Childhood memories came back to me of the bad feeling between Protestants and Catholics that was common in the mid 2oth century and had only fairly recently eased. There were many zones that we Catholics didn’t dare enter, such as Protestant church services. Even hymns were zoned as Protestant or Catholic and we were forbidden to sing Protestant hymns. Fortunately, most of that has now disappeared and the various Christian denominations even hold joint services.
Creating zones and erecting fences around them may be justified for protecting private property and marking out boundaries of ownership or responsibility but, in regard to beliefs and values, defensiveness is a sign of not being open to change. The harder we defend beliefs and values, the higher the fence gets, and the harder it is for us to escape from the prison we create.
We should be able to explain why we hold those beliefs and values and steadfastly hold onto them, because they guide us in making decisions in life. But all things change, and none of us is perfect, so we should be open to modifying or changing our beliefs and values when we are presented with a compelling, more plausible explanation. That doesn’t necessarily lead to changing religions; it usually results in a richer understanding, and appreciation, of religion in general; as well as creating a bigger zone, uniting more people.
Bob Myers, author of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness.