The Day I Lost My Faith…

I’m sure I’d not be wrong in thinking that all of us who have turned agnostic or atheistic distinctly remember the day when we started to question our faith. I remember mine…

I was 18, and it hit me when I was in my car, on the way to college. I’m always late to leave home and prayers were kept for the way to college. This one day, I left home, just like every other day. I was saying my prayers and suddenly felt that I was doing something redundant, stopping myself to ritualistic ways of thinking. I did not pray that day and it nagged me. This led to a chain of events, exploring why I pray, why I participate in rituals, why I follow certain things and not other practices.

My mom could give me scientific reasons behind rituals and practices. She said women were expected to live in seclusion during their monthly period because they need rest for those 3-4 days. I thought, “Why not just let us rest? Why seclude us and treat us like filth depriving physical contact and freedom of movement?” There were no answers. I knew she was itching to break the barriers and live in peace, but then the rituals have exerted such a strong power over us, that it becomes unimaginable to question it.

I started to stay far away from rituals of any kind. And I never regretted that decision. It keeps my mind open, like a child, curious to observe and learn, not to become a cog in the wheel. I questioned and argued just for the sake of it, so that I don’t get pulled into doing things like a keyed-up doll. I stopped clasping my hands as a sign of quick reverence when I pass by a temple. I find that to be the biggest hypocrisy. When I see God in all small things and in unexpected places, who am I kidding when I say God lives only in temples. I believe God does not live in temples of any form since God I am sure is allergic to all the political muck in such places.

Becoming a feminist was a big step in understanding the political undercurrents of everyday happenings. Religious rituals are clearly, at least according to me, a form of oppressing women. A woman is a rag doll in the world of religious rituals wherein she is seen as impure and at the same time is the agent for transfer of traditions, customs and rituals. I don’t need these rituals which does not respect me and my body; and expects my body to suffer for others’ wellbeing!

Culture, society, and tradition are some of the most compelling factors in a person’s life and it has the potential to turn venomous. Questioning such overarching influences becomes a monumental task even if it is for your own sake and you don’t intend to change the world. I’m not asking the people around me to turn agnostic or atheistic, I’m just asking them to let me live in peace, in my terms.

Now, I am 26 years old. I am happy with how I am living my life. I don’t ridicule people who pray. I pray too. But what I pray for and how I pray has seen distinct changes over the years. And I am proud to say I am against all forms of religious rituals that makes my existence mundane.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM  Leave a Comment  

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