Caution: if you don’t have an open mind and are ready for different points of views, you may not want to read this article and come back another time.
I am drafting this blog post sitting in an airplane on my way to Berlin and it feels funny to write about such a topic while being in the air where many people rely on faith instead of science and physics. However I simply have to write about this today as the subject of faith and God has been rumbling inside for weeks now.
I was born into a family that wasn’t particular religious. I was baptized when I was 9 months old because it is something you do. During my early childhood we hardly went to church with the exception of the notorious holidays. My mom read the Nativity story to us in the weeks of Advent and we came into contact with the Bible in school, but it was never entrenched into us to believe in God.
My dad is a firm non-believer even though his parents wanted him to become a pastor at a very young age. My mom is fairly undecided I think. She grew up with regular church attendance and had a strong faith when she was a young adult, but over time and maybe because of life, she stopped caring.
Starting to Explore the Faith and Religion on a deeper Level
So, I grew into a young girl who was fairly indifferent about God, faith and the big question of where it all comes from. But when I was about thirteen years old and it was time to think about my confirmation, which again was something you simply did, I explored my own beliefs in ways I had never done before. I started to pray in the morning and at night, I read Bible verses and stories and I had many deep conversations with my grandmother, who is a very religious person.
I was fascinated by her view of the world and I am to this day, especially about her belief in life after this earthly one. I didn’t shy away from asking the uncomfortable questions as well as the obvious ones: Why did she think that God would allow Hitler and people like him to do all these horrible things? Why was there poverty, children dying, people being raped and why did God allow my brother to do all these horrible things to me?
I don’t remember her answers, but no matter what she told me, I was not convinced. Over time, I learned about the concept of evil and the devil, which I had never honestly thought people believed in. This image and theory is something that is way too out there for me. This feels like a Hollywood movie of sorts and I could never come to terms with that explanation. I know there is evil out there, but I cannot make myself believe that it’s the devil. I simply can’t.
My continued Quest for Answers
So, I went on searching while I was talking myself into believing. During the especially trying years of having an eating disorder and being tormented by my brother, I needed this to be true. I needed to think that we were all here by chance, by accident even, for no reason whatsoever. I needed some kind of comfort and I wanted to find it in God and faith.
I want to stress here that my parents didn’t force us into believing one theory or the other. Not at all. They let us believe and think whatever it was that came natural to us and made sense to our minds. Of course, this gave me a lot of freedom, but also a lot of insecurity.
I am a scientist by heart. I see the world in technical terms, which definitely comes from my upbringing and the discussions we had at the dinner table at home. I believe in the Big Bang and in evolution and I have learned that this can go hand in hand with what Genesis, but I still want to know where it all came from. How did the universe come to happen when there was nothing, N O T H I N G, before?
With the lack of an answer, I went deeper into religion and its history and what I learned was fascinating but only made me question it even more. Learning how the bible was created, what was left out, what was changed, who made the decisions made me realize that everything happened by chance and by the hand of a few people who would later shape humanity and history.
Looking at other Religions
I also explored other religions and was confronted with the same kinds of mysteries and anything but concrete facts, all the while wanting to believe it, wanting to get answers to those burning questions and insecurities inside. I even went so far as to study theology at one of the most renowned universities in that field in Germany. I found it fascinating and soaked in everything the professors had to say.
I have always admired the peace and the inner calm that those who truly and undoubtedly believed possess. How amazing must it be to simply know that you are not alone? How reassuring must it be to know that God takes care of you and that He knows you inside out? How great a chance must death be if you know that there is a life after this?
Yet, I couldn’t make myself come to this place, no matter how hard I tried. So, throughout the years, my faith went off and on and off and on, but when I look back now, I know that I never truly believed. I wanted to, very sincerely, very deeply and when I said I prayed for others, I did. Always. Without a single exception. And it came from the heart.
The Reason of Our Existence
I think that the heart and the soul need something to hold on to and they need an explanation why we are here and what purpose all of this has. I asked my mom once about the purpose of life and she said, it’s having children in order to make sure humanity continues to exit. When you think of it that way, this is a pretty disillusioning and disheartening message, right? But on the other hand, it makes sense, at least, when you believe in evolution.
As great as it is to have children and a family, humans want more and they need more. They need a sense of belonging and maybe even a sense of security that is larger than their family, which it why it makes sense that they came up with all the different types of mythology and religion in all the cultures of the world. But this is simply not good enough a reason for me, nor does it proof anything.
Wars in the Name of God
At the same time I was always disgusted with all the wars that wear fought because of different religions, all of them in the name of God. Really, people, really? This is what you believe God wants you to do? To me, it seems that religion and the religious scripts have brought more harm to this world than good, which causes me to doubt all of this even more. Isn’t this about loving each other and loving the higher entity you believe in? Then, why do people act completely against their proclaimed faith? I know the obvious answer, but for me, this is just another far-fetched reason to kill and conquer because of humanity’s natural instinct for superiority.
The Concept of the Original Sin
Another thing that never fails to tick me off is the Bible telling us that we were all born sinners. I hate this so much and it always makes my blood boil. No, I was not born a sinner. I was born as a teeny tiny baby who had done no harm and who only wanted to be taken care of, grow up and live peacefully. I had not done anything wrong and neither have all the billions of other babies in this world. When I look at my beautiful little stepdaughter, I could scream that the Bible says she is a sinner. Not in the least. She is a 4-year old girl just trying to live. So, no matter how it is explained in the Bible, I think this statement is nothing but a phrase of oppression and it was written as means to force people to disobey. Maybe it’s my huge sense of justice and my belief in humanity, which surprisingly has not been destroyed yet, but I don’t understand it and cannot relate it to faith.
So yes, I have doubts. Many, many, many of them. I want to believe, but I can’t. Not yet or maybe never. I want all the answers, but I’ll never have them. I will continue to have an open mind both when it comes to science and when it comes to faith and I will continue to learn everything I can.
How about you, where do you stand on this super important issue?
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