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What do you believe in?

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Marina Marina | 19:10 UK time, Saturday, 7 August 2010

Who are you: agnostic or atheist, Christian or Muslim? Actually, this question is not so important, you may think. As one friend of mine like saying, doesn't really matter what religion you belong to the main thing is what kind of person you are. And, for many reasons I agree with him. But in the same time the theme of religion itself is quite interesting and significant especially in our time.

I am very proud for my country being not only multinational but "multi-religion". The truth is that historically many different religions co-exist together in Kazakhstan. The most important thing is that almost every person could choose own faith; but sometimes it depends on family lifestyle. Well, as I'm surrounded by people of various nationalities we quite frequently have discussions about the faith. There are always the questions like "believe or not", "is the faith really makes you stronger" etc. I myself agnostic but I respect opinion and choice of other people. Answering Kim's question about the Korean Diaspora I must say that about 100, 000 Koreans currently live in the country. Naturally, I've lots of Korean friends. Some of them are the Buddhists and others are the Christians. It might be sounds odd having Buddhism or Hare Krishna in "considered-to be-Muslim" country. But! There are the followers of Hare Krishna even among my friends.

Hare Krishna, Almaty

There is an only Krishna's temple in Central Asia as I know. Actually, they called it "farm" and people who "lost" their way live there having sort of "work therapy".

Hare Krishna Temple, Almaty


The fact is that Islam and Christianity have majority of followers in Kazakhstan. I really enjoy a view of mosques and churches when I pass by.

Mosque (is being reconstructed), Almaty

Orthodox Church, Almaty

Catholic Church, Almaty

Synagogue in Astana

We used to never discussing faith's topic in our family, because of the Soviet time, perhaps. As you probably know, before the beginning of the World War II almost every temple on the present CIS territory had been destroyed by so-called "red army" led by Stalin. People had to hide their connection with religion, because "to believe in God" was prohibited. There is one Almaty legend that connected with that time. It said that two monks Serafim and Feognost dug in the Kyzyl-Zhar (means "red cliff") Mountain a big hole and hid the church in there. Later they were founded and shot by "red soldiers". Their remains are still in perfect condition and they are considered to be saints. The "hidden" church is still there near the "Medeo" (place where the Asian Olympic Games 2011 will be held).

Memorial in honor of the saints Serafim and Feognost, Almaty

I'm glad knowing that nowadays people don't have to hide any more. Moreover we have "temple of all religions" in capital city Astana. People call it "pyramid". Every three years the leaders of word confessions (about 200) will be gather in this palace to take a part in Forum.

"Pyramid", Astana

This is the globe with 17 parts where signatures of religious leaders were left, Astana-Bayterek

Well, friends, am really looking forward to your point of view!



  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Dear Marina.
    Congratulations! I think, this is a really excellent blog. I'll be back tomorrow with my answer, or, at least the day after tomorrow exactly, if I'll be very busy tomorrow.
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello! Marina, thanks for so much information about your country. I hadn't read anything specific about Kazakhstan, and I thought there were only Muslims there. I so interested in culture and how people live in other countries specially in places out of north america and europe where we can learn a lot easely.

    I've been following bbc for some months, it's a great way to improve my english, but it's the first time that I write something.

    Thanks Marina!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hello Marina, I totally agree with your friend who says no matter what religion we belong to, the important thing is the kind of people we are. I think we are equals and suffer or are happy in the same way because of the deep feelings we experiment in our lives. No matter race, language or religion. But, unfortunately and it is only my opinion sometimes religions tend to separete peoples, communities, etc. Best wishes, Beatriz.

  • Comment number 4.

    My first thought is that we want peace and to live in a global brotherhood.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi friends! Thanks for your words.

    To Emat: great, looking forward to your thoughts :)

    To Marcos: hope you will write more here. good luck!

    To Beatriz: I totally agree with you, the whole World needs peace and concord. in Kazakhstan we all (at least people I know) tend to support each other in our choices, not to criticize.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi dear Marina
    I 'm Pary from your nearbye country Iran . I live in Azerbayzan Province so I can speak turkish , I think people ( Gazakh ) speak trukish or some thing near to on . I 'm happy that you will say about Nuroz , as you may know people in Iran celebrat it completely and it 's our new year .bye the way I agree with your firends and I think you are like that disny characer , it 's too nice ! I love to see your beatiful grandmum 's photo , if it 's possibel . sorry for my late commet . I have been busy last week for my office inspection and guess what now I have truck loads of delayed works , wish me luck ...
    see you

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Marina ,

    Your blog is really interesting , specially today's idea . I like your question "who are you?" . Me also is completely agreed with your friend because the most important thing is " what kind of person you are ?" and also to be open-hearted as well as open-minded.

    Best wishes and good luck.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Marina,

    In response to your title, I say I believe in humanity, and dream for a sense of common humanity within us all.

    Who am I? First of all, I think I’m a human being, and then I’m a Bangladeshi. Yes, I do agree with your friend that religion doesn’t matter. Which only matters is we’re really a human being in terms of our character, personality, thinking and attitude.

    I’m sure we’ll find people from different religions in most countries of the world. But, it’s a question that whether they all live in peace and harmony, they all are in a congenial society. It’s a matter of great regret that we keep some people as a second class citizen by laws or constitution in some cases. It’s surprising that this is also done by us, so-called human being, well-known as leader. What a shame! We can’t change it though we’re leading our lives in twenty-first century. Aren’t we liable for it? But, why?

    I believe you, all from your country are lucky in this case. I think, we, others can learn something from you, your country. I look forward to the days when this will be eye-opener for others.

    Ashish, Bangladesh.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Marina,
    it's a very interesting post.
    In my opinion true religion is all about respecting other's believes.
    And it's nice to know something about your beautiful country.

  • Comment number 10.

    To Pary: I'm glad that you've found time and commented my post. Wish you good luck with work! You know, you've just reminded me somebody :) read about that in my next post, but no offense please!

    To Ashish: Great words. I share your point of view. That's a really sad situation when religion is prohibited by law. But let's believe in more bright future (at least for our descendants).

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi, it seems there are two Beatriz here. I am the one from Uruguay. Congratulations Marina for your posts and for writing frequently. Very interesting to know about your country.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Beatriz! :) Thank you!

  • Comment number 13.

    Though I am very new to comment in this blog, I have almost been using it for three mounts. I just wanted to share my opinion about the different religions and ethnic groups in a country with you. Obviously, I don’t believe in faith of division. I believe in human rights to privacy that makes way for the entire nation to prosperity and stability. religion should make this way and bring all people from many different ethnic groups to live in peace and equally. To be honest to you I have seen a government which I don’t what to name it has always tried to make fight between two different ethnic and religious groups of people within the it own country. So what can you do if you are from this kind of country, so I wouldn’t agree with a person who would blame the people and would never try to understand the facts about the government belabours.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Marina,
    ok, judging by the comments your question was may be a little bit too much from in the field of private life (you asked the question who are you, meaning what religion you belong. So, have you got any open answer to your question? - "I'm human being, I'm Bangladeshi" that doesn't count: these are not religion terms).
    I'm afraid I think I'm non-religion person, although a have a lot of conversations with different religious guys and read different Holy Scriptures... :) I also will not talk too much so that don't to turn our usual relaxed blog into my confessional. But who knows, may be some day I'll become a follower of some currents of Calvinism or something else, wish me luck.
    See you,

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi! Yeah, you're right about attitude to religion in Kazakhstan (I'm from Kazakhstan too). We really have a lot of different nationalities and religions and all of them can follow their faith. It's very pleasant to live in such country where regardless of our nationalities we can be friends and moreover we can live without some disputes))))

  • Comment number 16.

    Dear Emat,

    I'm sorry that I couldn't explain my view clearly. I've tried to say the same you've done. I also think myself a non-religion person. And, I'd like to say...........'I'm neither a Muslim nor a Buddhist'.............'I'm neither a Hindu nor a Christan'........ I'm simply a human being'. And, that's why; I've written "I'm human being".

    Thanks a lot.


  • Comment number 17.

    Hi, as Marcos Umberto wrote thanks for so much information about your country.
    I have over information about so-called "civilized" west countries but nothing about others.
    I think it is paradox of our time that we don't have correct information about more than 75% of world :o(

    I hope I will have opportunity to visit your country sometimes in my life :o)

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    greetings everybody;
    Marina ,this topic is really remarkable, thanks for this.I agree with all friends writing here.One of the important truths is that one's becoming a human ,only human,it's enough for me.But I think religions' effects on people's life mustn't be skipped,don't you think so.Religions affect humans'life in a variety way.For example , in my religion ,behavioring honestly towards other people or,helping people or,sharing your bread with the poor if necessary or,showing respect to the older and affection to children,each of them, has really significant place.I suppose this is same in the other religions,ın spite of its little effect ,people are under the influence of religions which they believe.For example,here is Ramadan and we fast I want you to come to my country so much for seeing the atmosphere coming with Ramadan.It's so magnificant..people are almost competing with each other for helping the poor,students,etc. they even share their hot soup with their neighbours.With this month all angriness and resentments fall off. So directly ,all of these contribute to people's characters in Türkiye. we experience unbelievable good things with this month.At least I sense so...
    I love this blog...
    best wishes from Türkiye

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi everyone!

    Dear Yaro it would be just great if you could visit Kazakhstan one day!

    To gulumse: I really liked the way you've described your attitude to the religion!

    Best wishes,


  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Marina!!! I read your blog it's very interesting.I know little bit about kazakhstan.it's very nice place but here i will say " I respect all religions all religions respected for me and i respect from heart"
    Marina allhamdullah i am Muslim and I belongs from muslim family as i said above I respect all religions but we have to study what's the truth...Nowadays two big religions in the world " Islam and Christanity"
    First we have to study these two one by one what Islam saying to us and what's in the Bible..after that we have to decide which religions we have to choose...


  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Noor!

    You know your point of view is aabsolutely right and I agree with you. I myself found the studying of religion quite interesting and important. hank you!


  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Marina!
    Thank you for your interesting blog! Does religion make us stronger? Is it really yes or not? What do people think about it? From my point of view, man needs to believe in the God. Simple it is because man is not only a body, we have also a spirit.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Marina!! You have very clear ideias about religion
    People should understand and focus a little bit more, not only on religion specifcly but on God, He's the same to all of us after all, religions are different ways to cult him!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Hey Marina.
    I am from Poland and surely you know that Poland is very Catholic country. I am Catholic too, but not always agree with church. When lived John Paul II our Polish Pope in Poland was better than today.
    I respect all religion, but religion not sect. I think that all religions say about the same but other language which was adapted to people lived in that area where religion came into being. I think that people should live wiht this religion which there were brought up. Most of people who complain on religion they don't want to deepen this religion.
    see you

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear Marina,

    I'd love your comment!! I share the same point of view with you: religion must be respected, doesn't matter what it is. Here in Brazil the most of the people are Catholic (like the most of South America), but we can easily find other religions too. In the state called Bahia, there's an interesting kind of religion; actually, it's a mix of the Catholic religion and Africa religions, that we call "sincretismo". It's a particularity of Bahia because the local culture was very influenced by the Africans, mainly the slaves of the 16th and 17th centuries. Mix some points of each religion was one of the ways that the slaves found to keep their own culture and traditions here. But in all country there's Protestants, Jews, Islamics and other religions, like I said before.
    Well, even with the Catholic majority, I think I can say that Brazil is a "multi-religion country", like yours, don't you think?

    Best wishes,


  • Comment number 27.

    Hey guys!

    Dear Lorena, I agree with you that lots of countries are "multi-religion" and I also think that's just great!

    Best wishes,


  • Comment number 28.

    Hello, Marina
    Thanks for so much information about your country. I hadn't read anything specific about Kazakhstan, and I thought there were only Muslims there. My first thought is that we want peace and to live in a global brotherhood. I so interested in culture and how people live in other countries specially in places out of north America and Europe where we can learn a lot easily. Although I don’t believe in anything, I still respect them. I think believing can give people power. I also is completely agreed with your friend because the most important thing is " what kind of person you are ?" and also to be open-hearted as well as open-minded.


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