So if you haven’t gathered I am religious but one thing that drives me mad is when people force their religion on others.
Now, disclaimer, I don’t think it’s wrong to share your faith. I don’t think it’s wrong to talk about your faith. When you truly believe something and it’s a good thing you’re going to want to talk about it (religion has more good than bad but people are always eager to share the bad which I don’t get. Why are we so focused on telling people they’re going to hell? Like no one is perfect, especially religious people. So don’t fall for that. We’re all struggling and we all stumble and fall, the key is getting back up and also it is not our place to judge others. Amma say this every time I write a religious post because some religious people LOVE to judge and shame and hate like God didn’t rebuke that).
What I don’t like is when people try to force others to believe what they believe. One way this can happen is with parents. Parents will want their child to have the same faith as them and so will push the faith on the child.
The thing is you can’t force faith. I mean you can say to your child: “You’re Christian and that’s that and this is what you believe”, but that’s not true faith. They haven’t made a true connection with God and to be honest a lot of people end up leaving the church as soon as they’re away from their parents (like when they go university or move out) because they never truly made the decision off their own back to follow God.
It’s like saying to someone: “You love strawberries”, but that person has never tried strawberries and you force it on them until they agree. Then as soon as you’re gone they’re like: “Oh finally I don’t have to pretend anymore”.
Or it’s like you have two friends. Friend A doesn’t know friend B but friend B is great and you tell A: “B is amazing! You have to love B and you have to follow everything that B says.” And A asks: “But why?” And you’re like: “Because, I said so and it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t you’ll die”.
However you don’t introduce A to B (Like, “A this is B, my friend. They are a good person and have helped me out a lot. B this is A”) and you don’t let A and B have time alone together to get to know each other and to form their own relationship.
This doesn’t just happen with parents, it can happen when anyone of faith forces their religion on others.
I mean look at colonialization. Most of that was forced. They told a lot of indigenous people that they were evil and their culture was evil and Christianity was the way. In fact they even killed people who refused to follow their faith which is wrong on all levels.
In fact, in my country you had to get a Christian name as well as a Kinyarwanda name because Christians had to have Christian names? It doesn’t even make sense. The names in the Bible are Hebrew (or Greek)! Now where in the Bible does it say our Kinyarwanda names are sinful or aren’t good enough? Sometimes Christians mix their own prejudices with faith or their own culture with faith but that’s a discussion for another day.
It’s not just Christians who do this either. And ooh funnily enough it’s not just religious people who do this either.
So once I was working with an atheist and he said he never got to discuss religion with anyone as people refused to talk with him. I was like: “Oh well I don’t mind talking with you.” As I think you should be able to talk calmly with people. I went to a majority Muslim school and me and my friends, who were Muslim, were able to talk about our faiths peacefully.
So my discussion with my co-worker (after work in a café) started off ok. But then I started to realise he wanted to destroy my faith. He wanted me to be like: “Omd you’re right and I’m wrong I should not be a Christian!”
I figured this out pretty late in the conversation and when I did I told him: “I don’t have the answers to all your questions but in terms of God existing I know he does as I’ve felt His presence in my life. If you don’t believe I can’t make you. It’s up to you whether you believe or not.”
He didn’t accept that answer. Have you ever met someone who just wants to argue? I tried so hard to leave the conversation because I was so drained and it’d been an hour of talking to a wall (by wall I mean it’s like he didn’t hear anything I said… it was like he was giving a lecture on why he hated religion and he would ask my opinion but when it didn’t align with his point of view he would go off on another tangent).
When I finally escaped I realised: “Ah, that is what people feel when someone Bible bashes them”.
I’ve never been one to be aggressive or Bible bash as it’s called. I’ve seen that method of preaching work with some people but in general it doesn’t work. In general, people end up feeling attacked and guilty and wanting to avoid you.
So yeah, it doesn’t matter what you believe forcing people to believe what you believe will never work. Even if you make them fear you it will not work. They’ll just be scared and go along with whatever you say whilst in their heart of hearts they’re disagreeing, they’re looking for a way out.
Religion, faith, personal beliefs, they are all personal. A person has to make up their own mind on what they believe.
I always say if you want to know about God pray and read the Bible, read the Quran and read the Torah. Study physics if you’re interested in that. Keep an open mind as you read and learn and you will find the truth and you will see what you believe in. It’s always best to make an educated and well researched decision.
Of course at the end of the day no one has all the answers, even science. We don’t know how big the universe is. We don’t know why Neptune is warmer than Uranus even though it is further away from the sun (I just learnt this, isn’t that fascinating?). We don’t even know the shape of the universe.
No one has all the answers, so whichever path you decide to follow just know there’s going to a little leap of faith involved.
3 thoughts on “You Can’t Force Faith”
That was an insightful post to read. Sure, I do believe in a God, but I don’t force my beliefs onto others. You brought up a good point about colonization and how religions were forced on the natives. That even happened in America where the colonizers did “gunpoint conversions” to the Native Americans where they had to convert to Christianity or be shot on site. When they brought over the enslaved Africans, they gave them English names and severely punished them for practicing their native beliefs or even their own languages. I wasn’t aware of that with Rwandan culture with Kinyarwanda and (English) Christian names. It also didn’t help me when some of the worst bullying I suffered even if it was psychological was at a Christian school.
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That’s just awful what “christians” of old did and are still doing.
Most of my bullying was done by Christians too, reminds me that people are people but I wish the whole being kind and love was the primary lesson of religion instead of punishment.
Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself message more than “I’m better than you and so you have to obey me” which, where did they get that from?
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Exactly! Thanks for relating. I hear you right there when it comes to being kind to each other.
Very interesting point. It could stem from them not reading the Bible, misinterpreting it, or weaponizing it for horrific reasons. I’ve been realizing some of the subtle things of how religion was used for nefarious purposes not just with violence, but with the psychological abuse with subtle implications.
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