This I Believe

Jose - Elmhurst, Illinois
Entered on April 17, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Faith and Love, Not Hate

As I’ve gotten older I have found that I cannot let my parents or peers decide my beliefs, I have to establish them myself. In doing so I’ve come to realize that I believe people have the wrong idea about religion. My friends and I can often be found discussing our views on everything from classic literature to music and movies to, of course, religion. Whenever the subject of religion comes up the same situation always occurs. I’m a fairly devoted Catholic, but few of my friends believe in organized religion and it always ends up with one of my religious friends and me discussing our point of view against that of three or four of our unreligious friends.

In the world today, people both young and old look down upon religion. Many see organized religion as burdensome, hateful, political, and controlling; and honestly, I don’t blame them. Looking back on the history of the Catholic Church in particular one can see that it is responsible for some truly horrid things. Even today gays and other groups are faced with the hurtful words of “Devoutly Religious” people saying that they’ll burn in hell for the way they live. But, people shouldn’t judge organized religion based upon the mistakes of this religion or that group of discriminating jerks because the supposedly religious people who spread hate and violence in the name of God are nothing more than idiots who are afraid of things that are different. Religion is supposed to be about faith and love, not hate.

Shortly after my fourteenth birthday I made my confirmation, becoming an adult in the church and confirming my belief in God, committing myself to the church and such; however, at fourteen it was a big decision to make. I found myself wondering if other religions had a better idea about life and love and all that other stuff. I discovered upon researching a number of different religions that they have more things in common than differences.

I decided to stick with Catholicism. The comfort and feeling of well-being that I get out of going to church is what anyone that is part of any religion is feeling, or at least should be. People who are always whining, “Oh dear! I have to give something up for forty days and I can’t eat meat on Fridays for a few weeks! How unfair!” are missing the point. Those that constantly complain about what an inconvenience religion is haven’t noticed that fasting and other sacrifices made for religion are expressions of faith and should be treated as such, not as if they’re burdens.

As is said in an Apache proverb, “It makes no difference as to the name of the God, since love is the real God of all the world”; and who would complain about being loved? This, I believe.