• You should never stereotype people because of their race, culture, or religion. You should never judge or make fun of people because of what religion they follow. However, the true values people believe in are extremely evident in their words and actions, and you can judge people on the way they act.

    I hardly looked around as I stepped into the “church” I was so familiar with. I knew every ugly scuffle mark on the drab white walls, and was never shocked by the slimy, soapy residue on the carpets. I was acquainted with every closet and crawlspace in the whole institution, and I could lead you anywhere with my eyes closed. I had known this place forever, neither loving it nor loathing it.

    As well as I knew it, I wasn’t at home there. I was a Catholic, and I longed to be able to go to my catechism classes every Sunday, and not waste my valuable time at the dumb old Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, otherwise known as “TUUC”. One of TUUC’s main philosophies was to accept everyones’s beliefs. Consequently, “Sunday school” at TUUC was more like a world cultures class than a religion class, and we had to learn about all religions. Native Americans, Atheists, Jews, and Hindus were all examples of the many peoples that we learned about. For a solid catholic, learning dozens of names of hindu gods on my Sundays, when I was supposed to be in church, was not a thrilling concept for me. The only set of beliefs we were spared of was Hitler’s Nazi fascism. Another one of TUUC’s philosophies was “Recycle.” This didn’t have as much gravitas on classes as their primary philosophy, but the teachers promoted recycling whenever they could. They talked in such a way, you’d think recycling was more important than eating. But they weren’t horrible, I concluded. It certainly wasn’t a bad thing to be accepting, or to be concerned about the environment.

    I walked into class as the other students were arriving. I secretly rolled my eyes in anticipation of the stupid arguments I would soon be hearing. My classmates always had intense discussions and long conversations about silly things, like if a “spoon or a fork was more beast than the other”, with the conclusion of the conversation being one of the contributors shouting something to effect of, “Let’s go to Vegas!” Instead of listening to the nonsensical blather, I tuned myself out and observed everyone. Most of them were drinking something. Some of them had coffee, others water, a few, tea. “Of all the hyper people, Seth sure doesn’t need all that caffeine,” I thought to myself.

    After a final yell of “VEGAS!” our drab, dull teacher meandered into the classroom.

    “Today, we will be learning about the fascinating world of Muslims and the Islamic religion!” she said with a stiff smile and some fake enthusiasm. “Islam,” She started, “is a religion practiced mainly by people in the Middle East, but its number of followers is rapidly growing and they live everywhere. In Islam, Muslims believe that there is only one god, but they also believe there are hundreds of names or characteristics and aspects of god.”
    “That’s dumb! They should just have different gods like the Hindus, or none at all!”

    there was a general nod of agreement throughout the class, besides me, of course, and a few other people, shy people too afraid to even breathe loudly. The teacher didn’t chastise the interruption and continued, “Thank you for that input, Seth, but please phrase your comments more gently next time, okay? Anyway, what do you all believe god is like?”

    “Non-existent!” one of the more arrogant students shouted. Our teacher smiled and nodded with approval. Meanwhile, A flood of agreeing snickers filled the room, and this time I was the only one not joining into the group’s “fun.”

    “Blank like a piece of paper!”

    “Facade!” the thrilled students chimed in. They loved shouting their beliefs, because they loved having their piercing insults be heard. They also, it seemed, loved to throw pot shots at monotheistic religions. When we learned about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism, they never seemed so eager to question the religions as they did now. They were hungry for verbal assault, and they fed on these offending statements like ravenous wolves. They were having a blast calling the center of most peoples’ lives fake and a fraud, while also making side comments and jokes about “those bible beaters.” My stomach curled. Wasn’t the Unitarian way to accept all religions, and not just the atheistic and polytheistic ones?
    “Hypocrite!” The last smirking, sarcastic student yelled.

    The final blow. I couldn’t believe it. I was horrified, and disgusted. I didn’t have a good home life, an easy time in school, or even a whole lot of friends. All I had was my faith, and to call god a liar was to question my whole existence and my whole philosophy on living. I was enraged. However, I bit my tongue, and prayed to the lord that I wouldn’t do anything driven by anger myself. So I added a name to the list, one I believed in, and hoped god would be to my peers: