Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Faith(s)

Met with so many people this month. In the midst of all, I was worried I could no longer keep tabs of their significance in my life. And I do not like that. I like to put some sort of gravity on the person that I've met, may it be strangers or colleagues. Whether I've had a minute or two of experience with them, or I've worked closely with them before this, they should hold some sort of significance.

I was tangled into a very interesting group just lately. I remembered specifically a man, who broke it down (I would say another word is question of) "religions'" aspects of life. One can be so sure that this man, is an Agnostic or Atheist, basically one who doesn't believe in any 'beliefs' or 'faiths'. But I didn't asked. Neither did I poked him about anything that he was arguing about. I was busy listening intensely.

Firstly, most of us has made that term religion sounds so rigid. Like a block of wall. So difficult to penetrate from the outside. So unwelcoming and a little intimidating. 

He spoke of so many points, both brilliantly supported (with science and experiments) and biased. Excellent choice of words, but some shallow. I guess it is like that when you're passionate about something. You blindsight other perspectives leaving almost no room for healthy rebuttals. 

And then I figured, everyone could argue about faiths or religions all night long, till the sun rises, or till the stars come down, whichever, but a religion, a belief, some sort of faith, has no absolution of black, or white. It is called faith afterall. Science can provide us the answers especially the creation of things, but what about something innate? The things that we feel strongly about. The things that make us comfortable? Or not? Certain words used in a sermon or certain gestures used by certain people? How do we black and white these? Certain things that we agree on, and certain things that we don't? How do you define, which is emotionally right and which is isn't?

I would rather choose to accept the concept of "religion" as a whole. Actually, I cringe at the mention of the word Religion, let's use Faith. Jews, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and so many other beautiful faiths in the world have beautiful common core of teachings. Peace, love, humility and family.

I believe everyone who has some sort of belief or disbeliefs for that fact has a valid structured reason to why they have so and most importantly stick through it. Everytime someone asks me about my religion, I am brought back to a really long journey.

*** 

I was born a Catholic.

That window of growing up from a baby to a kid, was the beginning of me being surrounded by churches while resting on my mum's arms. The priest's sermon was an accommodating voice, the hymns were familiar soothing sounds. And then I attended Sunday Schools. Where I learned the works of these people called Jesus, Moses, etc etc. I had trouble remembering their names. But I learned it anyway. The stories were amazing. It helped that I like to read. That I was inquisitive in nature. And people started asking me to read the bible in public. I asked my dad whether I should, and he said yes. And mum was to train me. So ever since I was a kid, I already knew of the stories. I learned a lot of it and grew fond of the miraculous things one could do. Everything was interesting. If there was one thing that was rather suspicious or innocuously intimidating was the fact that there were so many things to remember! But I liked the lovely scripted words so I remembered it effortlessly. And ever since I was a kid, I learned that one "Catholic" had to receive the seven sacraments, which the classes were to help. Back then, it was everything that shaped me. Like clay, I was moulded by these teachings. 

But it was only until I reached college that I understood knowledge was indeed power. I learned a lot more. I opened my eyes and ears to the different perspectives, different religions, different lifestyle, Agnoticism, Atheism, the science in life, and the list just goes on. There were so many things to understand from. I was like a blank canvas, I wanted to reserve all judgements before actually learning them. And I was still inquisitive in nature. I learned a lot, and I learned too many. 

The only difference between someone who chooses Product A, over Product B is the information that they're exposed to and their preference or judgement over those information that they receive. It doesn't mean Product A is any better, it just means it has certain things that one might prefer e.g Walnuts. And then Product B would have, say blended Walnuts. I personally like the chunky ones, and my friends would like the blended ones. It's their preference. 

With all the information I picked up, I began to fond yet remain unsure at the same time of all faiths. They were amazing in their own ways, but I was beginning to rethink about the Product that I have been using all these while. So I paused certain church visits, and stopped learning so many things. Just to get my bearings straight, and just to pin down what would be good for my soul. 

I picked up being humble, I picked up being moderate, I picked up believing in miracles. These were the things that I picked up from all the things that I've learned and wanted to call it my own. But calling your own is like organizing a field trip on your own, most happiness is real when it's shared but everyone was either unhappy with their faiths, or too happy or just did not want to be associated with any. 

After Australia, I reached KL with the biggest of dreams. I got a good job in a big social media company in KL, and everything was glorious. I wasn't sure who to thank to. I had paused some faiths, so I thanked my mum, my family and the tangible people around me for being there when I needed them. But life restaged another side of what I missed when I started hanging out with my sister and more people who were really humble. Where simplicity was just beautiful. Like a crystal blue sky, or untapped forests. Innocence, graciousness and kindness were familiar kinds of comfort. 

And I remembered back all those things that we had to learn as a kid. How life and world were created in such beautiful details, down to your friend's personality, to the colour of the ladybug. I envied our lives as a kid when we were carefree and dramas were miles a way. I really missed that. I missed having some sort of guidance. I miss picking up on certain words in Sunday's sermons that I like to live on. Like "I don't know who holds tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand." It was a simple sentence, but I personalized it and quietly agreed.

I am no close to a "perfect Christian", I bow down and humbly admit. I commit sins all around, all forms. I am a birthchild between the marriage of modernism and teachings that were manmade thousands of years ago. And in most cases, I follow the wave to keep afloat. 

But I refuse to give up on masses again. They were like foods for my soul. The degree of connection I have with my faith is mine, and mine alone. So whenever I hear people talking about 'faiths, religions, beliefs' I would kindly reject any sort of invitation to debate, because in all honesty, I believe in everyone's. And I believe in their reasons. I believe in our disagreements and I'm happy with the state I'm in accepting everyone's. 

So think before you debate about faiths, religions, or beliefs. Do you disagree for the sake of disagreeing it?

The beauty of faith is to bond, and unite. It really isn't to divide and conquer. 



Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

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