Thoughts on religion- Toby Chavasse

In my opinion, God doesn’t exist. There is nothing after death. We are alive due to an immense amount of luck. Life is pointless and we focus too much on human efficiency.

For years, or as long as I can remember, I have tiptoed around my heretic beliefs. I would always say that  I sat on the fence when it came to religion when in actual fact I am a strong atheist. Despite living in a very secular age of history, for a while I was actually embarrassed to express my views.

 I would say the main reason is the fear of being judged by others or written off by some purely based on my views. I didn’t want to offend people either and so I came to the conclusion that the best thing for me to do was keep my beliefs to myself. I would only share them with close friends and family or after a considerable amount of drink has been consumed, (water of course, not wine. Unfortunately, I do not share the power of Jesus.)

Recently I realised that this is completely the wrong attitude to take around sharing my views, and also to listening to other peoples. Despite living in the most secular period of time, we are also living in the most globalised, multicultural period of the world. How can we reach true acceptance and understanding of everyone if there is so much stigma around sharing views on religion and culture? Everyone has different opinions, and it is okay to share them, in fact its healthy!

The only way we are going to reach a point where all cultures and religions are embraced is if we start to talk and listen, to express our views an deepen our understanding. The fact that society is becoming more and more multicultural means that on a daily basis we interact with loads of different people with different views and beliefs. We need to get rid of this idea that religion, faith and belief are taboo topics. Its okay to disagree with people on religious topics as long as you are respectful, and this is the way to gauge a better understanding of different cultures and to reach a point of acceptance.

Different people have different beliefs but that does not mean that you have to surround yourselves with like minded people only.

 Basson Du Toit who was a former pupil at RHS and who is now my surrogate brother is a devout christian, as well as a man of science. Our fundamental views of life differ completely yet that that does not affect our friendship whatsoever. Despite our very different views, we are very similar people. The way I like to think of it is that we took two very different paths, our beliefs, but ended up at the same destination, our enjoyment and positive outlook on life.

My first ever girlfriend back in Year 5 was a muslim. It being a year 5 relationship meant that we never actually spoke in person, at least not without dying from awkwardness. However, in the years to come we became really close friends, and in this case we were two very different people with two very different beliefs, yet this did not stop us forming a really close friendship.

The point I am trying to make is that what you believe doesn’t matter. What other people believe doesn’t matter. Someone’s religion or culture or belief should never be a reason not to get to know someone, or not to like someone, or not to fall in love with someone.

As society becomes more diverse, now more than ever it is so important to get talking, to understand each other, and to become an integrated, accepting society.

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