I chanced upon a Facebook discussion elsewhere, in which among others, the nature of my religious beliefs was discussed. Since there seem to be some misunderstanding on the said topic I take this opportunity to lay the matters to rest.
I was a baptized Anglican Christian belonging to the Church of Ceylon. It is certainly true that at up to a certain period in my life I held on to my religious beliefs at least in theory rather than practice. A major influence in that regard was my late father, who did the same in the face many trials in his life. At a time when a certain segment of Sinhala Buddhist nationalists were haranguing other religions via social media, I fought back in the name of my religion. But this was more of a political rather than a purely religious gesture. It was based on the need of an identity and need to fight the fundamentalist forces holding sway at that time.
But despite this outward zeal, I was always fighting the lingering doubts inside. The illogicality and irreconcilable difference that I found with the bible and notion of omnipotent and omniscient God and the personal tragedies I faced throughout my life made me in practice at least a nominal Christian.
Then I faced what was to be the greatest personal loss to me. This was as they say the last straw that broke the back of the Camel. It seems to me end of the day what the life proved over and over again was the inevitability of death and suffering, a point Ingmar Bergman makes so aptly in his iconic work “The Seventh Seal”, the silence of God in the face of suffering. It was at that point I decided to become completely irreligious. However much later due to Ven. Walpola Rahula’s major work I came to appreciate Buddhism, but only as a distant observer rather than an adherent. Suffice to say the reasons for my disenchantment with religion has more to do with deeply personal issues rather than the logical path taken by some prominent secular and atheist characters here in FB.
Today I have no hatred of any religion. I respect the mental and spiritual satisfaction that people fulfill via religion. In fact I sometimes help some of those close to me gain such satisfaction if they so wish, because end of the day all we want is fulfillment, even though I remain passively irreligiously, only coming out when some people, mostly of strong monotheistic persuasion tries to push outdated ideas using the cloak of science. Some people might say that I’m a closet Christian in guise of a secularist to attack Sinhala Buddhism. Nothing could be farther from the truth.