Will God let us be friends?

Someone on tumblr asked if people of different religions could be friends. Here is my response:

I’m not sure that any of my friends have exactly the same religion. Even many of my Christian and Muslim friends argue (good naturedly) about different teachings, and the pagan ones, well, it’s very unusual to find two exactly alike. I think faith and religion is very personal. You might start from a big, structured point of view, but if you really are religious, it becomes altered to fit in with your life, your views and your personal beliefs. So yes, of course you can be friends of someone of a different religion. Because everybody, absolutely everybody, is.

2 Comments on “Will God let us be friends?

  1. Perhaps a more accurate answer would be, of course they can be – its just they often aren’t.
    I am impressed with your comments about friends who do not share your faith, but why would you be certain others could say the same? My experience of the internet over the last few years is that among those claiming to be religious there are a good number of bigots who have failed to notice the relationship between their religion and where they happen to be born. If you attend a church where the teaching is anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti abortion and a more general class which I call anti- anyone who doesn’t share the group view of the Bible, anti other variants of Christianity, anti-evolution etc etc then your members are unlikely to be congenial friends with those who are different. The test then becomes – well if the congregation is indeed friends with those of a different religious background, are such people regular guests for their family meals. New immigrants to an area where the immigrants’ faith singles them out eg religious dress, do not find a welcome in all communities and perhaps it is time for Christians to notice and insist that more be done.

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    • I’m not at all certain that all others can say the same, but I am certain that every single one of us has a friend whose belief system does not exactly match up to our own, no matter how we want to label it. That, unfortunately, makes it all the more tragic when the exclusions that you are describing occur. We are all so different, so diverse, yet we use labels so we ‘fit in’ in a group or community. And you’re right, as soon as we see someone dressed in clothes common to another land, we tend to make crass assumptions about their faith. I guess I’ve been lucky enough not to experience the very right wing hate messages of some religious groups, and I am grateful, but perhaps it lends my writing a touch of naïveté. I am so optimistic that once we realise the vast and complex nature of the differences between each of us, that a simple thing such as what we name our chosen religion, will, for most of us, be just one thread in a complete and ever changing tapestry. I don’t, however, expect this to happen overnight. I heartily agree that religious leaders and figures of authority should take note of when folks are being excluded, and address it. Apart from anything else, nothing speaks louder about a religious group than how it treats others publicly.

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