I am writing this essay to address a topic on which I place much importance and which I find a sore need in our country and our world at this time.
I am writing about faith.
One of the things that I pride myself on is anonymity: the ability to blend into a group and empathize with them. It's not something that I am perfect at in any way, but something I strive to do.
As such, it is without surprise that I find that people sometimes do not know that I am someone of faith. My faith is in God and my fellow man. My faith is in tomorrow. I identify as a Christian, but I do not in any way share many of the incredibly damaging and perhaps deserved stereotypes that the likes of the 'Tea Party' have promulgated throughout what seems to be an ever-more polarizing society.
I believe that what unites us is our differences, and I have faith that we will not let other forces that seek to divide us, do so for their aims.
I was asked recently by a scholarship application to make a statement of what I believe - my faith. And I realized that I had never really done this. I had never committed to paper what I believe.
So here it is.
On this Earth, I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe that, while we can be terrible forces of disturbing power, we all hold the power and capability to be immeasurable forces for good. And I believe it is each of our right to make a choice as to which we seek. To better our fellow man, or to leave him as we find him.
I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ has redeemed us. I believe that I cannot ever truly know or prove this. Do I think that other people are going to hell? No. That's not my job.
Do I judge others, as the likes of Ann Coulter seem to on popular television? No. Again, that's not my job.
Am I anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-every-other-controversial issue? No. I am anti-tobacco. I really do think those companies are a scourge that I will at the first chance demolish if the free market doesn't get there first.
Am I a 'hater' or a 'faker'? I hope not.
What I am, is an imperfect, but interested party. I am interested in other people. How are they doing? What can I do, if anything?
I don't understand how the concept of faith garnered such a bad rap. It seems like somebody took a wonderful gift and wrapped it in the worst detritus.
To me, faith simply means believing in something that isn't currently provable or perhaps logical. As an aspiring and aspirating entrepreneur, faith comes with my job. But not blind faith. No.
Informed faith. A faith that is informed by the beautiful world that I see around me, and yes, the hard things too.
A faith that hopes and yearns for something better, knowing that there is nothing I can do to change the hardships in my past or the past hurts of others. But rather, a faith that knows and believes that tomorrow, we can do it better.
And if tomorrow, doesn't work, we'll try the day after.
My faith is not exclusive. My faith is inclusive.
My faith is not hateful. My faith is not harsh. My faith is not explicitly friendly and implicitly mean.
My faith accepts people and rejects ill-intended behavior. But my faith is not and will never be part of a vitriolic and caustic you vs. me culture designed by a cunning few to sell toxic ideas to a hungry many. My faith can never be that. How can anyone really believe in that process?
My faith believes in a higher power, and in other people. My faith knows that life isn't perfect, but moves for that, anyway. My faith says that, you're a smart person and you have a perspective. It's not my job to change that. But, if you're having a hard time, my faith says that I might remind you, as I have been reminded, my friend, that today is not all there is. There is more.
And I think it's important that people know that about me.
- Kevin Rustagi, November, 14, 2014.