I was pondering over whether I should pen my thoughts down because there are so many thoughts I have regarding the issue of faith, and I don’t know where I should begin… But I thought it would be good to have something to reflect on in the future.
Over the weekend, I attended church service with a serious attitude with respect to faith. Even though I would describe myself to be an agnostic, going to church isn’t something that’s entirely new to me but it isn’t something that I knew a whole lot about either. Up till now, I have no idea what are the differences between the various divisions, and I would say I’ve been to Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical churches and recently, a Methodist one. Back when I was 15, I have also attended Sunday School briefly. For those who do know me, I know, it’s shocking right?
One of the reasons why I was hesitant about writing this post is because I was afraid that people are going to call out on me for being hypocritical. Why so? I do crack jokes on faith and religion (sometimes offensive – I would bury my head underground for my immaturity sometimes) from time to time. I have told some of my non-believer friends on how I really don’t believe in a higher being or heaven and how I would never date a Christian. But a couple of months back, while talking to my best friend that I was putting in some serious thought about religion, she told me that I shouldn’t have to be afraid as I have valid reasons for having such thoughts.
For the longest time, I’ve had my reservations when it comes to faith.
Firstly, I’m a believer that I’m in control of my own destiny. I believe that my actions largely dictate where I am in life today, and the thought of my life being planned out by a supreme being sounds like God playing a game of Sims to me.
Secondly, I can’t seem to grasp the concept of an afterlife.
“I wish I can meet my wife in the hereafter, but I don’t think I will. I just cease to exist just as she has ceased to exist – otherwise the other world would be overpopulated.”
Lee Kuan Yew, 2013
I have the same thoughts as the late Mr Lee, when it comes to death and the afterlife. A few years ago, a good friend of mine once asked me, “When you die, don’t you want to have a heaven to look forward to?”
I simply replied, “I believe that after death, it will just be a state of blankness. There is no heaven or hell.”
I have listened to reasons why people believe in God, and some are along the lines of “I don’t know if there is a heaven or hell, but I’ll just believe, so that I’ll be able to go to heaven, should there be one.” Erm, honestly not quite convincing in my opinion, so I’ve just stuck to mine.
Thirdly, even though I’m not the most rational person, the scientific and rational part of me tells me “you need to see it to believe it”.
Then there comes the question, “You can’t see air, but you know it’s there right? You breathe it in and you living is proof that it exists.” And…. I can’t refute that, except that I know it does not have a definite shape nor volume and can be compressed.
Lastly, the first time I attended a church service in Singapore, it was an extremely uncomfortable experience. It was a church that many people from my school went to and still go to today.
Disclaimer: I must say that those people who invited me there are all really nice people and I appreciate their good intentions, but I simply felt weird, out of place and I did not enjoy myself back then.
It was perhaps too, happening, for my liking. And it did not help that for the weeks to come, I personally had the feeling that many of them joined church simply because they enjoyed being with their friends, rather than having that belief to serve God. But who am I to judge them because they were after all, teenagers then, and I certainly don’t doubt that their faith is genuine today.
So here comes the twist. With every story, there’s a ‘but’. Why the change in my mindset, I’m not going to say publicly (though certain people would know the reason), but I am slowly trying to open my mind and heart to something that I can’t see, but can possibly feel.
I look at the intellectual people around me who believe in God, and I wonder why? I want to approach them and talk to them about faith, but I don’t know where to begin.
Many years ago, my GP tuition teacher once said, someone asked her, “How do you know that God exists? Can you see him?” And she replied, “I just know he exists.”
While I’m typing this all I can think of is the song The Voyage of Beliefs by FM Static (which is an awesome song by the way) – “And she says she talks to God, but I don’t know if I believe her.”
During the session on Sunday, a couple of people were coming forward to share their testimonies on works of miracle by God.. And it was certainly an eye-opening experience.
Honestly, what defines a miracle? Some of the testimonies I heard sounded like cases of coincidences – they seemed like there still were possible rational explanations that could have lead to what they experienced. To me, if it’s beyond any sort of explanation or logical understanding, that is a miracle.
And… I have personally experienced a miracle before and I’ve probably only told a couple of people about it. For many years, I’ve brushed it off as nothing. But I have considered the possibility that it could have been a miracle, as I couldn’t explain my actions nor what happened at that point of time.
In 2006, it was my first year in Dunman High. I still clearly remember that day… I was going to cross the road and wait for 158 at the bus stop opposite (loop service), instead of the one just outside the school campus. The green man was flashing, the cars on the opposite side of the road were stationary and waiting for the red light to turn green. So I crossed the road, and for no rhyme or reason, before I even managed to cross halfway, I came to a stop. I remember how I turned to look right and a car came to a halt, just inches away right in front of me. One more step forward and I would have gotten into an accident. The lady driver and her passenger seemed flustered, as if they didn’t notice the red light. I just looked at them, walked to the front and past the car and continued crossing as if nothing happened.
By the time I reached the opposite side of the road, I realised what had just happened.
Up till today, I’ve tried to come up with explanations for what happened 9 years ago. I thought that it could have been my mistake, I even thought that perhaps it was like those TV drama where I had a spirit following me around, which stopped me from making that one extra step.
I don’t know. I try not to think and talk about it because I feel as if the more you think and talk about things, the more the memory changes.
So yes, perhaps it wasn’t my time to go yet, so I was saved in some sense.
I think the reason why I’m feeling so confused on the inside is because I’ve been brought up as a free-thinker my whole life. I’m not taught to believe that there is a higher being. The only time I pray, is when I pay respects to my paternal grandparents, and even so, I don’t know if they ever listen to my prayers.
All I can say is that my journey on the search of faith is not going to be easy… But I hope it’s worth it.