Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Birthday with Jesus and demon on a shoulder.

I have been thinking a lot about religion recently. Again.

What I was thinking is just how much I wished I could believe he ( she? it?) existed. Because, there are times in our lives when we really want to ask someone for help. 

My friend's child is seriously, critically ill. And as I saw her message on my phone, as the few written words formed into a scary reality, I mentally begged someone, something for this child to get better. It is something you just do automatically, don't you. Beg someone. Please, I thought, please...Let him get better! But whom was I asking? If he, she, it...did exist, would he not have allowed this to happen in the first place? And if she/he/it decided to allow for this to happen...would he change his mind only because a few of her friends ( including the ones who always slagged him off until now) prayed and asked him to? 

And so I have been thinking about religious people, and tragic or stressful moments in life; such as death, diseases, tsunamis and whatever else. Every time, I wonder... How much easier would it be for me, if I really thought something existed out there, somewhere?

A few days ago I almost emailed this one woman who left a comment on a Facebook posting of the New Zealand triplets who died in the Villagio fire in Doha a few months ago. The parents are obviously finding their faith helpful in dealing with the unthinkable loss of their toddlers. They are clearly people with God, which is...well, great for them, I guess. But this particular comment from one of their readers pissed me off. The Weekes put up a photo of a little pretty Chinese ( I think) girl, who also died that day. It was an awfully sad posting. On that day, it was, would have been, the girl's birthday. And the couple mentioned just how cute she was, and how her parents must miss her.

Most of the people commented by saying things along the religious lines, such as blessings and prayers, which of course, were understandable. Whatever works for them to make them feel better, right? But this particular woman left the comment in which she sounded excited. 'Wow, she said. Birthday with Jesus! How much fun is that?'

I felt physically sick reading this. Fun?? In what world does this woman think that having a dead child is fun? It made me want to write to her and ask, did she honestly believe that this enthusiastic comment would make the parents feel any better? 

It made me want to ask her if she ever lost someone she loved, a pet...a parent.. a friend...let alone a child. How much fun would she think they were having with Jesus on their birthdays? 

Husband dismissed my problems with the morons on the Internet. He explained that there are many crazy people out there and sadly, they all have access to the Internet these days. Fine. I get it.
But really, my personal issue with this  comment goes beyond that. It is exactly this bizarre attitude that I strongly object to when it comes to religion.

Let me give you a good example. In Doha- just like in Baku, by the way, it is quite common to see small children jump up and down the seats in the car. In the front, in the back...in the middle moving between the back and the front...whatever you can think of. I even saw a child sitting on his bicycle inside the car! Now, as a parent and as a driver in Doha, (and you will never understand what I mean unless you tried to drive- and survive on the roads of Doha) I simply don't get how anyone could risk their children's lives like this. It does not make sense to me. 

However, if you are a religious person living your life with a fatalistic approach...Then it is simply not your problem, is it. The child will survive if God wants him to. If the parent is driving like an idiot or some other idiot might cause an accident...well, it is God's idea of what should have happened. And nothing (I guess, including seat belts) would change that outcome. 

I mean, what a great way to live! Nothing is your fault! You are not responsible for anything that happens! Everything is God's will. Perfect. In fact, I suspect the whole Villagio fire is nobody's fault either. God wanted 13 children to perish that day. So it happened. And now the little Chinese girl can have her birthday with Jesus! How much fun is that??? Right?

Also, the same approach works when you want to do something a bit naughty. Not a problem. A friend was telling us a story of their maid getting caught in action when she was having a bit of fun with their driver. A very religious driver from Syria. With a religious maid from Shri-Lanka. Caught in action, the driver lowered his eyes as he tried to explain the unfortunate situation to the owner of the house. Look, sir...he said. The demon was sitting on my shoulder

See? Not the driver's fault! He was not a cheating bastard whose wife and children were waiting for him back home in Syria, no, no no... His penis would have stayed safely tucked into his pants; but, sadly, the demon sat on his shoulder and told him to stick it into the maid. Simple!

As I said...Sometimes, I wonder what it must feel like...to have this outlook on life. To see sad things as 'meant to be'. To see everything as someone else's responsibility, someone else's will. And in a way, i wish I could look at a picture of that little girl, and see not a tragically wasted life in a stupid accident that should and could have easily been prevented...but God's will. And what it must be like, to sincerely believe she is out there, having a piece of cake with Jesus? Yes, sometimes I wish I could.


  1. Ha Ha ! Love it ! Especially the demon on the shoulder bit. Well put. Religion is not an excuse for anything. What we need more of is common sense...Sandra

  2. You made me think of a TV report, where a woman and her grsndson were taking a bus that would take them to a Peruvian Andean city. The bus had no seatbelts nor any other kind of safety devices. And when the reporter asked the woman why she was putting the boy in such a risk, her answer was: it's up to God whether we get or not to that city.
    I guess it's easier to live like that: make other one take the blame for your mistakes. And even better if that other one is God himself.

  3. Some people just never get the courage to grow up, imo...

  4. I don't think this kind of fatalistic passing of blame is exclusive to those who claim to have faith, but those with a faith that stray certainly show themselves up more than those that don't have it. Who do those who don't believe in something blame for their indiscretions? Usually another person or circumstance, I find both groups equally infuriating.

  5. Something I've been thinking about too recently. I'd like to understand the mentality here. Really understand the underlying belief system that explains the driving, the line cutting, as well as the more positive things, sadly, none of which I can think of at the moment but I know exist. I'd also be interested in what the person who posted the fun birthday with Jesus was thinking. But think that in the end it's better to not give some people more attention.

  6. Such a gem you are. I found your blog by accident when there was a small chance I might move to Baku. Alas, I am still an American in Saudi Arabia. Think of I this way - if Saudi is the Middle East then Doha is Middle East Lite. Keep up the great writing. Your posts are fun, thoughtful and delightfully witty and sarcastic. I now visit here regularly. The post above hits the spot in many ways and fits in with the behavior I see in Saudi. I cringe every time I see kids running around in a moving car or standing with their heads out of the sun roof. I look forward to more of you charm, humor and thoughtful observations.

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for this. Have not had any nice comments from strangers for a while actually. :)

  7. So well said! I feel the same as I watch children jumping around in the front seats on the D-Ring road and ARGH the demon on the shoulder excuse!!! What a refreshing read :)

  8. Gurgen Bakhshiyan9 December 2012 at 22:38

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are making a lot of sense. I thank God that I was born with a strong believe in Him.Let me share what I think. All my life I was very close to my dad.At some point my dad suffered infarct, and was sick for over 12 years before he passed away. All these 12 years we(family) were cherishing his health as much as we possibly could.During these years I was thinking I will kill myself that minute he passes away. Few, years before his death I happened to study Bible with some religious people.I noticed that most of us have Bibles and Koran all around us but we never actually open them to try to read and understand. I found a lot of answers to the life questions, including those you raise at that paragraph:

    "But whom was I asking? If he, she, it...did exist, would he not have allowed this to happen in the first place? And if she/he/it decided to allow for this to happen...would he change his mind only because a few of her friends ( including the ones who always slagged him off until now) prayed and asked him to?"

    Bible helped me to believe in God's will, and of-cause in His justice,which all together help me live with a great believe and hope for the better.

    However, one has to understand that life is a great gift from God which he/she must cherish,value and protect. God did not instruct us to be irresponsible towards our life. On the contrary, He made us want to live forever. I see how my 88 -year old grandma is caring for her health, taking a lot of medications on time, and seeing doctors regulary)))Nevertheless, if things are really out of our control, and we die, so be it- that is what I call God's will.I am not afraid of anything in this life because I simply trust and believe.