The Great God Debate

I was christened but I’m not a practising Christian. At present, I hold no religious beliefs. I have no qualms in sharing this with anyone, and I have never faced hostility in publicly airing these non-beliefs. As the world’s scientific knowledge increases, it would seem that so do our options in terms of what we do or don’t believe in. There seems to be a new wave of atheism ever growing in numbers these days:  Atheists that are perhaps guilty of preaching about the ridiculousness of believing in a higher power just as vehemently as any religious preacher promotes his own cause. 

A colleague once confessed to me that she was a Christian and regularly attended her local church. She was witty, pretty, young and well thought of, yet this information was only imparted to me after months of knowing her, like a dirty secret. Why?

I am guilty of having scoffed at those toiling to church on a Sunday. I have revelled in my scepticism of the existence of all things religious, and I – in a nutshell – took the mickey.

But who am I to criticize what brings another human being comfort?

Then I witnessed the deterioration and death of a loved one. A loved one that had absolute faith that they were going somewhere better and I found myself facing a whole new emotion as far as God goes: jealousy. Don’t get me wrong, I have had no great spiritual revelation since this event. No sudden calling to pray and no new found belief in a higher power. The difference is that now I just wished I did. Personally, having witnessed death first hand I cannot think of anything more frightening than facing your final hours with a fundamental belief that there is nothing else. Nothing.

So many of us are so quick to ridicule what others choose to believe, and it’s easily done when we are young, bulging with confidence, and have no comprehension of a situation so dire that faith may singularly be the only thing able to bring us comfort. With the one hand, we pooh-pooh the existence of God; an invisible entity that has no proof of existence, and with the other we are leaving out our mince pies for Father Christmas and our pound coins under pillows for the tooth fairy. And quite right too if you ask me. Would those in the anti-faith brigade deny a child this little bit of magic?

 Of course, religion is chiefly responsible for so many atrocities on a global scale, but is this the fault of my colleague who bakes for the Church bizarre and loves to sing hymns? Is this the fault of the average Joe who silently prays for his ill loved one? Or is it human nature: that there will always and forever be an unresolved power struggle? A power struggle that – if religion no longer existed – would simply be about something else?

 Faith is not a crime, but a devotion that does not require proof, that’s all. After all – a child can have absolute faith in something they have never seen and it’s considered the norm, even charming and magical. Is it that much of a leap to have the same respect for our adult brethren?

I hope I find a little faith one day. Maybe not the faith of an organised religion, or one all powerful God, but something.

Something spiritual that brings me peace.

Something that the people I leave behind one day will be glad I had.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “The Great God Debate

  1. Great read. I’m always intrigued to read about what people believe in and you’re so right about people not wanting to talk about it. It’s almost a taboo subject and people don’t tend to ask v much (or think its rude to). I’m a believer although very very lazy at practicing (muslim) to the point where I probably get looked down on by more religious folk. It does bring me comfort to believe in a higher power and I could completely relate when you said about losing someone close and seeing death so closely. It scared the hell out of me and for a while it really made me think about life, our place it in etc.

    • It really does make you question things doesn’t it? I think a lot of people are similar to yourself, but to have that deep down belief I can only think must be reassuring for you. Thanks for the comment x

  2. Super post Minty. I was never Christened and I have no religion at all – I don’t think I believe in God, I don’t believe in anything really. I never have been and never will be (that I can see) a religious person. We haven’t had MC Christened as I believe if she wants a faith she should be able to choose it herself. I have no problem with others practising faith and what they believe in – each to their own is what I say – I never mock anyones beliefs, in fact, I am intrigued by people and their faiths/beliefs so thanks for sharing yours 🙂 x

    • Ah, thank you. We weren’t going to have G christened for that very same reason. In the end we did – in the hospice room with just us, my brother and my Mum 5 days before she died and one day before she started to really deteriorate. It brought Mum so much joy that I don’t regret it for an instant. A few months later, we had the humanist naming ceremony we’d wanted all along. Both were beautiful in their own way. x

  3. Reading this after visiting the tree where mum’ ashes are scattered one year on from her death. For me the answer to spirituality is in being in nature. I remember as a trainee teacher sitting in on a PSHE lesson where the toughest male teacher said just that to a roomful of teenagers, I thought it was career suicide, but they loved it and it stuck with me too. I realise my mum wasn’t religious but she taught me to feel more connected to the world through loving nature.
    Sorry blog post in your comments! But a really inspiring post that got me thinking. I agree it’s important to celebrate something rather than nothing, but it doesnt have to be religion or god. It often seems a shame to me that all the big stuffabout religion gets in the way for me of the stuff I do like, ritual, community, doing good stuff!

  4. Lovely comment. Lovely sentiment. Couldn’t agree more about the big religious stuff getting in the way. x

  5. I believe in life after death but thats about my only belief. I admire those who have strong beliefs in any direction , God or otherwise. Live and let live if we were all the same there would be no diversity in life x

  6. That was a lovely piece to write MInty. I too have a problem with the ‘be all end all’ side of ‘Religion’. The do or die, follow us and be saved, hocus pocus that is thrust at so many young followers, often ending in a very confused, conflicted and more often rebellious person. I was always raised to treat people as you would like to be treated, not to tell lies and to help anyone you can. This has been the bases of my ‘faith’ (I say faith, as I feel Religion is a dangerous word), and throughout my life has stood me in good stead. I too was Christened and brought up within the Church, throwing our Sunday best on and traipsing off to Sunday School each week. I enjoyed my time in the church and joined as an adult. MY faith only took a bashing when I too lost several close family members, Mother, Father and niece, without the exception of Grandparents to which most children/teenagers will be unfortunate to lose as they live and grow. I then took a thought to myself and listened to what my Mum and Dad had always said, the church is not the Building, it is the people. We are a strange concoction of beings in this race and it takes life experience and indeed having babies and raising our own little people to fully appreciate the gravity of what we have on this meagre plain! Live life to full and be good to each other and I firmly believe that those we have lost along the path will meet us in ‘The next room’
    Much love
    Morag x

  7. I hope so much you are right Morag. what an amazing comment: I love what your Parents said about a church being the people. A wise man once aid to me that organised Religion was man’s manipulation of faith – so true. Thank you xxx

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