a recent three-way conversation with a “spiritually-open” man, whose faith was based at least in part on Christianity, the other man joked, “Yeah, you’re only allowed to kill people when they don’t agree with you, huh”? The spiritual man replied, “Nope, that’s Muslims.”

With that comment, and this time of the year, it seems appropriate to look the peaceful and open ways of different religions and spiritual belief systems. Especially considering we often only hear about the bad, or sad, stories about religion. Islam, which consistently takes a beating by our media, may have roots that surprise you. Check out Muslim Dialogue:

According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is ‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’

This is a nice reminder that no religion is the problem – it’s human beings who twist a message and create havoc from it, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Taoist, or anything else.

Think only one faith can exist within a close-knit community? It is possible for a family to have multiple religious beliefs and not want to convert (or kill) each other, as a recent piece in the Rapid City Journal shows.

Talk about multicultural, this family has a Unitarian Mom, a Tibetan Buddhist Dad, a son who is “reading his way through the Bible,” and two other sons, one who is agnostic and the other who is an atheist. Mom Mahala Bach, who is on the Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s board, has this to say about the openness of religion in her family:

I believe in a creator, but I don’t put a name to it. I don’t call it God or Goddess or Yahweh or Jehovah or Creator…for us, expressing spirituality is about relieving suffering right here in our own community.

Shadow of Light

Slowly, quietly, and positively wickedly, love is beginning to overshadow all else, including religious and spiritual differences. The LOVEolution thinks there’s a spiritual conspiracy going on:

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark. But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening underground. An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution. From the inside out. From the ground up. This is a Global operation.

No matter the religion or spiritual affiliation you subscribe to (and hey, this goes for travel too), this global operation seems to be touching many of us. Why is that? The threat of 2012 looming? Economic losses? It is interesting that so many people seem to be changing, affected by a deep desire of wanting something more real, less defined – a revival of the spirit, if you will.

I like Spring Break Time’s thoughts on the subject:

Within the core of our being, there is a wild mustang, a free spirit wanting to desperately break free from the mental fences we’ve built around ourselves; it’s in a way, the safety net that our mind has created for us to shelter us from harmful situations. However, that wild mustang, free spirit is your authentic self; and whether you choose to follow it or not, your authentic self wants to be released from your mental and emotional grips…and it will work fervently towards that end whether you want it to or not.

As we look ahead to 2010 and the necessity of tackling some of the largest problems the human race has ever faced, authentically living out our soul’s purpose is a necessary part of the equation – no matter what religious beliefs each of us have.

Do you have some positive religious experiences that defies how the media normally portrays a certain religion? Share your stories below.