On Religion: “You know what… I’ll pray for you”

DSC_0250… was what I was told as soon as she knew that I wasn’t religious. “Huh,” I thought.

It seems like a really nice and considerate statement, but then it had seems somewhat closed and short. Like the topic was over. It had bothered me.

You know what? I’ll pray for you, and that the lord will find you and lead you to a better place.

Wasn’t that statement a little passive aggressive?


Religion and I

Since little, my parents had given me a strict set of guidelines of things I can and can’t do, must and mustn’t do via religion. I was told to sit in a meditation posture and pray, without really knowing what it does.

It turns out, I was supposed to see my “master” in my inner conscience. If we pray and meditate a lot, with enough focus, we would be able to see her. I suppose it is similar to Jesus or Allah appearing in your thoughts when you ask for help.

My family’s religion, The Quan Yin Method, developed by the Supreme Ching Hai, is similar to Buddhism. Raised with this religion, I was vegetarian all my life. I meditated for most of my childhood, not knowing what I was doing. I was told to chant my “master’s” name before I slept so that I would be blessed. If I did everything right, I would see her in my inner thoughts.

Well, hard as I tried, I never saw her. 

I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like I wasn’t good enough. How come everyone else seems to be on the right path, but I couldn’t see it?

Doubts, Questions, and Insecurities

As a child I was really confused, but I was scared of asking for fear of adults scolding me. I was also scared of being slow and that everyone would know that I’m too shallow to understand the depths of my master’s teachings. 

I felt like I was just sitting there, waiting an eternity for the 30 minutes to end so I could go eat and play.

When we lived in the Philippines, Christianity was the dominant religion. I didn’t participate in Bible study, so I had a lot of time to myself while my friends hung out and talked about Christ.

I enjoyed reading stories about Christ. How God created the world. The story of Adam and Eve. The three kings and baby Jesus. Christmas was also my favorite holiday!

Then, I was also conscious of Buddhism, from books and TV shows, there were lots of fun lessons to learn. Buddhism taught me the importance to question everything. I needed to be conscious of my way of living.

If I want to throw fire at someone, my hand would be burnt first.

The more people I meet, the more my mind opened to what all was out there. I began to respect religion in so many ways.

If there is a god, then I think my feelings towards him/her right now would be much respect. I’m sure it must have taken a lot of effort to make such a large and intricate universe, down to every speck.

I see every religion has a point. A system. And if each religion says it’s right, then which is right? It’s hard to imagine that there’s only one right answer, leaving the rest of the ancient religious systems wrong.

The truth can be quite tricky a lot of times, tangled up in a ball of invisible truth yarn.

Judaism. Buddhism. Sikhism. Hinduism. Islam. Christianity.

Who’s to say which is the true one?

I used to say that there’s just too many religions, and that I didn’t believe in any particular one. I go on with my life. 

It worked while I was young, carefree, and somewhat ignorant of everything.

My Evolution

My perspective changed when I was faced with a question of – how do we raise children with regards to religion?

Today, I believe in every single one. I believe in the values they create within each person. All religion teaches the importance of values.

I admire that religion gives one such strength to get through difficult life ordeals. That it brings a family, a community together. Its ideals are to strengthen the resolve to be the best person you are. I studied a little on every major religion, and all I saw were good things.

Through travels, I have had many wonderful opportunities to meet with people around the world with their own unique religious beliefs. I love talking to people about their religion, especially those who devote their entire lives to one.

don’t believe in demeaning other people, like what happened to me today. The conversation had baffled me, making me feel as if I needed to be saved or leaving me feeling like I’m not good enough.

I think religions are great, especially if they are interpreted well and foster actions and feelings of:

  • Spirituality and mindfulness – be in the now and appreciate all else around them
  • Way of living – cause no harm to others
  • Values and Integrity – teaching honesty, work ethics, cooperation, punctuality
  • Responsibility – be a good person to a family, a community
  • Give strength – to get one through hard times

I have a lot of respect towards religion bringing people to different countries of the world to bring love and care to those who don’t have enough.

People could be in their own bubble, but they chose to spend time and money to take care of others.

So to those who says I will “go to hell” or that I needed saving and “pray that the Lord will lead you the right way,” I say- Thanks, it would be cool to see God, but if I don’t, then I will learn from the lessons he teaches through his religion. God is a part of us all, isn’t he? 


Thanks for tuning into my little segment on religion! What did you think? Have you encountered anything similar?

On a different note, here are some less controversial topics I’ve written about recently:

 

5 thoughts on “On Religion: “You know what… I’ll pray for you”

  1. Truly humbled by what you said. I believe that’s what true religion looks like, giving others dignity and being compasionate. You have amazing insight – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

    1. Thanks Janno! I can’t say whether what I’m saying is right or not, all I know is what I feel. All I have are questions, and not nearly enough answers. I really appreciate your thoughts! <3

  2. I’ve given the similar responses to persons and I really had no idea it came off as being passive agressive…
    My reasons are simply that I try not to argue religion with persons, as I think each person should seek after ‘God’ for themselves… and everyone needs their own personal experience to believe in that which we can’t see: ‘faith’. It is difficult enough to believe that some ‘invisible God’ exists which you have never seen… it is a whole other faith size that is required to live your entire life based on this belief alone that was just heard from others’ experiences… which may be why you felt as though you were doing something wrong…it was just not your own experience…
    Also I tend to resort to that response because I don’t ever want to come off as agressively forcing my views on others. While I will share my experiences, they are mine, and each individual may experience God differently.
    While I don’t know the intentions of the person you conversed with…i can understand where it would seem to come off as being a bit judgemental or as being scoffed at.

    I’ve rambled on longggggg enough lol…
    But I just hope you discover whatever/whoever God is to you. It does provide a sense of soulful peace when you’ve come to a realization that is not based on the opinions of others but your own experience.

  3. Hi! Thank you for your response, I really appreciate your thoughts. I would love to one day find my way to true spirituality. For now, all I focus on is learning and reading and asking more questions.

    When this had happened, I went online to search whether other people have encountered the same occurrence. It seems that some more religious folks are aware of this, and instead say “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” instead of “I’ll pray for you.”

    I never realized there was such etiquettes, which makes me appreciate those who thought of those more. Then again, I don’t know nearly enough.

  4. I agree with you. I think religion is important for people. I was raised as a christian but I am not one. But I’m happy that my mum has Jesus in her life. Personally, I believe in spirituality and it doesn’t have to be written on the holy books for me.

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