Moving Past Religious Misconceptions
Holding less than accurate views about one or more religions is not all that hard. They are passed from one well meaning person to the next and never questioned. Unfortunately, the myths tend to grow over time and take on a shape that sometimes has very little to do with any actual belief or tenet held by that faith. Your best approach is to devote more time to moving past religious misconceptions and less time picking up new baggage.
Take Nothing at Face Value
It is tempting to accept a statement about another religion based on who shared it with you. This is especially true when that person is places a high premium on telling the truth. The thing to re-member is that even honest people can unknowingly pass on false information. Rather than ac-cepting something based on where you hear it, separate the information from the informant. That will make it much easier to consider what you hear objectively rather than subjectively.
Do Your Homework
The Internet places quite a bit of information at your fingertips. While a lot of it is false, there is also quite a bit of authoritative data online. Your task is to find reliable sources of information that can confirm or deny what you’ve heard about a given faith.
Remember that an authoritative source is not what the clergy of one faith has to say about anoth-er. You would get more accurate information by looking for sources directly related to organiza-tions within the religion in question. If you have a question about one of the branches of Islam or a specific denomination within Christianity, then find resources written by people who are actually part of those faith groups.
Sit Down With a Real Person
Nothing beats talking face to face with someone who is a part of the religion you’ve heard about. That individual can be a member of that faith’s clergy, a recent convert, or someone who has been in the faith for years. The point is that you are talking with someone who has first hand experi-ence. This allows you to catch a glimpse of how an adherent views that faith, and to what degree the thing you heard has any real basis in fact.
Keep an open mind and be willing to learn. You may even make a friend or two along the way.