Do you go to church?

Do you go to church? I often get asked this question or a variation of it. Followed by questions like what do you believe in? Do you hate Jesus Christ? Most people can’t understand why I can survive and achieve goals that I have set for myself while I am not religious. To them, their religion is the end and be all. Such kind of thinking is odd to me because majority of those people aren’t even following their own religion. They are following a foreign religion which was imposed by their conquerers.

This post is going to address the question about my religion in detail so that next time when someone has the same question, I can always send them this link. In most cases, I answer that question with a series of question before I answer it. I start by asking questions like these -> If you were born in an Islamic country like Saudi Arabia, which religion do you think you were going to subscribe to? The answer is Islam. If you were born in Israel, which religion do you think you were going to subscribe to? The answer is Judaism. 75% of Israelists subscribes to Judaism, followed by Islam at 18%. Christianity is only 2%. I suspect it is mostly foreigners or naturalised citizens who are subscribing to Christianity.

People subscribe to religions which are dominant in places they are born and/or raised. I was born in a Christian-dominated region. In fact the hospital I was born in, when they register your birth, you have to fill in a Christian name. That means from the day I was born, Christianity was chosen for me. Chosen is not even the right word. It was imposed on my zero day old version of me. Luckily I was never forced by my mother to go to church. Good behaviour was enforced on me. I saw it as more important than showing up at church every Sunday. It was never made a condition that I need to go to church first in order to enjoy a Sunday meal like other kids.

The practice of not giving kids who don’t go to church food was so rife where I was born. Most kids had to choose between sitting in boring sermons or go hungry on Sundays. It was even normal to see kids beaten for skipping a church service. I did attended some church service. I used to enjoy the music part and hated every minute of preaching. Once the music stops, I used to go home and study. I didn’t see a point of listening to stories of talking animals and people walking on water. I was born a logical thinker. Anything that doesn’t make logical sense, I reject it until it is scientifically proven to be possible.

So if I am not religious, what do I believe in? I believe in myself. I believe in my talents and abilities. What I am capable of doing and what I am not capable of doing is decided inside me. It is not decided outside. If I want to pass a subject with a distinction, I simply study hard. If I want to improve my endurance, I simply spend more time training. If I want more money, I work hard for it. I don’t pray or beg for it. What I hate is when someone credit their god or religious figure for my successes.

Most people don’t understand why I can avoid religion but still love the teachings of some religious figures like Jesus Christ and Bhudda. Not sure why I am expected to reject everything that came out of a mouth of a religious figure. I am not that stupid to reject wisdom because it is coming from someone that I don’t follow. I take what is applicable to me and reject what is not applicable to me. Do you really expect me to hate Jesus’ teachings about love? Do you really expect me to reject teachings of Buddha about positive thinking , even though I can see the benefits of positive thinking? Again, I am not that stupid. I take what is applicable to me and use it. I doubt those wise Teachers cared if you followed them or not. All they cared about is that you listen to the message and use it in your own life.

While most people see not being religious as a disadvantage, I see it as an advantage. I don’t have to be exposed to the teachings of one wise man. I don’t have to read one book and reject others. I don’t have to listen to a person who failed to interpret junior primary school poems interpreting the book of Proverbs for me. I hate limiting myself. In such a way that when I was learning to program, I used to borrow 3-4 books about programming just to understand difficult to understand concepts.

What I had discovered from reading different books on a subject, is that certain books were good at teaching concept A, but bad at concept B. Vice versa. I don’t treat any book as an end and be all. I treat every book as a tool. A screwdriver is good at screwing and unscrewing, but bad at hammering. Hammer is also good at hammering stuff, but very bad at driving screws. All religions have their flaws. I ignore those flaws and focus on their good part. In short, I can say that my religion is taking what is applicable to me from different people, combine that wisdom with what I already have and enjoy this life while it still lasts. I hope I have answered the question in detail.

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