People can’t understand where I get my faith, and that’s alright. Unless, you are a person of faith, it’s slightly difficult to explain that connection with God. You can’t relay to others how it feels when you are settled, how you pray and look for guidance, and the times you are tried, yet endure all because you have faith.
Going into any field is difficult, yet in this day and age you seemingly can’t be “normal”, objective, knowledgeable, and somehow still choose to believe in God while not thinking if you don’t believe in God you are forever put to damnation. Faith isn’t a simple thing, sometimes it’s stronger, other times you struggle to even believe there’s something more to this. For a lot of my friends (myself included), we felt a disconnect begin to form in our teenager years until now. How do we reconcile our personal beliefs, a changing world, and what we’ve been taught throughout our childhoods. A lot of the times, we know that we believe in a God and that there is something more. However, this idea that if I am not at this pinnacle of Islamic/Christian/Jewish piety, I am a failure and God we’ll turn his back on me in the hereafter is beyond bogus. That because someone is a muslim/christian/jew their behavior towards other people regardless of faith is excusable is crazy. The simple idea that to critique your community, or faith labels you a traitor and a borderline non-believer has no ground.
Faith isn’t that simple, God isn’t that simply, and neither is life. My dad teaches about faith, and my mom told me once that she always wished we’d talked to our dad as not only our father, but as our religious advisor. Initially, I told her,” Fatma Sheikh Abdi fariso”, which roughly translates to,”[Insert the correct/actual pronunciation of my mom’s name] take a seat”. I brought up my concerns with my dad, and he reminded me that God knows how he created us, and he loves us as he created us. He knows we’ll make mistakes time and time again, and he is more than ready and willing to forgive. He [God], knows that our faith will wane at times, and at other times have the strength and ability to overcome any hardship. That connection with God is special, and you should remind yourself of what your main duty is, to be kind and loving to all. One day, eventually you will look back on your life and realize at the root of every good deed was kindness and the ability to love others despite their actions and because of their actions. That’s all you have to show in life, how you leave this earth. So, my faith and religion isn’t something trivial and just a bias that gives me a myopic perspective of the world. Yeah, there probably is myopia on some level, but whose to say it’s for the worse. Faith can be a good or bad thing, just like anything else in the world.
Someone choosing to not believe in God is perfectly fine with me, I don’t have an ulterior agenda to push my ideals on anyone. Please keep in mind that in academia, just like in any other profession there are people of faith. If we respect your space, return the favor. My being the least bit religious shouldn’t make my work any less believable, or my critiques of society any less valid than yours. I am so proud to be a person of faith, to be muslim, to believe in God, and I’m not the least bit ashamed. Thinking you’re cool for making fun of my faith, as if I’m some gullible child who believes in Santa does anyone who doesn’t believe in God such a disservice, just as it would for someone of faith thinking everyone else is going to hell. Critiques are fine, but don’t speak to me condescendingly about my faith please and thank you. Amen[*Sidenote: Please refrain from taking the good Lord’s name in vain in front of me].