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Yes that’s right, I am going marrying a charming man with the most brilliant mind, whom I loved so much that it is just unthinkable, but I will not be converting to his religion and for that decision alone, I could be jailed or even killed in some conservative countries.
“If you really love him, why can‘t you just convert for him?”, “Do you know your decision is bringing sins to him and his family? How could you be so selfish!”, “You are the woman, you should follow your man and his family!”, “If you don’t want to convert, then you and him are not considered married in God’s eyes!”…
Trust me, we have heard all the above judgments and accusations (and so much more) from families and even friends – or at least people whom we thought were our friends prior to this. It’s so easy for anyone take such a politically (or should I say religiously) correct stand on this issue, when they are not the one having to face it. Some of our religious friends might feel compelled to show that they are pious good followers who are willing to guard the integrity of their religious rules and teachings by enforcing them onto their friends (A.K.A us), while my non-religious friends might be coming from a perspective that they were in no position to disagree or comment on other religions’ rules, since such behavior could be easily twisted as dissing or disrespecting other religions.
Now, it’s time to hear my reasons.
I grew up without a religion, but I found God along the way. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the God that touched my soul in any of the major religions so far. Based on what I have learnt and experienced so far, the settings/rules/people/seem to come with too many mixed agendas, and on this journey to discover true faith, being manipulated or being tempted to become the manipulator is the last thing I need.
So I have become this person without a religion but the key point is I actually have a faith, and right because I know there is a God, a higher force whom I have personally encountered with, I can’t bring myself to convert into a religion that I do not believe in.
I know there are so many people out there who, out of pressure from family and friends, had converted to whatever religion that the partner is from upon marriage, but they are either just in that religion on paper or they are merely going through the rituals without believing any bit of it. If I do what they do, not only I am lying to myself, to the God I know, but I am also deceiving my husband and his family, and to the God whom they worship and respect.
Religion does not equate to faith, it is a constitutionalized approach to fulfill faith. My personal take is that following the religions’ rules literally and blindly does not automatically makes you a religious person, and a person of faith does not necessarily have to follow all religious rules.
Many a time, instead of understanding that, just like one’s relationship with one’s mother/father/sibilings/lovers is a private relationship and no two people’s is the same, one’s relationship with God is also a very much personal one – if not the most. How is anyone to dictate the relationship between God and me to be following a ‘textbook’ standard? Even if they are priests/pastors/gurus/ or anyone of a superior religious status, they will never be God and God will not be speaking to me through them, so how can they tell me what God thinks of me?
There will be endless questioning on religions and faith if this article continues, but whenever I am in doubt of how to make a decision, I remind myself that if there is a God and he is true, he will always hold love and kindness before anything else.
I love my man, so I am going to marry him.
I love God, so I will hold on to my faith and not turn to a religion out of pressure.
Sometimes it is that simple.