Kuala Lumpur -- Image by Christopher Chan via FlickrBy Crissy
Last week three churches were bombed in my city of Kuala Lumpur. It was a confirmation of issues that had been brewing in my head for the past few months.
I am 21, and I've been through the whole assembly line. Sunday School, youth groups, you name it, I've done it. It was only for the past few years however that the euphoria and eagerness died down. I was an emotional teenager, and as I grew more level headed as an adult, I assumed that my 'relationship with Christ' was just plateauing as a result of that. As I gained friends and a boyfriend, I found that I liked who I was and I didn't need affirmation from this God who 'loved me'. I did my best to fan the flames again. I took up a one year Bible reading challenge where I bored myself every night with chapter after chapter. I went to a remote Bible camp to seek peace and understanding. I served more fervently than ever at church. I confessed sins and asked for God to fill me with his Spirit.
Nothing happened. And every week, the church service just seemed more distant and repetitive and dismal. The whole religion seemed like one long, tedious guilt trip. Instead of love and freedom, there was weekly guilty self-flagellation at church.
One of my university lecturers -- Mr. Harris -- and a beloved film director -- Yasmin Ahmad -- passed away within a month of each other. They were both Muslims. I couldn't reconcile how a loving God could send two such beautiful people to hell just because they called their god by a different name.
I wanted more than anything to love people for who they are instead of constantly worrying about how to convert them. I wanted to love my boyfriend whole heartedly and for us to enjoy a healthy, well-rounded relationship without feeling guilty about it.
And then, I stumbled upon this site. I realized that Christianity was not the only way to live my life. There was nothing wrong or sinful about me at all. The sky never seemed so blue as on that day.
Meanwhile, my country is in turmoil because the Muslims are angry with Christians over our usage of the word Allah. You see, some Christians in my country have Malay as their mother tongue. And consequently, the Malay Bibles have the word 'God' or 'Father' translated as Allah.
The Malay Muslims maintain that 'Allah' is exclusively for Muslim use. Today in protest, three churches in my neighbourhood have been torched with Molotov Cocktails. I mourn as people fight over semantics and terms derived from old, outdated books. Political motives are carried out under the cover of religious sentiments. I just feel like the world would be a better place without religion. If only we could just love each other for the people we are instead of hating each other for the banner we carry.