Although I was brought up in a church-going family, I always struggled to understand or have any feeling for religion, or for the deity my parents felt so strongly about. I would attend church with them and look a round at the parishioners in their Sunday best, hushing their small children who squirmed in restless boredom, at the long drawn out sermon, and speeches designed to make us both love and fear The Almighty, in equal amounts.
But I always felt like a small insignificant figure in a crowd who just didn’t fit in. I didn’t feel the love or the fear I was supposed to feel. Then I would worry that god would punish me for not feeling what I was meant to feel, but I just couldn’t make it happen. At the time I thought maybe it would come with maturity, that all this indoctrination would later make sense, and I would feel that light bulb moment, when all my Sundays of sitting on uncomfortable pews would suddenly pay off and I would be enlightened and embraced by The Almighty.
Well, that never happened, at least not in the way I thought it would.
The Power of Kindness
I have grown up and brought up my own family as an atheist, or at least someone who never really gave spirituality any thought at all.
I had however, even as a child, always believed in trying to be a good person. I believed that if you were kind to others and respected people, they would be kind and respectful to you. Except it didn’t always seem to work that way, and people would hurt me or let me down, often making me lose faith in human nature. But still I maintained that this was the right thing to do, and brought my children up to think and behave in this way.
Then .. I did receive my light bulb moment! I do have a god! But it isn’t a being, or a deity, or The Almighty. For me, “god” is simply the power of good. The more people in the world who are good and kind, the stronger that power becomes, and the stronger it becomes, the more good things will happen.
I also have faith; faith that everyone has elements of good within them, even if they need to be encouraged and consciously nurtured to help that good energy grow. In this way we as a people, as a world, can overcome the “devil” or the power of “evil”. (Ever noticed how god and good and devil and evil are only one letter different?)
There will always be evil, as we perceive it, as life exists on a balance of opposing forces. But I believe that it is our duty as people who are pre-dominantly good, to work actively and consciously every day, towards enriching and strengthening that goodness, helping its collective power to gather momentum and diminishing its opposing force.
Encourage that small spark of good, until it becomes a flame, burning bright.
My ‘religion’ is simple; with kindness I believe we can make this world a better place. But it will take each and everyone of us to bring out the good in others, enriching that force. In this way we can build a kinder society, one day at a time, one person at a time, taking back the world we love.
If You Give a Little Love…