Are all humans born believers? Most of our thoughts, reflections and beliefs in our initial years are influenced by the family in which we are born. Whether it is accidental or intentional (ordained above) we do not know. But this much is certainly a fact that we are taught to believe or not depending upon what our immediate families tell us. It could be right or wrong, ethical or in ethical but for our circumstance and condition it seems the only thing to do. As we grow older we either continue believing in it all due to habit or compulsion. Much later in life (maybe, earlier for the fortunate some) we realize what we truly believe in from our hearts, mind and souls.

I for example, grew up in a Hindu family which like any other ordinary Hindu family offered prayers to the various forms of Hindu gods and goddesses in temples and at home. It all seemed to come naturally surrounded as I was by the rituals and the weekly visits to the temple.  Studying in a convent, I was exposed to a new faith, Christianity and every day, just as I prayed to the Hindu form of God at home, I prayed to Lord Jesus and Mother Mary and sung hymns in school. It all did not seem out of the ordinary. In fact, Lord Jesus became part of my life just as say Lord Ganesha or Lord Krishna. Never was I faced with a conflict about which faith to follow. My parents were broadminded enough to let me go to church or the chapel whenever I wanted to.

Over the years, from being a one track Hindu by birth, I grew up to be a more tolerant, flexible and a liberal peace loving person. Having friends who belonged to different religions only helped the entire process of tolerance and belief that the Power Above is One, the routes to Him/Her varied. But, eventually, all led to the same God.

But yes, situations in later part of one’s life like trauma, sorrow, despair, cynicism can change one’s route of faith and belief. One can change from believer to non believer, God-acknowledging to atheist. That is of course, a personal decision that one takes. Scientology has gained momentum now-a-days. Many celebrities like Tom Cruise believe in leading lives and moulding the lives of their families based on these beliefs. How beneficial it will prove to be, we do not know. But then, so many believers have raped, ripped and forcibly converted others just as so many atheists have attempted to destroy the essence of genuine and divine belief.

I can speak only for myself and I feel fortunate to have been born in a believing family and continue believing so. What about You?

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37 responses »

  1. deepika says:

    What a beautiful write up!
    More or less every body in this world is a believer; the one who says he/she doesn’t believe actually belives in the theory of non existance.

  2. knot2share says:

    I am neither a believer nor a non-believer. I grew up in a family that has very strong faith in the Supreme power. I think there is certainly something or someone out there who draws the strings. If the faith keeps one’s mind at peace then why not. I too agree that nobody should be forced to become anything. I never question why my mum does a particular pooja. If she wants me to do something, I will do it. It makes her feel good that her daughter is following her suggestion and that is my primary goal. My belief or non-belief does not really matter. But my family’s belief I would like to respect.

    As kids we need guidance and that comes from our elders. Once we grow up, we can decide for ourselves what to believe and what not to. It must be a personal choice. I am married into a family of non-believers and what I don’t like is when they ridicule another family member’s faith and call it blind faith or superstition or absurdity. As much freedom one has not to believe in anything, that much freedom others have to believe in the Power. Neither party has the right to talk ill about the other.

  3. Sonal says:

    When something good happens as per expectation/s or after a lot of anxiety, we say THANK GOD;
    When things do not fall in desired frame, we say WHY GOD?

    Ultimately, God or no God, there is a supreme power that governs us all and as it is rightly said- faith can move mountains.

    I am of a firm belief that God/supreme power helps those who help themselves and that if my conscience is clear, everything will be fine in due course of time.

    I am not a staunch believer but yes, a “FAITH-IST” and tolerant towards all religions for sure. Being critical is not wrong too. It shows that our questioning spirit is still alive and kicking. Yes, being fanatic about religion is bad.

    • I agree Sonal. The Power Above is truly there. I like your Faith-ist bit! 🙂

      Yes, the questioning attitude must be there but some queries are best left unanswered. That’s the mystery of the miracle called creation!

  4. Varalekshmy says:

    Sorry, I seem to have posted my reply inbetween .

  5. Sneha says:

    Thank you, Shail… Will come up with something and mail you.

  6. Indrani Talukdar says:

    I believe in karma, that destiniy is of our own making. But I also believe in the existence of a supreme being; his ways are strange no doubt, but I do believe that nothing ever occurs at random. The fact of us all being together on the same platform is proof of that, isn’t it? 🙂

    • You bet Indra! I too believe in the law of karma and understand that there will be certain queries of mine that will never get answered. But I still believe and it helps me!

      It is another fact that I have been wanting us to get together from the time 4iw wound up and finally got around connecting and re-connecting with a busy yet wonderful set of friends!

  7. Yes Sneha, you are welcome to contribute. After all, you have been part of the family although new writers will be able to write later too.
    You don’t need an invitation by the way, do you?

    And yes, I am glad for all the positive things in your life. May it always be so.

  8. vimala madon says:

    Being the product of a multi-religion, multi cultural background as I am is the best form of secularism and broadness of mind. It is sad that today children also ask each other which religion they belong to; as a child I never knew my friends religion until I attended a Christmas or Diwali get- together at their home. But such celebrations wouldn’t have told any one anything about my family since we celebrated both.

    • You bet! Yours is the best example of harmony and commotion all wrapped in one. Of course, if you have managed to believe in one thing throughout, it is a miracle. But, you are indeed fortunate to have been exposed to so many cultures and beliefs. All this makes you more flexible, patient and tolerant. Doesn’t it Vimala?

  9. sreelata menon says:

    yes as I asked earlier what makes us do things (not only in

    religion )despite all odds?

    Faith,Trust,Belief, childhood conditioning,influences not blind-

    but give it any name,its just another word for ‘exposure’.

    How you choose to use it is what makes you as a person I

    guess.

    • Hi Sreelata,

      I agree. Faith is an end result of exposure to all things that take place in the world. But the ultimate belief that you have is what you make of this exposure. We can be exposed to a lot of things but can take it either constructively or critically. I basically believe that true faith only helps believe in all things positive and healthy. Don’t you think so Sreelata?

    • Varalekshmy says:

      Hi Shail,
      I was a staunch believer for many years. Then the bitterest experiences in my life made me a nuetral person-I believe there is a power above but it is not going to set things right for me however much I pray or cry. I have to bear all those hardships which are in my share, just like good things. So I stopped bothering him with prayers to set things right in my life and lessen my miseries. That thought has made me strong and I take whatever life gives me.

      • Hi Varloo,

        Circumstances and situations can do a lot to a person, it can even make one an atheist. I am happy that you still believe. I understand from your lines that the law of karma is what you mean when you say, “which are in my share.”
        Yes, certain things are there in our share, we have to bear with them whether we like it or not, sometimes, prayer cannot help in that department. But prayer (to me atleast) comes as a welcome respite. It’s like I have put in my application for relief to the Power Above, if He/She thinks I deserve respite I will get it. If not then that’s how it is… Carry on with courage.

  10. Sucharita Dutta-Asane says:

    Faith is not religion-dependent. That is why the truly faithful find strength thorugh all vissicitudes of life. It is the weak-faith ones who need to prove their strength. What do you think? Belief in a superior power also works as a bulwark against all odds Shail. Your post raises a very relevant issue.

    • Thanks dear Suchi. As I mentioned in my reply to Irene, faith indeed helps in all times, against all odds as you said. And yes, I agree, that’s why people suffering terribly are still able to survive and even smile because of their faith in the Power Above!

  11. Irene says:

    I am probably a believer, but a questioner too, and my daughter says there cannot be God because there is so much misery and wrong in the world. I think she is also confused, like me.

    • Hi Irene. Nice that you are a believer. Questioning beliefs is not disbelieving.
      For a child, unless we can give either moralistic or logical answers it is difficult to satisfy them. So, unless you believe in the law of karma and effect, I suppose both mother and daughter will stay confused!
      Still, I hope that your daughter believes since belief is a real help in all times. Just my point of view Irene.

  12. Ashwathy says:

    Religion is definitely conditioning….
    Kids who are brought up with sensible conditioning to be secular learn to respect all beliefs.

    It is however one’s experience and belief when ppl change religion according to what they prefer.

    It is narrow-mindedness when one refuses to accept any belief except one’s own – and this applies to everything including religion.

    • Very true Ashwathy. It is this unwillingness to accept someone else’s viewpoint of belief that is really irritating.

      Unfortunately, there are lots of people like these in our society and we have to bear with them!

  13. Sneha says:

    I was an atheist, Shail and now a believer.
    However, sadly, I feel not many people are accepting towards this belief. Anyway, nice to see your thoughts on this issue.

    • Hi Sneha,

      Good to see you again. If you had said you were an atheist now with your current personal status I would have been surprised because positive personal relationships make you believe in all the good things in life.

      By the way, why don’t you start writing for WriteSpace?
      ie, no compulsion, at your pace.

      Shail

      • Sneha says:

        Hello Shail,
        I’m happy to get the invitation for writing for WriteSpace4iw by you…Will surely send my articles to you via e mail.
        And yes, relationships make one feel positive about life and ‘believing’. Actually, I always maintain that after all the bitterness, ‘his’ (you know whose) presence in my life has made all the difference.

  14. prerna says:

    Hey Shail…As usual a beautiful piece of work…I agree that faith is a very personal matter…what one chooses is ones own choice (may be influenced by many factors). No one should impose their choice on others.

    • Hi Prerna,

      So good to see you here. Faith is a personal matter indeed. This imposing upon others is something that is really unbearable. Unfortunately, it happens all the time, be it in matters of religion or views.
      Hope to see more of you here Prerna.

      Shail

  15. Shernaz says:

    Yes, Shail, to believe from personal choice is one thing and to adhere rigidly to the beliefs you were conditioned into from childhood, because that is the ‘right thing’ to do is another. And I’ve tried… you cannot make some people think beyond that straight line that ends at the tip of their nose…Anyway, as we all agree it is entirely a personal matter

    • Yes Shernaz, we all must learn to be tolerant of other’s beliefs whatever they may be.

      Questioning one’s own belief is fine. It could be a moment of introspection and reflection. But, questioning somebody else belief’s is definitely not okay. Don’t you thinks so?

  16. Beyniaz says:

    Believing or not believing is a personal choice as one grows up.Good topic, Shail.

    • Hi Beyni,

      True, believing or not believing is a personal choice. Unfortunately, not all are able to change their if they want to later when there is an inner calling or they begin to believe in something else. Don’t you think so?

  17. vimala ramu says:

    correction- ‘broad’ should read ‘broad minded’.

  18. vimala ramu says:

    I agree with you totally Shail. Believing or otherwise is totally one’s personal thing. A family, a community or a country even should be broad enough to let it be so.

    • Dear Vimala,

      Thanks. Yes, we should be more liberal in our views. Many are. But unfortunately, we have many who are staunch believers that only what they believe in is the right thing. Therein lies the problem.

      Shail

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