This I Believe

Catalina - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Entered on July 4, 2007

I believe in cherishing the individualism born of different beliefs, I believe in having my own beliefs no matter how different they are.

I was born in a very catholic town but I was raised in a house without god. I was not baptised as a baby because my father decided that I should chose my own religion, which was an idealistic thought of very little practicality when Catholicism surrounded me in all places, specially at school.

As a kid, I read the Bible like I read the Grimms’ tales, the Arabian Nights or the Aesop’s Fables, just another book of fantastic tales found in our vast collection of books. I was 9 years old when I learned the Hail Mary and the Lord’s Prayer in a 15 min car drive to a funeral, I asked my mom what this rosary was about and she taught me the prayers so I would not feel left out and I could pray with everybody, I had a very good memory and I learned them like poems although they held little meaning in my world.

The following years I became aware and suffered the distinction of not being part of the flock in different ways and I got embarrassed of my unbaptised status and my irreligious family. Finally at 15, after have been enrolled in a catholic school and live terrified of dying and ending up alone in hell I got baptised, I remember I wrote down in my diary that it was the happiest day of my life mostly because I was going to be like everybody else.

I am twice that age now and it has been a complex journey to comeback to my beginning, although I can’t return to the innocence of my childhood, I have comeback to live without a god. I know now there is nothing wrong with being of a different mind, with having different beliefs or disbeliefs, with not being part of the flock.

I still hesitate when somebody asks me about my religion because the reactions of other people are unpredictable and sometimes they can go from angry affront to condescending or it inspires them to apply their well-intentioned but misguided efforts to the saintly mission of convincing me of the error of my ways.

I am an environmental chemist, I am satisfied of having found my own set of beliefs and reaching my own conclusions based in facts rather than in somebody else’s dogma. I am not ashamed for not needing prophets or gods to give meaning to my life and death and I don’t look up to the heavens for answers, instead I look down to the earth. I believe the earth is the being that created us and has always sustained us, although it is not written in an ancient book, the message is always there in the nature that surround us and it can’t be clearer: cycles, symbiosis, regeneration, patience, sharing, harmony, variety.