This I Believe

Tess - Charlevoix, Michigan
Entered on February 6, 2007

I have never been a religious person. My younger brother and sister used to criticize and yell at me, not understanding how I could have no belief in God and Heaven and all of that. My best friend would find ways to trick me into going to church outings with her, and she would give me Christian books with inspirational notes written on the first page in her handwriting. But nothing ever changed my mind. Nothing made me think that there was a higher power doing the greater good and helping me along.

I believe there is nothing bigger than me. That might sound somehow vain or condescending, but its not. I could never believe in God or any supernatural being because I believe too heavily in my own person. I know myself better than I know anything, and because of this, I know that if I had religion in my life, I would only use it as an excuse. God as a crutch. “Life is unfair; God makes everything too difficult; he must want me to fail.” Everything bad that would happen in my life could have outside blame – would I take responsibility for anything? Only the good things.

I have known people to misuse their God this way, and I am not going to be one of them. When I try hard at something and I fail, I often look at outside blame, knowing that really there is no one but myself to look at. Why add God to that list? All the mistakes I make in my life are mine, not his or anyone else’s. That way, when it is all over, I can know that everything I have accomplished and everything that I missed out on is because of me. I can die proud and with no regrets because I lived my life my way and have no one else to blame or congratulate for the way things turned out.

I am strong enough to do this on my own. We all are. Some people can use their religion to better their own lives, but I know I am not one of them. When I stand up in front of the world one day and give thanks for all of the people and things in my life, none of my gratification will go towards God. I will thank the people who helped to shape me and show me the world from their perspective and helped me to find my own view, but I will never thank a god who would do nothing more than fit me into a box of the things I did and the things I did not do with his help. I have learned that you can feel no bigger accomplishment than when you do something completely on your own. Whether I succeed the first time or whether it takes me a lifetime, at least I know I did it. That is how I stand. That is want I believe.