“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in love, in life, in faith, and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
October 3rd was Bring Your Bible to School Day- a celebration of religious freedom, offering an opportunity to share one’s love for God with others. It was a celebration of speech, love, life, faith, and purity.
Each year this unique approach, spearheaded by ‘Focus on the Family’, aims at empowering students to strengthen their beliefs and let them out in the form of expression. The initiative upholds the spirit of the messages conveyed through the books of Daniel and Esther- the importance of sticking to your faith and beliefs despite the gazes of questioning onlookers and disbelieving crowds.
“A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education,” said Theodore Roosevelt back in the day when contradictory remarks did not receive such comments on religious teachings. Ronald Reagan had also spoken on how the Bible was the fundamental text that shaped the distinctiveness of the United States of America and its people. Truer words have never been spoken, one can say. To talk, without fear of contradiction or rage, of one’s faith is a rarity these days. For restoring the normality of such acts, the generations to come must be taught of their right to stay true to their faith- a right that keeps them from intimidation extraneous forces that find wit in their choices.
A 2014 study by Religious Landscape found that Americans have, over the past couple of years, turned less religious when comparing their current sentiments to the standard religious commitment. A study by the Pew Research Center put forth similar observations. The number of adults who were certain of God’s existence and exhibited religious faith was lesser when compared to earlier figures. Adults are hesitant to remark that the sacred texts of their religion are the true words spoken by their God or that there is a place called Heaven where the Creator resides and observes every instance that unfurls on the globe. These turn into vague and foolish ideas in the perception of most millennia’s and adults who reject all conventions and traditions to move towards a non-religious living.
But a fact that is being ignored by these young men and women is that religion is a guiding force in everyone’s life. To express one’s faith is no act of unimportance. The religious freedoms of each individual must be protected in an era that is increasingly shifting towards that of disbelief. This shift is possibly one that grew out of the tendency to ‘brand’ religions. By unnecessarily stereotyping individuals, forcing onto them an image that is foreign to their actual beliefs and intentions, the freedom of these people is being intruded upon. With initiatives like Bring Your Bible to School Day, it is these acts of branding and stereotyping that is being questioned and challenged.
Celebrating the religious freedom of all, people are being encouraged to give voice to their faith. The multiplicity of religion, unmarred by hues of enmity, is what makes the world beautifully diverse. Instead of putting a period ahead of an individual’s personal beliefs in religions, a word of encouragement can be spoken in the direction of embracing all religions and differences. It is not by letting religion die that unity can be achieved; it is not by letting religion die that human beings can transcend beyond their selves and reach out to others.
Religion gives beauty to the differences in the world. And the Bible is much more than just the Christian worldview that it talks of- the Holy Book teaches one how to bring God to his or her cognizance and how to shower others with love and equity. A page, a sentence, or even a word from this can drive away thoughts that make you doubt yourself- thoughts that depress and tend to bring you down.
The Bible is much more than a sacred text- it is a guide to life and love. If we are to let these teachings die, there is no doubt that what lies ahead of us are wistful days.