One of the few things that we have had different opinions about, especially in the beginning, are religious beliefs. B grew up with hinduism and seem to believe in that even though I don’t see him practice it much here at home. I didn’t really know much about his religion before we met and I didn’t have any friends or acquaintances that practices it. In school we learned about all the world religions but Hinduism was probably the one that we talked the least about and I can’t say I remembered more than the names of a few of the gods.
I on the other hand are more or less a non-believer when it comes to religion. Sure I searched and tried to see if religion was anything for me when I was a teenager but it was never something that I liked. I think it’s in part the concept that I disapprove of. To have a set of rules and a book telling stories that most likely did not happen that way anyway as a guide for your life is something that I see as inappropriate. No offence is meant for any believers of any religion out there, this is just my honest thoughts about the concept of religion. I think that people should think more for themselves and decide what they think are right and wrong, and most people probably do that.
Perhaps it’s also been the thought of some god or divine being that has power over us that never made any sense to me. Even if such a thing were to exist I can’t believe that (s)he would judge us, care about which religion we believed in or about doing any kind of ritual to please or worship him/her. If (s)he cared about those kind of things I would think that was a selfish god and then I would be back to not wanting to believe in that kind of thing since I would find it immoral.
I understand that religion can be good for bringing people together and create a sense of brotherhood or community. I just think that questioning things is a part of life and developing the mind. So we should question and ponder everything, not only in scientific areas but also in all other aspects of life including religion. Just following what other people teach and say is strange to me, especially when it comes to moral issues. Perhaps this is because I grew up in a family that was not religious and we never went to church for example. Which by the way is the norm here in Sweden, where most people seem to be, if not atheists, then at least stick to their own personal beliefs. I’m not sure if I would go as far as calling myself a 100% atheist, but at least I’m closer to that than to being a Christian that I was baptised as. I do find concepts like Buddhism interesting, but I would define that more as a philosophy than a religion since there’s no god(s) involved.
So naturally this difference in religious views brought a little tension in the beginning of our dating and relationship, honestly mostly from my side. I had a hard time accepting that B believed in a concept (religion in general) that I thought was wrong and silly. It’s not like we were fighting over the subject, just that discussions on the topic never ended in any kind of agreement. B were always very patient in these kind of talks (as always) and made the point that all religions goes back to the same god(s?) and therefore there’s no point in separating them or disliking people of other religions. I wish other religious groups could take on the same view, so people would stop arguing, fighting and making wars because of different religious views.
In hindsight I wish I had been as accepting and open about his religion as he was about my non-beliefs. I always thought of myself as open and accepting of people’s religious beliefs and like to visit temples and churches when travelling, but apparently it’s easier to accept it when it’s at a distance from oneself. It took some time but the more I got to know about Hinduism and B’s beliefs the more I accepted it and even liked some parts of it. I’ve asked a lot of questions and B has answered all patiently and even told me several long stories that I enjoy listening to. It’s fun stories to hear even if I personally can’t believe those things happened for real, to me it’s more like fantasy stories that’s nice to hear and the stories probably have some important points to teach like most stories do.
Nowadays I’m even ok with having some pictures up on the walls of different Hindu gods, I even helped search for some nice ones online and selected a few to print out. There’s no shops here that’s selling these kind of pictures so we have to find it for ourselves and print out. The one that I like most so far is Laxmi, not only is her name really nice, she’s also the goddess of prosperity, wealth and fortune. Her picture is now on the wall in the middle of our apartment, I don’t know if any visitors have noticed it but no one has said or asked anything.
A little funny thing is that I like to put some pictures or things on the side of my fridge as a part of a vision board, to see them and get reminded of the things we want in life. Since a few months I put some money there with the help of a magnet, at first I just didn’t want to put them in my wallet because the bills were totally new and wrinkle free. Then they just looked nice there so I’m keeping them there to see. The funny thing is that the money just happened to be just under the picture of Laxmi. It was nothing I did intentionally or thought about until just recently. If people would see it and know who was on the picture I’m sure they would think it was done intentionally but it was pure chance.
I’ve also started listening to some songs with Hindu connection, I found them by chance in spotify and think they are very relaxing. They are quite similar to the music I wrote about in an older post with a Buddhist mantra. So when I want to listen to relaxing music, for studies for example, I choose this kind of music, classical or lounge. Good to have found a new category for some change.
I think that our initial tension with different religious views are gone now and we’re both accepting each others views and doesn’t expect the other person to change beliefs about religion. He’s still ok with my non-religious beliefs and I’m fine with him being religious. I can even be a part of it and enjoy it as well as learn more about it even though it’s not likely that I will belive in the exact same things that he does. We don’t have to agree on every single detail, as long as we (mostly me) accept each other. I feel that I have grown up a little more regarding this, life is all about learning new things, both the things you choose to learn about and the things you’re exposed to and need to understand.