This I Believe

Tim - Bradenton, Florida
Entered on March 20, 2007

The words, this I believe, to me, strike right to the essence of life. What do you believe? It is inherently a question of religion, something most of us inherit from our parents. And it is something we talk little about.

I inherited Catholicism, and going to a Catholic school from the beginning is one of the gifts I most should thank my parents for. As a child, I definitely wanted to know the answers to the big questions that religion attempts to answer, and I was always ready when our religious studies would start. But I have vague memories about the Nuns being less enthusiastic for my interest in and challenges to what I was being taught. In the end, I thank Mom and Dad not for the beliefs, but for the extensive exposure and scrutiny to the topic I was afforded, for I ended up rejecting much of the canned variety of religion.

Instead, I ended up some years later at the loosely-knit Spiritualist beliefs table, the 100 item buffet of religion where you pick what you like and assemble to your own taste. I’ll have the Thought Creates Reality entrée, with a side of Reincarnation and a bowl of Predestined Conflicts please.

But the most curious thing to me still is that, not since I was squirming in my school desk have I seen us regularly conduct a forum to talk about it. If religion answers the biggest of questions for us all, why is that not something we openly discuss? When is the last time the neighbors came over and you inquired about their theory of life? If our every action here on earth is subtly guided by our underlying beliefs, why is that impolite conversation?

I remember as a young child when Cassius Clay announced his name change to Muhammad Ali that accompanied his religious metamorphous and noted it with interest as one of the few times outside of Church that we spoke of such things. In a strange way, I identified with his struggle.

I think many more of us today have been privately reconsidering the foundations of our beliefs. Organized religion only knows that we have drifted away from their services, bemoaning a loss of faith. But I see it as evidence of more not accepting the same answers and striking out on their own.

I believe in a Spiritualist theory that allows me to see the world as a perfect concoction, a wondrously interwoven blend that accomplishes playing out personal and group challenges together that meets everyone’s need for growth.

I also believe that we’d raise the quality of the game if we talked more about it. Talking about religious beliefs also brings tolerance for others views, and today, that can only help.