It’s been years now since I could be considered a practicing Christian. So you can imagine my surprise when I was asked to contribute to zuntier.com. Admittedly, I had never heard of the website but I was impressed by both its presentation and the idea of dialogue it promotes. Having an insider and an outsider’s point of view of the Church, I accepted the invitation without hesitation. Hopefully, I will be able to offer an interesting perspective to the readers of zuntier.com.
Nowadays I rarely have the opportunity to talk about issues of faith in a public setting. But this has not always been so; I have spent all my youth teaching and preaching religion in the setting of the Muzew. The story of how from a profound believer, I ended up leaving religion, is besides the scope of this article. However, thankfully, the transition has been a smooth non-rebellious one.
Many people, including my parents, think that I have changed a lot. Ironically, though, I think I have not changed much – the same enthusiasm and yearning which immersed me body and soul (literally!) into Muzew and religion, has been the same force which brought me out of it. Maybe this is somewhat comparable to what happened to St Paul when he became a fervent Christian from being a zealous Jew – the intensity did not change; only its manifestation.
Yet, although I left religion, I do not think I lost the positive aspects of religion; I presume I still have healthy relationships, a healthy morality, and a healthy attitude towards life. I might say that the main difference is that I no longer have to cope with (what were for me) the burdens of struggling with the constant doubts of faith, sermons I found disturbing, a morality I found rigid, the interpretation of the Bible, rituals, etc.
Then comes the big question of whether or not I still believe in God. If we are talking about a personal God, then the answer is a plain no. Mind you, I wish I believed in such a God; it is really comforting to know there is a God watching over you! Recently, I was talking to someone from Youth Fellowship and when pressed on, he admitted that he was not really convinced, but that he held onto his faith because it gives him stability and strength in difficult times. And sure it does! Unfortunately, I do not accept these luxuries if I am not able to buy the underlying truths.
Whether or not I believe in a non-personal God is a much more complex question because it is impossible to define ‘God’ without robbing its meaning of its godliness! What I know for certain is that I try hard not to have any god in my life; to live with the questions; to live with the emptiness; to live with the silence. I think there is a lot of truth in the words of Meister Eckhart, “Nothing is so like God as silence.” So after all maybe I do believe in God…