Religion Doesn’t Have One Name
Seeing the beauty of several belief systems
Kate Holowaty, Features Editor
I was born and raised in a casually Catholic household. I went to catechism, church every few Sundays and was confirmed in grade seven. I never had an overly negative experience with the Catholic faith apart from not wanting to sing the cheesy songs at catechism and thinking the wine during Eucharist was gross. My priest when I was older was awesome, down to earth and would crack jokes during his sermons. But eventually I distanced myself from my faith, going to church less and less and questioning whether or not I believed completely in God. When family members have passed away I’ve found great comfort in having my faith to fall back on for strength but whether or not I was putting my strength into one God is where my beliefs started to get confusing.
I decided to take an eastern religions course in my second year of university and it really helped me to have a better understanding of Hinduism and Buddhism and a bit of Daoism as well. We went on field trips to Hindu and Buddhist temples in Calgary and hearing the speakers at those temples discuss and share their views on faith really opened my eyes to how different worship and belief is from person to person. A Hindu woman spoke about how she didn’t feel it necessary to go the temple to worship very often because she felt that her own temple resided in her heart. This clicked with me because I don’t think that if you go to church every Sunday it necessarily means that you are a superior Christian or have a better relationship with God. It just means you show up physically. What matters is what messages speak to you within your spirituality
and the intentions you want to sincerely employ into your day to day life.
Two years ago my Uncle Dean was tragically killed in a road rage incident three days before I was set to travel to India on a school trip. I was in shock and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to miss the funeral and I wanted so badly to be there for my family and my Uncle Dean’s daughter Pearl who was only eight years old at the time. But I remembered my Uncle Dean and his extensive travels, always coming home from a different corner of the world with new, beautiful gifts for my siblings and I, chatting away about his adventures and how I had to go out
and see as much of the world as I could. I remember him giving me bracelets from monks in Thailand and small Buddha statues from China. And I knew then that he would want me to go. The trip was hard but there many times when I felt my Uncle Dean with me, coincidentally it always seemed to be in a place of worship like a Hindu or Buddhist temple or when I let my flower boat go on the Ganges River. As I watched my boat’s little flickering candle float into the distance I knew that I believed in something, maybe it wasn’t the traditional God that I grew up learning about but I was sure there was something more.