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Monday, September 20, 2021

Column: A little faith

In religion, when we experience trouble in our lives, we often question the faith we feel toward our prospective divinity. In love, experiencing trouble in relationships doesn’t just cast doubts on deities, but dating as well.

This situation makes me wonder: Are religion and love really that different?

From the ages of 16 to 20, it’s common tradition for young singles to embark on their mission for love. But after a couple years and a handful of heartbreaks, it’s apparent to them that love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

As young adults, we’re led to believe that love is an intangible idea we’re all capable of finding in life. While nobody said love was easy, nobody said it was going to be this big a pain in the ass either.

As we go from breakup to breakup, it only becomes easier to be skeptical of love’s existence, as faith no longer seems like an innate mentality, but a piece of advice we have to constantly remind ourselves of.

If love really is a religion we’ve been practicing this entire time, are we slowly becoming atheists?

Looking at religion can help us better understand why we’re so quick to discard faith and adopt atheism.

If we think about religion, Buddhists believe that the mistakes we make in our past life follow us into our next one. Does the same theory apply to relationships?

As we move from partner to partner, we’re constantly haunted by the ghosts of relationships past, incessantly reminding us of the sins committed in our previous affairs and how difficult it is to forgive them. While over time, we’re able to forgive the sins committed by the participants of a relationship, we remain unable to forgive love.

It’s often said that love is a ruthless sport. If this is true, is getting out of the game the only way to stop losing? Or are we throwing in the towel too early?

Those who have sworn off love believe it’s a drug killing us one heartbreak at a time.

If love really is a drug, maybe the cure to breaking its addiction is through detachment. After all, how can a heart be broken if it isn’t given away? Perhaps those who are romance-allergic are right in being safe rather than sorry.

Maybe love is a battlefield that we need protecting from. And the only way to do that is by escaping the war that we voluntarily participated in.

Possibly we’ve been given the wrong idea our entire lives. Love isn’t this savior that’s going to conquer all at the end of the day. Instead it’ll have us crying to our best friends as we contemplate why we keep putting ourselves through the same hell.

But is that a problem in itself?

After weathering our many battles with love, not knowing whether we’d come out alive or heartbroken, have we forgotten why we entered this war in the first place?

We think that love is this deadly drug that’s sucking the life out of us, when really it’s our mentality that is killing us instead. After all, every relationship is different.

We can’t live in fear of repeating our previous mistakes. Love is unpredictable. It can break your heart, but it can also put it back together. After we find it, we tend to forget about all our unsuccessful relationships and concentrate on the one that matters.

We’re often told in life to look before we leap, but sometimes we take that advice a little overboard. Sometimes we need a little unpredictability to jump full-heartedly in something, not knowing whether or not we’ll be caught. That’s what most important things are like in life. Our future, religion, love. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the end, but something tells us to keep believing.

Like going to church, maybe we need a weekly reminder that love is out there, watching over us until we fall into it.

We can’t always quit when the road gets rough, otherwise we wouldn’t go anywhere. It’s best to just get back on the horse and keep on going. Whether we’re headed to heaven or hell, love or heartbreak, there’s no harm in having a little hope.

Maybe the trick to finding love is just keeping a little faith. Faith in the unknown and faith in love.

When it comes to love, don’t stop believing.

JASON PHAM wants you to spread the love over at jpham@ucdavis.edu.

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