‘Do you believe in miracles?’ ‘Not today.’
Do you believe in miracles?
Yes: 64%, No: 36%
Do you believe in destiny?
Yes: 68%, No: 32%
Do you believe in soulmates?
Yes: 75%, No: 25%
I'm not religious myself, but I've always been quite interested in religion. In elementary school I was fascinated by the religion that existed in ancient Egypt and I read every single book I could get my hands on, on the topic. I read about Ra, the sun god, who was swallowed every night by the sky goddess, and was reborn every morning. And his daughter Ma'at who was the goddess of truth, justice and harmony. She was associated with the balance of things on earth, which I admired. Most of my friends and their families were Christians but my parents are atheists, so I grew up with quite conflicting feelings regarding my own beliefs. I felt quite disappointed in myself when I realized in fourth grade that I did not really believe in the holy spirit, heaven or God. I vibrantly remember one time when a friend of mine told me that she weren't afraid of death, because she knew God would take care of her in paradise. I envied that, I wished I believed death was simple. My fascination moved on to Norse mythology. I named my fishes after Norse gods such as Frøya and Balder. As time went by I started to consider myself an agnostic, although I don't like to be confined by a label. Maybe I'm a spiritual person, I'm neither admitting or dismissing a God, but I believe that there might be something meaningful enough in life to pursue.
Lately I've been reflecting and exploring my opinions and thoughts on destiny and miracles. In a world that seems to constantly become more secular (even though there has been an uprise in more conservative environments that fights back), I found myself wondering whether that change influences our beliefs in miracles, soulmates and destiny or not. An important aspect to religion is believing that there exists something bigger and greater than us, and you can say that this idea is sort of the foundation of the concept of destiny. Religion have the ability of giving answers to the unknown, the great mysteries of life, that science is not able to give us yet. -Or those answers that science provide that we simply do not find satisfying enough. We want life to be meaningful and destiny, soulmates and miracles (just as religion) is supposed to confirm that life is so. To create a greater overview of people's thought on the subject, I did a few polls on Instagram, that you can see above, and talked to a few people more in detail about the thoughts behind their opinions →
"I believe in destiny, miracles, and soulmates because I believe in hope as well. hope is the center of all those ideas. For destiny, the concept is about having a set reason for something, like an event, right? Destiny is about believing in something bigger than you and I will help bring some of our biggest fantasies become real. It’s the same thing with miracles, however the connotation is different since miracles are seen as things that shouldn’t be possible but happen anyways.
I see every moment as a miracle because I could’ve very well been born in a war zone or poverty but i’ve only known peace in America with quality education, easy access to internet, food, friends, etc. I think all of that is a blessing/miracle. Soulmates is a very different and special feeling for me though.
I believe in soulmates because I’ve been in contact with so many people, but there’s only a couple that i can really click with, where I can breathe and relax and speak with a flow and no worry of heartbreak. Those people, which for me, so far, have just been friends/family, are soulmates and they are so real. How could I not believe? Each concept is separate, yes, but all share hope for deep meaning and bring goodness into our lives, whether we intended or not. they are all important + real."
"I don't believe in miracles, I just think they're wonderful things we can't explain yet. I don’t believe in destiny either. I think it makes me too uncomfortable to believe something I can't change is controlling the universe. But I do believe in multiple soulmates for different things though, like a writing soulmate or a music taste soulmate etc."
It is difficult for me to explain why I don’t believe in certain things, but what I do believe is that the world was made by coincidence.
I believe everything we do is coincidental and I don’t believe our future is set, but that it changes every second by occurring actions.
Therefore - when it comes to miracles, destiny and soulmates - this is something I again believe is coincidental happenings in our lives. Miracles may seem magnificent and magical there and then. Destiny lets us believe “the future is bright”, but I think that both miracles and destiny are occurring happenings. Happenings based on an action by another person or even the nature.
I also believe that there is no perfect person for you called soulmate, but instead I believe there are many people that are better for you than others.
To be honest, I have to say that I find it very hard to fully say yes or no to "do you believe in miracles". I guess I want to believe, but the realist part of me keeps telling me that it is truly all about striving to be the best possible version of yourself, and from there on miracles will happen. When it comes to the idea of having a "destiny", I am fully open to the possibility. However, your destiny and life will never be set in stone. Whichever road you end up taking, there is always a new destiny waiting to find you. "Do you believe in soulmates". Yes, 100%. No matter if that soulmate is in the form of a family member, best friend or a partner, there will always be people you were ment to know. They might simply be an acquaintance, or a lifelong friend. Each and every person was ment to teach you something. It is always about finding out what that lesson is.
“God is dead”. Nietzsche said this, and by saying it he meant that humans had killed God by not believing in it. And there it was: God was a construction built by men, it was some entity that was projected by our trascendence needs and that was characterised by our cultural particularities. And what are humans left with, after God? Radical freedom, the notion that there is no one out there to guide us and therefore that no salvation nor divine punishment will come.
Religion and mysticism in general have this function of giving answers to the unknown, to what fascinates us as humans but due to our limited existence we are not able to even grasp. “God is dead” are some really poetic and big words that actually make reference to the realisation that there is nothing superior, transcendent, magical; that the possibilities of our existence are located in the here and now, that we cannot transcend our material existence towards a superior one.
Take for instance miracles. A miracle is an extraordinary and even magical event that cannot be explained by the laws of nature and is attributed to God or some mystic being. While it is true that some amazing events do happen, it is also pretty certain that we give sense to them by saying that they are a product of God because of our limitedness when it comes to understanding them. Therefore, perhaps what exsists are not miracles but our necessity to give meaning to what we observe, that is backed by our previously existing religious beliefs or needs. The same happens with soulmates: if there is no such thing as a superior existence and what there is is what can be seen and felt, how can we be preexistently linked to someone? I believe meeting someone and thinking they are your soulmate responds more to this need to feel mystically connected to people and to give a meaning to existence that to the fact that soulmates actually exist.
If we are only left with our material existence and there is no God up there or there is no mysticism one could ask: does that leave you in a position of actual radical freedom where you can do whatever you please and just build your life and yourself the way you want? There is no destiny? I believe that, while there might be no destiny at a transcendental level, looking at people’s actual living conditions there is a sort of destiny that shapes life choices and that conditions life expectations. Unfortunately, class, gender, race, religious orientation and other social features shape our destiny. Destiny has to be thought not in terms of our life already being written somewhere but in terms of the possibilities of developing our life being strictly tied to our material conditions. While we have some option to change things and decide what we want to do with our lives, social features do really shape what we can actually reach. This is inevitably linked with the fact that we live in a society where there is a social structure determined by class, gender and race inequalities, and individuals cannot be sepparated from that. This inequalities and oppressions have been forged throughout history, and still condition us nowadays. Therefore we have to be aware of what we have historically inherited, of the tradition and history we are products of. In this sense, Walter Benjamin’s notion of mundane redemption fascinates me: he believed us living people had to redeem the opressed by history -a history that has been writen by those who governed and had the power, the history of big men that forgot the history of current and oppressed people- in order to liberate humanity. So, my view on destiny has this duplicity: it shapes us as products of society and history and it also places in us some responsibility: the responsibiliy of speaking out for those who could not do it in the past. Therefore, while existence only has this material dimension -there is no God or no mystical relations or entities- we are exposed to the rawness of the world and we carry the weight of history on our shoulders.
Are you religious?
Yes: 17%, No: 83%
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
Yes: 69%, No: 31%
It surprised me to see how many people who actually believe in destiny and so on, considering the fact that people overall have become less religions the last few years. It was interesting to see that despite only 17% of the voters being religious, 68% of the total still believed in destiny and 75% believed in soulmates. My initial thought was that these two were more connected to each other. My hypothesis was that if you are religious - it is also likely that you believe in miracles. Because neither of them can exist if there isn't also something powerful, magical and superior in this world, meaning that if you already believe in the transcendent, you most likely also believe that there exists a form of god. On the other hand, I discovered that in several cases it pretty much boils down to how you define these terms. Most of the individuals I talked to seemed to agree on the topic to a certain extent, but they defined the terms differently, hence different answers. I really don't quite know how to draw a conclusion based on these polls and conversations alone, but it was fascinating to also learn that 69% of the voters considered themselves a "spiritual person" while 83% of them were not religious. I am now left with even more questions; Do we turn to spirituality for comfort? Is religion too much of a commitment for the modern woman? What determines wether religion feels like freedom or confinement? Do we hold on to believing in miracles, destiny and soulmates because we are afraid that life will otherwise have no meaning?