Notes: God and Religion

SONY DSCThere is nothing new under the sun, so I write the same issue again. 

The concept of belief and religion has always been fascinating to me. The dynamic of our daily life leads me to wonder why religion has divided and categorised us as a human being and place us into a different place.

When I was a kid, I often wondered why neighbour chose to be Islam, and my family decided to be Catholic? Why is a friend of mine Hindu? Is it true that particular religion better than others? Is it true if one convert from one religion to other religion, would commit sin?

And when I was a teenager, I asked myself what religion is? Who created religion in the first place? Do we have to have a religion? What about being an atheist? Will we go to hell if we don’t believe in God? Do heaven and hell even exist?

I had nowhere to go find those answer back at that time. I did not know what kind of book I should read to find the answer. There was no way that I could find the answer at school nor in the family. It is because I am living in a society where everyone has been tied to a specific religion since the second we were born.

But as I entered university, I started to understand that religion is just a product of social construction. Nothing less, nothing more. And I do agree with that. However, I always do believe that our existence happens because of God. I refused to understand all the scientific argument about our life because it is just too complicated to understand.

And yes, I do believe with the existence of God. God is the most straightforward answer to our life existence. Having said that, one can always believe in God without being tied to a particular religion. Yet, my faith in God is not strong. It comes and goes.

For me, religion is a set of concept about the way we live our lives and the things that we consider essential. It is a guide for us to live our life accordingly. It talks about kindness. It talks about love. It talks about injustice. It also talks about wickedness. Religion is a set of a reminder of how we should do good while we live our lives. That’s all.

In these last four years, I have been learning about Christianity. Why? It is because I want to search and find the balance between mind, body and soul.

Yet,  having myself learning about Christianity, I still do not consider myself as a Christian or Catholic or even a religious person. I still have no interest to engage in church activity. But I go to Sunday service, I carry prayer pocketbook, and I have a great interest in reading the bible to understand about Christianity and religion. And ay… I even had a considerable tattoo cross on my back.

As I completed reading the old testament and new testament,  I learnt that bible content a set of beautiful teaching on how we should treat each other as human beings, an excellent reminder on how we should live our lives as part of the community.  Bible is a book of wisdom and love.

A few days ago, someone asked me why does one have to go to church to know about the concept of being kind to others? So I answered “It is because we, human being, are arrogant to always feel knowing everything; while sometimes we forget and go astray. It is always good to have a reminder.

But some event of life showed me another side of the coin. It showed that many people tie themselves into religion because they actually feel insecure about the reality of life. They seek comfort within the bible and look for a bible verse, which comforts him or her.

I do the same. I seek for comfort words when I am facing difficulty, which I could not find it from other people. I usually ask from either book -including bible- or music.

Yet, they quote a bible verse bit by bit without having a full of understanding of it. Later, they use it to judge others and justify their own action. Why? Because they believe that God would always forgive and save us.

You see …. one might read the bible daily. One might know how to preach about it also. One might engage in some church activity. Even, there is no Sunday service that one is going to miss as much as possible. 

Yet, what’s the point of being very religious and have a strong faith in God but have no idea to implement those religious teaching? It just talks the talk? But in the end, implementing spiritual value is our own choice, we would reap what we sow. 

As I learnt, I always feel good when I do good; I still feel restless when I do wrong to others. It has nothing to do with religion.

Ride the bus

Reflection: Do Good

I read the book of James this morning. I come across to an interesting line. It was James 2:14-15, 25. It says “If someone claims to have faith but has no deeds, can such faith save them? If faith isn’t accompanied by action, is dead.  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

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Spirituality: Growing Up Prayer

With each new day that dawns I am growing up, O God. It is not too soon to start thinking of what I want to be. I think it is very hard to make right decision. But I pray that you will help and guide me, show me what to do and let me share my talents. When you show me, grant me courage to be generous enough to do what you want. Amen

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Spirituality: Prayer Against Depression

O Jesus Christ, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love and Your strength. 

Help us to have a perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power so that nothing may frighten or worry us. For living close to you, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose and Your will through all things. Amen.  ** By Saint Ignatius of Loyola

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Spirituality: Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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BJ: Shelter in Time of Storm

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom should I be afraid? When evildoer close in on me to devour my flesh, it is they, my adversaries and enemies, who stumble and fall.

Even if my army encamps against me, my heart will not succumb to fear; even if war breaks out against me, I will not have my trust shaken.

There is only one thing I ask of the Lord, just one thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life so that I may enjoy the beauty of the Lord and the gaze of his temple. 

For He will hide me in His shelter in times of trouble. He will conceal me under the cover of His tent and place me high upon a rock. I am confident that I will behold the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. Place your hope in Lord, be strong and courages in your heart, and place your hope in the Lord. Amen. (Psalm 27)

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BJ: No Other God Can Rescue Us

All the princes, governors, lieutenant governor and other official of the king gathered to look at the three men, who had not been harmed by fire. Their hair was not singed, their clothes were not burned and there was no smell of smoke on them.

The king said “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He sent this angel and resecued these men who serve and trust him. They disobeyed my orders and risked their lives rather than bow down and worship any other god, except their own God,”

And now I command that if any nation, race or language speaks disrespectfully to God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he is to be torn limb from limb, and his house is to be made a pile of ruins. There is no other God who can rescue like this.” (Daniel 3:27-29)

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BJ: Ignorance to The Warning

Jobs answered the Lord “I know Lord that You are all-powerful that you can do everything you want. You ask how I dare question your wisdom when I am so very ignorant. I talked about things that I did not understand, about marvels too great for me to know.

You told me while you spoke and try to answer your questions. In the past, I only knew what others had told me but now I have seen with you with my own eyes. So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes (Jobs 42: 1-6)

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Music: Say Yes!

 

When Jesus say Yes, nobody can say No.

When Jesus say Yes, nobody can say No.

When Jesus say Yes, nobody can say No.

When Jesus say Yes, nobody can say No.

I’m not worried ’bout a thing cause I know You are guiding me

Where You lead me, lord, I will go. I have no fear cause I know who’s in control

There’s no limit to what You can do sause it all belongs to You.

Yes, it all belongs to You. No rushing now.

You’re almighty and all powerful and it all belongs to You.

Yes, it all belongs to You

Ride the bus