I believe in God. Don’t ask me why. This is my feeling. I’m happy that you are an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Pagan, whatever… provided you do not impose your views or behaviour on others. By the way, for me, atheism is also a form of belief (again, my own view).
I have always felt there was a powerful somebody above us – not something, but somebody, with a will, a personality, a heart, with feelings.
I was brought up as a Christian and I believe in the God of the Bible, who loved us so much that He gave his Son to save us.
Again, I am not begging you to agree with me. Provided you are happy with what you deeply believe in (and again do not impose it on others), I am more than happy. I’m even happier if it makes you a better person, whatever your belief is.
To be honest, I have come to have less and less faith in Catholicism where I was brought up in, or in any Christian religion. I trust God, not men, who often use religion for their own interest (again, my own feeling).
With years, I found myself to be less and less praying, with being more involved with my daily activities. It did not harm anybody, and life went on.
Back in May 2013, when Lee Rigby was savagely murdered in the name of Islam (don’t say it was not Islam – it was definitely not in the name of Buddhism, or of Christianity, or of Atheism [why not a capital A to atheism?], I looked and I could see people up to the British Prime Minister saying that this had “nothing to do with Islam”! Sure enough, Mr Cameron’s words had the exact opposite effect on me to the ones he seemed to wish: I would not believe anymore such a blatant lie and propaganda (would he have said the same if there were no Muslims living in Britain?).
I had heard of Tommy Robinson 2 years before. I had just seen he was opposing Islam, and had thought he was very brave. I had almost forgotten him.
But this murder made me look back at Tommy, who had spoken openly of Islam. I created a Twitter account, and followed him. I watched him organise and lead the expectable anger of his people against this barbaric murder (which the national authorities should have led, instead of being in total denial, which was the best way to make the anger worse), and organise demonstrations to simply lay flowers in respect for Lee Rigby, in many towns, at the local war memorial. I watched him tell his followers (or tweet them, I cannot remember), to accept and respect any Muslim who would want to join these demonstrations. These were not words of a racist or whatever, as the main stream media wanted to paint him.
I carried on watching what he tweeted and watching his videos, and could feel how this man was genuine, committed, and brave beyond imaginable. I felt he was a man of total integrity. I hence felt a total respect for him.
A few months later, in October 2013, he announced publicly he was leaving the EDL. I did not know much of the EDL at that time, which I simply associated with him. So that it was a big shock. Was he also leaving his fight against Islamic extremism ? What even shocked me more was that he announced it from the headquarters a think tank of reformist Muslims, Quilliam. He did not seem comfortable whilst he was publicly announcing his leaving. His body language spoke for him: he was not the usual Tommy Robinson I now knew.
I was totally unaware of what his reasons were, and why he was presenting his leaving from Quilliam. I had seen him as a hero, and things did not seem right. I was shocked, and left without figuring out what to think about all of that. It took me 2 days to try to make sense out of it. I was puzzled.
Then, after 2 days, I summarized what I knew about Tommy: he had always been committed, genuine, honest, and incredibly brave. He had shown he was a very trustworthy man. I was absolutely certain and confident about this. In fact, I realised I had faith in Tommy. I knew he could make mistakes: he has and he will, because he is human. But I had faith in his motivations. A total faith, which even surprised me.
I now know that he wanted to step down from the EDL earlier anyway, because he could not control some racist or violent elements within the organisation, and he did not want his name to be associated with such behaviour and attitude, and I now know that he had a deal with Quilliam, who would help financially his family when he would later on be in prison, with Quilliam taking credit for his leaving. And genuinely, he wanted to know whether Quilliam could address the mindset of many British Muslims, and his short relation with them made him understand that they just could not, as they had very little impact on the Muslim community, if any.
At that time, what Tommy was doing with this announcement in Quilliam was unclear to me. But I was sure of Tommy’s motivations, even if he seemed to do something weird, even if he seemed to betray: he just could not be a traitor, this was as sure to me as I am writing this sentence right now. I just had faith in Tommy. I remember tweeting a few days later to somebody who said Tommy was a traitor that I would blindly put my life in his hands. I still would. I have a total faith in Tommy’s motivations.
Funnily enough, my faith in Tommy reinforced my faith in God. No, Tommy is not the Messiah! I’m sure he’ll laugh about this, if he ever reads this! But if I had faith in a man because I simply knew him, if I trusted his heart, despite it seemed he was betraying, how come would I have not faith in my God himself whom I also know? I know him by the beauty of his creation, by the Gospels, by the example of integrity, love, compassion, and common sense that his own Son showed whilst he lived on earth. Anyone can see that Jesus was a man of love. And I know and have faith in these 3 simple words, which mean so much: “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Yes, there are things I cannot understand, such was why is there evil in the world.
I trusted Tommy when things seemed he was a traitor. I could swear he was not, on my life.
Would I not trust God, just because I don’t understand why he allows evil temporarily? God reveals himself through his creation, where I see a sense of beauty, of love, for example from animals to their children. There is such a harmony in the entire universe. It is beyond our understanding. Again, I am not asking you to believe me. I’m just saying how I feel things, and the way they make sense to me.
When God announced to Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky, Abraham was already old and had no child. But because God had spoken with him previously, because Abraham had seen what God had done, he knew God’s personality and heart, he trusted God. So that Abraham had faith when God told him he would have a huge number of descendants, and “God counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, quoted in the New Testament in Romans 4:3).
Even though there is evil on earth, I just cannot figure out that there would be no God. We all know the prayer in which Jesus advised us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 6:9,10). So, fair enough, one day, God’s will will be done, in heaven and on earth. It is not now (at least not on earth). I don’t understand why it is not now, but so it is. I don’t understand why our Heavenly Father tolerates evil, but he promised it will not be forever. This is sufficient for me. I trust him.
I am like a young child with his daddy, who does not understand why Daddy is doing this. But He is my Daddy. He knows. I have faith in Him. And I now pray Him daily.
Just to conclude: whatever deep feelings you have about life, if they make you happy, I’m happy about this. What I found with Tommy Robinson is that this man, by his example, has helped to reveal the best of me. I’m sure he has helped other people to reveal the best of their heart, whatever their belief can be.