Friday, 7 October 2016

In nomine Spiritus Sancti: Faith.





This is a post. No scrap that. It is a topic very close to my heart and I have no clue what the outcome of this will be or how you will react to it. I am Roman Catholic and proud to be. I guess most of the people who read my blog will not share my views, but that is okay. Because I think everyone should believe or not believe what they want. I am in a conflict of sorts, my mental health and my faith.

I think I shared one or two posts on my beliefs, if you want to read it they can be found on the bottom if the pages. The links I mean, obviously. I haven't shared my views o it for a while, but seeing Laura's post on it (link here), I got motivated. Thanks pal, you are an inspiration.

I have no idea how I'm going to do this. But I know I want to talk about religion and mental health for a bit. No idea how, but yeah, we will see how that goes right?


Let's start with some basics.


Given the recent events in the world, I have been thinking a lot and getting a lot of comments about a certain thing: Religion. I'm going to clear about this subject and this is quite hard to write, because I know some people will judge me because of it. Mock me. Unfriend me. Disrespect me. Some people would advise against writing this blogpost, because I've had a difficult time lately. But I'm just going to say this: I'm a Catholic.
I was born in a part of the Netherlands where there are more Catholics than Protestants. The Protestants are in the majority in the Netherlands, but in the south 'we' are in the majority. Enough with the whole demographic shizzle.

I'm a child of a Roman Catholic father and a Anglican mother, which has lead to funny procedures when my parents wanted to marry in a Catholic church. But that's a story for another time, I suppose.
I have been baptised, received my first communion, confirmation and have been quite active within the youth movement in my region. I hear you thinking. How is this even possible? How do you even do it? And yet you are such an intelligent lad?

I realise that I'm a religious person, above average. I realise that I'm one the few percentages of our generation who does go to church on a regular basis and does find comfort in it all.

The reason why I don't talk about it is that people have a judgement about religion and I think this has only grown stronger throughout the past two years. I'm proud to be catholic, but I don't despise other religions. On the contrary. I've a lot of respect for other religions and I see no reason why I shouldn't surround myself with friends from other religions. I think that's stupid. I also have friends who are deists or atheists and we get along just the same. That's great!

Which I find particularly hard is the way people react to me being religious. 'You are stupid. Science has proven everything so therefore you are nuts.' Let me tell you that religion does change with time. Not everyone changes and not all of the religion changes, but it's plain stupid to think that the current era doesn't have his influence on religion.You might have absolutely no clue, what I'm talking about. I know I haven't the slightest idea what I'm rambling on about, but today I would like to talk about opening about things. Things I'm very closed about normally. It's time to let you know a bit more about me.

I'm not open about this for several reasons, but most importantly it's because it's regarded as not done by most in my generation. I'm regarded as relatively intelligent person, but as soon as they see my necklace of St.Jacob or the cross. The inevitable questions follows and my proud answer is met with disgust: Religious? But mate you are such an intelligent person. How could you be that stupid?

Obviously not everyone has this response and the people close to me 'accept' it and 'respect' me. And that's something you have to read twice. They respect me, but don't respect religion. So that makes it hard sometimes to be honest. My family believes but to say that they are very devout, is something complete different I think.

I have absolutely no problem with my friends not being believers. None at all. I think that's the power of real friendship. But sometimes it's hard too. I want to talk about my religion. How it has its effect on me, how it does make me learn and how I struggle with it sometimes. I mean, I'm proud of my religion and my faith has grown over the years due to certain life changes. But still I miss the conversations with my generation.

I feel really bad that my faith has gone down. I still have the same amount of faith, that hasn't changed. But I believe I'm being tested, these are trials. Testing my faith and my strength. My mental health needs reassurance or certainty. Religion gives me that, or gave me that. Now, it's hard because that stability can't be reached. And to be honest people, it's slowly killing me inside.


I'm not perfect at all. Far from. I swear from time to time. I have sinful thoughts. The things I have been through and are going through with family and friends, isn't always exactly very devoted. I know that. But that doesn't mean I can't be a good catholic. We all have our flaws and we all deal with it in different ways in my opinion.As you have probably noticed, I suffer from anxiety, depression and OCD. This is very interesting combined with actively going to church or do certain stuff.


As my mental health issues popped up and grew worse, going to church became more of a problem. I felt like a sinner, as if I had failed God in some ways by having mental illnesses. I felt the need to hold my religion in the balance and pray more than I had did before. But I also felt like the church was giving more and more triggers, less people understanding what was wrong. On top of that my intrusive thoughts OCD created images in my head, anxieties that would lead to the demolition of churches, damaging artifacts and more of that kind. 
I wanted to be more open about this, because this is something that's very close to my heart. It's something you should know about me and I really hope this doesn't alter the way you think of me. I would hate to lose such good friends over this matter. It would be painful, to say the least.

I pray every night for my recovery with mental health, that the world becomes a more peaceful place. But I also pray for you fantastic people who have been nothing short of a big bowl of creativity, positivity and inspiration.

It was quite hard to talk about this, it really took a lot of energy and this is where I leave it for today. I will try to post more on this and on other subjects which do really explain how I feel or behave or whatever. It's important for me to share with you lot and I hope you do learn something about me and the way I see the world.

Religion doesn't destroy everything. It's the people who do things in the name of their god. Actions of individuals or groups can give this reputation, I agree. I also agree that it's more likely to happen to those that have a religion. But what I want to say, is that not every muslim is bad because of the attacks. Hate doesn't solve anything. Hate corrupts the soul.If you find comfort in praying, pray. If you don't, don't. I respect my fellow religious friends. I respect my friends who don't believe. I have so much love to give to both. I suggest we start spreading the love.






Marc





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