By Carter Coudriet, NJ

An aspect of my life that I have always really valued is my faith. Though life is full of variables, my faith has been a reliable constant that has guided my decision-making and goals. My personal relationship with God has helped me in the toughest times. That being said, this relationship is special because this is MY relationship.

In the same way, the nature of your relationship with God is YOUR business. Who am I to tell you that the way in which you worship is wrong? Who am I to judge your actions because I may not agree with them? After all, as Luke 6:37 says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” For this reason, I feel that the importance of faith is exponentially more important than adhering to a specific religion’s dogma. This is not to say that I dislike religion; I am an engaged Catholic, my mom was raised Methodist, one of my best friends is Hindu, and we all have developed our own spiritual relationships that are just as profound and, I feel, just as valid as the others’ relationships. However, according to almost any religious sect, at least one of those relationships is not as valid or sacred.

Why does faith have to be exclusive or confining? If God is love (1 John 4:8) and man is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), doesn’t that mean that we are love? If that is true, doesn’t that mean that our love should be just as limitless and unconditional as God’s love is? In my opinion, granting the responsibility of explicitly delineating what is right and wrong to naturally fallible humans allows room for misinterpretation and fear. As Yoda said, “Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”

For this reason, rather than pigeonholing ourselves as specific religions that can become so at odds which each other, I feel that we should place more value on individual faith, respecting the variety of views held by our global neighbors. As the Model UN shirts parody, “One love, one heart; let’s get together and feel alright.”