I’m not terrifically religious.
OK scratch that, I’m really not religious at all and I’m not sure I ever was. I certainly don’t come from a religious family; there are some members who have their beliefs, but we are very much a live and let live group of people.
As I get older, I struggle increasingly with the whole idea. I stop myself from delving too far into analysing why that is because something in my psyche recognises that it’s a subject I could quite easily drown in.
I respect faith in others. That authentic style of faith that isn’t judgemental, the kind that gives people an inner strength and helps them overcome life’s many hurdles. Yes I respect, and envy that a bit. But I just don’t have one scrap of it. These days when I go to church (and it’s not often that I do…I think Christingle was the last time and that was obviously for the jelly babies kids) I feel almost fraudulent, like I shouldn’t be there, as if when I mouth the hymns something about the way I don’t sing them screams “She is sooooo not a believer”.
But here’s ‘the thing’, I do believe in something. I believe in People. I believe in Karma and I’d like to spend a lot more time looking into the whole idea of collective consciousness. I quite like the thought that we will one day evolve from our human form obsessed with looks and possessions into an altogether more virtual ‘being’….like Twitter without keyboards and with infinite API.
I have a basic faith in the goodness of human nature, and yes, I am terribly idealistic. This is despite being horribly cynical at times, far too sensitive for my own good, and winning Miss Analytical 2000-2010 unopposed.
What I do like about the idea of religion is the sense of community it brings. What I don’t like (and I know I’m being polar, but I’m trying to move on) is when these communities rise up against one another.
I don’t think that being apathetic to religion is an excuse for general apathy. I actually think it means you need to try a bit harder, to work at forming a non-denominational community with no parameters, which finally brings me onto my point….
I watched a slush-puppy of a film some years ago. A film that has stayed with me ever since. It introduced a new phrase into my vocabulary and modelled a template for living that I thought had real potential. Yes, it’s ‘only’ a film but ideas like this, whist idealistic and utopian in their vision, are where good things start.
The film was Pay it Forward. It was based on a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, here’s a website all about it.
The idea was simple. You help me and I Pay It Forward by helping three other people. Then they each help three others….and so on….simples.
Why not? You tell me that….
Here’s a clip with a very cute child actor explaining the theory in more detail. Watch the film, with Minstrels and tissues, and I defy you a) not to cry and b) not to come away feeling hopeful for what we ‘could’ achieve together.
I don’t think it has to be ‘big’ things by the way. It can be small, simple things. The minutiae that makes a difference to someone but no one else would ever notice. Just taking the time to stop and think, enquire, listen, reach out….you get the idea.