To a friend who had questions about right and wrong and my position on certain questions regarding the personal conduct of others.
Although Original Christianity (Sanatana Dharma) has beliefs, is has no dogmas. That is, there is nothing a person must believe or think about something.
Faith/belief is according to the evolutionary level and character of each person. That is why the Bhagavad Gita says: “The faith of each one is according to his nature. A man consists of his faith–he is what his faith is” (17:3). Therefore no one should be coerced as to their personal beliefs–including those who think people should be so coerced. Keep quiet and let people alone is a good rule to follow.
Individual spiritual evolution
Beliefs, like actions, are according to a person’s individual status. We need not be involved in those of others. “Offering actions to Brahman, having abandoned attachment, he [the wise aspirant] acts untainted by evil as a lotus leaf is not wetted by water” (5:10). We are in the water of earthly life, but we should not get wet and bogged down in it. We should stay in our own individual pond and stay out of others’.
A cornerstone of evolution is working out things for ourselves. Religion (not dharma) tries to make people dependent on them for their ideas and actions, but that is stagnating and often destructive. Everyone must cope with their mental and material karma. Some choose to correct their negativity, some to suppress it and others to express it. That is the way things are.
A personal example
Freedom is necessary for growth, and that includes the freedom to accept or reject something. One summer when we were living in the desert, we decided to move for the hot months to a higher altitude. Just a short drive from our monastery we found in the mountains an ideal place that had a sign saying it was for rent. We called the phone number and the owner refused to rent to us because he was an atheist and we were monks. We did not argue, nor even consider protesting his “discrimination” against us. It was his house and his principle. He did right–and we did right by respecting his feelings and finding another place to rent.