Pluralism isn’t something new for me. I’ve been facing it upfront since I was little. I got used to the environment where my cousins recite Quran. I got used to the environment where my friends are lighting up their prayers in front of their god and goddess. I got used to the serenity of temples and mosques. I got used to discuss things with both believers and non believers.
I’ve been exposed to the beauty of differences for what’s worth. My maternal grandparents are Catholics. My paternal grandparents are Moslems. My mom and my late dad were married as Christians by the heart and I was baptized since I was 1 year old. In the end, my late dad left, remarried, and died as a Moslem. Last time I saw him, he was at peace. To my own struggle of faith, being baptized since I was little doesn’t make it easier for me. Frankly speaking, there were times in my life where I had doubts towards what I believe in. Those were rough times but I finally get through it. I’m not saying that it’s easy now. It’s not. In fact, it’s getting more challenging as I grow older and the world is getting weirder each and every day. The difference now is that I have better ability to identify my inner voice and thoughts rather distinctively. It helps me a lot in believing as well as rationalizing myself and the world around me. It is indeed true that what we believe in depends on how this very personal gift touches ours and what has touched our lives may be different from others.
I also got used to feel the rejection by having what I believe in, by being me. I got used to the situation where people are trying to convert me all the time. I also got used to the itchy situation knowing that people want to focus more on similarities and pretend to ignore the diversity: How much people want to convert others to be the same, forcing thoughts and faith sounds so wrong to me on so many levels. What we can do by far is being open minded and open hearted, that’s all! Next, opening up a room for understanding is a must for the prerequisite to harmony in diversity. Oh well, unfortunately, it’s all harder by practice.
I have had my own journey of faith, just like everybody else. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with religion. It’s the people who choose to have it that sometimes are wrong. Faith cannot be pushed, cannot be forced, & cannot be granted. Faith is something that we choose to believe because it has direct impact on our very personal lives. It touches our lives. It inspires our lives. So when people choose to believe something that’s different than us, respect that by the heart. What affects others in their personal lives maybe different from ours, and that is okay…as long as we don’t take the wrong turn by violating others’.
What we believe in is our personal issue with God. It’s up to us choosing what to believe in. In the eyes of believers, the non believers are the flaw of the world. Yet, in the eyes of non believers, the believers are the reasons why hatred, war and animosity occur in the first place. Oh yeah, everybody wants to be hero by claiming for making the world peace in so many ways. No offense, but it’s beyond our power as a human. As a human, (talking about Nobel Prize), we can only touch people’s conscience, not changing the whole world like we push a button.
So, let’s just put more respect towards differences into this world. It’s a system; it gives us balance. Nobody in this world has the right to judge. So, just try hard not to judge. Put aside statements that argue who’s the best and what’s the best. Religion is neither a competition nor advertising. It is neither multi level marketing nor promotion. What we believe in is not a contest. Furthermore, religion is not just about heaven or hell, it’s more than that. Come on….It’s something personal…a way too personal…It is lot like love (All religion do have this principal as the silver lining, right?). It’s a lot like love where it transforms in so many shapes, representation, and ideals. Yet, the real deal of it is still kept in mystery.
Deep down inside, beneath our skin, there are 2 verbs that we share in common across religion, race, culture, etc: live and die. To my understanding, what happens when we die will depend on what we have done when we live. Will we let things go to waste by “dramatizing” the differences we have while we live?
So, when everything seems to have so many differences and so contradictive between believing and not believing. I’ll just go for one direction: “Do you believe in Love?”
Wini, Jakarta, 2010