Faith can move mountains – A to Z Challenge

I’ve been brought up in a moderately strict Catholic household, where we say our prayers twice a day, attend mass every Sunday, and observe all major occasions in the Christian calendar – basically jump through almost every hoop in front of me.

Thanks to my brother, I developed a taste for science fiction early in life, and truth be told, it led to a lot of questions in my head. But questions are not entertained in my family. It’s best to shut up and go with the flow. I had created a perfect world around, where I put science and religion as two separate trains on two separate tracks, hurtling towards the same future, but with parallel yet different realities. I was contend with this scenario. A scholarly friend endlessly mocked me for my beliefs, traditions and the church-going compulsion, but I managed to weather that, till I stumbled upon Christopher Hitchens’ widely popular book – God is Not Great.

A renowned journalist, religious and literary critic, author and the ‘devil’s advocate’, the late Hitchens in this book presents an exhaustive case against religion, especially organised religion and questions the existence of god. He underscores that religion poisons everything, pitting man against each other, often his own neighbour, and his own blood. For him, in the present times, religion is nothing more than a mere repetition of the past. People were easier to flummox back in the hey days, as science and reason were condemned. He majorly focusses on the three major monotheisms – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. And rightly so, as their origins are quite interconnected.

“We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness.”

For him, the easiest and mildest criticism of religion would be that being man-made, even those who staunchly follow or profess it cannot agree on one account of the story. This took me back to my catechism days, when a middle-aged nun drummed into our heads about how the bible was written by various people over the years, through ‘inspiration’ from the Holy Spirit, which is why some accounts may differ from others. I didn’t question at all, but maybe I should have.

Of course, his main case is that religion kills. He relates a hypothetical question he was asked by a radio host – if he were alone in an unfamiliar city at night, and a group of strangers who come from a prayer meeting, are approaching him, would he feel safe or the opposite? I have an issue with the question, not with the answer. The question seems to address the rampant prejudice and dislike against certain sections of society. But then again, I have not been in such a situation. Hitchens replies with a simple analogy; he takes the alphabet B to prove his point. He illustrates with the example of the political and social situations in the cities of Belfast, Beirut, Bombay (now Mumbai), Belgrade and Bethlehem. Each of these cities have faced sectarian unrest, warfare, rioting and breakdown of civic machinery due to communal and religious tension at some point in time.

“Organised religion is ‘violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children” and sectarian, and that accordingly it “ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”

Reading this book during the Lenten period has been the most difficult, and I suppose necessary too. There are too many points and facts I would have liked to quote and explain and draw my parallels, but that is a colossal task, and frankly I have little patience. My understanding of god is changing, and it’s more of a personal journey. I hate pointing fingers and confrontations, and prefer a ‘live, and let live’ principle. If you ever get a chance to read the book, it would be great to have a heart-to-heart discussion, even if it’s digital.

This post is part of the seventh annual A to Z Challenge that takes place in the month of April. The theme for this month is ‘Every Day Musings’. It’s my first attempt at this. Feedback is most welcome, constructive criticism, even more. Share your experiences and let’s enjoy this month of fabulous blogging. If you want to know more about this challenge, click here.

29 thoughts on “Faith can move mountains – A to Z Challenge

  1. Samantha , what a wonderfully well written post. I read it via email and I had to come back and leave a note. I wish a lot more of us treated faith and religion as a personal journey instead of pushing it down each other’s throat and making ridiculous rules and laws about them. Its so refreshing to see that you are open to these ideas that may or may not sync well with what you’ve learnt while growing up. Don’t see a lot of us being that mature..
    I think I would enjoy reading Mr Hitchens and we can then talk about it ..
    until then lets just Live and let live shall we :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to read that book. I live by the same principle “live and let live”. I’m from Serbia so I’ve felt on my own skin what prejudice and dislike based on religion means (I’m orthodox christian yet my husband is catholic). Love your post and your point of view despite the childhood. Best regards!


  3. I am a spiritual person and do not indulge in discussions about religion. But I like the way you’ve documents the drift or rather shift in your faith in religion and how you’re slowly learning to see it in a different light. in my opinion that’s growth.

    My Era @theerailivedin
    The Era I Lived In


  4. Very interesting, thought provoking post. I’m not a fan of organised religion, however, I can see its benefits for some people e.g. providing a community that they might not otherwise have.


  5. Faith is the tool that must be utilized if you want to manifest your desires! Without faith, you will not experience success in any area of your life! Faith is absolutely critical to your life and to your success. Faith, as I’m referring to, means full-reliance or full-assurance in something. To “have faith” means to be fully-confident, fully-persuaded, or fully-convinced that something is going to occur. Faith is a belief in the unseen or the un-manifest; it’s a knowing that “something’s going to happen,” and faith allows you to rest-assured.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have questioned all my life and despite no satisfactory answers, continue to question. I have heard and read a little bit about Hitchens. He may be right (probably is to a certain extent) or not but I do feel, even more than religion (and even if religion did not exist) just the fact that you (or me) is not of the same color, race or gender, is reason enough for people to wreck havoc, death and destruction. So let’s not blame religion, it is people and their narrow petty attitude and mindsets. Forgive me if i have stepped on any toes…


    1. For me, I do not want to blame religion per se, no one wants to, but indefinitely, it is people who are using it as a tool against others and for their own means. I want to transcend to a higher level of humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

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