Day 45: Visit a Place of Worship or Spirituality

Americans practice many religions  … or none at all.

DAY 45 ACTION: Learn about a religious or spiritual tradition that is not your own. Attend a meeting or service.

Society of Friends Meetinghouse, State Route 7, Quaker Street, Schenectady County, NY, Source: Library of Congress

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Tenzin Gyatso – 14th Dalai Lama

Religion is sometimes the cause of violent conflict around the world. But spiritual and religious groups are frequently also at the forefront of efforts to establish peace and justice. The Quakers for instance, have had a strong tradition of working for peace since 1660. Learning about other religious and spiritual traditions can help us better understand the world and ourselves. Broadening our spiritual horizons can also increase our tolerance of others and sensitivity to their beliefs, something the world desperately needs.

There are many religious and spiritual traditions and likely as many theories for why we have religion and spiritual beliefs in the first place (this explains one interesting possibility). Some countries are very religious; others are less so. The US is still overwhelmingly Christian (70%), but in the past few decades, other religions have grown, as have the number of people who do not affiliate with organized religion at all.

You may follow a religious or spiritual tradition; you may be an atheist; or you may fall somewhere in the middle. No matter! Today, plan a visit to a place of worship or spirituality; or, consider attending an Ethical Society meeting.

Be respectful of others at the meeting or service; introduce yourself and ask questions if it’s appropriate. Consider what is being said or done at the meeting and how it makes you feel – new situations can be uncomfortable but embrace the chance to learn and keep an open mind!

Today’s Action: Attend (or plan to attend) a meeting or service of a religious or spiritual tradition different from your own. Tell others about your experience. Notice a theme this weekend? #strongertogether!


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