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FAITH – By Nosa Obaseki

In my English class we recently read the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. BNW is a satirical piece of fiction in which religion has been replaced with reverence to technology and the dangers of an all powerful state. I found that faith was heavily involved in this book. For instance, everybody had to believe the same thing to make society work. Through several class discussions I learned that faith in Christianity was not highly favored by my classmates and that many of them had a negative view of Christians. They were voicing out their opinions about my faith without really knowing much about it and that made me angry because I felt my faith and I were being disrespected. I know from personal experience that it’s so easy to feel troubled and alone, but when you do feel troubled and alone, it is helpful to think of Jesus’ message: there are dark times ahead but there is help — from the Holy Spirit, from the Father and the Son. I wish I could have found a way to express the good things I find in the Christian faith to my classmates, but in my world, it is considered really weird to be an expressive Christian.

Religion can be a very touchy subject among teenagers and I suppose that’s true among adults as well. People make lots of assumptions based on reactions of a few people, and they don’t understand that there are many varieties in Christian faith, or Islam or Judaism for that matter. There’s a lot of prejudice. Recently, I had a substitute teacher in my math class. He looked of Arabic descent and had a different accent. Some students in the class stated that the only thing he could teach us is how to make bombs. The things you hear in high school are quite appalling. You would think that in such a diverse school as Huron High school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there would be less prejudice, but sadly there’s not.

What my classmates, and many in our society don’t understand, is how faith can be life changing. Faith to me is essential and it’s the foundation on which Christianity is based on. In today’s scriptures we find that faith is a major theme. In the gospel of John, Jesus talks about faith and by having faith in Jesus you have faith in God. Jesus goes on to say “Those who love me will keep my word, and my father will love them.” It seems like Jesus wants to help us have a better understanding of who God is.

Who is God? According to today’s gospel reading, God is someone who loves his children and gives them shelter. God is greater than Jesus, but closely related to him and sends us the Holy Spirit, who stays with us and teaches us. God loves us even when we falter in our faith. The Lord is still faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him. Jesus’ example of faithfulness shows us how to be people of faith.

I had a very different experience of faith when my mother and I went to Nigeria in 1996. In Nigeria faith is a key element in the society and I noticed a type of communal faith was emphasized. When I was there, the family had evening prayer together a couple of times a week. It was a time when the entire family would come together, pray and sing songs of worship; this would go on for a couple of hours. It also was a time of bonding for the family. Our faith strengthened not only each individual, but the family as a whole.

When we come together on Sundays to worship, God increases our faith and our friendships. That’s why I hold onto this faith that so many of my friends do not comprehend. My faith gives me a sense of community and a connection. It helps me through the dark times. I know that some aspects of Christianity deserve the bad publicity it gets in today’s society and Christians have not always been respectful of other faiths. The lack of respect among faiths is a major cause of problems in the world. It is important to have faith in something beyond yourself. One might recognize that there are many kinds of faith, and give each person’s faith respect. Faith I believe, brings you peace. For me that peace is in Jesus, who gives us peace as the world cannot give.