I was raised in a liberal catholic family in Haiti. Throughout my whole adolescent life, I have been taught to appreciate the passion of Christ. In my household, I was not forced to become Christian, but the Christian philosophy was instilled within me in everything that I did.
When I was in primary school, it was mandatory that I attended mass every Sunday with my fellow classmates. Upon entering secondary school at Petit Seminaire College Saint Martial, one of the premiere catholic institutions in Haiti, my knowledge base about the Christian faith has become much more elevated. From the first year of secondary school in 1991 until I left Haiti in humanitarian class in 1994, the study of the Bible was part of the curriculum at Saint Martial.
In the meanwhile, given the complexity of Haitian society as far as faith and religion are concerned, I was also made aware about our traditional Voodoo faith. It is said that eighty percent of Haitians are Christians and ninety-five percent practiced voodoo in one form or another. My experience would lead me to believe that almost all Haitians recognize the power of voodoo, whether good or bad.
In my adult life, I have been exposed to an advanced thought process about evolution. In college I studied biology, and since obtaining my degree, the scientific explanation of the beginning of life has caused me to re-evaluate the meaning of faith.
One of the most beautiful features of American democracy is the separation of the state and the church, and yet we have seen the American government trying to regulate scientific discoveries at any cost. As a young scientist, I wonder why fellow human being is so scared of human intelligence, whereas it is normal for most of them to accept to believe in divine intelligence simply based on faith. How do we expect to understand our fellow brothers and sisters, if we are scared to divulge in the inquiry of our existence. Living life solely based on faith defies any human logic, and yet we belong to the human species; therefore we ought to investigate how we come about.
When someone claims to be a person of faith, I always wonder what they really mean. Mythically, we have come to associate faith with blindness belief; again human nature would tell us that it is almost certain to be an impossible thing to achieve.
Anything that we have yet to understand is classified as a mystery, but once we acquire the necessary knowledge about it, Christians would want us to accept that it is the will of the divinity that has given us the mean to understand it. It is in this light that I am so baffled about the true meaning of faith.
The important thing is not so much to prove or disapprove the existence of a higher intelligence, but with our limited human intelligence we should not accept that we have reached the apex of our ability to understand the mystery of the beginning of life.
I have been writing in this column exclusively on the plight of the Haitian people. I am not the type of person who will lose sleep over the impossibility or the uncontrollable forces around me, but I believe it is my duty to fight for what I believe and what I can control. I have come to accept that in order to really understand the Haitian people, I must try to comprehend the faith of my people. Faith, not simply in the spiritual term, but in its broader sense as it applies to daily life.
As a nation, we are spiritually incoherent. We believe in the power of voodoo, and at the same time we claim to be Christians. At home we teach our children to be compassionate, but as leaders we are as malevolent as they come. Amongst us, we believe that we are a people of great strength, but we succumb so easily in the face of the weakest adversity. So what is the faith that is guiding us to our own self-destruction?
The paradox between the scientific theory and the Christian faith that is currently turning the world upside down really has nothing to do with my implication of wanting to understand the Haitian faith, but the complexity and arguments on both sides can be used analogous to explain the difficulty facing the upcoming leaders of Haiti.
We should not be bugged down in the details, as far as trying to put all our blames in the past misadventures that we have experienced as a people, but instead I honestly believe that it is time we have a national debate to fully expose all of our weaknesses as a nation and to acknowledge all of our strengths, if we are to give the future generations a chance to live the promised of the Haitian revolution, which culminated in our independence’s declaration on January 1st, 1804 in Gonaives.
We must keep the faith in a better tomorrow, but in order to do so we must have a sane mind in a sane body. As a nation, we have a right to exist, and our existence is based on our understanding of how we became to be a free nation.