This I Believe

anne - western springs, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

“My Beliefs”

I believe that people need to form their own beliefs, rather than go by the beliefs set down by their religion.

As a born Catholic, I regularly attended mass and went to a Catholic grade school. So from an early age I was told what I believed about God. I was taught about heaven, hell, sins, and the Bible. All that I was supposed to believe was shoved down my throat from about the age of six. We were taught that the Bible was law, and that we must stay away from what Catholics considered to be sins, for fear of going to hell. There were always religion books that did the thinking about God for us.

About three years ago was the first time I started to question myself and my religion. In the late hours of the night when I couldn’t sleep I would question God and death and the afterlife. It scared me a lot because I couldn’t find the answers. Going to church gave me answers about what other people believed about God and death, but I couldn’t come to an absolution of my own. Questioning myself really made me open my eyes. I would go to Church and heard creed or passage, and I would think, “Do I actually believe that?” most of the time the answer was no, or I would revise the creed or passage in my head to make it fit what I believed.

Last year in World History, we studied religions from all over the world. During that section, I came to a realization that I don’t believe all of what Catholics are supposed to believe. When we studied each religion, I began forming my own opinions about God, death, and the afterlife. I took bits and pieces from each religion and even some that I made up, to form my own kind of Anne religion. I really examined what I believed, and not just about God. I thought about death, the afterlife, prayer and inner peace.

But why do we have to be tied to one religion from birth? One of the greatest things about humans is that we have the ability to think for ourselves. So why are we letting a religion dictate what we do and do not believe? I believe that a lot of people are scared. Scared to think that maybe not everything that they’ve been told their Church is true. They want to feel safe, and have a sense of knowing when it comes to the unknown. But I think that if people sat down and really thought about what they believed to be true, everyone could be at peace with themselves.