What comes next after we die? I grew up believing that when we die there are two options: heaven or hell. The path to heaven is narrow and the few that make it are chosen and Dutch. I was a teenager when I became skeptical of this reality.
This belief was my dad’s reality and he believed it with deep conviction and unwavering faith. To believe anything different would shatter everything he knew to be true. I was young when I started to question the tenets of our church.
I once argued with my father about the illogical philosophy of our exclusive religion. How did we become the chosen ones? Why would God choose one tiny population out of the billions of people on the earth? Choose a small portion of that population and then out of that portion a handful of people? If heaven is filled with the Dutch people I know, it will be a dismal, sombre affair. No thanks.
My father’s response was, ach – a sound that comes from the back of your throat similar to the sound you make when you hork. If you’re Dutch then you know the sound. He found my questions infuriating. He never questioned our beliefs, so in his blind faith he had no answers.
When the elders of the church made their annual visit to check in on us, I found they talked in circles, never really answering the question. Under the stern watchful eye of my father I treaded lightly. To ask too many questions was a poor reflection of his ability to control his family.
Our church was not the place for questions or curiousity. Being curious by nature, I never stopped questioning and evaluating. There are many people who have abandoned their belief systems to adopt a completely different faith or to give up entirely. Atheists become christians and vice versa. Heaven is replaced with reincarnation and some believe a little bit of everything.
Curiousity reveals endless possibilities and never stops asking questions. It has blown my world wide open to discover a diversity of faith I didn’t know existed outside of my bubble. To paraphrase a student minister – to know more is to realize how little you really know. In thinking you have all the answers, you know nothing.
The more I know, the more I question. The more I question, the more I discover. Curiousity is a path travelled with an open mind with more options than I could ever have imagined.