Religiously

What better month than December to put up such a title?

I am not sure if this is linked to this rather religious time of the year but I recently had a few conversations about religion that made me question the concept of faith. Or perhaps it is the fact that I am living now in a country where faith is even mentionned on 1-dollar bill (in the meantime, money is also a religion over here) – or the fact we are about to enter a new decade shortly so I need to think about some deeper questions? God works in mysterious ways I was told.

Anyway, in spite of being born and bred in a Catholic country (France used to call itself the second daughter of the Church – and also accomodated Popes for over 100 years) and having received a rather mildly Christian up-bringing (with a communist Mum, it could not get any further than mildly really), I have always considered myself as a rather spiritual person without feeling the obligation to commit or obey to any sort of dogma (since I don’t really like being told what to do or believe in general – and thank God (!) I was raised in a family in which accepting each and every individual’s belief is no big deal). Having said that, I would not feel comfortable saying I have my own way of believing as this would be just arrogant. Besides, isn’t religion about forgetting about oneself and show humility and respect to who/whatever you believe in? The problem for me remain: believing, why not but who and how?

The decade that just passed has shown us how far some people were able to go to serve an ideology whether it is political or religious and these two have revealed to be far from what I expected them to be. Naively I always thought that religion was a way to elevate the soul and teach human beings to be closer to God (since it seems to be the most common name given) – by teaching us tolerance, understanding, empathy. Wrong answer. Sadly, I am not sure these are major values – not to say even values at all - for many religious people nowadays. And after over 2000 years of Christianity (I mention this one as this is the one I know the best), one would think human kind would actually reach a certain form of wisdom and somehow perfection. Wrong answer. Again.

Anyway, this year has been difficult for a lot of us, including myself and to be honest I think this is the real reason why I am questioning my faith today. 2010 had a cracking start with the Haitian earthquake that announced early on that this year was not going to be a piece of yummy cake. And yet, Haitians remain an example of true devotion, holding on to the Catholic Church and their belief in God, no matter how insane the situation may have turned out to be for them all year long… Giving again some food for thought - faith-wise. On a very personal and rather selfish note, I am somehow glad to see 2010 coming to an end as probably a lot of us. But as difficult as this year has been – it also gave me the opportunity to discover or re-discover some wonderful people that would surely deserve to get some space on the altar of my admiration for what they do/did to help me and other people around – whether close to them or not. Some of these people I am really please to call my friends have been able to show me on a daily basis that human beings can be as loving and merciful as any God will ever be and that human kindness can be endless as they offered their hearts and souls to support me and my family through this tough year.

To keep it short: I love you all my friends – religiously.