ReligionToday, with social media and the Internet, rumors, misconceptions and outright lies often circulate amplified and unchecked about religions and religious belief. Most often, it is religious intolerance, not religions themselves that create hatred and conflict. Consequently, many faiths attempt to counter these rumors and misconceptions, and here is a sampling.

Catholics do not worship Mary and the saints, according to an article in These Ridiculous Misconceptions about the Catholic Church are Finally Explained.. “There are two kinds of worship which our shallow English word ‘worship’ encompasses: adoration and veneration,” writes Theresa Zoe Williams, quoting 19th Century Archbishop Patrick John Ryan “Adoration is due to God alone. Veneration is what Catholics give to Mary and the saints as a reflection of … God the Almighty. Because our language falls short, this often gets confused.”

The article goes on to address five common misconceptions about Catholicism referencing a talk given by Archbishop Ryan in 1877 included in his book, Anti-Catholic Myths Debunked.

Latter-day Saints do not practice polygamy, says Joanna Brooks in a 2011 Washington Post article Five Myths About Mormonism which speaks to the presidential campaign of Latter-day Saints Mitt Romney and John Huntsman, Jr. “In 1890,” states the article, “more than four decades after [founder Joseph] Smith’s death, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints … yielded to political pressure and phased out the practice. Today, members who marry more than one spouse are excommunicated, but ultra-orthodox splinter groups continue the practice.”

The article address the myths that members are not Christian, that most members are white conservatives, and more. In addition, a 2018 notice by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requests that “Mormon” not be used to refer to the church or its members, but prefers the full name, or “Latter-day Saints” as a shortened version.

It is not true that Muslims do not believe in Jesus, says Five Myths about Islam: Debunked. “One cannot be a Muslim without believing in the virgin birth and the many miracles of Jesus,” says the article. “Jesus is also mentioned in many verses of the Quran and is often used as an example of good virtue and character. However, the main difference between Christianity and Islam is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God or the Son of God. Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet and a messenger of God.”

Muslim women are not oppressed, continues the article, explaining that before Islam came to Arabia, women had almost no rights, being viewed as property. “When a female baby was born, it was considered a disgrace to the family …Islam brought positive change to Arabia. People who embraced Islam had to let go of these harmful cultural practices …”

If you have a question or believe something outlandish about a religion, your best source is a member of the faith, ask them.