Disclaimer: This post does not intend to support or devalue any religion.
“Are you getting ready for the church?”, Kate asked me. “Yeah…I will join you in a couple of minutes.”, I replied. Since I had come to the Netherlands, I have not been to any temple. I thought why not explore a church. I had visited the churches as a tourist in Krakow, Goa and somewhere in South India before. But, never really went there to sit and pray. This time, I decided to know how they pray there.
On a chilly Autumn Sunday morning, we stepped out of the building and walked on the road with the Reddish-Yellow trees surrounding us. On the church door, a friendly man shaked hands and welcomed us. The atmosphere inside was warm and lit with the soft glow of candles. There was a small statue of Jesus adorned with fresh flowers of different colors. Their smell filled the room. The prayer began with a pianist, guitarist to give the background music. All the devotees stood up, some clapped their hands while some tapped their feet mingling with the rhythm. Meanwhile I was busy deciphering the meaning behind the lines of the prayer and observing around. The prayer ended and people narrated their testimonies. One of which I could relate to was the realization of a man – he told how we take things for granted and how we should be grateful for them. Then there was discussion on a parable. The part I liked the most was ‘prayer’ where people from the crowd stood up and told their worries. Someone’s mom was ill and bedridden, someone asked for prayer to offer wisdom to politicians in his country and all the attendees prayed for them. All in all, the air was positive and grounding. I liked the ‘reflection’ part too where I felt how much my life was and is full of technical and nerdy stuff about how to make a good power amplifier to save the battery of upcoming generation of mobile phones. I felt I need to look at the world in more humane way and connect to the people – not to search for an opportunity through them but just because they are people and they have their story.
All the way walking back to my house, I ruminated on this experience….while paragraph from ‘Sapiens’ that I read in the morning still laid at the back of my head. People in the church…of different backgrounds, some old, some young, some very well dressed while some wearing normal clothes, some from India, China, and other East Asian countries, some from the Netherlands, and other parts of Europe and some from Africa. All christians? Or no? I was not…and then I stumbled upon this thought. Who was I? I saw the Jewish holy thread tied on my arm. I remembered the Ganesha statue on my study table. I decided something at that moment.
No, I am not Christian – but I love Jesus. Neither am I Hindu – but I love Devtas. And no, I am not a Muslim but I love Allah. I am not a Jewish – but I love Shekhinah. I decided – my religion is multi-religion. I respect the philosophies of God of every religion, but I am not attached to any. I do believe in a positive power that has been with the humankind and will always be there with us. But, it is not only Christ or Ganesha or Allah or Shekhinah. It is God and He has no name. I will be multi-religious now onwards.
I added Quran in the ‘To Read’ list on my goodreads account, messaged my parents that I want my religion to be noted as ‘multiple’ if at all any official document needs it, closed my eyes and leaned back with a smile lingering at the corners of my lips.