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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today... we are not confused

A few years ago, I reconnected with an old school friend. I knew he became a born-again Christian between the time we graduated and the time we reconnected. It didn't bother me - many of us went through our own spiritual journeys during that time. I became a witch. Someone else became a Buddhist. So, why not a born-again Christian? What I didn't realize was - he became one of the more obnoxious born-again Christian types. When the matter of faith came up in a conversation, it was insults galore on his part. I attempted to disregard the negative and disrespectful comments as mere jokes and educate the man, but eventually I broke off the friendship. It wasn't much of a friendship, when every conversation began with, "Done with your heresy yet?" or "How's the witchcraft going? Are they coming to burn you on a stake?" At more serious times it was, "I shall pray to God to help you find your way to Him." Some time later, the gentleman in question died - very suddenly and tragically, of a heart attack. Our other friends and classmates mourned his death, and so did I, but in a sort of detached way. I felt awful for his family, but, sadly, my last memory of him remained that of an insensitive jerk who treated my beliefs with great disrespect.

Over time, I discovered this to be mostly a Christian affliction. I can't think of a single time I heard someone say "I shall pray to Allah/Buddha/the Great Mother to help you find your way because you are clearly lost." Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Presently, I want to make this perfectly clear - we, the non-Christian people, are not confused. We are not lost. We are not seeking. Sure, there are people who transition between faiths, but for many of us this is something very established and very thoroughly thought out. For the latter group, the faith of choice has been arrived at after years of contemplation and study. We don't practice our beliefs because they are somehow less demanding - we practice them because that is what we chose, following our hearts and minds.

So please stop offering to pray for us to change our faith - that is rude and disrespectful. Like anyone else, we'll happily offer good vibes and positive thoughts at the time of trouble. We also welcome all forms of positive energy - prayers, chants, positive vibes, etc. - when we need support. The power of good, supportive thoughts in all their variations has been proven scientifically, and that is just cool.

Offering to pray for us to abandon our beliefs because you think yours are somehow superior is neither positive nor supportive. The next time you are tempted to do that, I encourage you to pause and think. Consider what it took for you to arrive at your beliefs and what a long, profound journey it has been. Consider the journey of the person in front of you and assume his or hers was every bit as long and profound as yours. Respect the other person's choice and be supportive.

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