Self Expression Magazine

The More I Know, The Less I Understand

Posted on the 18 March 2019 by Lee Bemrose @LeeBemrose

I don't understand anything. I devour so much information, but I don't understand anything. I just don't get anything at all.
I don't get religion. I'm just not religious. When I'm thinking logically, I just don't believe in a God, a creator. The stories in the books made up by men thousands of years ago, the division those stories have created... the fact that people let these stories rule their lives sometimes with violent consequences, I just don't get any of it.
And yet from time to time, walking through a quiet cemetery, looking at the names in Poets Corner in Westminster, thinking of Gaudi sleeping in his Sagrada Familia, I feel something. I don't know what it is, this feeling. It's emotion. I was holding back tears in Westminster and each time I've wandered awestruck in Gaudi's church, and I just don't understand what it is. What is this feeling?
I get the same feeling watching a documentary about life, the universe and everything. Invariably I find myself shaking my head thinking, I just don't get it – what is it?The universe is so vast and life is so mysterious that, you know, is it so strange to blame it all on a great creator?What is it all?What is existence and where did it come from?
In Indonesia a few years ago a guide told us, if anyone asks you about your faith, just say you are a Christian because they simply won't like it if you say you are atheist. I agreed that this is what I would do, in this largely Islamic country, but I wondered why I should have to lie. Why does it matter to someone else that I have a different way of thinking to them?
On the island of Lombok, I remember the palm trees and the cowbells and the call to prayer. I felt peace. I felt their peace. They were praying and, I presume, also feeling peace. It was pure and beautiful and although I don't get religion, what harm was it doing to me?If anything, their faith was giving them peace and on a superficial level, it was giving me peace. I didn't understand the words being sung in the call to prayer, but I respected the sound and the sentiment and I guess yeah, I was touched by it.
Our fruit and veg suppliers were Muslim. They used to call me brother. We got to know each other, told each other our stories, had many laughs and treated each other with kindness. I thought of my guide in Lombok and wondered if I would have to lie to these guys about my beliefs. I didn't think so. They called me brother every time and I thought I don't care about your beliefs and my beliefs, if you call me brother, that's good enough for me, we are brothers.
If someone wants to pray, if they need their rituals, we don't have to understand it to accept it. We're all the same, we just have different ideas, and that's totally fine.
What I really don't understand is why an extremist, fanatic coward unleashes on a peaceful group peacefully going about their own business. I don't get it. I don't understand anything at all.

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