Monday 28 June 2021

On the faith of my fathers

Of mixed religious heritage

Something excites me about the notion of the return to the faith of my fathers even though fathers in the plural would hardly be the word to use with regards to generational providence as my grandfathers were quite interesting and radically independent persons.

My paternal grandfather was Muslim, and that heritage goes down the line as many of his relations from the town he originated from were mainly Muslim. Of my maternal grandfather who predeceased my birth by almost 5 years I have only recently been learning of, he was essentially Christian, literate, royal, and an anglophile that he was more commonly known by his very English nickname.

Impactful influences

Then my paternal grandfather married my Christian grandmother and together they had children split down the middle as Christian and Muslim; with my father, the first choosing to be Christian, my uncle, the other male of his siblings was a lifelong Muslim.

I think my great-grandmother’s family on my paternal grandmother’s side probably had an overbearing influence on my father’s childhood and development, she, my great-grandmother and her brother, my great-uncle seemed to have decided together my father will be educated in Western ways to the extent they were able to sponsor and encourage.

Each to their beliefs

In any case, having made the rounds of many Christian denominations and beliefs, I have settled into the Anglican faith of my childhood, at least, for some time, it was where my parents seemed to have some agreement and put up an appearance even if they were eventually persuaded of other things.

Upon review, it appears a majority of the grandchildren have adopted the Christian faith apart from what their parents believed and have chosen names that no longer belie their original Muslim allegiance, I am left literally not recognising who they are now.

A grandfather’s example

It goes to show that each person in their individuality would determine what belief system they would follow, the kind of purposeful individuality that set my paternal grandfather as probably the most moderate Muslim I have ever known because he was amazingly pragmatic and deferential to the choices others made without imposing his views even in the names he gifted his grandchildren.

Each Sunday I attend church in the Anglican Communion, here in Manchester or when in Cape Town, I am caught in awesome wonder, the ritual, the traditions, the ceremony, the uniformity, the congregational setting, all of that suits me well.

Now, I seek to exercise the kind of pragmatism of my paternal grandfather, accepting that the way people believe is essentially theirs to choose and should be respected without interference or a pretended audacity to proselytization, with one caveat; cults are untenable, where freewill and agency is under threat, it must be challenged on all fronts completely without relenting.

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