This I Believe

Jacqueline - Hollywood, Florida
Entered on May 8, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that there is no right religion. People fight wars and kill thousands of people in the name of God, but who is God? Allah, Yahweh, Brahman – which one’s right? Every person on the planet will give you a different answer.

My answer is that I don’t know. I used to know. I went to a very Baptist middle school, and there I learned about every book in the Bible, and that God is the reason for everything, and how shameful it was to question your faith. At that school all the kids you wanted to be like were the ones who went to church twice a week. I didn’t think it would be much different in a Catholic high school. I actually kept on the straight and narrow until the second semester of junior year, when my best friend got cancer. Before that it had been easy to believe that God was the reason for everything, even bad things like starving babies in Cambodia, because they’re over there in Cambodia – just say “God has a plan” and everything’s okay. But then something as mind-blowing as cancer slaps you in the face from next door, and you realize that saying “Oh, don’t worry, God has a plan” doesn’t solve it. I not only doubted God’s plan, but even, just a little bit, the existence of God himself.

To add to that, I was taking philosophy that semester and we talked about God and religion a lot. I’d never had to question why being a Baptist was right, as opposed to being Catholic, or Buddhist, or Jewish. I just took it for granted that my faith was the right one, and everyone else was wrong. I always looked down on people of other faiths and thought, “Oh, those poor people, they don’t know the truth.” It never occurred to me that those people were looking at me saying the same thing. So after thinking about it a lot, and taking a world religions class, I arrived at this conclusion: There is no absolute right religion; there’s only a right religion for you, atheism included. It may take a long time, but once you find your own religious niche, and you like living that way, and praying (or not praying) that way, and you’re happy and not hurting anyone, that’s the right religion. I haven’t quite found my niche yet, but the journey is just as fulfilling as getting there.