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14-year-old wins Tony Blair writing contest

The face to Faith, “Faith Friend” blogging competition by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has selected 300 article entries, all of which were read and evaluated, and only 30 entries from superb young student blogs were chosen as winners.

These personal stories of young people include reflections on faith (or the lack thereof), as well as moving stories of friendship across boundaries.

Darlene Hannah Jane R. Nolasco, a 14-year-old student from De La Salle Santiago Zobel School and a regular student contributor for 2bU, has been selected as one of the winners for her “An Unwavering Uncertainty” article. She writes about her faith, her doubts, and the different kinds of people who have different views and perspectives on faith.

Here is her winning piece.

“Unwavering uncertainty”

By Darlene HannahJane R. Nolasco

By faith, I am a Roman Catholic. By belief, however, I consider myself to be in the middle of a steady sense of faith and a steady sense of disbelief. Being this way entitles me to a position within the gray area between theism and atheism. Why, do you ask, am I like this? I simply find it difficult and irrational to place my entire faith on someone, or something, whose existence I am unsure of. I cannot close my eyes and see, hear, or feel God the way others claim to be able to.

I cannot simply say, “I believe,” and be a hundred percent sure of it—although, in all honesty, I admire those who say that they feel the presence of God, who have in them a faith so solid that even as I express my doubt, their faith continues to remain strong. I believe, partially, coupled with a layer of doubt, which in turn leads a part of me to disbelieve, as well.

I disbelieve because I cannot fully grasp the concept of God, and usually I am told by some of my peers that it is because I am thinking too rationally, trying to find an explanation for every single thing. But I want to believe, and that is basically why I do not sit idly within the gray area, and I search for the answers to my questions and the resolutions to my doubts.

Open-mindedness

Concepts have many sides, and to be able to truly understand an idea, one must be open to every perspective. In faith, belief and religion, there are two sides: theism and atheism. To fully grasp and understand the complexities and diversities of religion, one must witness both sides. Open-mindedness is the key to knowledge, after all, and knowledge is a book that you must read from cover to cover.

Don’t stop at one or two chapters by simply exposing yourself to the few perspectives or sides of things; be open to all of those chapters! Only then will you be able to comprehend a certain concept and construct an opinion on it.

I have a good number of friends who don’t believe in God, or believe that he cannot be found, or that his existence cannot be proven. Some of them are atheists, some are agnostics, and others choose not to label themselves as anything. These people are far from the stereotypical “non-believers” who spew hatred and irrational arguments against God’s existence; these people are calm, sensible, open-minded and understanding.

They’re very calculating; they defend themselves well, and explain their beliefs even better. I was happy to open my mind and listen to their beliefs, and despite their solidity and strength, it did not cause me to become a non-believer at all. I easily comprehended both sides of theism and atheism, yet I still remain in the middle.

Sometimes, I am struck with so much doubt brought on from all the things I’ve discovered, read and heard, and my faith shakes. Faith confuses me. But other times, I am uplifted by that faith that remains strong within me, and I would end up moving, believing a little more than usual.

However, in the end, I always remain in the middle, in that gray area between atheism and theism, asking questions and searching for answers like a curious little girl who is never satisfied by the simple, vague and mysterious answers that the world is giving her.

But I believe that wisdom and understanding only comes to those with open minds, and the answers are only given to those who are truly dedicated and persistent in their pursuit of the truth.

I’ve been told many times before by my religious peers that those who search for God end up with stronger faith than those who have found him from the very beginning. And so, I choose to search. I choose not to simply say “I believe,” like how most of them say, but to also couple it with the reasons why I do.

I will say it all with conviction, as soon as I discover it. I remain in between to this day, but I am happy with my unwavering desire to learn and unveil more of what I do not know, and what I am unsure of. Curiosity may have “killed” the cat, but it has eight more lives to spare.

To learn more about Face to Faith, visit http://facetofaithonline.org

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