The Beauty Of Faith And The Horror Of Religion

Posted: January 13, 2019

“What I do not need, and I’m sure, is a religion that gives me its opinion of the right path.That may change in the course of my life”. The author examines her faith and the ambiguity of religion. 

My mother is a Buddhist, my father agnostic and I, after attending an evangelical elementary school, baptism and confirmation, at least once deterred by any form of religion.

I think that faith is necessary.

We all believe in something, and many, even without specifically personifying it as a deity, believe in a superhuman force, be it a god, the universe, destiny, or science.

The concept of faith is basically equal to that of trust. To believe is to be convinced of something without evidence and facts. That’s all it takes. Trust in something higher gives people a meaning, a purpose and, above all, one thing: safety. Many atheists describe how they begin to pray in emergency situations, in fear confrontations, usually without knowing who or what exactly. That does not seem to be necessary. The dwarf of a superhuman force does not need a rational knowledge of its existence, but probably lies dormant in all of us, to save us in difficult situations from a sense of helplessness. Even the most discerning scientist will, at the thought of death, sometime feel discomfort. The question of the meaning of our existence and of our existence after death is probably one of the oldest and most humane questions in the world.

Despite all scientific progress, it remains unresolved and believing in anything relativises our fears and gives stability.
Basically it’s not about the actual existence, but rather about the feeling that gives us the knowledge about it.

So far to the faith.

Religions do nothing but cements it. They personify it into a deity, something that we can rationally imagine.

Religions seem to take on two basic functions. On the one hand, they take the aforementioned uncertainties of unanswered questions and provide security. On the other hand, guidelines are given for our way of life on earth. Instructions on what is necessary for a proper life and the attainment of the promised paradisiacal existence after death, whether that be in five wisdoms or in ten commandments. In this regard, religions make a helpful contribution.

That the ten commandments are basically very simple rules of morality and probably intuitively followed by most people, was left out.

It becomes difficult from the point where a religion begins to claim the truth for itself- something that basically all religions do. They and their creditors forget that the deity they believe in, regardless of their name, is essentially no different from that of the other religions. That basically all have the same goal to believe in something superior to get hold.

This misconception has always resulted in numerous wars, persecutions, genocide, conflicts. The institutionalized faith always claims the absolute truth and thus takes its proper meaning. Religions, both the monotheistic and the polytheistic always differ only in their way to a common goal and that only vaguely.

My mother is a Buddhist, but has always taught me the connections of different beliefs and has always been open to all other religions. As a child I went to an evangelical elementary school because of the catchment area. With the luck to have caught on to quite liberal teachers, I stayed there all the time and always had to look at everything with a healthy distance.

Every morning a devotion was begun, sharing prayers and reading a Christian story, a ritual that I still found very pleasant. At the end of each month there was a joint degree that brought the entire school together. A teacher prayed in front of the microphone, it was sung, all loud in the choir, euphoric, mostly in English and with electric guitar. On the one hand, you enjoyed this feeling of community, on the other hand, I was often accompanied by a slight scare. Not infrequently, these events had the connotation of a sect.

Once a teacher, with a musical array and plenty of biblical phrases, shook a can of cream until it became butter.
“See what God is capable of,” he rejoiced.

I do not even find it wrong to teach children the fascination with nature without any chemical formulas. But even then, this collective, unquestioning worship made a strange impression on me.

God was the explanation for everything, if one had no answer to something, one was referred to the trust in God’s will. If one did not answer to something, one was referred to the trust in God’s will.

Probably it was in the end even my elementary school that let me remove from the religion. Ethics did not exist, but biblical teaching, homosexuality was fine, but not in God’s sense, so we were taught.

In my environment, I know hardly any religious people, especially barely practicing. Some Muslims who half-heartedly follow the traditions of their parents, some Christians on paper who are not so sure or who do not believe, most of them call themselves agnostic. You just do not know, but there is something higher. However, religion tends to play a lesser role in urban space.

Believing in something can be very beautiful, but religions always have something fanatical about me. And faith, in my opinion, also works brilliantly without church and submission.

God is basically nothing more than a conceptuality. Terms are replaceable. For example, by destiny. Or coincidence. Or a personified power called God or Allah or Shiva or Krishna.

For my part, I’m not sure what I believe. And that’s fine too. I think spirituality can be very beautiful and believe that in the Western world in particular, the Enlightenment has made many people lose their connection with it altogether.

What I do not need, and I’m sure, is a religion that gives me its opinion of the right path.That may change in the course of my life. Who knows, maybe I’ll start praying for a god on my deathbed.

But at the moment I can give myself enough support and I do not have to define too concretely what I actually believe exactly.

Image Source: Pexels

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Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, Livia is a convinced feminist and passionate traveler who

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