That’s me in the spotlight losing my Religion

I haven’t written anything since Thursday because I was waiting for results and good news.  My blood test results seem to have been lost somewhere between hospitals so I don’t know if I can have the IgG infusion before I go away to prevent me from getting sick while I’m there and I don’t know what score I got on the GAMSAT so still don’t know if I can get into medicine next year or not so there still aren’t any results to update.  I ended up going to the GP about the headache I had last week as it got worse and she thinks I have viral meningitis, well, thankfully it wasn’t all due to the midodrine although I did reduce my dose and after several days of headache and strong painkillers that made me a little bit ridiculous I woke up this morning with a sinus infection.  Go figure.  Still, I haven’t collapsed on the floor once today so the midodrine must be doing good things!  Anyway, I should have known better than to write a letter to the powers that be asking for a break, it’s never worked before and it hasn’t so far this time.

I look around and am a little bit jealous of people with faith.  I had it once, when I was younger I used to love the comforting and spiritual feel of being in a church, belonging to something and believing there was someone out there watching over all of us.  My grandparents were the best models of christianity I have ever come across.  They were generous to those less fortunate, they were kind and understanding and my grandmother tried not to be judgemental of others and saved it up for the members of the family!  They worked with asylum seekers and any other church projects going on, they went to church every weekend and my grandfather sang the loudest of anyone there – yes it was embarrassing being able to hear him over everyone else but he didn’t care, his singing was to glory God and he would do it with his whole heart.  For all the christian ideals I have never met anyone like my grandparents and their church friends – I know I haven’t met everyone but I do know they were a rare kind of people and their lessons and experience has been invaluable, I miss them more than I can say.

So yes, I was religious, devoutly so, at one stage.  Then life happened.  Before you read on you should know, the views expressed from here on are not meant to offend anyone they are based on my feelings, experience and observations.  A friend of my family died quite young, it was tragic and I tried to make sense of it, she was funny, bright, beautiful outside and in and had so much potential.  At the funeral the catholic priest was thanking God for taking her and looking after her and I just couldn’t understand – if God truly was so compassionate and all-powerful etc as I had always been lead to believe, then why would he cut her life so short, why would he put this wonderful family through such grief?  And why (for God’s sake), why on earth would we thank him for it?  It made no sense, suddenly everything I believed in made no sense.  Thinking about it I was drawn to history, so many wars fought for religion, so many people killed because one faith believed theirs was the only way and that everyone else should believe and were lesser beings if they did not and I couldn’t condone it.  I couldn’t be a part of it any more.  Even Joan of Arc, my historical heroine couldn’t change the way I felt and she was a formidable woman – she stood up for what she believed in and wouldn’t change or give in even in the face of death.  I saw people around me living with one rule for themselves and one for everyone else.  I am better because I have faith, God will forgive me for my sins and I will go to heaven because I believe.  In my world, in my view of my faith, that didn’t work.  I don’t care if a murderer or anyone else who causes harm to others is religious, someone causing harm to other living beings does not deserve a place in heaven no matter what they believe or how much they placate an angry deity.  Getting into heaven should not be as easy as just acknowledging God exists and is the master of heaven and earth, that he had a son named Jesus and yes I have sinned but I really didn’t mean it, honestly…

So I lost my faith.  I never lost the feeling that there was something out there that started it all, the world is such an amazing place I would be surprised if there wasn’t but the christian God no longer had a place in my heart or my scientific logic.  I never bargained, ever, not when I was facing any of the many obstacles I have faced did I bargain – ‘I’ll believe in you again if you make me well’, that seems a bit disingenuous to me.

For what I have always understood about the bible it seems a little fluid and open to interpretation otherwise how can one denomination find one meaning in a passage and another denomination find a completely different one?  But try telling that to someone who is completely convinced that whatever their church tells them is the law – the beauty of being human, of being able to think and reason is that we can question what we see and hear and chose for ourselves.  It all reminds me a bit of one of my favourite trashy movies – ‘Saved’ – set in a born again high school in America where the main character falls pregnant because she has a vision of Jesus telling her to do whatever she can to help her boyfriend who has realised he is gay.  Well worth a watch if you like that kind of thing, it’s highly amusing and an interesting commentary on adolescence, devoutly religious schools and the born again christian community in America.  I am not against religion, I think that the idea of it is a beautiful thing I just think it often gets misinterpreted or the message gets lost.  You can’t expect others to ‘do un to you’ if you do not ‘do un to others’ but it seems a lot of people do.  The message (from what I can see) is to help people, be charitable, be kind, be caring and if you want someone to do something nice for you then it’s more likely to happen if you’re nice to them and everyone else – not graffiti the houses of people who disagree with you blow them up, or attack them in the street verbally or physically or shun them, make fun of them and judge them.  Like I said earlier, one rule for us and another for everyone else.  Just because someone calls themselves christian doesn’t mean they act like it.  I measure all christians against my grandparents because they were what I believe christians are supposed to be like.

Time has moved on since then, several years actually, but those experiences cemented my mistrust in religion.  It’s absence has left a bit of a hole in my life and my choice phrases – I mean really, how can you say things like ‘for God’s sake’ etc if you don’t believe in a God?  I don’t know if this will be my way for ever, maybe I will find something magical along the Camino that will restore my faith, who knows (I have to get there first and it’s getting harder to every day!).  It puts me in mind of one of the stories I liked best as a child (actually it’s the only one I remember); A man was walking down the beach with God/Jesus, he looked behind him and on the sand there were footprints stretching out for his whole life.  In some places there were two sets of footprints and in some there were only one, he noted that the times there were only one set of footprints were the most difficult times in his life.  He asked God/Jesus ‘why did you leave me when I needed you the most?’  To which God/Jesus replied ‘I never left you, the times when you needed me the most, when there is only one set of footprints is when I carried you’.  Looking back over the last few years of my life they have definitely been tough, this year in particular, so you know what?  If this is what being carried is like then put me down and I’ll walk myself!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thebiblereader
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 15:17:39

    I understand, I feel like mine is receding.


    • Claire
      Jul 30, 2011 @ 10:45:17

      It’s a difficult place to be, I hope you find what you need to get through, whatever the outcome – I have found that getting away from everything and walking across Spain with all your belongings on your back is a good way of putting things in perspective and gaining some clarity and perspective!


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