Faith Can Move Mountains
I should preface this by saying that I am not a religious man. Not in the conventional sense, anyhow, and, with that in mind, please bear with me for the following spiel.
I recently was working nights and found myself in Central London, standing on a street corner in the cold and speaking with a security guard with whom I’ve worked before. For the three or four hours we were standing there, conversation breached many topics as we passed the time. We spoke ironically about ‘the Youth of today,’ we talked about jobs and relationships and how to balance the two, we talked about the imminent threat of nuclear war and how stepping into the road as early as tomorrow could equally mean the death of someone, but it is our final topic that really got me thinking and has prompted this ‘naked thought’ to you, my invisible audience.
It’s a controversial subject and one that I’ve had cause to think long and hard on over the years.
At Secondary School, I was confirmed into the Church of England. For years throughout Primary and Secondary School, and finally Sixth Form College, I regularly attended compulsory chapel services as ordered by the teachers. I said the prayers, I sang the hymns, I took the sacrament, but I was always in two minds as to the legitimacy of the whole thing.
God, in the biblical sense, is not something I find easy to believe. Certain friends (and ex-lovers of mine), have taken to faiths of all sorts but being a relatively scientific kind of bloke, I struggle to see the ‘truth’ in all that miraculous stuff littered through the bible. Old or New Testament, there’s a lot that stretches the understood boundaries of present day reality. My friend in security made a very good point whilst stood on that cold corner of St Martin’s Lane at 4 in the morning; he hypothesised that the in the lawless early days of civilisation – where women were marginalised, strength prevailed over decency and you were subject to the mad whims of whatever warlord ran your kingdom, there had to be some kind of accountability to prevent chaos and the wanton destruction of others by people who did so simply because they could. He reckoned that religion was put in place by some forward-thinking radicals who saw the only way to stop violence (given as populations were miniature in comparison to today’s and often individuals would live in such remote areas that if they were set upon by marauders they wouldn’t be discovered for days or weeks or months) was to engender a higher power, whose supposed might would smite those who disobeyed some simple tenets which can be seen as basic human decency.
Obviously, it worked for a time.
There are parts of Christianity (used here as the example because I know far less about other religions) that I definitely agree with in principle. The whole ‘turn the other cheek’ thing, ‘love thy neighbour,’ ‘thou shalt not kill’ all that makes perfect sense. But then I turn around and see the other side of the coin.
It seems to me that hatred is a fundamental part of human nature. There are sections of the Bible, written probably in response to this, which preach against this consuming emotion which has been the basis of so many wars and horrors over the millennia but in the same breath I shall mention the Crusades – the wars Europeans waged for a so-called ‘Holy Land’ which caused untold death and destruction for the better part of 500 years. Even now, in our modern time when literacy has prevailed and the font of knowledge we affectionately call the ‘Net’ gives us the wisdom of a thousand years at the tips of our fingers, bigoted cunts use religion as an excuse to murder and maim almost daily – of which we, the western masses, hear of but a fraction. I’m not just talking about the big three either – Judaism, Christianity or Islam. In Africa, familial tribes have been killing each other for as long as white people, Asia too. It’s easy to forget that although Hitler broke (some) records, he wasn’t the trailblazer.
Anyhow, I’ve noticed this is getting to be pretty lengthy so I’ll see about drawing to a close:
My friend and I thought long and hard on the matter. Disbelieving in the fires and the floods, in the plagues and the miracles, but also well-aware of our own insignificance in the face of all the amazing stuff out there in the universe. Science has an answer for most that’s out there, y’know, celestial physics, entropy, all that, but they don’t have an answer to the most fundamental issue at the heart of it all: what came first. What lit the fuse to the Big Bang? What put our Universe into the hyper-dense state from which it EXPLODED into the millions upon millions of light years of space and galaxies and star strata, of which our little blue marble is but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a twinkle. My friend confessed his belief in Something Else. Some higher power, not a wizened old fella sitting in a cloud, but something unknowable which has laid the dominoes out and left them to fall. I think there’s merit in this belief, more so than organised religion at least, because it keeps you grounded. There’s no excuse for doing bad shit, no Hail Mary’s to absolve you of whatever sin you might commit, just the knowledge that we’re here for some impossible reason and during our time on this green rock which swings around our star at incredible speed, we are accountable for precisely everything that we do. There is no judgement in the next life, but if you’re going round being a twat to people, you’re going to be remembered that way.
To any KKK members out there: nothing is black and white. Put down your pitchforks and use your brains. Talk to black folks. Understand them. By understanding others, we might be able to avoid that hatred which infects us all.
But equally, if you’re enough of an asshole to support that disgusting cult, you’re probably not going to take the word of an egalitarian from half a world away.
Food for thought.
Anyway, when I first coined this idea for a blog post, it was meant to be more empowering than just a rant about religion. I got sidetracked, I apologise! So, I was going to make the point that Religion or Faith can really do incredible things – look at the Vatican City or the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona for example – stunning, incredible architectural achievements which would not have been possible without a shit-tonne of Faith. I was going to relate this to myself; the only reason I’ve started achieving, why I’ve started pushing myself and becoming increasingly successful, is because I’ve found faith in myself. Others have had faith in me before, but the support of others is not going to make one jot of difference unless you can find the strength to believe in it yourself, otherwise it is just an empty altar. Faith can move mountains, Faith in yourself can move planets. Food for thought next time you find yourself doubting that you can achieve something. After all, no-one else really knows what their doing either, so close your eyes and take a deep breath and do whatever it is anyway. If you get to prove a few people wrong along the way, well, that’s going to be even more satisfying.
Stay beautiful. Hasta luego.