Saturday, 18 February 2012

Believe (in) me

Yesterday we went to my cousin's farewell because he is moving to Cape Town ( lucky him :). So over the course of the evening everyone was enjoying themselves, drinking, conversing, and having a good time. But at some point some already-over-the-limit guy thinks that it is a good idea to start discussing religion and belief right there and then. I think belief is a very personal thing, and cannot be discussed sensibly in all situations and with all people.

I don't know this guy, but after stating that I was more inclined to an existentialist philosophy, he launched an attack on my morality and was in complete disbelief that I was not a believer of the Christian faith. Does morality automatically link to your religious beliefs? Do the 10 commandments make for the only moral guidelines one needs?

My parents took me to church and Sunday school and I even spent a year in Grade 9 learning about the bible and Christ. But I only went because it was what was expected of me. I have never felt an intimate connection with the Christian God, simply because the way the faith is twisted by each follower and by each parish disturbs me greatly. Everyone has a personal take, which they deem to be right.  What is even worse is the idea that a forgiving God will forgive anything, so it is o.k. if you do something against the moral code, you just have to say "Sorry" afterwards.

Listen, I think everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want, and I think my choice to not believe should be respected. Perhaps it changes, perhaps I will later accept a different faith into my life, but perhaps I will continue to believe in the here and now, in the resistance to a life not lived out of fear, in multiple perspectives, and in the inherent goodness of humanity. Morality is not exclusive to religion.

My friend K and I had this same discussion earlier, and she made a valid point: it is easier to believe than to question it. Again, I am not saying you should stop believing if that is the route you chose, but be aware of what you are going to church or to the mosque or whatever for. Know why you believe, why you chose this, why you need this in your life. Do not simply accept what you were raised with, what your environment expects of you.

Religious freedom is enshrined in our constitution, so please accept non-belief, just as I accept and respect yours.

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