My dad always said “If you want to have a good time, there are 3 things you should never talk about; politics, religion and money.” He was a wise man.
Because of his advice, I have friends from all different religious and political persuasions, and many of them have no idea how I feel about God or whether or not I voted for Obama. I don’t talk about these things when we’re trying to have fun. One of my dad’s beliefs that I chose to adopt.
I would never deny that what someone believes in is real and true to them. I would never question their faith. Sometimes I have to question the inconsistencies that I see, so I can reconcile them in my own mind.
And this happened yesterday. I was reading a blog post written by a woman of deep faith (which I envy) entitled My Husband is Not My Soulmate. The title caught my eye, so I had to read it.
She is eventually going to tell her two daughters that the idea of a soul mate is wrong, that believing one person out there will complete you, is wrong. I am in agreement. You should go and complete your own self. Fulfill your own self. If you find someone to share it with you, that would be cool. If you find a few people along the way, even cooler. If you decide not to find anyone, more power to you. So I’m with her on the idea of Soul Mate as Fairy Tale.
She says she will tell them that the soul mate thing is “made up and dangerous and unrealistic”. She says the “lie we’ve been sold, damages so many relationships, ends marriages, and leaves countless people unhappy”. I can totally get on board. I am with you here. No soul mates! Girl power!
She goes on to say “their God loves them more than any man ever could” and that “He’s their soul mate. He’s their whole.”
So, now I have some issues.
There are a lot of people in this world who believe that God is “made up and dangerous and unrealistic”. That religion is a “lie we’ve been sold”. Not only has it “damaged relationships” but it has killed millions of people. It has been the cause and continuation of unimaginable suffering. Conservative Christians use Bible verses to condemn AIDS patients. Muslim extremists twist the Qur’an to make their wars holy. Something about the song “Onward Christian Soldiers” bothered me, even as a small child. “Dangerous ” ideas.
And if the idea of a soul mate is unrealistic and puts too much pressure on us to be perfect, how is God as a soul mate any less unrealistic? I could never live up to his/her standards if he/she were my soul mate. I would be shame and guilt ridden, all the days of my life. For sure.
I know they are her daughters, and she has every right to teach them whatever she wants to teach them. But I wonder if they could choose to believe in soul mates if they wanted to? Could they choose to believe in whatever they want to believe? Or do they have to believe exactly as she does?
As a parent I can confidently say that my girls will not end up believing all of the things that either I or their father believe. And I am fine with that, because I may not even end up believing what I believe right now. Things are changing all of the time. New galaxies are being explored. Who knows what is out there to challenge my beliefs?
Facts are facts and can be shared by everyone. But beliefs are a personal thing. I can completely disagree with your dogma but still accept, perhaps even admire, that fact that you truly believe it with all of your heart and soul, if there is such a thing as a soul.
You have the beliefs that you need to get you through this life. Maybe the idea of a soul mate keeps people going through the tough years, the years when they are searching for themselves. Maybe they need that idea, out there, to guide them. Just like the idea of God, Jesus, Allah, or Neil deGrasse Tyson keeps people going.
We all pick and choose the unexplainable intangible illogical things we will believe in. The things that we have faith in.
Whether it’s Soul-Mate or Jesus or Ganesh that keeps you moving through your life, or simply faith in gravity that helps you to walk this earth, so be it. It’s all yours. Have at it.
Let’s just not talk about it when we’re trying to have a good time.