I was ‘trained’ to be a believer – not necessarily a monotheist, but a believer nevertheless. I married into a family of believers as well. So whenever I found myself questioning these beliefs I lacked the mental space to do so. FS provided that space, and how!
And now, I am scared; terribly scared that there may not be a God. The emptiness that accompanies this fear is all-consuming at times. If there is no God, who is responsible for placing me here and giving me all that I have (or worse, keeping from me all that I don’t, perhaps)?
With regards religious beliefs, I have felt for the longest of time that these are may be ‘well-thought out’ ideologies in the context in which they were made. But the arbitrary manner in which we follow some of them, unquestioningly, is something that we need to re-think.
Right now I feel like I am in pendulum zone – swinging between faith and disbelief; the intersections are confusing and the poles seem to be maniacal obsessions with opposing conspiracy theories; the crisis either way is pressing.
What did you believe about God & Religion?
Growing up in place where festivals are a reason to meet relatives, wear new clothes, eat good food and of course get presents from elders, I had a very beautiful image of religion. The arrival of Diwali filled my heart with much glee. It was only later I realized that religion is not limited to and defined by these celebrations. It plays a larger role and shaping who we are and conditioning what we do. Questioning anything only leads unpleasantness and emotional dramatic reactions. These unanswered questions further made me read books, try out prohibited tasks and come to a conclusion that such things do not exist.
If there were any god, it would give me strength and not cripple me. At present I have no doubts about the absence of a revengeful god. With every passing experience, my belief in myself and my actions has grown stronger.
I firmly believe that the peace that we seek in temples and prayers can be achieved through focus towards our work and well being of our family.
a) One should work with honesty to the best of his/her ability.
b) I firmly believe in being positive and instilling this belief in everyone I meet. Each of us has the power to turn around things. WE DO NOT NEED AND INVISIBLE UNIDENTIFIABLE POWER.
c) Love your family and be true to your friends as much as you can.
What questions do you still have?
I do not really have questions. However, I would like to understand the reasons behind some rituals. I am fascinated by new places, people and traditions and I’d like to keep this fascination alive by trying to read about different religions.
Regarding religious beliefs, what do you see people grappling with?
I see people not willing and being too afraid to question. This has not really worked in our favour. Time and again rulers & political parties (which by the way, are extremely secular and have NO religion whatsoever) have taken advantage and created situations that have further deteriorated us as individuals. It is like that dystopian society that does not allow the growth of its citizens.
My beliefs about religion have changed over the years. I believed in God for sure, visited temples sometimes, bribed him for good marks, fasted etc. Not that any of it was imposed on me, but mainly acquired and influenced by people around me. One of the main reasons I was doing all this, I would say was due to fear or avoiding trouble; looking at God as a savior. I later started questioning myself that if there is a God, he has to be kind and can’t punish us for our errors. After observing a number of instances in my life, I realized that what is going to happen, will happen. I should do the best I can in a given situation. I was able to overcome the fear.
All the rituals that I followed earlier, blindly, out of fear or because everyone else did, or asked me to do, I stopped doing all of it. I also understood that I am responsible for my actions and any repercussions that follow and it is me who should learn to deal with it, rather than counting on some external entity to help me out of the situation. I believed in karma, and doing the right thing. But I want to do the right thing, not because I will have to pay for it, or it will come back to me, but that is the way of life for me. I definitely question the existence of so many gods and religions. Stories have always intrigued me, and that’s how I have read and heard all the Hindu mythology stories since childhood. Now, I want to explore the other religious scriptures also, in detail. I believed then and even now I think, there is some superior power that drives the world, though I am still not sure 🙂 We do not have enough evidences about the big bang theory or evolution, so I still wonder that how did everything come into existence and where are we heading towards? But should there be an answer to all the questions?
Today, there are so many top notch actors, celebrities, sportsmen, politicians’ who visit some temple or dargah (under tight security). Some of them have had humble beginnings and they accredit all their success to the almighty God. Most of them are well educated and so-called role models of the society. The common man sees yet another hope that by worshiping God, he will be able to fulfill his dreams. This is something that we all have been brought up to believe, but if we are able to empower the next generation to at least question and find out for themselves, not only about God, but anything they are brought up to believe, they will do what they do with their own conviction.