Keeping The Faith: A Matter Of Fear?
A discussion about religion is always dangerous. Even between friends, faith is one of those things you better not voice a too heavy an opinion on. You might end up burning your hands. But what's life without a little danger, right? Ali and I were in the car, on our way to a lovely day of pampering in a local spa. I started talking about my grandfather, who has in recent years turned drastically from a big believer into more of a non-believer. I confessed to her that even though I never subscribed to any religion in particular I found this pretty sad. That a man who has spent a great part of his life believing and dedicating energy to something, loses his faith near the end of his life when he needs it the most. And here Ali and I stumbled across a discovery; we had very different opinions about this. Although neither of us had been raised in a religious household, we had very different perceptions of religion.
I expressed the opinion that I believed religion and death were inevitably linked to each other. What do I mean? I think a lot of people turn to religion, because of fear of death. Whether you call it heaven, Walhalla, Jannah or afterlife. Religion gives us an answer to the most mysterious part of life... death. There is nothing we know less about, and all the unknown must be feared. So religion offers us a way out of that fear. If you truly believe, there is no need to fear death, you just have to play by the rules. That's why I think that my grandfather, at the closing of his life, could use this comfort.
However, Ali did not see them as tightly knit together. To her religion was mainly about a way of life, a set values and beliefs. So she thought it sad my grandfather was cut off from a community he used to reside in, but did not believe fear of death was on the mind of that many people. Her grandparents, all still alive, but not in the physically best conditions would welcome death as an end of a fulfilling life and a broken body.
We had reached an impasse. Neither of us informed enough on the subject, though our opinions of this were inexplicable rooted into our beings. We agreed to disagree, which happens more often than you would think, but I remained behind with questions marks on the subject. Religion was never essential to my life, but for so many people it is vital to their existence. Religion is in no uncertain way a consequential part of our history, our wars, our society and our future. Yet, I did not understand or comprehend the essence of it. Why is it such a crucial part of the lives of so many people? And how come that was never the case in mine? Or am I wrong?
Spirituality has always been a big part of my life, because of my mother. She made us see the magic of life, she inscribed us for meditation courses and spoke of inner strength. Sometimes my brother and I thought she was rather cuckoo crazy. (Try meditating for an hour when your eight!) But at the center of her believes was the principle of free will. And I think that's why I never thought of it as a religion, because rules were not at the basis of it. So I seem to not only relate religion to death, but also to rules. And when you break them, you are out kid. And like societal standards, I try to avoid anything that tries to make me a slave of it. But then maybe individuality is the religion of my generation? And am I not a slave to that? #MorethoughtsthanIcanfitintomyhead
Questions, questions, questions? #passionatelycurious