This I Believe

Jason - Vail, Arizona
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Religion is a widely disputed topic around the world. There are many different beliefs, but almost all religious parents have the same thing in mind. They wonder from birth how they will raise their child to have the same religious beliefs as them without even giving the child a choice. I believe that the quality of religion, the connection with something greater, should be a personal choice and cannot be forced onto any person.

Since I was a child, my parents have always encouraged religion. I was encouraged to wear “WWJD” bracelets (What would Jesus do), and sent to religious education to help develop my beliefs. Unfortunately, I never developed the firm set of beliefs and participation in church that they hoped I would. Instead, I became a young rebel, already confronting my parents on issues they believe were part of daily life. Since then, as my parents were catholic, they are encouraged to show their children the ideas of Catholicism (regardless of what the child thinks), implying that the child will not live a life of fulfillment without religion. Thus, I have been forced to go to church, had nasty confrontations with my parents when I didn’t, and have constantly had to deal with the threats of a negative life without Catholicism.

For something as distant as the prospect of a being that interacts in your life everyday, religion should unquestionably be a personal choice. Period. Is it a coincidence that I can link almost every war in history to religion, that relationships are determined by your beliefs, and that religion can be the largest separating factor for a family? I assure you it is not, as the leaders of these religions encourage followers to bring new members into the ‘community’ and come up with new ways every day to extort more money out of followers just like the media.

With all these cons of the spread of religion, what are the pros? A life of fulfillment, and the promise of an afterlife. These promises are made by priests who are as clueless of the afterlife as you are. The cons of religion are real, the pros of religion are…hoped for? My beliefs are not a rant against religion as a whole, however I do not believe any of these aspects of religion are worth imposing on other human beings. I especially don’t believe it should be imposed on the young ones when they are defenseless to come up with their own views. When a human has had some time on the planet, some experience with life, and other views to compare, he/she should then be able to make a personal choice on religion.