For Little Granny and G’pa, whom I loved, a lot.
Firstly, I think it’s important to state that some of the people I love most in the world are also the greatest cynics I know. Secondly, my biggest belief is that it’s best to believe in something than nothing at all.
I believe in ‘God’, (aka Allah, Waheguru, Spirit…). I am also a huge fan of Siddhārtha Gautama. I own numerous texts on Buddhism, spirituality, angels, The Qur’an, psychology and more. I pray daily. This is a very rare occasion for me to air my beliefs publicly as I believe it’s a personal choice, I don’t feel particularly comfortable being put in a position where I have to ‘defend’ my belief, and I’m also not keen on making others feel awkward about the topic.
To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
When I was a child the local vicar used to come over for tea, until my dad had an affair and I stopped going to Sunday School. Funny old world. My grandfather was the son of a preacher man and when he died we had enough books in his study to fill a whole Theology section of a university library. I had to ask the question, how many Bibles can one person read? Answers on a palm-leaf please. At 15 I became so obsessed with Judaism I took Religious Studies as a GCSE. My visit to Israel was one I will never forget, from the Four Quarters of the Old City to the Wailing Wall and Yad Vashem. I found the whole experience of the power of both Religion and people completely overwhelming, it had a profound effect on me. A few years ago I found out my great grandfather was Jewish, the fact he had married a non-Jew saved my Grandfather from the Nazi’s wrath. Again, it’s a funny old world.
I don’t particularly like churches in Spain because there is always far too much gold and that seems wrong on so many levels. It annoys me. I don’t go to church every Sunday because I like to sleep in and I believe that prayer should be daily wherever you are. I tend to find sporadic visits to holy places more meaningful, just like the excitement and joy of buying gifts for someone at random times and for no other reason than because you are thinking of them. That’s just my preference. I can not comprehend “Holy Wars” or any act of violence or wrong-doing committed in the name of religion, or anything else for that matter. Nonsense. Hypocrisy. Human. Not God. In my opinion.
My chief epiphany with Religion came over Sunday Roast with my family, nothing like Yorkshire puds to stimulate deep and meaningful conversation. Out of the blue and unexpectedly Grandpa asked me what God was to me. I replied that God to me was within us and the difference between right and wrong (fyi, we didn’t get tangled up in minute definitions of right and wrong). It wasn’t a particularly academic response but it was honest. I expected a long winded response from him, I was wrong. Grandpa simply nodded, said he agreed and continued eating. From that day forward I felt we had not only bonded but I have never questioned my belief since.
Ultimately I believe that we are all individuals and have the right to choose our own beliefs. That said, I can’t help but wonder, isn’t some faith better than none at all?
That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. ~ Albert Einstein
In today’s chaotic world, where extremism comes in many forms, it is hardly unexpected that it is becoming increasingly harder to see the wood for trees when it comes to belief systems. A friend recently emailed me to express that she strongly disagreed with an article I had posted about food. They cited their beliefs and referenced science. I didn’t take offence to this, it was their opinion based on their beliefs and research. My main thought was, how hard it is for us all to process the vast amount of (convincing) information available to us today. HELP!
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. ~ Helen Keller
So many Questions!
- Where is the integrity in science if it continually changes it’s mind on a weekly basis about what is and isn’t good for us? Consistency?
- Does ‘God’ really care about sexual preference, if he loves us all?
- If our beliefs don’t do us or anyone else harm, and make us happy and fulfilled in life then is empirical evidence really necessary?
- In this bonkers world, why do we persist in hurting each other and the planet?
Sometimes I think the simplest answers are the ones we so easily overlook, like the over use of big words when just a few letters can sometimes pack the greatest punch. Surely the questions we should be asking ourselves are:
- What can I do to help myself be happy and fulfilled?
- What can I do to help others?
- What can I do to help our planet?
And my personal favourite at present: What world do I want my children and grandchildren to inherit? My answer is thus:
- A world where we are all equal.
- A world where all beliefs are respected.
- A world which is loved, looked after and respected.
- A world where it’s inhabitants love, look after and respect each other.
A Braver New World, is it possible?