GRAPHIC | Tara Espinoza
Spring is a time full of religious holidays, especially for Abrahamic religions. These holidays include Easter, Passover, and Ramadan. The Arka Tech would like to remind everyone to respect the religions and beliefs of those around you during this time.
As a smaller school in the South, Arkansas Tech’s student body is somewhat homogenous. The majority of Arkansas is protestant Christian, and the campus reflects this. Therefore it can be easy to become less aware of beliefs different from yours.
Everyone has a right to their own beliefs. It is a part of the first amendment and the Universal Declaration of Human rights. Whether someone is protestant or Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Shinto, or any other religion, they deserve to be respected.
Respecting someone’s religion or beliefs can look like many things. Do not try to convince someone that their religion is wrong or attempt to convert them to your belief. Inviting someone to learn more about your faith is okay, but it is wrong to shame them if they do not follow it. Additionally, please do not make fun of someone for their holidays or traditions. Do not force them to forgo or bully them for their traditions. If someone is fasting or restricting their diet for their faith, then be understanding of that. If their religion requires them to wear certain clothes, be considerate.
Additionally do not dismiss or belittle someone else’s beliefs. Instead, be open-minded and respect their differences. Even try to listen and learn about what they believe in. You do not have to believe in the same things. But it is essential to educate yourself, so you know what is disrespectful for different religions. Ignorance is often the source of prejudice. Educating ourselves is the only way to solve that.
Even within your own religion, you should have tolerance. Respect the beliefs of other denominations. You may disagree with them, but telling them they are wrong is not your place. Their relationship with their faith is their own. You do not have the right to judge them for it.
As well as respecting those who are spiritual, you should also be kind to those who are not. Being atheist or agnostic is just as much a belief as yours. Instead of criticizing or judging them, you should try to be understanding. Their life and experiences are different from yours. They are entitled to their belief. However, atheists, likewise, should not be belligerent towards religious people. Just because faith is unimportant to you does not mean you should belittle others for it.
No matter what it is, your experience with religion is not universal. Whether those experiences are bad or good, everyone has their own experience, and it is necessary to understand that. You have to look at things from more than your perspective and your upbringing or traumas. Religion is an essential aspect of humanity. It is part of who we are, and everyone deserves equal respect.