Religion is a concept that I have pondered long and hard about. I was brought up in a household where Christianity formed the pillar point of everyday life. However, as the years went by and I reached adulthood, I began to be more and more aware of the cracks that existed by steadfastly holding supreme to these values without question. I watched as my family members toted messages of love, peace and tolerance as stated within the messages of Christianity and yet turned around and instead spouted hatred, ignorance and intolerance towards each other. It seemed to be an excuse to interact in this manner, as long as one offset this behaviour by visiting a religious institute once a week, making a substantial donation and confessing their wrongdoings. What I was always baffled by was, why not just be kind, gracious and loving in every instance so that the need to repent was less extreme. The hypocritical nature of this cycle has never ceased to baffle me.
Religion and one’s relationship with the relevant deity is no doubt extremely personal in nature. What matters seems not to be how one attempts to manipulate beliefs to purge themselves of responsibility to match actions with deeds. Shouldn’t the approach to faith instead focus on living out ones beliefs by placing the onus of this onto ourselves and remembering that every individual’s practice of belief is unique to their own circumstance. I can’t count the amount of times I was accused of being a ‘bad Christian’, I saw the worst examples of hypocrisy, intolerance and hate speech spat out of the mouths of those who proclaimed to be true believers. The one thing that I remember thinking is, if this is religion, I want no part of it.
For such a long time I have held onto these memories and recoiled in a sense of disgust and sheer confusion when the question of faith has been posed to me. The truth is, I myself do pray at least once daily. I actively engage in conversations with an entity beyond me, however, I have began to understand that I am not sure who it is exactly that I am praying to. What’s become clearer as time has gone on in this is that I myself don’t buy into any form of thought that sets out to actively bully, criticise or humiliate. I refuse to believe that the deity or supreme being that exists out there is one that would exclude or discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation, the way they choose to practice their beliefs or how they live their life if it doesn’t fall into some rigid and outdated box.
Religion, faith and belief is fluid like anything else in this world. It grows and changes with time and is dependent on practicability and the personal nature of its interactions with and between human beings. It is about choice and anyone who claims to wield it will understand that they are not of the ability or right to pass judgment on how someone else decides to live out their beliefs. To be truly faithful is to understand that to be of religion is about the freedom to express ones spirituality however is deemed fit on an individual basis and as long as this centres around love, respect and mutuality I don’t see how this is unbeneficial to humanity.