February 14, 2014 - submitted by Nesma, United Kingdom


Oracle I'm desperate! There's something I wanna do & it's kinda against my religion. I'm a believer but that thing I wanna do won't reduce my faith though. People in my city would judge me for doing it and that thing is connected to my religion.
It would be better if I didn't say what is it because it needs a lot of explaining. Anyway I wanna you to help me. Something I used to do for my religion but I no more wanna do it but I can't make a choice. Shall I stop doing it and face the consequences or keep on doing it even though I'm a little bit not comfortable with it.
It's like choosing between MY GOD and my own desires.
I can't stop thinking. That's really annoying and it would be bad if I stopped doing it. Maybe I'll continue doing it but in the future but I just wanna stop doing it for now.
I know it's gonna be difficult for you to help me cuz you don't know what that thing is but I believe that you're wise enough to tell me your opinion. Thanks for your time and I would really appreciate if you helped me.
Thank you.

The Oracle replies:

It's probably a good thing that you didn't tell us what the problem is because religious issues are incredibly tricky to give advice on given the number of different religions; each person will have their own view. Whatever dilemma you are facing, I think the fact it won't alter your faith stands you in good stead.
As long as you're not harming anyone or breaking the law, I think you should consider that your God will always be "there" whether you follow his word to the letter or not.
We can worship & pray in all sorts of ways but there can be times we feel pressure it has to be at a certain time & place. If there is someone at that place, you could talk to them about how you feel.
We often face choices that are conflicted with what's right or what we are conditioned to follow. It's natural to question but difficult if your family, community, friends etc. would be opposing to that.
Times have changed and there are more flexible attitudes to beliefs but it's still going to be hard to reconcile with others around you who may disagree with your path.
Personally - without mentioning what religion I was born into or what / if I follow - there are elements that I could take & leave. I always challenged my faith and remained truer to myself rather than the faith, which was difficult at times.
I did eventually explain to my family - rather than my priest - how I felt but I could have kept it to myself, which may be an option for you. Maybe there is a way to practice the way you wish without actually sharing that extent with anyone. Or maybe you could discuss it with your nearest & dearest. It will take bravery to do what you want if it results in a judgment but I wouldn't worry if you think it's God judging you - it's people!
There are many factors to consider but ultimately it is nobody's decision but yours.
Over to you.

I'll be honest: I don't have that much experience with religion. But for so far as I know, God loves humanity, right? Of course you have to do something small to thank god: pray and go to a church. But there are limits.
The most human societies are based on respect. And here in Europe, in America or in Australia, religion and respect are combined in a good and peaceful way.
What I'm trying to tell you is: I think God will respect your 'personal borders'. You know, religion is not something you believe by a book or by someone who tells stories, religion once arose by people who followed their heart, and God helped them. So that's what I think you must do: follow your heart. Isabelle.

I believe that if anything is making you feel wrong by any meaning it is reason enough to stop from doing it, what people might think does not matter, it is your choice. And whatever is doing it or not doing it. It is you who have the word, because it is only you who is going to take all the responsibility and more important the consequences. As long as your choice won't hurt anyone's freedom then it is ok.
Listen to your heart and your conscience, Good luck. Effy.

I think that you have to choose for yourself. It doesn't mean that you turn against God. Everybody has the right to do things their own way and I really think that no-one has the right to judge you! I believe in something but I'm not believing in some people who said "you have to do this or else" I think believing is a feeling and if it's feels right then it's okay. If it feels not right than it is not okay. I truly hope you find things out and you feeling yourself good with it! Good luck and God bless you! Greets Marianne.

In my eyes, religion is meant to be something to enhance your quality of life by giving you a greater, stronger connection to the world. If, however, an aspect/practice makes you uncomfortable, then you must realize that you, yourself, always come first. Religion, for some, is a comfort, a guidance, and if you don't agree with a part of it, that doesn't mean that you are disrespecting it in any way. You are simply recognizing the importance of you being comfortable and content. You stated that you believe it will not reduce your faith, and that is what matters, as each person's faith is their own personal relationship with God; despite any judgements you may receive, hold your head high and remember that who you are and what you are comfortable with comes before anything/anyone else, because it is you alone who will have to live with the choices you make later. Therefore, make the choices that will make YOU happy. The people who love you and truly matter will accept you, no matter the personal choices you make regarding your faith.
Best of luck, Anonymous.

I've heard your dilemma. It must be a very hard decision for you to choose your God and your temptations. But I always believe that in every religion, it is taught that if you depend on God even your worst desires that burden you will be alleviated. So, don't stop depending on your God!
Best regards, Joshua.

If your religion asks you to do something that you're not comfortable with, you've been put in a tight spot. Whatever it is that you don't want to do anymore, if it feels wrong in your heart, then you shouldn't do it. If it hurts other people or it hurts you, don't do it, unless it makes you a better person.
Sincerely, Anna R.

I think this is a problem a lot of people have with religion, whether they�re religious or not. The foundation of almost every faith, in some form or another, is love. God loves you, you love God, love everyone else, etc. What makes it hard is all the rules and doctrine that come with that. A lot of times, you feel like you need to follow dozens of other rules or else God won't love you, which I disagree with. This is a more "open interpretation," granted, but I think there are a lot of factors in play. One of them is we have to remember when these questions were written. A lot came about centuries ago and may have made sense or applied at the time, but don't really stand up in today's society. More importantly is a loving God. If your God really loves you and you believe that he does, then something like this shouldn't make a difference to him. He understands that we're all complex people and wants us to be happy and, in the end, no matter what we do, will love us. J.D.

I am an individual of faith like you. I believe that My God is capable of all things and that He understands us no matter what we shall do. Religion often considered greater than belief in God, but the issue is we are not called to worship a religion, but to just believe in God. Don't let religion be the cause of your dilemma, but just focus how it will effect you and your God. You don't owe anybody an explanation, but God. So so what is comfortable for you between you and your God. May peace be with you.
Sincerely, Jonathan H., USA.

I do not know what religious faith your beliefs follow so I cannot advise what doing the thing you think you shouldn't would impact on you religious beliefs. I can however offer a couple of ways you could try to work things out. First is there an adult who you trust that is the same religion, doesn't need to be a family member that you could explain your dilemma to? They may well have gone through a similar dilemma at some point in their life. Also they will be able to confirm to you if this thing you want to do is definitely not approved of within your religion. Secondly what about not doing this thing for a month and seeing how that makes you feel. You may realise you can't not do the thing or you may feel actually you are ok not doing the thing.
Last of all good luck hope I may have helped you with finding the answer to your dilemma and the happiness you wish for.
Kindest regards, Jo.

Many people go through what you're going through, no matter their religion. The main thing you should take into account is why you're considering stopping; is it purely for personal comfort? Or is it a moral choice? For example, not brushing your teeth everyday just out of laziness is not worth putting your dental health at risk. If the choice you can't seem to make has a deeper meaning than just "having one less responsibility", you shouldn't worry about what others will say as long as you stay true to your own values. Basically, if not doing this religious act doesn't hurt you, make you any less of a good person, or straight out offend others (like animal slaughter rituals for example), then you should stop doing it for a while and see how it goes. You can always go back to doing it if it feels like you should. Barbie.

It's ok to have faith, but faith should not make you do things that you don't want to. Faith and religion are only a guide, a way to live life, a set of suggestions created by men but not a set of laws you must follow. Do what you really want in life and not what others tell you. Jose.

I believe your answer relies on whether or not your religion is of the utmost importance to you. If you love "your God" the way he would want you to, then it should be easier to choose your God over your desire. Maybe thinking about why your religion is against it will help you make the decision to stick to your faith or give in to your desire. Ashlyn.

It's tough to answer this question because I don't know what the 'thing' is you're referring to, but I think you should do whatever makes you happy! Just because you don't go to church every Sunday doesn't mean you can't or don't believe in your god. You don't have to choose between your faith and your own desires. Whoever your god is he or she will know that you are a true believer even when you do something others in your community may frown upon. Some people will judge you and that's hard, but others will follow your example and soon you won't be alone anymore. Good luck! Amanda.

For me it is not so important to know what it is exactly. Probably it is something more or less wise persons once wrote down to organise life in a community of faith for one of those religions existing on earth. All those religions have different rules for rituals, every day life, food, marriage, this and that. But usually they do have some essential things in common: humans have to be honest, not to steal, not to kill� I don�t think your thing belongs to those. How do other denominations handle your �thing�? Maybe it is forbidden there as well, but the consequences might be different. For the long run it is never good to do something in secret or with a bad conscience. It does bother you and you have to find a way to have both, your believe in your god AND being yourself.
If it something your family would not accept you should talk about it to someone who can really help you, a support group or something, you might not be alone with this problem.
Don�t forget those rules are made for your religion, but human beings wrote them and I�m not so sure if your god does already know the things you do are not welcome in his religion. Don't worry. L.Q.

I do not envy the decision you have to make, it is hard to choose between long held beliefs and one own happiness. You wonder if you should stop or face the consequences. The question is are you willing to live with whatever those consequences may be. There can be a high price to pay for charting your own course. I too was faced with this dilemma (or similar) and chose to follow my heart and live the life I was meant to, but it did come at a price - the loss of all my former associates. I don't regret my decision or my life before, happiness is worth the fight. I hope you find the happiness you deserve, blessings, Laurie.

Thanks to all those who replied to this week�s question. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.