I was listening to (okay, overhearing, blatent eavesdropping, what of it?) two people liaising with their diaries about when they could see each other next during a bus journey recently.

"I'm free every Sunday morning for coffee, my parents are at church"
"Oh great. Do you not go with them?"
"No, it's not really my thing. They love it, I sometimes feel envious that I don't have that kind of faith in something as it seems to really comfort them, I just don't feel the same about the religion as they do."

This conversation got me a-thinking, why does faith automatically mean a religious aspect? According to census data in the UK the second most popular religion in the UK is 'none' (just over 14 million people put that on their form  - which does not include the half-million that put 'other' - which I assume to be 'Jedi', because we're hilarious), so what are we all doing? Wandering aimlessly with our lack of faith?

I put myself into the 'none' category on the census forms too; my mother is Irish Roman Catholic but myself and my siblings were baptised Church of England - partly due to my father not wanting us to be Catholic (as he wasn't) but I also like to believe it was a bit of foresight on his part to allow us to make our own decisions as we grew up and learned about religions within the world. Yes, I exchange gifts with people at Christmas, so does that make my religion Christianity or Retail? Agnostic is the word I am looking for - I'm sceptical about organised religions and the entire existence of a deity, but I do believe in my own version of a higher power - the Universe. 

I have faith and yet I'm not religious. I have faith the Universe, which I appreciate makes me sound like a massive hippy; but the Universe is amazing and perfect. Formed from a handful of carbon atoms and here I am now -  13 billion years later,  sat broadcasting to the world with a cup of tea next to me on the sofa. That's a miracle. From carbon atoms. Amazing. When I want some guidance, I ask the Universe for some help. When I have a problem, I hold out hope for the Universe to shed some light on my situation. When I met Scott Grossberg a year ago he said to me 'Alex, you say everything happens for a reason as your personal mantra, but please don't let the fact that some things don't happen as an excuse not to try to make them happen' and he was bang on the money. I'm sure carbon atoms are not shaping my destiny, I'm very sure I do that for myself, but having a little faith that the Universe occasionally agrees with my decisions and pats me on the back for it is wildly comforting.

I also have faith in myself, otherwise I'd never make half the decisions I do. To that end, I also have faith in my common sense and passion, my heart, my head and my gut instinct with an honourable nod to my love of Excel spreadsheets. I can't begin to explain how many of my major life decisions have been made with the help of a Pros and Cons spreadsheet with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my hand. Heart and head can battle all they want, but if the numbers stack up and my gut says it's right, then a decision is made. Then wine is drank. 

I also have faith in those I love; the ones that never let me down, the ones that I can email my Excel spreadsheets to for critical analysis, send SOS messages to when I need a pick-me-up, or just go down the pub, have a pint and play Trivial Pursuit with to forget about my dramas for a few hours.

What that conversation on the bus made realise was that I don't have any religious ties, but I have so much faith and my faith is important to me. I don't need a specific building, a time of day or even much of reason to enjoy it and appreciate it - it's just there. All the time. Doing its own thing. I don't need to justify it, defend it, encourage others to feel the same way, I just like my faith as it is. It need not all be about religion, it's modern spirituality at it's finest. 

You tell 'em, George

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