This I Believe

Michael - Allendale, Michigan
Entered on September 27, 2007

It began in middle school when I told my parents I didn’t want to go to Catechism anymore. For you non-Catholics, Catechism is designed to educate youth in Catholicism. I didn’t want to go was because I didn’t believe in God. Nothing ever happened that confirmed my faith had any meaning. Maybe it’s because I just didn’t believe. I never told my parents why I wanted to stop, not at that age. But they made me go.

They made me go. Made me listen. Made me confirm my love for God and Jesus.

I never shared my beliefs with anyone. I was afraid of what people would think of me.

It wasn’t until my parents got divorced that I really started feeling more confident in my decision to stop believing. I can’t explain how or why this happened, I just stopped believing. I suppose I simply began believing in something completely different. Humans. I don’t need religion for moral teachings. I have my own morals and have been doing just fine. If people are good to me, I return the favor, simply because it feels right. Not because it will save me a seat in the clouds. Simply because I see no reason in causing harm or grief to another person. I believe I can be a good person without religion.

One day, I went to lunch with my dad and now-step mom. Religion came up. I don’t remember how or why, but that’s irrelevant. The question came. The question I had been waiting for.

“Do you believe in God?”

I replied with the answer I had been rehearsing for this very moment, “No.”

My step mom asked my dad how he could let this happen. It was as if I had murdered someone and just sat there, expressionless, remorseless. Expressing my feelings broke their hearts. They didn’t think I was human. They thought my morals were lost. I was now nothing more than a mass of flesh waiting out my life – to die for nothing.

That day was a turning point in my life. I had removed a giant boulder from my chest. I was able to breathe and could finally live my life. For a short time after, I felt resentment from my dad and step mom, which I knew was coming. They realized that, though I had abandoned God, I am still a person, I do have morals, and I do have a good heart. When I see a homeless person on the street, I give them a couple bucks. I donate to charities. I lend people money with no intention of being paid back. I donate blood. I go out of my way to do something nice. I do all of those things without someone telling me I must if I want to be a good person. I don’t feel as though having any sort of religion would make me a better person than I already strive to be.