Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Religion can be the boon or the bane of one's life. You choose.

It's only recently that the question of converting has been playing on my mind, as another friend spoke of a similar situation just as she was about to get married. Not that I have anything against Catholics. If anyone must know, I was brought up going to Sunday schools and Catechism classes up till I was 12. Even in university, I went to the Church once in a while. I also went to the temple. Thanks to my parents wisdom I had exposure to both religion, and coming of age, especially now that I'm already in my 30s, I know where my path is, religion wise. Why should anyone doubt my religion when I don't? Who would know what's better for me, if not I? And my choice was never lead or encouraged by anyone. I followed where my heart belonged.

Many people would tell you that in order for the family to achieve full happiness, it is best for the whole family to be of same religion. I ask you, show me the proof. Show me the proof and I will shut my gab forever. But no proof could be produced because this is subjective and every human differ in their behaviour and likes. I've seen many families ruined not by religion, but by lust and greed. How's that for a more common cause of destruction of a family?

I shared with my friend, a Hindu who's also being asked to convert. She is also asked to ensure that her kids would follow the Catholic path and go to church etc etc. She does not want to be a hyprocrite by saying yes to something that's in the future, and for her non-existent kids. I feel the same way. I would want to sample the wisdom of my parents who would provide an environment where my child would have the freedom of choice, and not baptised at birth or forced to a religion that he/she is still too young to understand. There must be a sense of ownership in a religion in order to embrace it. Or else, you are just accepting FATE and not faith.

Here I'm not saying any religion is bad. Buddhism has taught me not to condemn any religion but to respect others. Some of the things I've mentioned are perhaps the result of mis-interpretation of the Bible that has led people to instill the wrong teachings.

All I ask is that if I respect another's religion, I expect the same mutual respect for mine.


Gallivanter said...

I have a lot of thoughts on this, and basically, there's no right answer.

Catholics, we know, practice old-school rules, hence the mushrooming of protestants to keep up with the Joneses.

Ultimately, religion is there to keep men in check. So, all religion preaches goodness, but interpretations introduce a whole new hoopla.

You do not NEED to be in the same religion to achieve full happiness. That's shallow thinking to a certain extent. However, in the eyes of the children, the less differences the parents have, it would be a better environment for them to grow. Still, there's no conclusive proof, but statistically, I won't be surprised if the divorce rates between people of 2 different religions are much higher than people from the same religion.

Being in the same religion basically offers some security and comfort especially to our children during their fragile growing up years.

Of course, there are other cardinal sins that could disrupt a marriage, but why add religion to the mix as another element that could break a relationship?

It really does not matter which religion, as again, all religion preaches goodness.

I personally believe when a child is growing up, he/she is obviously not adults enough to decide, hence as parents, we instil what we believe is right for them, including choosing their religion.

However, when they become adults, we lose sight of the fact that they have every right to choose their path. Catholics, as bureaucratic as it is, is not as unreasonable as Muslim, you don't get caned for trying to leave your religion if you find Satanism is the way of life. :-P

Religion is there to keep one's faith strong during the tender years, and if mom/dad are from 2 different religious backgrounds, where one prays to Jesus and the other to some Monkey God, think how this would confuse the tender minds of our children.

So, self-interest aside, it IS about the future.

The art of baptism is not forced, because as a parent, you are their guardian, and they obviously cannot decide for themselves. So, if some parents feel that baptizing is the way to become closer to God and faith, then why not? It's not forced down the throats well into the children's adult life, well, it's NOT supposed to be forced, but that's a story for another day. :-)

I agree, you must have some sense of ownership to embrace it, but heck, sometimes when you buy a phone or some crazy-ass gadget, you don't know how to fully operate it 100% anyway, but take the liberty to learn it, so why can't the same be applied here?

It's a very good topic and I have a lot of thoughts on it, but basically, your arguments are valid, but there are valid arguments as well on the other side of the coin.

It all boils down to your partner. Love is NOT enough to see a relationship through, so Eagles lied about LOVE will keep one alive! It comes with a whole lot of different ingredients, and religion, like it or not, is a part of that recipe of life. So, talk it out in a healthy dialog and see where it takes you, I'm sure there's a same meeting point somewhere, and build from there.

GREAT TOPIC. This could be the longest comment I have ever written. EVER. A testament to this mind-opening post!

tihtahpah said...

wow galli..nice and provocative comment you have there. I do agree in some level. There are many elements and variables that can break a family. Mathematically speaking, take out all the unnecessary variables, so you can find the root cause or minimize the factors that could equate to a bad family.

But isnt matrimony all about compromising and working things out. I think this is a matter between 2 people who's going to work things out no matter what the obstacles are. I believe religion has been the biggest obstacle whether in politics, family, parti-parti Msia....and yet, it has not stopped me from being good friends with Malays, Indians and Chinese. If the whole nation, however minute the muhibah community is, could live peacefully together, why not a small family unit.

On the contrary, i do believe love is not everything. Love should however cradle all these ingredients and be the core of any relationship. No? so Eagles did lie, Love Can't Keep Us Alive..hahaha....

I can be very flexible and stubborn sometimes. But one thing for sure, I know I cannot commit 100% to something i dont believe in. It's like living a lie. You cant hide those LYING EYES. LOL. I do not want to go through life converting and lying to that religion- it's also disrespectful to that religion, kan? if my heart belongs to buddha....its....macam...infidelity! ahhaha. Metaphorically speaking.

I do agree, there will never be a right or wrong to this. All religion instill goodness. And yes, as parents we should instill goodness. But instill goodness does not include choosing one's religion. For even I do not know which is the right or wrong. How could I decide for IT (in reference to the kid). I'll rather lay it down to him/her...there are many religions....I'll give IT exposure. If IT chooses Islam, or Catholic, I will accept it, for it is his/her choice. Despite being in a catholic environment, I have chosen another religion. Why?

Gallivanter said...

Cool, I like this comment thing we have going. :-)

I agree 100% matrimony is a 50-50 proposition. Unfortunately, these days, when push comes to shove,many couples are not even happy at the 50-50 arrangement. Go figure.

And yes, religion is the biggest obstacle to just about everything, we prefer agree to disagree on matters. It may not have stopped you from being good friends with other folks, but the same can't be said with others, and racism and religion-bashing will never go away, just like Najib's 1Malaysia in the foreseeable future. Haha.

Correcto mundo on love, it is the glue that keeps the relationship components together, take out love, and the cookies will all crumble.
You should not commit 100% to something you don't believe in, but, isn't that where faith comes in? We don't know God even exists, but we still believe and commit ourselves anyway, right?

However, I think in certain circumstances, it's about sacrificing your self-interest for the well-being of your children.

I agree, you should not convert for the sake of converting, I faced that situation too a couple of years ago when I almost embraced Islam, a religion that until today, scares the hell out of me! LOL. I managed to keep my self-interest aside, or, actually, tried to manipulate it so it still remains a self-interest. Haha! I was planning that if I convert to Muslim, I will go and get some juicy Govt contracts, bullshit all the way through, but still live a Catholic life. Wishful thinking as I couldn't do it in the end, thus, I feel if you don't want to, then don't. It's as simple as that, but sometimes it may come at a costly price of losing a loved one in the process to maintain your beliefs, because the other person is as stubborn as you are in his/her beliefs. You need to strike a balance, you must give and take if you feel the relationship is worth it.

The selection of one's religion, especially when you're OVER the age of majority, MUST not be forced upon like Islam. So, I beg to differ as Catholics do not force you to remain in your faith or to convert (no religion does that, only the people), either you play by the man-made Catholic rules, or you walk away. It's just that when you're under 18, someone has to decide, and that someone is the guardian. Some religions do not even give you the option of leaving it!

We surely can differentiate right from wrong, so I don't believe for one minute we can't tell the difference as adults. If you give children the exposure to many religions when they're young, it might confuse them further because they are not matured enough to decide for themselves because like it or not, it's not like changing your underwear. Besides, you don't need to expose them to the various religions as they are already exposed to it thanks to society. But, they must have something to lean on and if we as parents always maintain the tidak-apa or "neutral" stance, our children will lose respect because they will drilled in their heads by society that their parents are dunguloids and they might end up being wayward. It's not a 100% outcome, but the odds are certainly higher.

As for you growing up a Catholic but still chose another religion, you found your calling of sorts, that doesn't mean Catholic is a bad religion, just not the right one to spiritually fulfil your needs.

tihtahpah said...

Hey i like this statement "we prefer agree to disagree on matters". It's true, when it comes to religion, there's no clear right or wrong.

And it's true that true catholics will tell you differently, that you can walk away if you dont have the faith. And maybe you're right, the children needs to lean on something, a belief that would naturally come from us.

But the problem is probably, only me and you has that thinking that no religion is the best, ALL religion are good. People have wrung-wrench, twist, and turn it into something ugly nowadays.

I guess my problem is with these people with wayward thinking. It's their way or no way. These people who always had the perception that they are superior to us because of religion. Any religion that is.

I envision that if one day my child stood up and ask me, which is the right God and which is the right religion, What would i Say? I would tell IT, there is no right God and there is no right religion. If God was different, all of us would not have the same makeup of a human being. All of us would not feel and love. :)

Gallivanter said...

This is the best conversation I have ever had on the internet. :-)

I haven't been practicing my Catholic faith of late, but I certainly don't go around proclaiming Catholic is the only way of life. That's BS. There is no superior religion regardless of what some religion will bullshit their way and affect the minds of the naive and ignorant.

Ultimately, all religion share the same beliefs - doing good for the good of mankind.

I agree, some retards make it their personal goal to convert as much as they can, so they earn brownie points with God. I hope reality don't bites them in the ass when they die and wake up in some limbo, and tell themselves, "Dang, The Matrix was real after all!". Haha!

The problem is people. That's a fact. When people believe or want to believe something so much, that it becomes impregnated into their sordid minds that they then go out to preach like there's no tomorrow, like suddenly God decided to make them gurus of interpreting religion. Balls.

As for children, I think we both have our own thoughts so there is no right or wrong. If there was, then we'd all have wonderful children and the world would suddenly be a better place. ;-)

tihtahpah said...

galli: hey so we both agree on the whole religion there's not right or wrong...

And we both hate people who have messed up religion and recruiting more idiots who think like they do...

And we both agree there's no superior religion.

and we agree to disagree on our children's religion...and that goes back to the only thing that we have not figured out that is....should the wife convert to follow the hubby...

which is my predicament now...
i can choose to go for it and be a hyprocrite as i know i cannot do it. I could try and embrace it like a new phone like u suggested but as u know, i was never a materialistic person, and rather go for the
OR I could choose to stay on with my religion, and be deemed as selfish, as i'm putting self-interest first.... OR does this act really equates to SELF-INTEREST? can't i just be labelled as someone who has her faith sorted?

Gallivanter said...

There's no RIGHT answer to the question if a wife should convert. It all boils down to you and your other half, there's no 2 ways about it.

You can choose to go for it, but as you said, you know you cannot do it, but then again that's like accepting defeat already to thus your actions will reflect that before you even take up the challenge. Having said that, if your heart is not in the right place, you will never be at peace.

You can also choose to stay with your religion, or maybe try to accept both as I don't see any major conflicting differences between the 2? But then again, when push comes to shove, you'll be stuck in a very delicate situation.

I think when starting a family, most married couple still have that single mentality, and feel life is suddenly unfair when there's no time to yourself and what you want. It's called a relationship, not singlehood, so there's a difference obviously. You can no longer think for yourself, but also your other half and your future generation.

Your single life is effectively over to a major extent. Of course, there are days where you need some alone time, but your actions cannot keep benefiting you and you only.

That's what I think. However, please don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that I'm right either.

Perhaps try a logical approach and list the pros and cons of each action and see where that takes you?

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