I was born without a religion, like all people. Religion was something that was introduced in my life slowly, first through the baptism which I was given when I was several months old (I’m a Christian…at least in theory:)), then through the habits with which my grandmother accustomed me (the proverbial Sunday church during the first few years of my life) and the prayers which she taught me. And that’s about as far as religion ever managed to get into my life. Let me highlight again the use of words: religion, not faith. These two are two very different things.
In time religion got out of my life. I slowly became…allergic, let’s say, to church and priests and dogmas and rules to be followed only on paper. I got tired of the saying “do what the priest says, not what the priest does”. It all felt fake, lacking substance, excessively focused on form instead of essence. It was too much about the ritual and too little about faith, too much about objects and too little about people, too much about fear and too little about awareness. And, above all, it was inconstant. The god preached by priests and their religion was one day loving and caring and next day angry and vengeful – which to me seemed more like a bipolar human being behavior, lacked of balance, of poise. The god I had in mind was a being made of a totally different substance, and the patterns provided by religion were somehow too small for it, unable to embrace it.
So my atoms rebelled against the concept of religion as it was and still is, because often religion was and is just a pretext for ignorance and for aspects that have nothing in common with a supposed god. Not just once church felt like a pyramid where the top stone couldn’t care less about the lower stones and just enjoys its high placement, considering it’s only natural for it to be there. (Although, that top stone should be careful, because if the lowest layer of stones, the basis, is broken and unable to hold the entire weight, the rest of the pyramid collapses in a blink.) So, the religion preached by such a church was no religion for me – or for the god I had in mind. Actually, it shouldn’t be a religion for anyone at all. (Yeah, I know, I’m doomed, I’ll burn in hell for the blasphemy I’m writing here :P. BUT, those of you willing to throw the stone, keep in mind that I’m talking about RELIGION, not about GOD :)).
Now, the interesting part in all this is that, while religion followed the exit path, there came in faith. Faith not necessarily in a god above us all, but in a universal connection between all living things, seen or unseen. Faith in the capacity of human kind to learn and grow and understand its role, no matter how limited, in this world of ours. Faith in the beauty of the energy flowing through each and every one of us. Now, maybe this universal, interconnected energy, responds to the name of “god” for some people. Maybe, for others, it’s nothing more than a proof of physics 101, or not even that. But I’ve seen totally unreligious acts of kindness done by people from all corners of the world – and that matters beyond, FAR beyond any religious concept at all.
So, just a rhetoric question to end this small rambling of mine: why can’t humanity be the god of humanity?!
– Liliana Negoi
© 2014, essay, Liliana Negoi, and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All right reserved