Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Of Faith

There was a time when i was in the zenith of my spiritual frenzy - during the tenth standard boards! A good score and clearing the horrid maths exam were my top prayer requests. I was a regular at the daily mass and ardently listened to the sermons of the parish priest. There were no questions, no doubts just blind belief. But that was a long time ago.

Then college happened and literature happened and scepticism happened. Going to church became a habit out of practice. Listening to sermons and mentally dissecting it to locate flaws or dig up the power dichotomy being conveyed became a medium to survive the hour long mass. Praying, well, that continued, but not with the same firm faith. As i got introduced to philosophers whose names i could hardly pronounce, religion became a possible entity that was constructed to reign in people with the fear of divine reprimand. Every religion was a construct of its time and consequently propagated ideologies that ensured its propagation, practise and power circulation. The loss of faith was looming large and i was officially a doubting Thomas.

This is not something i am proud of. I wanted my faith back. But it was an every day struggle to start believing in my religion all over again. I believed in God, the existence of a supreme power, but whether that power was the one described by religions, i had by apprehensions.

Queries were galore :

If God knew everything why would he want us to pray?

Repetitive prayers made no sense. God should be capable of comprehending our thoughts.

Why should we be sorry for the things we love to do? Doesn't God want us to be happy?

If God is all power full why would he let Satan/Evil survive?

If the things we do are evil why would God let it tempt us in the first place? Can't he mentally programme us to hear, see, do or think no evil?

And most importantly, why would God let us suffer when he could easily choose to alleviate our pain.

Shouldn't God be broadminded enough to understand his creations and not be pricked by human blunders?

I had my own views on God. And then i read the Bible.

I have attempted reading it before but found it insufferably tedious. But this time it clicked. Maybe i read it with a receptive mind to explore God rather than just knowing what it says. This time it felt as if messages were being showered on me with the sharpness of an arrow. Each line seemed solely written for me. My doubts were getting erased and the faith i lost was coming back to me. (Excuse me, do i sound like those freaky gospel preachers?)

My hallelujah moment was during the five day retreat i attended. The first few days were a struggle against sleeping and falling off the chair. Then i started concentrating and there were instances which were infuriating. But towards the end there was a sense of calm and divine presence that i haven't felt in a really long time. When you see miracles happening, cancers and lumps disappearing, you just can't sit there denying it. And for those like me who think it could all be arranged with a little money spend on hiring people, you still can't ignore the miracles that happen to you on a personal level.

I realised it is better to leave some things unhampered with your meagre knowledge of the world and feel the power of faith. Faith can work wonders and it is better to have faith if it offers hope against utter hopelessness.