I believe in a Creator of the universe who always existed, and being perfect, and loving so much, his love could not be contained and resulted in Creation coming to be as something outside of himself, created by his love.
I believe that this Creator, out of his supreme perfection, made the crown of this creation like himself, and gave human beings the capability to choose to love him, rather than compelling them to love him without choice, because real LOVE is an active choice of the will, to continuously strive for the good, and choose the good.
From these two religious beliefs spring the beliefs I have about life and how it should be lived, and what is required of me as an individual to remain true to my Creator and loving him. From the belief that we were created out of love comes the belief that we are created to love. From the belief that we must choose to love, comes the acceptance that sometimes people choose not to love, and the recognition that free will allows for both the beauty of choosing the right way, and the pain of choosing the wrong.
I have beliefs and I practice a religion. The more questions you ask me about my faith, the more I will attempt to explain the little parts of it and the reasoning behind it, the more I will try to explain how my love of God results in a love of my religion which only exists to show me how to best love my neighbor.
I suppose my love of neighbor can best be summed up as the following:
Treating my neighbor like they were created by the same love that created me and not harming them in any way.
And that is key to my religion. As part of my religion I pray, for myself and for my neighbor. I pray for the strength to love better, for guidance, and I pray for the world and that people can see the love of God in their lives and live it out more deeply.
Do not tell me that religion is the problem. Do not tell me that people hate each other because of religion, that without religion everything would be fine. Because yes, people use religion as an excuse for hatred, but more than that people use it as a way to love. I use it as a way to love.
And so I will pray. I will pray for the people who don’t believe that we were created out of love, who don’t believe that we are designed to love, and who don’t believe that love includes putting others before ourselves and not harming each other. For the people who use their beliefs as an excuse to hurt each other, for the people who believe that hurting each other somehow fulfills their beliefs. I will pray for Paris and I will pray for the world, and I will pray because I believe in the strength of prayers, and I believe in love.