CHOOSE TO BELIEVE

CHOOSE TO BELIEVE

I once read somewhere that people who have insomnia suffer from anxiety issues and depression. I also read a Facebook update that went along the lines of: “The beginning of anxiety means the end of faith and the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety.” A man of strong faith (or a strong man of faith?) would agree with the second statement without question. Even I, as a man who once had very strong faith, am in agreement.

However the man I am today is one with very shaky faith. For quite a while now, I’ve come across and read a number of arguments that question the existence of the God on which my faith is built. It is very hard to reasonably argue with facts and logic especially when the thrust of your faith is “believing without seeing”. The endless act of violence being carried out in the name of all the endless varying religions does not help the defense of my faith either.

I have come to a conclusion that I am under no need to defend my belief or faith. I choose to believe in a force greater than us all and I choose to look beyond all the names It / He / She has been given – whether God, Allah, Buddha, Law of Attraction/Fate – and all the interpretations to it. I choose to refer to it as Him and call Him God. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that there is something greater than us all, something beyond our control, and that is what I choose to build my faith on. Not on religion or any other thing I’m being fed by some ‘anointed’ few.

Only recently, I have been thrust onto the cusps of adulthood, self sufficiency and independence. I am leaving the bubble that family and home has provided all these years and venturing into the real world with all of its ugliness. As an introvert and a get-it-together control freak with mild OCD, this is a really scary phase. I get anxiety attacks more often than not, too afraid to step out of my house and go to work. I put on a brave face but my heart races wildly, blood rushes to my head and my eyes can’t focus. I had been able to keep it together over the years with faith, knowing that I can’t control everything and believing that all I have to do is my best and the rest would take care of itself. Now my head is filled with things that have shaken the root of my faith – unanswered questions and doubts. Now I am afraid to leave things I can’t control to faith, always afraid things will fail. My mind keeps drifting; I’m sleepless because of worry. I have become a pessimist that expects the worst. I have lost belief in God and belief in self. I am adrift, going through the motions daily with nothing to anchor me. It is a struggle: living daily.

And so, I choose to believe in a God that sees my pain and my weakness; in a God that asks me to cast my burdens upon Him; in a God that tells me that faith without work is useless. I choose to believe in a God that simply tells me to love, not hate, not carry out violence in His name, not pronounce judgment on others on His behalf. I choose to believe in Love because God is Love. I choose to believe in a God that doesn’t need me to defend Himself. I choose to believe because I know I can’t get through this life on my own. Every day now, I’d wake up with a choice to believe and a belief that that would get me through the day.

Choose to believe. Choose your belief.

Written by UC the Misfit

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20 Comments

  1. Jo
    March 06, 07:17 Reply

    I agree with you.

    A friend once told me that to believe in God, you have to make one of your own construct because God as we know it is a raging homophobe.

    True that also, to believe and what to believe is your choice

  2. quietSprite
    March 06, 09:56 Reply

    Realizing that I am an atheist(apatheist to be exact) is the most important thing I have done for myself . God or the concept thereof is a suffocatingly primitive one and a lot of selective believing is required especially for a gay Christian . Without religion a whole spectrum of possibilities open up.

  3. Gad
    March 06, 15:47 Reply

    ” All things (bright, ugly, and beautiful), all creatures, (great and small), all things, wise and wonderful… Where all created by God and He gave us eyes to see them and lips that we might tell how great He is who has made all things”. Though the holy book says, ” The fool says in his heart that there is no God”, I still believe that people are at liberty to believe that God does not exist after all, the gift of freedom of will is given by God. The only challenge here is when one lies to himself.

    • ambivalentone
      March 06, 20:45 Reply

      That is one ‘challenge’ u seem to av surmounted…or not

  4. Lexis
    March 06, 15:48 Reply

    I certainly love this piece

  5. Canis VY Majoris
    March 06, 23:07 Reply

    I am one with this article, feels like I wrote it myself. It sure feels comforting to know these struggles aren’t specific to me alone. But despite it all, I’m certain that my belief in a greater power will never wane. I’m too much of a hopeful to be an atheist.

  6. Dimkpa
    March 07, 06:34 Reply

    I am really sorry to read about your anxieties and problems. I hope you find a solution for them.

    I have been thinking about this issue of belief and faith and I think that belief in something does not make it real. Anyone may choose to believe in anything, it is easy to do. In the world today and in times past there are and have been a myriad of beliefs however all of the objects of belief have not stood the test of time. This despite how sincere the believer’s faith. Choosing what aspects of God to believe is more like creating your own God and is no different from believing in Amadioha, the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. It does not make them real.

    These beliefs may give hope and make one feel good for a while. However at the end of the day, of what practical world use is it? What problem does it solve? Nigeria is littered with believers praying for the country everyday and yet how far? We have spiritual solutions for everything be it health issues, financial matters, legal questions, poor governance and yet things don’t get better but still we persist. We forgo the work and acquired knkwledge that have been shown to solve some of these problems and keep chasing after the wind. Then when things don’t turn out right like they should we fall back on the platitudes of going through trials and tribulations, of being tested by God or start asking the tired question “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”

    Beliefs can be harmful as well. Helen Ukpabio was, and is probably still, terrorising children because she believed they were witches. I read of a child who had a 6 inch nail driven into his head because of this belief. A lot of women have lost babies, their wombs or their life because they went to the church instead of hospital while in labour because they wanted to deliver like ‘Hebrew woman’. We still have polio in Nigeria because some people believed they were being used to sterilise them ( as if there are not too many people in Nigeria anyway). A similar thing has happened in US with measles because of anti-vaxxers. When we believe the wrong things, events will still follow the natural routes despite our beliefs. It is then imperative that we base our beliefs on truth especially when our actions based on beliefs can affect others.

    Some may say that belief in God is not harmful and present the old Paschal’s wager that it is better to believe in God so that when you die, you don’t lose whether he exists or not. However that is not entirely true because if you live your life like he exists with all the commandments you must obey, it takes away from living a more fulfilled and happy life than you would have. Imagine the disappointment that will be on the other side.

    Life is hard and belief in God or whatever may give temporary comfort but the harsh realities will still come to bite if we don’t
    take real life steps to solve them. Doing otherwise is akin to burying your head in the sand.

    With regard to your anxieties, there are real world solutions and therapies for them. You might seek out a clinical psychologist to help you work through the issues causing them. That would be my suggestion.

    • reeal
      March 07, 08:58 Reply

      I have an uncle who is a member of the Catholic charismatic … he is always praying for financial break through and all what-nots. he wakes up in the night to read the Bible and meditate and ends up waking up very late in the morning and isn’t even to bothered a
      bout rushing to begin the business of the day. but he will still keep praying for financial break through.

      • Pink Panther
        March 07, 09:29 Reply

        Faith, I believe, ought to be a combination of belief in He Who you believe in and belief in Yourself.

      • Gad
        March 07, 10:38 Reply

        Nna, the mere fact that someone adopts a wrong approach to life cannot be a reason to justify denial of what one knows exist. Its like saying that people should not acquire wealth because some children of wealthy parents while depending on their family, s wealth decided not to work and create their own wealth thereby living a life of laziness and non-chalance.

    • UC TheMisfit
      March 07, 10:07 Reply

      Thank you, Dimkpa. And of course, I know there are real world solutions and therapies for them. I am working on it. Thanks.

      “I have been thinking about this issue of belief and faith and I think that belief in something does not make it real.”
      I agree. However disbelief doesn’t make it unreal either.

      My choice to believe is not something I just woke up to decide. I have sat down, thought about this, lived in both belief and unbelief and then I chose to believe. Not because of some fear of an afterlife on eternal furnace or of gold paved streets and singing angels. Not because of the doctrine I was born and brought up in; but because it is what made me a better person and live better.

      I also agree with you that belief can be harmful, especially this blind belief common with Nigerians/Africans. This part of the write-ups answers that:
      “I choose to believe…in a God that tells me that faith without work is useless.”

      This writeup is personal and it doesn’t speak for all believing Nigerians. Its speaks for me, and how I put mix in work, reason, rationality and faith in my everyday living. It works for me. It might not work for others and its OK.

      There’s this quote I took from the 2016 Ben-Hur movie:
      “Hate, anger and fear are lies; they turn us against each other. When you set [them] aside… you realise that love is our true nature”

      God is love. And that is what my belief in Him is based on.

      • Gad
        March 07, 11:22 Reply

        Dear, I feel your anxieties because I have worked same road in the past though our experiences might differ. At a point in my life, I summoned my family and announced my doubts about the existence of God. One thing led to the other. I travelled to several places in the country in search of the truth. Notably Ubimini in Rivers state and an ancient village in Igala land. At a point, I became very convinved that God is. But the question was, “of all these gods, which one is the true God”?. I also got to the door step of occultism with its attendant astral travels (maybe, that was why i could go deep because, i hate night activities). In summary, from what I was able to gather from the Regent of Ubimini especially and her children, i became so convinved about Christianity and I embraced it with “forceful foolishness”. I had an experience. Im sure you do and so does others. People will continue having experiences as far as there is life but the bottomline is not allowing circumstances and oppossing forces around us to overwhelm us. As for faith and works, the Bible says “faith without works is dead”.

      • Kristoff
        March 11, 08:07 Reply

        Your write-up is excellent and inspiring,
        It felt exactly the way i feel, your belief system, OCD, Faith is a good thing, seemingly out of the world and I’ll keep mine too, no matter what….it’s beautiful to know someone is putting up a front against these same problems and is finding peace.

  7. Jazo
    March 07, 11:02 Reply

    My head doesn’t want to believe in the Concept of God cus there really is no Evidence to back it up no matter how hard you try to look for it. It’s just not there.

    My heart wants to believe cus I feel there is something bigger than us all. But I’m a man of Science and I believe in facts and evidence. Science tho not perfect triumphs over Faith every single contest.

    Man as a specie is too self conscious and He believes he’s the center of all of creation when in reality, He’s no more than infinitLy less than a speck of a nanosecond in the grand scheme of things. We are just part of the pale blue dot. So very small in this great universe that it’s almost like we are insignificant and indifferent to The universe.

    I don’t blame anyone who wanna believe in a God concept. I really want to believe myself but I know it’s all a fantasy. There’s no god Or heaven or hell out there. All that is just the product of Man’s imagination. All there is only just Energy and it’s infinite ways of expression.

    • Kristoff
      March 11, 08:29 Reply

      Yes man is a speck of dust or less than that,
      Yes we’ll say Science Trumps Faith or Religion but there are things cannot be explained, things that can only be felt and not represented,
      Despite being an Ardent Christian, i prefer empirical n proven facts, that doesn’t mean i do not believe,
      Einstein was a Deist, he believed vast n complex as the Universe is, it wasn’t created by chance or did not spring out Of nothing cos that would reject all the law of Physics by which we are bound in this plane,
      It’s quite spectacular that of all the specks of dust that fills the Universe from end to end, only a Certain planet was situated in the Goldilocks zone of a medium yellow star, that has the right quantities of everything to support life as we know it, n it’s also quite fascinating that in that speck of dust, another less than insignificant speck of dust was endowed with the ability, intuition n Intellectual capacity to affect his environment, change the landscape of his home planet, travel through deep space and attempt to unravel mysteries of Time n Space,
      Yes we’ll argue that it’s always been science, but we should know that Science was built on the back of religion n faith n yes some Holy books always maintained that the Earth was spherical n suspended upon nothing, even when science claimed it was flat n was the centre of the Universe..

      Let those who can believe, believe,
      If you do not, then find peace in whichever way u can,
      Just to let u know that God blesses the hands of the diligent, Faith without works is dead.

  8. Brian Collins
    March 07, 23:37 Reply

    Pardon me but I gotta ask (I have been away for so long), is this the same Gad?

  9. OJ
    March 09, 11:57 Reply

    All those people that claim atheists; How do you people use to do it???

    • Kristoff
      March 11, 08:35 Reply

      They close up their hearts,
      It’s so easy to give up on God.
      Faith is seeing all that is there, questioning all you’ve been told but still believing,
      That’s strength n it’s difficult, so don’t blame those who give up, it’s only the BraveHearted that will continue, n only then will you see God’s hands.

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