Is Faith in God a Superstition?
A True Story
on Jul 14, 2021
When I was growing up in the '90s during the old days of landline telephone booths, I occasionally heard superstitious tales from my peers at school. The tales were sometimes bizarre, sometimes frightening, often hilarious, always entertaining. They riveted my imagination so much that I would at times prod my peers into telling me more of those tales during our free time at school.
I vividly remember gathering from those tales that when we hear the sound of thunder, it means that the angels in heaven are engaged in a fight; that when we see a crescent moon in a night sky, it means the angels are feasting on bananas; and that when we trip and fall down, it is because somebody somewhere has mentioned us in a conversation.
But the tales that stuck most in my memory were those that frightened me out of my wits. Like some peers had us believe that when we point at someone's grave with a finger, the finger will stiffen and we would never be able to bend it again. I can't quite recall if I ever bought into that belief but it did make me extra-cautious when it came to pointing at things.
Then there was this tale I heard from my peers that when an owl hoots at night in someone's home, it means somebody in that home is going to die. I must have believed in that tale given the way it made me terrified at night especially after my youngest brother Stephen Ndonga was found dead on one morning in 1996. Imagine I would sometimes live in dread of hearing an owl hoot at night in our compound. It really was scary.
And then there were the tales I heard about people living near the ocean encountering the Devil in their day-to-day living. The Devil would come in the form of a cat, a fish or a beautiful woman. As the tales went, male drivers would offer lift to a beautiful woman stranded by the roadside, only for the woman to turn out to be the Devil himself.
Those tales had such an impression on my young mind that they affected how I thought and felt. Now that I have matured mentally and intellectually, I no longer believe they were true. They were nothing less than superstitions. I mean, there is no way the hooting of an owl at night can spell disaster for somebody's family.
That got me thinking whether believing in God could also be a superstition. Because none of us in the modern world has ever seen or heard from God, sometimes believing in God can seem like a superstition when our prayers go unanswered, or when something catastrophic happens to us, or when we see unbelievers prosper more than believers.
Coming to think of it more deeply, I don't think believing in God is superstitious. For one, the fact that we were created means there is a Creator. And then, a diligent and careful study of the Bible makes it apparent to us that there exists a God in heaven who not only created us but is also privy to all the sins and suffering we witness in our daily lives.
I am of the opinion that God purposely chooses to remain hidden from our senses so that we can labor to grow our faith in Him, just like the way we have to labor for our daily bread. Think of it this way: If God spoke to us in an audible voice as He did to Noah before the flood, we would easily believe in Him, we would know the answers to all our pressing questions and life would lose the aura of mystery that makes it interesting.
My dear reader, I believe God is real. I take it as gospel that He watches over us every day. And while I don't know why He allows bad things to happen to good people, I do believe He rewards those who diligently seek Him. I have therefore resolved to keep working on growing my faith in Him by reading the Bible regularly, singing hymns to Him and marveling at the creation of His mighty hands. I beseech you to do likewise. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on whether believing in God is superstitious, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about three years ago on "Proof that God Exists". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A Peace That Endureth
A True Story
on Jul 9, 2021
Although I'd love to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to have a never-fading inner peace. I wish to live without guilt, hate, worry and jealousy; to radiate health, goodwill, cheerfulness and calm courage; to be natural, honest and frank - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so; and to meet with any loss, failure, rejection or criticism unabashed and unafraid.
I wish others to also experience the inner peace I am craving for. To that end, I have resolved to never meddle or interfere with other people's lives by giving advice that is not needed or offering services when they are no longer required. If I want to inspire or uplift others, I'll let it be by example, inference or suggestion, not through injunction and dictation.
Yes, I'd like to experience an inner peace in my soul that never fades. And I've craved for such kind inner peace for quite some time. About a year ago, I wrote on this blog that I would cultivate inner peace by thinking positively, developing optimism, practicing gratitude, associating with positive people, casting my worries to God and not taking anything personally. Since I wrote those action-steps, I have grown more peaceful as I am no longer plagued by excessive guilt these days as I used to be in the past.
But to be honest, I am yet to attain fully an inner peace that never fades. I have a tendency of sometimes sweating the small stuff, of remembering the foolish deeds I did in the past, of hating those who have wronged me in one way or another and of worrying about what could go wrong in the past. It is such kind of thinking that has kept me from having a never-fading inner peace.
Today, I have purposed to pursue inner peace with renewed vigor. And how will I do it? In addition to what I wrote last year on this blog in a story titled "Cultivating Inner Peace", I will attain inner peace by:
- Trusting in God fully: The Bible says in the book of Isaiah that God keeps in perfect peace those who trust in Him. And trusting in God means believing He knows what's best for us even when we are in the midst of change, tribulations or uncertainties. That's why I have chosen to trust Him, come what may.
- Living with integrity: I have discovered that nothing keeps us from experiencing inner peace than the fear of being found out for a sin or a foolish deed we have committed. And nothing drains joy from our souls more than memories of the foolish deeds that were brought to light. That's why I've resolved to lead a life of integrity, one that I will be proud to look back on when I grow old.
- Acquiring knowledge: I believe having broad, deep knowledge can help us rise above the petty worries that litter our everyday living. And as we grow in knowledge, our worries diminish in the light of new understanding gained. So I'll endeavor to grow in knowledge each passing day and to use that knowledge to fight off the negative thoughts that keep creeping into my thinking every now and then.
- Practicing forgiveness: Let's face it - we can't experience inner peace without regularly practicing forgiveness. That's why I have resolved to forgive not only those who have wronged me but also myself for all the foolish deeds I've done. And believe me, I've done more wrongs than I care to count.
- Letting go of hate, guilt and worry: It has dawned on me that one of the most difficult things to do in life is to let go of hate, guilt and worry. Most of us keep on clinging to past hurts and worries of the future, a habit that keeps us in a cycle of guilt and bitterness. That's why I've decided to consciously get rid of hate, guilt and worry from my thinking.
- Not worrying about what others think of me: It has also dawned on me that most of us constantly worry about what other people think of us, something I've been guilty of. That's why I've made up my mind not to worry about the opinions other folks have of me. I believe once I am free from that worry, I will attain the serenity that comes from being at peace with myself and the world.
- Doing physical exercises: I agree with Nelson Mandela, the venerated South African anti-apartheid hero, when he pointed out that exercise is not only a key to physical health but to peace of mind. So however busy or stressful my life gets, I'll always create time for walking, jogging and gardening - my favorite ways of exercising the body.
- Not taking myself seriously: We all have an inclination to take ourselves too seriously, a way of thinking that leads us to torment ourselves with guilt for failing to measure up to our standards. That's why I've resolved not to be taking myself too seriously. After all, nothing is that serious; we all die in the end.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a peace that endureth, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about a year ago on "Cultivating Inner Peace". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.