Finding Faith, When You’re Born into Two Religions | Seehum Isa | TEDxUTA

Translator: Denise RQ
Reviewer: Silvia Rivera Hello everyone! Hello everyone! My name is Seehum Isa, and I’m
a Public Relations major here at UTA and before I begin, I’d like to share
a piece of honesty with you all. I’ve had my fair share
of public speaking, but never in my life have I ever felt
so vulnerable or open with an audience that I am today. So, let it be known that I’m not here
to make anyone question their own beliefs nor I’m here seeking
the approval of my own. I’m really here to tell you about
my journey and finding my own faith. So I ask that you please don’t damn me to hell
or tell me that I’m wrong because quiet frankly a lot of people
have already been into that. So, let’s start over. My name is Seehum Isa, I’m a Public Relations major here at UTA, and I do not have a religion. I’m not atheist, but I’m also not Christian,
Muslim, Hindu, Baptist, Mormon, or anything for that matter. But I’m one thing, and that’s searching. I’m on a journey
to finding my own religion, and for the first time in my life I’m completely OK
with being curious about my own faith. I’m OK with saying no to things,
I’m OK with saying yes to things, and I’m OK with being able
to question things that I was told I wasn’t allowed
to question before. See, to me it’s OK to find your own faith
when you are born into another one, or born in another two for that matter. Is it always accepted
by your family? Of course not! But to me religion is
too beautiful of a thing in life to ever have to make
your knuckles white over. I come from a Muslim father
and a Catholic mother so my life has been a constant game
of tug of war and beliefs, I always debated
whether Jesus Christ is my Savior or Muhammad was the prophet of Allah. Whether I should wear a nice Hijab
around my face or a cross around my neck. Whether when I pray
I should have my knees on the pews, my hands clasped together,
and my eyes shut. Or if I should bow my entire body down
with my forehead to the ground. But the only thing that I’ve always
been sure of is that there is a God. To me, I do believe in a higher entity and I do believe that there is someone
up there working some sort of magic. It’s the same God that I pray to and is the same God that is
letting me make this speech here today. And it’s also the same God that looks after me
in every aspect of my life. When I was 15 I was about
to be confirmed as a Catholic, and one day, when my dad
picked me up from some practice, he saw my lack of desire to go. He asked me: “Seehum,
do you even want to be Catholic?” I turned to my father
in complete hesitation and under my breath
I said, “No, I don’t.” After that, my father told me something I will forever carry with me
for the rest of my life. He said: “Seehum, I do not care
if you’re Muslim or if you’re a Catholic as long as the religion you choose
and the choices you make are ones you stand by, I will always support you.” In that moment I knew that was the most satisfying
and best feeling I’ve ever had. My dad turned around the car
to take me home, and my journey finally began. I have this list, and on this list,
I have a list of my beliefs – my morals, my values, and my beliefs – and I used to think that if I physically and mentally listed
everything that I believed in in my life, I could just find a religion,
and I could just fit this list in there, and then everything will be golden,
everything will be set, I will have my religion
and all my questions would be answered. I’m going to share with you
a few things on that list today. Number one, like I said earlier,
I do believe in a God, I do believe in the existence of one. My testimony is that when I was born. I was born here in Arlington, Texas, and my mother went
through an emergency C-section; the umbilical cord wrapped around
my neck and was choking me, so I was completely purple,
and I didn’t make a sound when I came out. My father passed out,
and he was dragged out in a wheelchair and he was crying out in the lobby:
“She is dead, she is dead!” and, doctor Scott Tisdell ran
in the room and saved my life. You see, my mother is a nurse today. Under law, she went back to school,
she worked really hard, she got a degree, and now she is a nurse. And one day, when she was studying
in the kitchen in the exact same spot
she always studies in, she called me in because she wanted
to explain something to me. She was on the chapter
of ‘Newborn babies,’ and she explained to me
that there is this scale; on a scale from 0 to 10
how healthy a baby is when is born, ten means the healthiest,
– babies usually range from seven to ten – to zero being not with us any more. And out of my mother’s curiosity,
she went throughout my birth records, and to her dismay she found out
that I was a solid one. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t stand here and explain to you the sience behind of
all of it, and how I did survive that day, but I’m a believer, and I do believe that there is a God
who cared my little oneself here today. Number two. I believe in gay rights. I believe God made me straight
and someone else gay. You know, my father always asked me: “Seehum, why did God
make us so different?” “Because He wants us to learn
from each other, daddy. Because He wants us
to learn from each other.” How simple is that? I believe that God made me straight
and someone else gay, and then when I think of how
most religions view homosexuality today, I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we as humans are supposed
to frown upon certain things just because we have the ability to. I don’t think homosexuality is
a perversion or anything near that nor will I ever. Number three. I believe I should confess my wrong-doings
or sins to God and only God. I don’t believe I have to look
another human being in the face and tell them what I did wrong last week. My relationship between God
and I is just that: my relationship between God and I. So my list goes as far as my views
on ideology to abortion and what have you; you think of it and it’s on that list. So you’d expect me at the end of this
to give you some sort of happy ending and tell you that I’m leaning towards
one religion more than the other, but I’m just as disappointed
as you are to tell you that I’m not. Like my father wanted,
I’ll stand by the choices I make, and I just have so many
questions left for the world. You know, Gandhi once said: “You’ll find yourself through
the service of others.” And you know what? Gandhi knew exactly what he was talking
about when he said that. Because here is my plan. I’m going to live a life
in positivity and good doing without a certificate of confirmation
or a huge ceremony because I don’t need that to tell me that I’m doing something right
with my life or that I’m a good person. Maybe I can just pray without
a real roof over my head because maybe just then
I’ll be a little bit closer to God. And I know one day,
when I have my own kids, and I’m at home cooking dinner
and it’s just a normal day, and then my little boy or little girl
storms into the house, and throws her bag back to the staircase
and runs up to me and says: “Mum, mum, mum, mum! Katie wants me to go
to catechism with her today after school, can I go? I’m going to look my little girl
or little boy in the eye and say to them, I will drive you myself. And then the next week, when they run
up to me again and go like: “Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum! Sama wears this really pretty scarf around
her face and I don’t understand why,” I’m going to look my little girl
or little boy in the eye and explain to them why Sama
wears a scarf around her face even if their mother doesn’t, and I’m going to open my kids’ eyes
to the worlds of religion, just the way my parents did for me. I’m not going to
make them follow my own faith because, how are they suppose
to know what they believe in at six or seven? If there is any of you today who have struggled with
or are currently struggling with diverging into a different pathway because you fear
the acceptance of your family, or you fear the acceptance of others, F.Scott Fitzgerald and I would like
to leave you with something: “I hope for what is worth, you know it’s never too late
to be who you want to be, and that you live a life
that you’re proud of, and if one day, you find that you are not, I hope you have
the strength to start over.” Thank you. (Applause)

  1. سهام في القيقة 5:12 بتحكي الحمد الله علي كل ياجماعة ابوها واضح انو فلاح كل الي راحو امريكا فلاحين والمشكلة ضلو فلاحين حتي انهم اتخرجو من جامعات للاسف ماضافو ايه معلومات تفيدهم بالحياه انا ما بعمم علي كل الفلاحين بس من الي شفتهم في الحياة العملية اظن جزء كبير فاهم انا شو بقصد علي جميع الاحوال اللي يضحك انهم بس اولادهم يكبرو بيرجعو علي بلادهم عشان خايفين عليهم من الانحراف ههههه سهام نثل حي علي راي بس ابوها تاخر يرجع شكلو

  2. She doesn't even have a religion, it doesn't matter if she cares about gay rights or anything else religion dams . Just because you believe in a god doesn't mean you have to hate gay people , that's a requirement of religion .

  3. She talks about looking for her own faith or religion as if she is going to buy a brand new car . Among the thousands of religions I doubt there are any that meet the standards of modern morality, she is going to be looking for a long time , eventually she will have to start her own religion she has the god part covered

  4. Religion is ones personal journey and belief …. so ……. KEEP IT PERSONAL !Oh … btw … my own daughter was born with umbilical chord wrapped around her neck too ……. Now she believes in her iPhone , Dance classes , good grades , sport and her friends ! ……….. and evolution ! 🙂

  5. ummm…. it makes a sense on religion but not on truth 🙂 …. i guess you should THINK more because ,that will be better than the advice you gave and then it will make sense 🙂 … wise

  6. You are a very fortunate woman. You had two parents that love you and gave you the greatest gift possible love, acceptance and faith in God. I'm sure both of them pray for you daily. God loves you too… Don't ever stop striving for a closer personal relationship with him. Seek Him and you will find Him.

  7. May God guide you in your journey. Let me tell you my dear (and perhaps you already know this, then forgive me) that it is tempting to search for a religion that fits exactly what your opinions are at any given moment. But if we are to believe in truth, that is really Truth who is God, it will not always line up exactly with what we think right now and we will at times be uncomfortable. But if it is true, then it is worth changing for. So may I encourage you to search for the Truth. Not exactly what is comfortable, but what is true.

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