The irony is, I have an open mind to most things. I am happy to believe in the possibility of astrology both regular and chinese, guardian angels and mystics. Feng shui is too complicated with all its rules and regulations and I once had my aura read by a special machine which was pretty unimpressive but, apart from that, I am inclined to embrace the idea of anything.
I have never found a religion, however, that has engendered in me the kind of faith that these two young women clearly enjoy. The roots of this no doubt lie in the fact that I grew up in a secular, possibly even anti-religious household. My parents, both lapsed Catholics had little time for organised religion. At school, we had morning assembly, where we sang rousing hymns and recited slightly disturbing prayers but, other than getting out of school to deliver harvest festival baskets to old people, religion had no impact on my life.
Strangely, I wasn't the only one. I didn't know anybody who went to church or was even vaguely religious. There was one girl, a Jehova's Witness, who wasn't allowed to come into assembly or R.E lessons and she may as well have been a witch given the amount of suspicion with which she was regarded. The poor girl was friendless. I think it was the fact that she didn't celebrate Christmas or birthdays that did for her. Her lack of potential fun was stamped all over her and this horrible prejudice has stayed with me ever since. I associate religion with joylessness and yet these two young women look vital and full of life.
It's not as if religion doesn't appeal to me on a certain level. I have often fantasised about living as part of an Amish community, with the peace and quiet and return to a simpler way of life. The lack of electricity would be the sticking point though, I couldn't manage without my hair straighteners. Likewise, Mormons always seem to me to have it sussed. A community of women sounds ideal; surely as the wives start accumulating, the man becomes irrelevant. There really is something about those communal religions; I'm sure if I were ever to encounter a religious cult, I would be converted in no time at all.
I'm thinking it could be a generational thing and my generation is basically Godless but younger people don't seem to view organised religion with the same scepticism and derision. Churches in the UK have never been so populated as a result of people migrating from Africa and Eastern Europe and this has obviously mushroomed out into the wider community. My friend's father, who is a vicar, says business in booming.
I'm not sure that religion is for me although as the saying goes, never say never. I do sense a shift, however. Maybe its the recession, maybe it's migration but I think our Godless nation could be on a mission to find faith.