Editor: Katerina Tsitoura
There are times when you walk alone among crowds and for a moment you glance at those passing by, beings whose paths cross your paths briefly in this infinite eternity and disappear inside their own lives, into their personal anxieties, their little triumphs, their painful separations, their dull jobs and their uncontrollable passions. You wonder who they are when they shut the doors of their houses, what they are seeking to complete the puzzle of happiness, what love will transform their being, which destiny will mark their souls.
Then that peculiar sensation overwhelms you again. You know it very well; all those who look up at the starry sky know it, as they once pondered on what is beyond the visible, what power is intertwining with our faiths, what magical energy grants us the illusion of immortality just to scatter it afterwards into a black hole of an ending that seems as mysterious as our agony to decode it.
I remember grandpa and grandma, segments of the infamous ending that has never ceased to frighten me, reminding me that good kids always pray before going to sleep.
Somewhere here, in my individual vocabulary, yet another word enters, ‘religion’. If you try to define it, you’ll tell me that religion is the relationship of a person with God and whether you turn to the Latin ‘religar/religer= ‘to connect’ or the Greek (throsko – to ascend) word analysis, you’ll conclude that it implies the intensely interconnected relationship between the divine and the human, the spiritual and materialistic, the psyche and natural. Then – for psychology lovers – there is Freud who, in his attempt to approach religion in his own personal and completely scientific way, defined it as a neurosis, a simple but torturing neurosis.
Your grandpa and grandma, many years ago, certainly talked to you about Adam and Eve, about the original sin that shut the gates of blissful eternity, about God who from up there as a fair judge assesses your deeds, about the son that sacrificed himself for his kin.
You were growing old watching the people around you. You were watching presidents of powerful states declaring the strength of their faith and then just signing in cold blood to have nations slaughtered. Then you went to church, you lit your candle like a good Christian and on the road home you hastily passed by the ragged homeless, the children begging for a scrap of bread from your wealthy home.
I don’t mean to sound unjust, some times (you know which ones, those when a sense of a saviour flooded your moral sphere) you briefly stopped to search your wallet, looking for change. And then you moved away, certain that you did what had to be done, that heaven would await you .
You kept on growing in a world that will always feel safer praying and burning the candles of hope, in a system that will impoverish whole countries to enrich banks, in a sociological experiment pulled from the imagination of the most twisted mind, in a forest that only wild animals can survive.
You would go to work and listen to the devout explain to you that it is a sin to eat meat on Fridays. These were the same devout people that, as soon as you turned your back, did not miss their chance to embellish you with their spiteful critique, their unfair slander, but, God forbid, always religiously abiding by the fasting rules.
You felt confused because, deep down you really wanted to believe, you wished to feel that in a magical universe, eternal and some times scary, you’re not alone but someone up there is protecting you, cares for you, embraces you with the light of wisdom and unconditional acceptance. However, then there came those damn nights when thousands of thoughts hindered your breathing, and you wondered in the name of whose God are there starving children, people slaughtered and Christians of the developed western world watching with a shivering apathy miserable refugees disappearing in the depths of the sea.
Nikos Kazatzakis had once said that God can’t save us, we can save him. Maybe, just before the end of humanity, we can turn our backs to the future that some write with the pen of their interests, stop seeking saviours in the skies and form a new world painted with the colours of those idealists that believ that heaven awaits only the crazy ones who shatter the walls of silence and fear, smudging the grey of indifference. And if God exists, He is smiling at them as He well knows that His religion has got only one rule, love.