RANDOM TOTS (Random Thoughts) are essays that tackle topics that range from the tiniest known particle to the vast human mind.
– an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
I lived in Cagayan De Oro, Northern Mindanao for 6 years. The place was (and still is) completely diverse. I personally would say that the city was “colorful”, in terms of culture – such as the presence of different religions.
Catholicism is still very much dominant looking at it now as an adult but back then, whether or not it was dominant, it did not matter to me.
I had friends who were Muslims, Born Again’s, Jehova’s Witnesses, and even Hindi (we had Indian neighbors). In other terms, religion was not something I see as one of the necessary criteria to make friends and play Takyan or Jacks and Stones (Yep, I played games with my sisters or Mum would scold the sh*t out of me)
And by that, I can say I knew religion and its diverse presence on this planet but none of which mattered.
There was a time, however, where I questioned the existence of a higher being other than our arrogant species.
As an overview, it was really about why God would allow so many different religions to exist when he can have people in just one unified religion.
Then it came to me like a gentle breeze on the back – literally.
I needed to get lost in order to be found and so far, the experience made me realize a lot about my faith and religion per se.
FAITH BINDS PEOPLE TOGETHER, NOT RELIGION
As history would tell, human society is formed through a consensus. The first herders believed in animal spirits; the first farmers believed that the Earth itself is God; the first human structure is created in honor of a deity.
Through this common ground of belief or tradition or superstition, they gather and live together in harmony. Even though history would also tell how it separates people and destroy each other, hence the great Crusade.
But the point is that people flock together in agreement to an idea that best fits the group and an individual, and live by its rules.
RELIGION GUIDES OUR FAITH
We can blindly be following our faith so our religion guides us.
If, say, we believe that killing Muslims for the glory of God is righteous towards our faith, then we can say we stay true to our faith despite it being immoral.
There are over thousands of distinct religions in the world and what they do is guide its members towards a goal as Heaven to Christianity is to Nirvana in Buddhism – both telling us to do good towards other people and to one’s self.
Through religion, morality and righteous values are taught which are requisites to reach the ultimate goal.
But sometimes, extremists take it to the next level which causes disastrous outputs, arguing that what is moral is what is necessary to reach the goal even if it means killing others.
Like other organized bodies, religion has its leaders to argue, discuss, and put these into means for its constituents to follow and execute. This, in turn, presents ways to achieve their ultimate goal.
FAITH IS A RELATIONAL ABSTRACTION
It was quite a long time when I doubted His existence and during those times I had a better view of what it means to have faith.
Faith is abstract. It is not measurable or has a definite meaning. Like abstract art, the artist might have created his masterpiece to replicate his emotions of sadness but to the spectators, it reveals something else.
And like that of an abstract painting, my faith is my own painting.
My painting and I share a common thought and by that I have built a relationship towards that.
I believe in a Creator. I believe that He is able to make something out of nothing. My faith is built on this and so I do things that fortify it.
I believe that when He created the universe, he purposely made it by designing small building blocks that perpetually interacts from its conception till its decomposition.
When these interact, they form another set of building blocks that create bigger things like stars and galaxies and even intelligent life forms such as the human species.
A perfect design.
In deep appreciation of His design, I have made myself open to learning about it with arms wide open. So when science, philosophy, religion, and anything else we have developed as a species present new things and new information which is essential knowledge, it is part of his perfect design because where else did it come from anyway?
Hence, I branded myself as a nerd. A nerd who loves everything He has created and will create.
So my personal relationship with God is through his design – perfect and well-planned – and appreciating it and learning about it is what keeps me closer to him.
When people tell you your faith is wrong, shake it off and focus on your relationship with the faith you have. As long as you are not hurting anyone or hurting yourself, it doesn’t matter what they say because what matters is you and your relationship with Him.