I grew up in a household where religion was never the subject of the day/week/month or year. To come and think of it, God was a non-existent entity in our household. Nothing against God or religion for that matter. We just never had theological discussions. I sincerely don’t remember ever asking my parents about God, not that it was forbidden. We genuinely never talked about God or religion. I can see some people thinking “Well, if you never talked about God, where did you get morality from? Where did you get your values, if you have any?”

Well, respect, love, good, honesty, humility, forgiveness and all the values that people cherish and get from the bible, I believe they come naturally if you are in the right environment. On the other hand, if you grow up in a stressful, evil, violent and degrading environment, you will get a taste humanity’s ugly side unfortunately. I just got lucky let’s say.

Despite God’s absence in the household, my brother and I went through 3 of the 7 sacraments i.e. Baptism, Holy Communion and confirmation. We were kids and even at the tender age of 7, all this God and religion talk, practices and prayers sounded fishy and boring to me. Yeah, church is boring as hell (maybe not the best analogy). A few years ago, I asked my dad why we went through all that unnecessary stuff when we could tell he wasn’t religious, and his answer was priceless. He called his choice “a social and political move”. Allow me to explain: my brother and I are mixed race and we were living in Burundi, which means that we stood out in a crowd as we didn’t and still don’t look like most Burundian people. My dad figured out from the beginning that speaking the language of the country you live in and especially if half your DNA hails from that same country, is the best way to be accepted by the society. All the kids our age were going to church on Sundays, so it was the best time to meet everyone. We had to go so we didn’t feel excluded. We had to go so we could play, pray, talk to other children, learn the language, understand how they thought, who they were and hopefully, build our Burundian identity. My dad’s decision still baffles me to this day. It was a move that even the chess grand master Garry Kasparov couldn’t predict and even less think of, I bet. He knew if we didn’t speak the language or didn’t understand ourselves and others, society would cast us out or to treat us differently or see us as pariahs. If that isn’t playing chess when others are playing checkers, I don’t know what is!

My father understood the hold religion had on Burundian society. I must however point out that my sweet mother is a god-fearing Christian that goes to church every Sunday. I know we also got baptized because she wanted to, she told me so. I still remember when a Christian orthodox priest would come on Christmas and Easter in Burundi for the Greeks that lived there. It was mandatory to dress up and go with mom and dad to church because it meant the world to her. The service is even more boring and longer than the catholic one, but what is an hour and half of boredom, compared to our mother’s peace of mind and happiness? I know nothing compares to a parent’s happiness if the deed doesn’t take much to be accomplished.

So, I grew up in a Christian country, in a pious society and deeply conservative. I don’t believe in God. Well, I am not an atheist or an agnostic, I am what I call a “non-carist”, which is a new term I created. I frankly don’t care. I don’t believe knowing that God exists is going to change anything in my life. That is my belief. I grew up reading the bible, looking for answers to the million questions I had and still do. I read the Quran. I read some Buddhist texts, I looked at science and I gave up because I understood something crucial: my brain is not meant to understand any of this. The world is way too complicated. I barely understand my own damn self, my actions, my thoughts and I will understand the concept of God? I am busy writing my texts anyway and just chilling.

Let’s not forget one essential thing; THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO TANGIBLE PROOF THAT ANY GOD EXISTS. That is a fact, not an opinion. I know it hurts my Christian brothers and sisters to say that but don’t worry. My mere words shouldn’t interfere with your faith. One can always prove death, gravity, stupidity, you can also prove that some bodies on Instagram are fake, but you cannot and will never prove that God or any other deity exists and that is fine. I have accepted it even if I always knew that I could never believe some of the nonsense I hear out there: resurrections, exorcisms, sight of angels, hearing God talking to you, the Noah story, the Abraham sacrifice story, the Moses story, Jesus walking on water, Muhammad going in a cave in the desert and having his first revelation by Gabriel while he was alone, etc. By the way, to quote Dr. Gregory House, “you talk to God, you are religious. If God talks to you, you are psychotic.”

This isn’t about insulting any believers out there. Nah. That isn’t my intention. You believe whatever you want, that is your choice and prerogative. As a matter of fact, I will defend your right to believe whatever you want. I will not interfere with your belief system as I hope you will not interfere with mine, the “non-carism”. I will respect you as a human being but respecting any nonsense or hateful things that your religion might talk about, well, fuck no! I only respect one type of people: those who believe in God or any deity and BECOME BETTER PEOPLE. That is the point of all religions if you think about it, that is the point of every faith. The idea is to become more understanding, calmer, kinder, more patient, less judgmental, more open to others, loving others, caring for our fellow humans, sharpening our minds, taking care of ourselves and so on. If believing in God makes you a hateful, intolerant, arrogant and mean person, you will never have my respect and you could always try and hide behind your faith, but in the end, we will always see you for who you are.

I do understand the need to believe. I understand this peace that faith brings to certain people. It is a beautiful thing when that happens. I am not here telling you what to believe, I don’t have the time, the energy and especially not the will to tell you what to do. Deep down within yourself, you know what is wrong and righteous and what isn’t. You have your own internal moral compass, unless you are a sociopath!

That is the God conundrum for me: I don’t believe in any way shape or form in God, yet I do see how faith in a deity can affect people in their daily lives. That is a personal choice anyway. I know I don’t care about it and I will always ask questions about things I don’t understand. I will push and challenge people’s faith, I am sure I will irritate most of them and I sure as hell know that I will make fun of their faith and all the inconsistencies and lunatic things about religion and faith. You won’t like it but, I am here to annoy and push people. I do so with love, I must admit! Relax…If you think that God exists and he made us in his/her image, then God must have a sense of humor to quote the great Eddy Griffin.

There is so much more I could write about this subject, but I don’t have the time and the text would be too long. Feel free to disagree with me, feel free to write back, to challenge me and just to talk. One thing: if you try to convert me, please, don’t take it personal but it is a waste of your precious time. It won’t happen. Let’s talk about faith instead of my certain and future conversion, aight?

Just one man’s opinion…

Now, smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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