To these perennial questions, I offer some answers — not to close a conversation but to broaden one. I do not claim to know anything you don’t know, but if I can help you remember what you already do know, I am blessed.I worry about people who change religions. How do they know they aren’t leaving the true faith for a false one?I appreciate your concern, but I doubt that anyone can know for certain that her way is a true way, let alone the true way. If there were, faith would be irrelevant.According to the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of Americans have changed religions at least once in their lives. People are looking for a religion they find comforting and meaningful and for a religious community that is both welcoming of them and supportive of their values. In other words, the “truth” they seek mirrors the opinions they already hold. While I support the right to change religions, I wish we saw the role of religion as discomfiting rather than comforting. Religion should challenge us to break barriers and cultivate compassion and justice for all beings. Too often, religion erects barriers and restric …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
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