Opinion: There needs to be respect for both sides of faith

I was born into Tibetan Buddhism and transitioned to atheism and finally to agnosticism.

By definition, an agnostic is not committed to believing in or disbelieving in the existence of God.

My mother is a devoted Tibetan Buddhist. She prays every morning and every night.

I’ve seen her become scared of her dreams and then pray and give offerings at our alter. She sleeps peacefully the next night, believing the gods have been thanked.

I don’t know how much of what my mother believes is actually true, but it’s the ultimate truth for her. Although I don’t believe the gods helped her, I envy her good night’s rest, and for that I do thank religion.

I respect all religions in the world if they benefit people in the way Tibetan Buddhism does my mother.

We used to constantly have arguments about religion, and it always ended up a disaster. My mother supported her beliefs through what she has been taught orally and traditionally and I constantly questioned and asked for facts. My goal was not to prove her wrong necessarily, but to have her question her sources.

Having lived in the West for 70 percent of my life, I have learned to question before accepting. But the topic has become so controversial in my family, my mother has restricted talks of religion at the dinner table.

We have finally come to an agreement that we will respect each other’s views and not go any further than that.

Though I do not believe in half the prayers and rituals that are done in my home on certain days, I participate so that I may please my mother and, in return, see the truth in her perspective from what she has been taught.

After all, the Buddha has been quoted as saying: “Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it.

“Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.

“Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.

“Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.”

I am not one for blind faith. I believe in rationality, and I believe you must absolutely question something at least once before you claim it to be the absolute truth.

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