The Return to Faith

Dariela Aquique

Religious practices date back to the earliest civilizations. It’s almost a human need to give credit to some divine force or a supernatural being that governs our existence.

Individuals are always unsatisfied or think that their lives aren’t long enough to live them fully or to correct the errors committed in that short time, so they hope for some path to immortality.

I’m not trying to eulogize mystic beliefs; I’m simply referring to these in our country right now. We Cubans are of a tradition rooted in religion.

The practice as well as the diversity of these belief systems here is historically demonstrable.

From the first years of the Revolution until a while after there was a certain degree of intolerance towards religion, which consequently led to prohibitions against the absolute freedom of belief on the island.

Dialectical materialistic doctrines that served as the premise of the system supplanted any idealistic propensities, of which religions are faithful exponents. This impacted even in the granting of university degrees and admission into certain social organizations.

Fortunately, this error was corrected years later, and there was an opening up to the practicing of several religions.

Like all censored acts, once these are allowed a sort of contained explosion results. It was then that many people began to publically recognize their affiliation to this or that religious faith. Many Catholics and even babalaos (priests of Afro-Cuban religions) appeared in the ranks of the Communist Party itself.

What motivates my commentary is that in the last few years I’ve seen a considerable affluence of youths turning to this. Religious congregations are growing headlong, enlarging their ranks among the youngest of society, with many university students serving as the best example.

I’ve been investigating the root causes of this situation and I have found:

– In churches or spiritual centers, general and cultural education is promoted, which is vital for the healthy development of any society.

– Fraternity, aid, respect and love for others are instilled and a tangible reality is created.

– Religious youths are always better behaved in terms of social discipline.

– Human beings cannot do without the belief that a better life is possible.

Myself in particular, I wasn’t raised to have an interest in religion; my generation was one that grew up in the stage of intolerance. Notwithstanding, I think that religious youths are really receiving a better education. To hope for a better life is a circumstance that no being can escape, be they religious or not – it’s instinctive.

So I ask, is it effective then for Cubans to now be turning toward faith?

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.


One thought on “The Return to Faith

  • March 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm
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    I think it is effective “for Cubans to now be turning toward faith.” The vapidity of the Marxian quasi-religion of atheism leaves people with a dull intellectual self-righteousness. This does not and cannot fill an intrinsic desire for spiritual gratification.

    There is not and never was any inherent contradiction between religious faith and socialism.

    When Engels and Marx came into the socialist movement in order to take it over, redefine it and divert it from its cooperative vision, they engineered two remarkable feats:
    (1) they alienated a majority of every national population by attacking religion and any sort of spiritual orientation; and
    (2) they split the enormously important small entrepreneurial class politically from the industrial workers by threatening the property of this class with nationalization, and disparaging these class members as not only conservative but reactionary.

    The Cuban leaders have finally seen the error of (1) above. But they still cling to the theoretical disparagement of the small entrepreneurial class as reactionary and inherently anti-socialist. If they can every get over this anti-private property theoretical error, as well, Cuban socialism might blossom and stun the world.

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