I may not be a specifically religious person, but I find that so many religions often times have these great moral codes that people are told to follow. Without speaking about faith so much as the guidelines of a religion, you’ll see that so many major religions all hold respect for other people, and all do good by themselves and by others. These key components are prominent in almost all major religions and those who abide by these basic guides are better people for doing it, whether they’re committed to a faith or not. I, personally, have learned these attributes from my family with a Lutheran upbringing, my martial arts and my experiences at school.
While I no longer identify myself as a devout Lutheran, I was raised, baptized and confirmed as one. Learning about the religion was an interesting experience; not so much because of the stories that were told or the concepts of heaven and hell, but more specifically for the way that our pastor explained how to be a decent human being and how every choice you make matters. The church always encouraged us to be polite, kind, respectful, generous and courageous people- “Good Christians” they called us. And whether or not I decided to pursue the faith past my confirmation (which was heavily influenced by my parents in the first place) or not, I took the concept of doing what’s right to heart as best I could, because it seems as though that’s the way life should be lived- maybe not in order to provide yourself with eternal life, but in order to provide yourself with better current life.
Through my practice of karate over the last 11 years (which one could argue is, or had replaced my religion), I’ve learned so much about chivalry and passion for all other living beings. A key thing to remember, is that in a perfect world, you should do unto others as you would have them do to you. This was ingrained in my head as I began karate, and will not leave me until I die. Additionally, respect for your elders and peers, taking pride in all that you do, and speaking with confidence, modesty, honesty, and passion have all been embedded in my by my education in karate. These help shape my beliefs of being the best person you can be to make the best world we can have.
From Pre-k to senior year of high school, I have watched other, more outgoing people, criticize their teachers, peers, or even that kid with the learning disability, until I feel disgust. I’m not saying I don’t feel frustration towards other human beings. Everybody does. But the way I’ve heard people trash talk others is not something I can support. Outwardly disrespecting your colleagues and superiors is an act that shouldn’t be done for laughs or out of anger. Seeing so many people verbally tear others to shreds for the last 19 years has left me realizing that abusing people in any way is so degrading to both the target and the speaker, because it shows a lack of self-discipline. This contrast that I’ve experienced my whole life has only reaffirmed my goals of being more respectful and supportive for those around me, to do my best to make the world a better place. A quote from the movie Kingsmen is a surprisingly sound representation of my goals for myself: “Being a gentleman is not about being better than anybody else. It’s about being better than the man you were yesterday.”