I believe in something out there somewhere, that’s bigger than us all. Something that’s responsible for “it” all. This is the only explanation that makes sense to me somehow.The fact that our planet knows that it needs to rotate around a source of energy to keep the circle of life going. The fact that this movement around the source has stayed constant for God knows how long. The fact that there even is an energy source we’re all somehow connected to. I find it hard to believe, that all this organization, all this stability and all these cycles are somehow the result of chaos randomly deciding to organize. That doesn’t make sense to me.So I do believe in what we on earth would call God. I’m not religious though, as in I do not belong to an organization that expresses their belief and views on creation through following specific cultural practices and having specific symbols, rituals etc. I don’t do that. I’ve never been that. And I wasn’t necessarily raised like that even though at one point in their lives my parents were kind of religious. My father and his family belonged to what traditionally is seen as “the Black church” where I’m from. These Moravian church services are very sober and subdued, devoid of the liveliness that’s so common in a lot of the American “black churches”. The Moravian church is one you usually visit out of habit and tradition but the Evangelical church my mother joined when she was a young adult, on the other hand was the church you joined when you were really “about that Christian soldier life”. But even my mother with all her passion for Christ then didn’t pressure me to come to church with her on those Sunday mornings when I wanted to stay home to watch Punky Brewster or Show de Xuxa. I’m eternally grateful to my parents for allowing me to just be.
They did put me in very strict, very religious Moravian schools though. Not only did we have religion as a subject in school, but we would start class everyday by saying the “Our father, who art in heaven” prayer, reading the scripture for the day, singing two or three songs. We would have to pray at least three time more during the day; once before recess to thank for the food, when we returned in class after recess, and again right before we went home. I absolutely loved the singing aspect of it all. Harmonizing with the class was the best way to start the day. In the final year of school, religion would be taught by an actual vicar. At the end of the school year he would give us a written exam. The mark received for that exam wasn’t a deciding one but we still did our best to get a good grade just out of respect for this seventy plus year old man who took the time and effort to teach us about his God. We couldn’t fail the exam even if we tried though, since he would allow us one minute during the test to verify the answers with each other. What a sweetheart.
I also liked the stories, especially the ones from the Old Testament. But then there were other aspects about these religious teachings that I didn’t like. I hated the fact that a lot of times religion wasn’t about that personal relationship with God, but about pointing fingers and telling people that their personal relationship with God was wrong. I also never understood why God would make me a human being with human flaws and then punish me for doing “flawed human things” like swearing or telling a “little lie”, or listening to “wordly music” about love? I didn’t get it. That, and a couple of other incidents lead me to kind of stay away from Christianity specifically. These incidents all coincided at the end of the last millennium where talks about a possible “millennium bug” were already creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. One incident involved me reading the book of Revelations out of boredom. I was bombarded with all these images of doom and gloom, hell fire and three faced angels, the sound of trumpets and the eclipse of the sun. To me it all seemed so bizarre but it still frightened me. The second incident involved me renting a documentary about Nostradamus and his predictions for the future around that same time. I can’t even tell why I even rented and watched the film since fortune tellers and their predictions scare me, but I remember the moment in the video store as one where your mind is telling you “no”, but you body is doing the exact opposite. Long story short, that’s when I got really scared. This because mr. Nostradamus had predicted that shortly thereafter we would be introduced to the AntiChrist,and the world would end. When president Bill Clinton decided to attack Iraq around that time, I was convinced that this was it, this was the end. I spend the whole year of ’99 just being paranoid and scared every time I heard an unexpected noise, or a siren.
When 1999 went by, and both Sadam and Clinton were still president, our computers were still working and we could still withdraw money from the ATM machine, I just went F- it, I’m never going to allow myself to fear like this. I don’t want to live my life with this sword of Damocles hanging over my head while being surrounded by judgmental people. I kept on believing in something bigger than me, but I stopped calling myself Christian.
There have been times that I have felt the presence of what I think was that higher spiritual being. I remember being in a taxi on the way to the airport for my first international trip. As someone who is very much afraid of heights and airplanes, I remember feeling extremely anxious. I recall constantly praying in myself and asking God to keep me safe. All of a sudden, while we were halfway on our way to the airport, I recall feeling a sense of calm and an inner voice assuring me that I would be okay. And everything did indeed work out. These last few years have also been testament to the fact that there is indeed someone watching out for me, and making sure that I’m okay. These last few years have been rough, but every time I thought that I would just give up, it all eventually worked out.
So no, I’m not religious but I believe in God. I’m able to feel proof of God’s existence in different things and religions, whether that be traditional African religions, Islam, Christianity or just a regular news story. I don’t think that will make be spend eternity in hell.