By Haley Chi-Sing
I grew up in a very traditionally religious household in Southern California and attended traditionally religious schools. Every year from primary school through my last year of high school, I had a religion class squeezed in amongst math and English — not to mention weekly Mass with the entire school. And this was all in addition to religious commitments at home.
My religious upbringing has made me the person I am now, which to be clear, isn’t a bad thing. I love my faith, as my faith is what has molded me and defined me up until now.
Every single day of my life, I have been surrounded by individuals who shared this belief with me. I would occasionally come across someone who wasn’t religious or who was part of a different religion. But I was, for the most part, part of the majority.
As a result, I was never confronted by a person or situation in which I had to explain myself or defend my beliefs. It was simply a given. I believed “just because” — it was that simple. It wasn’t until I came to Boston that I wasn’t part of the majority anymore.
I suppose you could say that I grew up in somewhat of a bubble back home, although I am not proud to say it. It was definitely a place where my beliefs and views were universal, without opposition.
I was having a simple conversation with my friends at school when I slipped in that I had to go to Mass on Sunday. I suppose it somewhat snowballed from there. They gave me their reasons as to why they were not religious anymore, which were completely reasonable. They proceeded to ask me questions about how my faith worked. Never once did they question me or my beliefs, which I truly appreciated. But, it did get me thinking, what would I do if I were to be put in a position where I had to defend my faith? And, I came to one specific conclusion.
Faith is a tricky subject. Religion is a tricky subject. Faith is faith simply because you believe in it, not necessarily because you’ve seen it or touched it or heard it but because you have faith that it exists. You genuinely believe that it is true, despite the fact it cannot be scientifically proven or explained.
To me, my faith is a defining characteristic of my persona and the way I live my life. I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without it, simply because of the enormous impact it has had on my life. That is why I believe in my faith.
And, if you are the total opposite and don’t believe these things could have happened, then that is perfectly fine too. You probably have just as sound reasons and arguments as to why you don’t believe in a religion or a faith as I do for believing.
Long story short, hear people out. Even if they don’t convince and you don’t convince them. Give them a shot. I think others deserve to explain themselves as much as you do.