What is My Faith?

by Casp Lawrie

Faith is something with which I’ve never not struggled. One summer in high school, I thought that belief in God would fix all of my problems, but I went about it in the wrong way. Since then, I’ve struggled to understand how a loving and kind deity can inspire so much hatred and violence.

I’m not devoutly religious by any means, but I do believe in a higher power because I find it comforting, and because I grew up in a society where Christianity is the norm, it has become my default method of spiritual expression. Organized faith can be a very powerful thing; on a few occasions, I have felt inexplicably wonderful things during church services. Organized faith can also do violent and destructive things, and many of the institutions associated with the Catholic Church and with the various denominations of Christianity don’t appear to feel the need to acknowledge their part in the systematic violence against marginalized people. As someone whose non-binary gender and bisexuality are erased by pretty much every system I exist under, this doesn’t exactly make me feel comfortable.

I’ve been trying to reconcile this for a little while, and I’m at a point where I think the following:

Faith is not necessarily about going to church every week, or praying before every meal, or wearing a symbol associated with one’s religion (although if you do those things I fully support you). Faith, to me, is the belief that an entity is out there encouraging me to do my best. They believe in my ability to treat other people with the respect and humanity which those people deserve. In a sense, the way I express my faith is with my existence, with my art, with my (albeit limited) activism because in all of those things I am inspired to believe in myself and, even in the face of violence, in the ultimate goodness of humanity.​