I am not religious. I was born and raised a Christian, but I never really liked the idea of organized religion. I went to church every Sunday because I was forced to, but I never enjoyed it, and I always questioned why I had to go. My mom would always tell me, “When you are confirmed, you can choose whether or not you want to go.” I chose not to go. I just didn’t see the point. Throughout college, I developed new views of religion and spirituality.
Throughout my life, I have never really seen a need for religion. This is probably because I have always been a pretty lucky person. My family had gone through some hard times growing up, but it was nothing that I couldn’t put a positive spin on. Even when my parents got divorced, I thought it was for the better because they would both be happier. However, growing up, I never had to deal with death.
This past December, one of my best friends was killed in a car accident. There was nothing not to like about him. He was smart, funny, and friendly to everyone he met. I will never forget the night that I got the call. I didn’t know what to do except cry. In the following days, I tried to rationalize it, but I couldn’t. The only thing that I could tell myself was that he was going to a better place and that I would see him when I died, two fundamental beliefs from my upbringing. It was then that I realized why religion exists and why it is so important to believe in something. I understood why much less fortunate people than me find time to go to church every Sunday. I never really understood it before because there was nothing in my life that was unexplainable.
I still don’t go to church and I’m still not a fan of organized religion. However, I will never forget those few days when nothing in the world made sense to me. All I could do was rely on belief. For this reason, there will always be a need for religion and belief. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.