Until I was about 19 years old, I never gave much thought to the topic of God or spirituality. I took it for granted that God didn’t exist, but when I needed or wanted something, I would always make secret pacts with Him.
When I was a child and we moved to London, my parents put me in a Catholic school and made me go to church, which I absolutely hated. This wasn’t because my parents were religious or even believed in God, it was just because they were practical, as this happened to be the best free school around. So at the age of seven years old I got baptised and was sent to Catholic school.
Baptism as well as going to church was a requirement of the school and so we had to attend mass every week. For a seven year old child like me this was absolute torture. Every Sunday morning I hoped that if I really pretended to be asleep my mum would just leave me alone and we wouldn’t have to go to church. But my mum would always wake me up, threatening to throw water on me if I didn’t wake up and going ahead with it if I didn’t listen. Sometimes she would say to me as I was pretending to be asleep ‘it’s ok, we don’t have to go to church today’ and I would open my eyes, and then she would say ‘just joking! Get ready and let’s go.’ I’m still traumatised.
In my old notebooks from Catholic school that I chanced upon some years back, I wrote statements like: ‘Dear Jesus, I’m going to be good and listen to my parents and I won’t spend ages on the phone to Flora,’ who was my best childhood friend.
After we left England to go back to the Czech Republic that was the end of Catholic school for me and all religion. Czech Republic is one of the most atheist countries in the world and most people don’t seem to care for religion at all, unlike our Polish and Slovak neighbours, where Catholicism is still quite prominent.
God was happily forgotten until I returned to London at the age of 16, and started doing my A-levels. In London I met Muslims and became friends with them. That got me thinking about religion and then 9/11 happened, which all led me to start doing research about Islam, because I wanted to find out exactly what it was about.
That, in turn got me thinking about God, and asking the question, does God exist? I found some websites about how there were scientific miracles in the Qur’an, but I thought this was not clearly portrayed clearly enough in the verses.
But it led me to thinking about the natural world around us and its complexity and splendour, which eventually led me to infer the existence of a Creator, because how could all that is around us have been created by accident?
I read Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe and Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe by Behe, Dembski and Meyer, who are basically creationist authors, who give examples from the natural world to show how low the probability is that even a single cell, let alone the whole amazing natural world we see around us could have been created by accident, through random mutations as the classical Theory of Evolution proposes.
For example Behe describes the process of blood clotting, which is extremely complicated and controlled. When we cut ourselves our blood clotting has to occur to stop the blood flow and prevents us from bleeding to death, but at the same time if it continued it would kill us by clotting all our blood. He however describes it much better than me in a lengthy chapter.
These books, and just the simple pondering about all the marvels of the natural world around us – humans, animals and the fascinating natural processes by which they function, such as blood clotting, the immune system, reproduction, the brain, instincts and so on is for me enough evidence to believe in God.
‘Verily in the heavens and the earth, are signs for those who believe.
And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth), are signs for those of assured faith.
And in the alternation of night and day, and the fact that God sends down sustenance from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the change of the winds, are signs for people who reason.’ (Quran, 45:3-5)