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Friday, September 22, 2023


Letter from the editor: Importance of questioning

Standing in the ruins of a cathedral like Tintern Abbey has a hauntingly mystic quality that will make you feel closer to God than any type of pompous ceremony | Peter Scamardo/The Cougar

As a Catholic my parents were very keen on our Sunday’s being spent at church. At the time I didn’t question it, I would just sit in the pews, sing the songs, say the words and wait for communion to be served. That was how I knew mass was almost over.

But when I grew older and went to catholic school I started to become more aware of what was happening at mass. And while my time at school did affirm my belief that there is a God or supreme being, not a universal outcome, I did start to question everything around me.

What I saw at mass was an organization more focused on spectacle than the salvation of man. Where the message of any sermon given was lost to my ears. Plus whenever we said The Lord’s Prayer, when we profess our faith to God, the words did not feel genuine. They sounded like words a hypnotized rabble says to appease their overlord. It did not fit the image of an all loving God they preached of.

I cannot speak for the people who have found God and feel closer to him through mass, or their respective religious ceremony. But for me, the times I felt closer to God were when I was sitting alone in a cathedral with nothing but my thoughts. Not during the pompous celebrations of Sunday evening.

There was also this arrogance from the Church that disturbed me. The Catholic Church teaches that anyone who is baptized and confirmed will be welcomed into Heaven. But in response to those who are not Catholic they say they will be saved as well if they never had the chance to be confirmed.

But when I heard this I knew that there are people who know about Catholicism and confirmation and who choose not to be confirmed. To imagine that these people would suffer damnation for finding God in another religion sounds ridiculous to me.

Now I have never experienced another religion outside of a classroom, and despite my criticism of the Catholic Church it’s very unlikely I’ll change faiths. The Irish comedian Dara O’Briain famously referred to Catholicism as a ‘sticky religion’, and it’s true. But from the little I know the people who have found God in other faiths appear just as happy as the Catholics who have found him.

My cousin for instance converted to Mormonism several years ago when he married his wife. I’ve seen nothing from him to show that he’s regretted the decision.

For that reason I hoped this special section would display a variety of different faiths and cultures. Of how people live their life in respect to their faith. Of the various art that has been influenced by religion. And of course how the current political regime has impacted the religious communities.

I’m of the opinion that all faiths are true. That if there is a supreme being that he orchestrated the construction of different religions in different cultures. The faith that emerged was the best way for those people to worship God.

Because of that I hope this section has shown respect to the various faiths. Even to those who do not believe in a God. My hope is that these stories will be informative to those uninformed as to how the other half lives.

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