This I Believe

Kelley - Wellington, Florida
Entered on April 16, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

I believe that only I can define what is considered “the truth”. Nobody can tell me what I should believe, based on their interpretation of statements, events, or any evidence that could be considered as such. Our parents, environment, and overall nurturing mold our beliefs and methods of interaction with the world, and no one can refute your personal doctrine: your indisputable truth.

I am currently a senior at a public arts magnet high school but spent the first 8 years of my education at a conservative Christian institution. Like most individuals who attend private schools, I was exposed to many life-altering concepts, which I was told would determine the fate of my soul for the rest of eternity.

I was baptized Catholic; so for the first few years of school, the Bible stories and life lessons infirmed in me complimented, rather than conflicted with my Catholic up bringing. Everyone agreed on the basics: God loved us, Jesus died for us, and we should always do good things. These were as true to me as the fact that the sky was blue. There were no discrepancies.

Everything changed in middle school. It seemed as though I entered into a new environment. I’ll never forget the day when my Bible teacher told the class that, without a shred of doubt in his mind, all non-Christians were going to hell, just because they had different truths from the rest of us.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept that this God, that I had been taught was so loving, would condemn most of the world to hell for choosing to worship him in different ways.

Sometime later, in Science class, we began to discuss the origins of the earth and man. Our teacher opened the class up for discussion, asking each of us to describe our theories of how the earth was created, and then simultaneously refuting each statement that didn’t coincide with the first chapter of Genesis.

I didn’t know exactly what I believed to be true because I realized that there was no absolute truth. Since all we had were theories, and theories were just glorified opinions confused with fact, there was no possible way that they could be denied. To shut down an opinion is to tell someone their feelings are false, and anyone who has ever felt anything for anything will tell you that sometimes our emotions are the only true guidance we can rely on.

I believe in questioning everything, even seemingly concrete concepts. I don’t believe there is one correct religion or political party or philosophy that we should all follow but I’m quick to promote but not force my beliefs on anyone interested in them. I believe in borrowing concepts from my environment and determining for myself what the truth is. The rest of the world determines their own truths and to them, those truths are undeniable. I believe only I know the truth (my truth) and not a soul can contest to that.