The right to believe

There’s a church near my home, so one of these days, I decided to visit it. But wait – before I continue, it’s important to contextualize the situation: I’m not catholic. Well, ok, I was. I was baptized and all, but decided in my teens to become a spiritualist. That didn’t make me averse to everything catholic, though. I love to visit churches. Every new place that I go, I make a commitment to see at least one. I find the paintings, the stained glass and the sculptures that decorate most churches to be works of art worth of admiration and respect.

But more than that, I like the way I feel when I am inside of one. I believe in energies, and that churches (of any type and religion) are full of positive ones because people pray for better outcomes when they’re inside of them. So, basically, it is a good place to be, most of the time.

So I was inside the church, seated, and took a moment to enjoy the utter silence while I watched a woman light a candle and get on her knees to pray. My eyes filled with tears, but I smiled. In a world so full of disillusionment, it is courageous to believe. She was there, in the middle of the day, spending her time in an activity that brought, if not answers, at least some comfort. I felt stronger because I had witnessed this moment.

I imagine this might seem contradictory to you. A person who claims to be a spiritualist, but goes to catholic churches? Well, first of all, it’s not like I go all the time; it’s once every few months. But, and that’s the second point, even if I did go all the time, so what?

Our own society is based in beliefs, isn’t it? Political systems, social conventions, behavioral patterns; they all are part of a big story that we rely on without having to. Just human beings have all of that, because we created it. So what’s the problem with having beliefs that intermingle with more than one religion? And even if it’s only one religion that you completely, undoubtedly believe and nothing more, so what? It’s your right to believe in whatever it is you want to believe (as long as what you do on behalf of your belief doesn’t hurt anyone or anything).

There’s this imminent prejudice against people of a certain religion, depending on where you were born, and it always makes me feel a little disappointed inside. Why should people be judged based on what they believe? It’s such a gift to be able to believe in something; it’s what gives you hope in moments of darkness. So why there has to be this biased vision that whoever belongs to a determined religion is certainly shaped in a specific way? There’s a lecture given by Yassmin Abdel-Magied at TED Talks that is inspiring in the same level as it is a knock on the head. She shows us how religion prejudices can prevent us from having the initiative to know a person who can turn out to be amazing.

If you have some time, watch the TED Talk and allow yourself to be inspired. She will surprise you, that I can guarantee (the video, if you’re too busy or lazy to search it, is at the end of this post. There are subtitles in several languages, so no excuse for not seeing it!).

I hope it makes you realize, if you haven’t yet, that every person that lives on this planet has the right to believe in whatever it is they want to believe, and that they don’t deserve to be blindly judged because of it. After all, as Yassmin proves it, religion is important, but human beings are more complex and multifaceted than that, and what you believe is only a part of who you are, not everything.

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