Don't Ask Me About My Religion - You'll Get This for an Answer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Religion has always been a touchy thing for me, mostly because I get extremely heated about the topic. Most people who know me know better than to start an argument about religion with me in the room. I had to rant to myself because I'm having a conflict at the present moment. Read this if you want. It's full of opinions that you'll probably disagree with.

Submitted: July 26, 2014

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Submitted: July 26, 2014

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~~When people ask about my religious preference, I take it as an opportunity to show them that it is possible to be a decent human being without needing the promise of an afterlife. I don’t use it to try converting them or changing their beliefs (although, when I encounter someone who genuinely tries to turn me into a heathen for being nonreligious, I turn into a raging anti-religion liberal monster). What I don’t understand is why it matters whether or not I have a religion. What is so bad about that? What is the difference between me, a twenty-year-old girl who doesn’t go to church because she doesn’t believe in god, and another girl who is the exact same age and believes in god and claims to be a Christian, but only ever goes to church on Easter? Honestly, what’s the difference? To me, the only thing that sets us apart is the fact that one of us needs a book to dictate the way we live our lives.
 That brings me to my next point: if you need a five thousand year old book to tell you what is right and what is wrong, you have bigger issues than I do. I know that it’s wrong to lie, cheat, steal, and murder, not because I read it in a book, but because doing any one of those things would make me feel like less of a person. I don’t refrain from killing other people simply because I want to get into heaven when I die. I refrain from killing other people because, 1) there’s a really good chance that those people have families and putting their families through the pain of losing a family member would put a huge weight on my conscience (which I do happen to have, by the way), and 2) I don’t feel comfortable physically taking someone’s life, even if they deserved to lose it. I wouldn’t even be able to put a needle in a mass murderer’s arm, because it feels wrong, not because a book says I won’t get to heaven if I do.
 I’m not trying to attack anyone’s personal beliefs. I understand that not everyone uses the bible for that kind of a purpose. Many people use their religion for comfort – so they feel as though they have a purpose in this life, for spirituality. I used to struggle with this concept when I was younger and without purpose (for lack of a better phrase). I used to feel an emptiness because I didn’t have anything to turn to spiritually, which has changed only recently. I didn’t know what I wanted to contribute to the world a year ago. I had no idea what I wanted or needed to do, and then I discovered my love of natural science (biology at first, then chemistry). I fell in love with biology and learning about the way life works. That opened my mind to an entirely new part of existence that I previously had never had any connection with. Suddenly, I was connected with the universe because I had decided that I would put that passion I had for life sciences to good use and become a high school biology teacher. I want to show students that life is incredible and that you don’t necessarily need a religion to feel spiritually fulfilled. Unfortunately, I had to figure that out on my own. My teachers never drew that concept out for me. I’m sure there are (and will be in the future) many kids who are currently struggling to find their own spirituality. It’s honestly something that everyone should have in one form or another because it contributes a great deal to happiness.
 Growing up, my parents never forced me to do anything I didn’t want to. I don’t mean emptying the dishwasher or vacuuming the living room. I mean they never tried to shove any of their beliefs down my throat when I was a kid (as a lot of parents and grandparents do nowadays). My parents taught me to think for myself and make my own judgments about things like politics and religion. Of course, what little kid wants to know about the differences between republicans and democrats? Why would you even force those kinds of opinions and beliefs on your children anyway? I know that some parents won’t let their children interact with children of conflicting religions…but why? They’re only kids. What are you honestly so worried about? Children understand only the basic concepts of religion. They don’t know what can happen when beliefs conflict. A Muslim child is not going to try to get your Catholic child to believe in Allah while swinging on the swing set.
 I digressed a little, but the idea still stands. My parents wanted me to grow up to think for myself and believe what I thought was right, and they succeeded in doing this. I have morals. I respect other people and their right to believe what they want. I may get irritated and engage in arguments with people who differ from me, but that’s a cost of freedom. That’s why I live in the greatest country on Earth – because we can all believe whatever we want without fear of being persecuted by the government.
 When my boyfriend and I first started dating, he told me that when I meet his parents, I’m going to have to lie to them. When they ask about my religion, he told me to tell them that I am nondenominational Christian. I cannot begin to express my discomfort with this situation. Telling the family of the man I could potentially grow to marry that I believe something that totally conflicts with my entire existence goes against everything I believe in. I’m going to have to have a conversation with him about that because it’s been bugging me since it was brought up. But I understand where it came from. His family is very religious, and I respect that. However, I respect myself too much to become something I’m not in order to receive the approval of his family, and I respect him too much to tell such a huge lie. If we were to end up getting married down the road that would be a huge lie to keep up with, and nothing about that feels right to me. It wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do (*wink wink*).
 My brother is a homosexual man. The amount of hatred he has received from people who claim to be “men and women of God” is unbelievable. For a man or a woman of God, who commands to “love thy neighbor,” these people sure know how to spew complete and utter hatred. According to the bible, God loves everyone equally, including sinners. Everyone sins differently. You can’t pick and choose which sins you’re okay with. Who are you to judge?
 The point of this entire rant is that religion in general (I picked Christianity as an example because I’ve been exposed to it more than any other religion) is contradictory to the people who claim to practice it. I refuse to believe in something that says one thing, but doing the complete opposite is okay, too (for example: “Love thy neighbor,” but also “bash their brains in if they engage in acts of homosexuality, even though it’s a sin to kill”). I can’t take something like that seriously. I am incapable of processing why someone would be able to take it seriously.
 I, personally, am unable to believe in a higher power. I’ve tried. I honestly tried to be open-minded about the idea of a God in heaven, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get myself to admit it out loud that I believed in something like that. It sounded so goofy whenever I even said the word “god” out loud. It sounds like a children’s story to me, and frankly, I’ve completely outgrown it. It was cute when I was a little girl, but now it just seems silly.
 I know I’ll get all kinds of judgment for this, but remember, only God can judge me. Out loud at least. You can judge me all you want, but God is watching.
 


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