I believe in God. But I’m not sure yet what that means. For example, I don’t think atheists think of God in the same way I do. I believe in goodness. I believe in goodness in people. And, since I’m a person, I also believe in myself. I’m still on the road in terms of defining my way of believing in God; I still have a lot of questions for Him. I think it’s a never ending story between me and Him.
I’m not baptised. My first touch with God was through my grandmother. I was a twin and she wanted us to be baptised when we were born. But my other grandmother was a communist so it was kind of a battle between them. And my mother didn’t particularly care either way. So she didn’t baptise us. But when we want to my grandmother, and to church with her, I found it really strange. It meant nothing at all to me. It was just people sitting and singing and praying.
But then I grew up and well, a lot of things happened in my life that made me ask questions. I started to question why people are so cruel. For example, the Holocaust. Where was God then? So I was searching for answers.
Meanwhile I met my girlfriend. She’s from a Catholic family. And I began to think that me meeting her, at this time when I was asking so many questions – He was sending me a message. So I googled this course at a Catholic seminary and I started to go there. I wasn’t expecting much. I was quite shy. I wondered “who are these guys? Speaking about God and all that.” But it was perfect. I met some wonderful people. We learnt a lot. About God. About everything. In particular I remember spending a lot of time learning to meditate. To be still. We would practice sitting in a room silently for hours reading a single line from the Bible in repetition, just as a way of focusing. And then we’d spend more time meditating on what that line might mean.
Unfortunately I didn’t finish the course because we left the Czech Republic in March and the next Easter they were all baptised. But not me. So I felt sad. But I don’t worry about that. I think people can live a good life without being in the church. You can be an atheist and be a good person. And equally what the Catholic Church says about, say, homosexuality is just unacceptable. But it’s not just one person. It’s a big community with a lot of opinions.
My faith is challenged every day. I wake up and see shitty weather, think “I have to go to work. I have to go and spend 8 hours somewhere I don’t want to be.” There’s so little time to stop and reflect. But ultimately I think it’s all for a higher purpose. For instance, you get to come home and meet your partner or your friends and you appreciate it more. You experience things. Going camping, meeting new people. This is what we are here for. To spread goodness in the world. I think that whenever you do something good, you change the world just a little – just a millimetre. You’re turning the world around.
I’m trying. It’s so hard. I’m failing over and over. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stupid but true. I think I’m a good person but I’m so often failing. It could just be a little lie, even a lie about what I’ve been doing. I might tell people I’ve spent my time doing something productive like reading a book when in fact I’ve been chatting online. Just stupid lies [laughing]. But I’m trying to be a good person.
My life here in Vancouver doesn’t feel particularly Christian. I wake up, go to work, eat, go to sleep. And I don’t take the time to ask what I can do to help the people around me. So when I think about that I feel I’m failing. I don’t think it’s enough to just go to church. You actually have to help people.