Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Spirit Says So

I’ve battled with my spirituality for a while. It’s so funny what brings you to the point of having to question something I feel is so fundamental in the construction of a human being. It shows that life is never ever an easy ride. And what I find is that those whose lives run smoother than most usually don’t have much going on spiritually. I’ll elaborate a little later.

I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home. We went to church every Sunday, always had gospel music playing, and prayed every evening. It was not uptight or strict. I was hardly ever beaten and was never exorcised for being demon-possessed or judged for sinning. I’d say for the most part my formative years were rather average – lots of love in a morally sound household.

With that being said, I don’t think I ever fully believed what I had been taught from a young age was true. But at the same time I found it difficult to question ‘the truth’. It’s like pondering whether the grass is really green or if it’s only green because you were told it was. Is God really real or is He only there because you were told He’s there? It goes deeper. If God is omnipotent, omnipresent and benevolent then why would He allow evil to occur, knowing the harm it causes, if He can prevent it effortlessly? Why is He so markedly different in the Old Testament than to the New Testament if He’s the same yesterday, today and forever?

These puzzling thoughts were difficult for me to process because they questioned almost everything I had been told about spirituality since the moment I could speak. More so, I knew in my, well, spirit, that I’d probably not turn out to be the Biblical ideal of a man. Granted, I was raised very well and I consider myself a sane man with good morals, I will raise and support my kids, give back to the community and be a generally good person, but I doubt I’ll ever be a devout church-goer and fanatic Bible-reader. I gathered that if God, who is omnipresent, knew that I wouldn’t turn out to be the person the Bible would like me to be, then He had all the power, since he’s omnipotent, to prevent me from becoming a person who does not fit the ideal. When I reached varsity and was surrounded with the plethora of opinions on God and religion, I think I gave up on the idea of God being in control of everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is very real. I believe that God is in everything. I believe that God becomes more real to someone the humbler he becomes. I believe that God is perceived differently by every single person, and that nobody is wrong for their perceptions. I also believe that the Bible, as with any other religious text, is a good source, but also not the only source from which to base your spiritual outlook and moral well-being. I believe that God knows no religion. Many people have been raised in different cultures to become upstanding and inspiring human beings. A Christian can learn from a Muslim. A Hindu can learn from a Buddhist. I think the proper term for someone who shares my views is a Deist.

I also believe the truth of God has been lost and corrupted by religion and human interference and intervention. I believe that whatever things someone might have told you about God could be as flawed as that person himself. I believe that God understands just as much as He loves. Whatever type of person you might be, God understands why you are who you are, especially since He created you. At the same time, one should always strive to be better than who they are. You should not be threatened by hell to be a good or better person.

I’ve witnessed how people’s lives are affected by terrible suffering and hardship, and it has made me wonder what kind of sadist God must be to allow them to go through such pain. As soon as I was put in an abyss myself, I found that at times the only thing I could hold on to was the idea of God being there every step of the way. The less I was, the more God was. In a way, God was the belief that things would be better and God was the strength I felt on the victorious side of trial. Because of this, I find it somewhat foolish to disregard God or His existence completely. I think it’s very easy to do so when you’ve always had everything you wanted, and life has always been easy. Like I said before, God becomes more real the humbler you become. What I will always strive for is humility in my successes, so I never lose sight of what I’ve gone through. I guess there’s some truth in this statement: ‘you’ll only know that God is all you need when God is all you have’.

Andrei Damane

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