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I’d like to begin by apologising to anyone who is religious, it doesn’t matter what kind of religion. God here is intended as any kind of supreme being, regardless of the religious institutions attached to it. I totally understand this is outrageous to them.

Believing in God is not easy. But mostly, believing in God is not mandatory. Or it shouldn’t be.

I keep reading “stuff” on the internet, articles, blogs, self-help pages and more often than not, I come across sentences of various styles that could be grouped as “with the help of God you’ll make it”.

I’m not saying that this is the only alternative given, of course not, but for instance the fact that this is the foundation of each and every 12-step-programme is nothing less than scary.

I believe in science (and I would like to add, hence I don’t believe in God) and I believe psychology is a science and I believe psychotherapy can heal most of the psychological discomforts human kind can experience.

I strongly refuse to believe that I have to believe in God to stop drinking/using drugs/gambling/insert-your-addiction-here.

But this is only tangent to the point.

What makes me furious is that it looks like praying to God will bring forth any necessary change to heal. I’m looking for answers, or better, I am looking for manuals. I need to find strategies to get better, to heal, to cope, to change radically and what I keep finding are just statements that changes are necessary. Very rarely can people tell you how. Whenever you attempt to get to the how, there it comes: grace.

The hell with you: I’m never going to wake up one day enlightened and happy just because I said my prayers the night before. I’m going to have to work towards it. More than that, I want to believe that I can be a part of it, that there is something that I can actively do, that I am the one deciding where I’m headed instead of praying and well, really just hoping, that things will come on their own.

That of course is the definition of faith itself. You have to believe in God. And I may venture into saying that yes, those who believe in God can actually benefit from that faith in their everyday struggles. But please, do not tell me that those who don’t have one and only chance: convert.

You can’t force people to believe in God in order to get better, first of all because faith is not really something you can command, either you already had it or you don’t; of course some might find their faith while healing, but it’s not a certainty. But mostly, you can’t force faith on people because saying that you can heal with God’s help implies that you can’t do it on your own. Don’t get me wrong, relying on other people is essential, but God is not people. This feels like an ultimatum.

We are social animals, that is widely known, but we are not religious animals. Religion is a choice, people who are not religious are not ill, while those who tend to isolation also tend to suffer from this condition. So yes, everyone needs help to get better, I for first rely on a therapist, group sessions and friends and benefit immensely from it all. But I refuse to believe that I have to surrender to God in order to heal.

I imagine now how myriads of religious people would be nodding their heads and think “God helps those who help themselves”. Now that’s convenient. Those who help themselves, help themselves with or without God.

I understand how sometimes healing may look like a miracle. If nothing else, because being better often looks impossible when you’re still neck-deep in shit. I also understand how sometimes you fully realise you have improved almost suddenly, and can’t really tell what it is that happened or what strategies you used to get there. So telling other people “how” is almost impossible.

Still this doesn’t mean that God did the trick, or that your prayers did.