The third week in my religion class, my students and I discussed ‘beliefs about God’. After we discussed the material I downloaded from this site , I led the discussion to the students’ weekly habit to go to church. There were only five students on that day. Three of them – girls – go to church every Saturday and Sunday. At first, their parents somewhat forced them to go to church. I am of opinion that this is the common way for Indonesian parents to introduce religions to their children. However, then, they admitted that after they grew older, they go to church because they want to; or even because they need to. Another student – a boy – did not remember whether he was forced by his parents to go to church when he was very little. The interesting thing from his experience is he said he often got bored when he was in the church. Yet, he feels sinful and he feels something missing in his life if he doesn’t go to church on Sunday. The last student – a boy – said that his mother never forced him to go to church. Nevertheless, he has experience to go to church for sure.
The following thing, I led the discussion to praying. “What does “praying” mean to you?”
Two girls said that they pray to God when they want some things to come true in her life. They believe that God is the only Being that can help them make their dreams come true. They also sometimes pray to God to say thanks to God after making their dreams come true. Another student – a boy – said that he hardly prays to God. He goes to church only to attend and listen to the sermons. One student – a girl – also said that she hardly prays to God. This is very interesting to me because during my experience as a so-called religious person, during praying five times a day, I mostly asked God to make my dreams come true; only sometimes I said thanks to God during my prays. :-p For me, praying five times a day – either at home or at mosque – is analogous with asking God to make my dreams come true. For this one student of mine, going to church does not always mean praying to God. Going to church means attending services only. Furthermore, she said, “For me, praying means communicating with God, especially when I have problems, I need someone to talk to, and God is the only Being I trust. This is very private and I usually do this at home, in my bedroom.” FYI, as far as I am concerned, she is an introvert person.
This is also very interesting to me because recently I start thinking that praying is none other than communicating with ourselves. What we dream will not come true if we do not do anything real as efforts. When the so-called religious people need a Being outside from themselves to talk to, I as a secular – or agnostic sometimes LOL – do not really need that Being outside me. I talk to myself! You can check my post at P R A Y I N G
When I said this to my students, one last student in the class – he admitted that he is an agnostic, the one whose mother never forced him to go to church – said, “Miss … I always talk to myself, most of the time.” Simply I said, “It means you ALWAYS pray!” LOL.
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