26 January 2014

Love, Religion and other such things

A new year, a new post and a new future. That's what we all hoped when we brought in the New Year, with our loved ones or maybe for some of us, with our not so loved ones. It doesn't take long for the disillusion to sink in and for you to realize that, really it's just another over hyped day.

Why so sour, you say? Maybe because I've been questioned. My religious faith has been questioned, and more importantly by myself. For those of you who know me, and for those who don't, the simple answer I've ever given anyone who's asked me for my beliefs is that I respect all religions and I belong to none. If I had to belong in one (some forms require that you put something in there), I'd be a Buddhist.

And in time I've come to believe that that's the best religion for me. A form of Baha'i mixed with an agnostic atheist. So imagine the surprise, when I get told that I may, for love have to convert into another religion. And suddenly, I found myself in a defensive little corner.

To calm myself, I told myself that it's the institution not the religion that asked me to do this. That the reason I was being told to do this, was a  practical one and had nothing to do with my partner being a religious zealot. That what I had to do or say, was just for one day and it could be done quietly, without the knowledge of anyone.

Inside me, my conscience rebelled and told me that doing so, would mean that I abandon my own personal beliefs. That I would be a traitor to myself. And I know that above and beyond everything I have ever thought, I've believed to truly respect any one religion, you should belong to none. Or belong to one, that didn't care about being the best religion in the world, like Budhism or Baha'i. And I know conversion would mean that I would've found a new religion to hate.

The kind of hate that makes you grate your teeth. The kind of hate that would make you look at your partner, and feel betrayed. The kind of hate that makes you look at yourself, and feel like you let yourself down.

This is new for me, and surprising too. I've always been for religious freedom, but I don't think I've realized how much this freedom meant to me, till I've had to question my faith. This New Year, I've learnt something about myself and the nature of freedom. I've learnt that freedom still means your chained to a belief system, that for me, my beliefs are more precious to me, than love could ever be.