The Second: Of Journeys of Change

Hey guys,

Welcome to the second day of NaBloPoMo on my blog. Yesterday, I wrote on depression, today I write on “A journey of change in a belief I’ve had” given by Salonie, another friend from college and a fellow blogger at Whoa!.

I’m picking my belief in religious faith. Two years ago, on Halloween I wrote on the topic of my religious faith: Born on Halloween. But a lot has changed since I was sixteen.

I’ve been studying anthropology for the past year and a half, and one of the papers is Anthropology of Religion. And I have learned so much, so much from those lectures. From learning how religion is a man-made creation for the stability and the order in the society to understanding how very commercialized it has become, to the different levels of faith the youth holds today in religion I have now gathered several perspectives with respect to religion and the way we practice it.

Living in India means you’re subjected some festival or the other being celebrated every month. From the big ones like Holi, Navratri, Easter and the forthcoming ones –  Diwali and Christmas, you are either religious or an idiot.

It’s been a while coming, but now my faith in my religion has slowly declined. There’s just a little bit left, after all, I’ve got over fifteen years of conditioning to get through. I’m not an atheist, I am simply hovering somewhere around agnostic and the I-believe-but-I-don’t-understand. Most of it stems from how people act when they are religious. Often, humanity is forgone to be religious and having seen that all around me, all the time, it has me questioning my faith. People who pray religiously, give their offerings to the religious institutions are the same people who may come home and engage in spousal abuse, the same people who might fight to deprive LGBTQ+ people their rights, the same people who might force their children to follow the path they set, with no regards for the dreams of the child / youth. Sometimes, I feel as though people selectively listen to that which they want to from their scriptures.

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Yeah, you fast on religious days but then I hear you insult the person who is eating a rather large meal – maybe they’re hungry, maybe they want to, it’s none of your business. I feel so confused when I see someone acting one way in front of someone who is high up on the religious authority level and another way with their junior.

Another thing that irks me is so many religions, including the one I some-what follow are so very patriarchal in nature. As a staunch feminist who believes in equality for both the sexes, this is something I cannot get behind. I simply don’t get the need for only male priests, only male authorities in religious institutions. And then there’s the fact, that most of the people who are entrusted with guiding the people are biased with their own thoughts and beliefs and may not make an effort to be inclusive or educated about the different aspects to people, their personality and their choices. And more often than not, all of these leaders have given the wrong information to masses that follow them blindly, adding to the misogyny / misandry / inequality in today’s world.

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As someone who values humour as a powerful tool of change in today’s world, the fact that some religious people cannot take jokes on their belief or their religion (when it’s not personal, of course) I wonder how much they tolerate vs. accept everyone else. And then when they actively try to reinstate old, out-dated ideas of social systems that should be way past their expiry date, it leaves me fuming. How lovely of them to make judgements on others as they pray to be saved on Judgement Day.

When I was younger, I blindly followed all that was taught to me during Sunday School and told to me during sermons. I never bothered going online or reading up about the things told to me, I accepted them as true. But having chosen Arts as my stream and picking Sociology as my subject back when I was fifteen was one of the best things I ever did. It taught me to look beyond what was told to me, to seek knowledge and understand on my own. So I asked questions when I was studying for the sacrament of Confirmation, but nobody ever really answered me. They shushed me. Well, it seems they shushed me right out of the religion.

I think of myself as more spiritual now than religious, I have hopefully gone from blind faith into the light of knowledge as they put it. But I still have parents, relatives and friends who would rather see me back in a church rather than not, so here’s hoping they understand that I am free to make my own choices, and unfortunately for them, the time I believed people and their messages blindly has passed.
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Have you ever dealt with a change in your belief – religious or otherwise? How did you manage? I’m still learning to deal with the changes this has created in my life.

Until tomorrow,

Nia Carnelio

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