This is a personal post. Please respect any of my point of view and I’m not asking for anyone’s advise or critics. It’s just one of my personal writing when I wanted to talk and not listen back.

Today is a good Friday, known as the most important day for Catholics. (Yep, not, Christmas, but Easter day.) I have spent 18 years of my life studying Catholics, got myself mostly A for the Catholic subjects on my Catholic school. I grew up with my Catholic dad, knowing that I was born Buddhist but never even once did he try to push me to become Catholic.

I grew up in a mixed religion belief society. My neighbor came from Padang, she’s a moslem and my mom used to ask for her help to look out for me whenever I was alone at home. Sometimes I went to her house and ate the best rendang I had ever tasted in my life. It was the first time in my life seeing someone did Shalat. My sister is a Christian and my mom has a very strong (a little extreme) Buddhist belief. I think I was pretty open with religion and decided not to choose any of them first.

However I got more and more comfortable with the religion I was born with. I grew up to be a logical person and found that my religion made sense so since I was in high school, I started to chant and until now, I’m pretty set for my faith.

I always belief that faith doesn’t have to do anything with religion, but since I’m Indonesian, religion took a very important part of everyone’s life. (Hey, ini ada di sila pertama pancasila kita, how obvious is that?) I wanted my future kids to have religion too, but even though they don’t want to choose any of them, I’ll try to be okay. Then I met Bandi and he was born Buddhist too but he, too, got his freedom to choose and he converted to Catholic when he was in junior high school. He told me that nobody came on his baptism day (and I almost shed a tear writing this). It’s not that his family didn’t support him at all. His mom began to understand and eventually supported him to choose any religion he believed in.

We knew we had different religion when we started going out and not that it didn’t matter at all, it was just not a very important thing for us on that time. We thought that different religions won’t cause any bad things. (we still do, FYI).

So on his Chrismation day, I had a very important (international related) UN meetings (because I studied international politics) so I was really sure I couldn’t make it to the church. He had been taking a Chrismation course for that to finally happen and I didn’t want him to be alone again, like in his baptism day. I blew off the last minutes of the assembly and went straight to the church (still wearing suits and heels!), seeing him being chrismated. And I gave him a handmade Rosario with his name and my name on it. =)

He then admitted to me that he had always wanted a catholic girlfriend, and of course future catholic wife with catholic kids. But having a Buddhist girlfriend who would made him a Rosario was kinda cool too, so he settled for that.

Since then, I told him I would go with him to the church every Christmas day and Easter day. And he went to my Buddhist discussion meeting once in a while to get to know what my belief is about. One of my colleague raised eyebrows hearing this but I told her it’s working, well at least for Bandi and me. It’s been seven years and it’s been going pretty well and I don’t plan to do any changes anytime soon.

So yesterday morning on the Holy Thursday, I was texting with my bestfriend, Strawberry (I talked about her quite a lot) and she told me she was going to the chruch that night with someone else, not her boyfriend. I told her I could read the sadness. Her position is the same as me. She’s a Catholic with a Buddhist boyfriend. Then it hit me, since when we tried to label people, whether my boyfriend is Catholic, and your boyfriend is not or my other bestfriend’s boyfriend is Moslem and blah blah blah.

Why do we make a big deal about this? We used to never label people!

“Because on this age, we’re planning a family,” she said. “That is why Avocado is converting her religion.”

(Avocado is my other best friend. We used to alwaaayyys hang out together. Here is a pic of us for a refreshment. LOL)

Three of us

Of course I thought about having a family and how religion must be one of the important part of it, but I don’t know it would be this serious. I used to think Indonesian made too big a deal about religion, such as PACARAN BEDA AGAMA and the fact that you can’t marry unless you two have the same religion. I do still think it’s not right too, but… I love how Indonesian people have faith.

Since living here, I realize something missing from this country, and from Malaysians as well, which is a religion. They don’t have religion. I’m not against Atheist people, but it’s always nice to have one last place to run to, and that is your god, no matter how you call it. Whether you call it Jesus, Nabi Muhammad, Buddha, or Khrisna, it’s nice to have ‘someone’ to talk to. The kind of relationship that’s only understood by the two of you and no one, NO ONE can interfere. So if you really need to be cut off from religion, please at least be agnostic. Having a faith is kinda awesome.

I probably had a little disappointment when Avocado converted her religion ‘just’ because she was getting married. I always argued with her about it but in the end, she was still converting. However now, I can’t see it plainly black or white anymore. Converting religion is just another choices that people must take and again, it’s not us to judge. If they think it’s right, then it probably is for them.

So, do I want to have a one religion family? Well I don’t know. I know it would easier of course but don’t you think meeting a very strong minded Catholic guy has a reason? So that my kids would see a beauty of differences and having different opinion or perception are not wrong. So that my kids could adopt the logical Buddhist value and also receive gifts at Christmas? Would I confuse my kids, like almost everyone said to me when I told them about my vision? No. Because my kid will be one hell of a smart kid! If a kid couldn’t handle the differences between his/her mom and dad, don’t you dare expect him/her to be a president.

Well, I’m glad I talked to Strawberry the other morning. She got me thinking that it is perfectly right for me to have a Catholic boyfriend and future Catholic husband. I remember my mom insisted that Bandi should convert back to Buddhist and I told her that’s not gonna happen and she said, look how me and your Dad turned out to be.

Well I’m not gonna be like you and Dad.

And I personally think even if my dad was a Buddhist, it will never work either. And I will NEVER throw away what I have with Bandi now just because he doesn’t believe in the same god as me. I met him for a reason and I know we can do this. We’re gonna turn this differences to be a beauty that even my mom couldn’t see, hopefully would be understood by my future kids.

I told Strawberry I know how going to church together and pray together with a spouse is very important in a marriage life, but I’m going to risk it. Just like what I did all of my life, I always took chances. This is a chance I’m willing to take. I will do whatever it takes to make it work. I’m going to the church on Christmas and Easter and he will accompany me praying on Vesak Day and he would strengthen my faith for acquiring the scroll by reminding me to chant every single day. If Bandi and me believe in it, then I don’t see why this is not going to work.

I hope my Strawberry finds her answer very soon and I really hope that she could find the differences as beautiful as I see it. If god created us with such a creativity, I don’t understand why differences would harm us. As long as we love each other and we don’t hurt anyone else, I’m gonna keep it my way.

But however, it’s just me doing my way. It doesn’t mean other people doing their ways aren’t right. There are always million way of perceiving things and it’s time for your own conscience to make the decision.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

Believe nothing

For those who celebrate it, Happy Good Friday! =)


May, without gimmick.

21 thoughts on “Belief

  1. May, serius ya pagi2 hehe. Tapi ini emang jd persoalan penting di indo ya. Aku udh ngerasain pusingnya n stressnya. Walo keluarga ada yg beda2 agama tapi tetep aja pas mau nikah beda wuihhhhhh kayak ada yg mau mati hehe.

  2. setuju banget nih seharusnya berlainan agama gak membuat jadi pecah belah. Harus ikutin bhineka tunggsl ika *asik* hehhehe. oh btw Tuhannya orang islam itu Allah bukan Nabi Muhammad :)

  3. ahahaha totally agree!! apapun agamanya harusnya kita engga nge-beda2in orang :D lagipula semua agama kan ngajarin hal yang sama, tentang kasih <3 hehehee

  4. No advice, no critics. Okay, that’s easy. So here’s support ( by this former Protestant who married a former Catholic, themselves ending up being agnostics and raising their children to make their own free choices ) for any tolerant and sensible approach to faith and religion

  5. gua yakin gak akan ada masalah kok kalo married beda agama. :)
    bokap nyokap gua juga beda agama. bokap gua buddha, nyokap katolik.
    anak2nya, cuma gua yang akhirnya bener2 katolik. koko ama cici gua… gak ada agamanya. hahaha. tapi bukan berarti atheis juga ya. cuma gak menganut salah satu agama aja. :P

    emang sih, dulu gua kalo ke gereja sendirian suka ngiri ngeliat orang2 lain yang ke gereja nya bareng keluarganya. rasanya menyenangkan sekali pastinya ya. dan gua berangan2 pengen banget nantinya punya keluarga yang agamanya sama.

    anyway, waktu ketemu Esther juga awalnya gak langsung mikir agamanya sama atau gak kok. cuma kebetulan aja ternyata kita agamanya sama. jadi terkabul impian gua dulu. hahaha. tapi gua yakin kalo katakanlah Esther agamanya beda pun gak akan masalah buat kita. :)

    yang penting sih kita open minded aja karena yang kayak lu bilang, agama itu kan hubungan kita sama Yang Di Atas ya.. jadi itu hak asasi masing2. gak perlu sampe harus convert hanya karena mau married. itu menurut gua sih ya… yang penting tetep toleransi dan gak terlalu fanatik aja. :)

  6. May,
    kudos for this posting! As a kid who grew up in a mixed religion home I get where you’re coming from. As an adult I became an agnostic and married a non-believer husband. even with such differences, it’s working just fine so far. We have the same vision on how we would like to raise our son in regard to spiritual matter (teaching him World Religions and letting him choose on his own when he’s of age.) I have seen people of differing faiths who marry each other and have lasting,happy relationships. It is definitely not a deal breaker. Equality for all, ya know? Different skin colors can marry, different religions can marry. I love the modernized society :)
    You & Bandi are going to be just fine.

  7. I believe that we all actually worship the same God, the Supreme Being, the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of all Creation…it’s just that we worship Him in a different way and call Him in a different name. Because if you look into it, all religion actually teach the same thing : LOVE (Kasih, to be exact)

    So yeah, I don’t think “Pernikahan Beda Agama” is a big problem. It’s possible and it’s beautiful. (I just haven’t figured out how to cheat the “paperworks” without one pretending to “convert” to another religion…LOL)

    Btw, as a closing, I’m gonna give you one of my favorite quotes about Religion :

    “God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? All religions must be tolerated… for… every man must get to heaven his own way.

    This is my simple religion : No need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness”.

    ~Dalai Lama

  8. Hi…numpang komen ya…. karena aku barusan menikah dengan suamiku yang beragama Buddha, dan aku sendiri beragama Katolik (dan kita melangsungkan pemberkatan pernikahan di dua tempat ibadah)…menurutku beragama itu hak masing-masing orang, yang penting saling menghargai…. yang bisa bikin cerai itu sebenarnya bukan karena agamanya tapi karena keegoisannya, jadi selama kita saling menghargai agama masing-masing dan tidak memaksakan kehendak sendiri, aku yakin akan baik-baik saja.
    Mengenai ke gereja sendirian ya… hm…gimana ya? aku itu orang yang merasa ke gereja itu kalo barengan kok…jadinya aku ga beribadah ya? hihihi… yang ada kok jadi ngobrol? :D makanya aku itu lebih suka ke gereja sendiri… suami aku sih fine-fine aja kalo temenin aku ke gereja, dan aku pun juga selalu temanin Ridson ke vihara… (sampai kira-kira beberapa tahun lalu Ridson udah berhenti ke vihara…jangan tanya kenapa…karena aku juga ga tau….) jadi menurutku urusan kita sama Tuhan ya beda dengan urusan kita sama manusia. Mau ke mall barengan oke… tapi mau beribadah ga usah tunggu barengan…. pergi sendiri juga gpp… yang utama beribadah dengan serius… hihihi….

  9. it’s all thanks to the open apartheid imposed by our government during new order. The “religion in your KTP” thing was product of Soeharto!

    you’re willing to give up your identity for your love? well that’s a BIG sacrifice. I wish things could have been simpler for you mei.

    also, I’m catholic but non-practicing catholic aka “Agama KTP”. however since I was born catholic, it’s part of my identity and I wouldn’t convert to any other religion even if I’m really agnostic.

    on 2009 I got my first job on one condition: I had to visit charismatic christian church every week. I was really depressed back then. I felt like losing my free will. when I got another job on late 2010, I felt like Adam and Hawwa. The snake just gave me fruit of free will!

    I was fed with weekly dosage of dogmas every week, had to suppress my urge to counter the arguments with these son of christs. after I got new job, I minimized contact with them because I don’t want to be associated with such horrendous community. they are basically nice only if you do what they said. It almost drove me to suicidal thoughts. but thanks goodness, I no longer had to force myself doing something I don’t want to

    my mom told me I should have spouse from catholic and chinese. she doesn’t explicitly say I shouldn’t marry someone from other other ethnicity but since we’re culturally catholic chinese, she recommended to pick someone similar with our culture than being very different (ironically, I see a lot more successful story from mixed ethnicity/religion marriage). I guess toleration is the key to marriage…

    converting your faith to someone else’s is a very big decision. not sure I would be able to survive it mei. I hope you will do.

    • Calvin, i am not converting honey… Not at all. Not in a million years i hope. And I am not sacrificing my identity for love because that is just so wrong for my perception.
      I understand what you meant though for not having free will. And I’m so happy now that you have that now :)

  10. Ah what a topic eh?

    Well my husband and I are one of those mixed religion couples. Momok banget ya kalo di Indo?
    Truthfully, I also suffered from all prejudice our society has created and I also suffered from narrow – minded views in the name of religion. God created human with different cultures, sizes, characters and why not also different religions? I second to the opinion that a marriage fails it is caused by human selfishness and not by different faiths. When I decided to marry my current husband I had to defend myself from my own family and friends for years, and got so tired of people’s mean comments… I will not convert for the sake’s of people expectation and I absolutely do not want that for my partner as well. I was born as a Muslim and I will never be a Christian and so did my partner feel.

    Bronnie Ware, a brave and an inspirational woman has recently written Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, and the first regret from dying people :

    I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    And if I read it, I think I have made the best choice by marrying my husband and stay true to myself.

    But people changed May, my parents came around and were happy for us eventually because they saw how happy we were and how we loved each other so much. The religion thing really put a strain on our relationship, but it also made us together stronger as a couple. I hope you and Bandi can figure this thing out and see what’s best for both of you!

    • I hope my mom will someday think that way too. That she’s wrong. =)
      Thank you Oppie. This means a lot coming from you. i love how you write about your hubby. Feels like reading myself in a parallel universe. And yeah, I don’t have surname too. Hahaha

  11. So true!!! Terharu baca bagian yang kalian saling menemani satu sama lain saat ibadah hari-hari besar. That’s cool! Something that might be criticized here.
    Pernah ngerasain susahnya hubungan beda agama disini. Semuanya pasti memprotes, dan ujung-ujungnya itu jadi bahan perdebatan tanpa akhir :((

    Rosario buatan tangannya so sweet sekali May, dan quotes Buddha yang terakhir keren banget!!

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