On being different and accepting it

There have been many issues surrounding religious and political matters happening in places that are close to my heart recently.  It has made me think about where I stand on all these matters and what I think about them.

On religion, I cannot agree or disagree with any side, as if I do, I will be against the concept of having a religion in itself.  Instead, I have decided that we have to all just come to terms that we are different, have different needs and believes and accept it.

Just agree to disagree.

Growing up in Malaysia allowed me to be proud of the fact that I have an open mind; able to live with other people of different ethnicity, religious beliefs, etc with mutual respect.  What  is mutual respect?  Being able to openly criticize each other, accepting criticism and accepting the differences as they are.  If someone criticized me for being greedy and I felt that they may be right and that it is a bad thing, I can then aim to change myself.  Religion is the same.  If someone criticized me for being a ‘free-thinker’ (without religion), and IF I thought that was a bad thing, I can then change and take on a religion.  IF NOT, I can just leave it and accept it as the other person’s opinion.  I think mutual respect is when the person criticizing does not expect or assume that the other person will change.  That is a personal issue, for an individual to decide on.

There are many things about religions that I do not agree with.  If you are willing to listen, I would be willing to say them, but I do not assume that you will agree, nor accept what I have to say.  In the same way, I may or may not accept your point of view.  However, we can still respect each other’s viewpoints and leave them as they are.

It is always only when people want others to change, when problems arise.  For example, if you tell me about why I should become a Christian (for example), I will listen.  However, if you tell me that I need to become a Christian, I will probably retort.  And if you blackmail and threaten me that if I don’t become a Christian, something will happen, then you would lose my respect entirely.

So why is it then that the country that taught me to respect and be patient of others who have different beliefs and background is now involved in such ridiculous issues?  I am not an expert and will not pretend to be one, but I know that if we stood for what we believed in, that Malaysians truly know the meaning of ‘living harmoniously in a multi-cultural environment’, then I believe that it can be done.

People need to put away selfishness and treat everyone as they want to be treated.  If you don’t want others to tell you what you can or cannot do in your own religion and culture, don’t even attempt to do that to others.