I admit that I was never a die-hard believer. For me, Santa was a ticket to free toys and the tooth fairy equaled money. Pretending to follow these outlandish stories was simple and by playing along I eventually got all my heart desired. As a child, I was introduced to harsh reality of the world. Therefore, I never experienced that blissful and carefree childhood. Because I never thought the way others did, I believe in the power to choose what to believe.
My biggest issue was attending church. There was nothing I despised more than waking up to stand quietly at a pew for an hour and a half. Listening to ideas and assumptions that were unconceivable in my mind felt like a waste of time. Those endless teachings never stayed with me. I tried though. I really did. It may appear that I have no faith but that is untrue. I just do not understand how the church expects me to eat up all garbage I have been force fed.
During the tender adolescence period when I was forced into Sunday school, my remanding faith was crushed by the preposterous stories of the Bible. For instance, when a pathway was formed in the Rea Sea or when Jesus fed ten thousand people with two fish and five loaves of bread. I can distinctly remember sitting side by side in a circle, discussing our thoughts. None of it made sense. During mass, even the chanting of prayers felt wrong. Nothing felt right in the “Lord’s House.” But still, I played along until I could not stand it anymore.
Then at age ten I was banned from the church. The specific details are inconsequential. Without guidance, I tried to make sense of the world around me on my own terms and without religion, I created my own. Though I do not have a name for my beliefs, I simply refer to them as karma.
I always felt that every action that I executed was contingent on another. If something were to go wrong, I would meticulously look back and see what I did to deserve it. I believe I am punished for my mistakes. Because I am aware of this, I never leave issues untouched or insults unforgiven. Never am I to leave with stinging words lingering in the air.
The idea of a “God” is not foreign. I believe in a God just not that same one as everybody else. That notion can be challenged, for some believe that there is only one God. But my God is different than your God. Similarly, in times of need, I call upon this God just as Christians call upon their God. Only, I know that it is selfish to expect my God to perform miracles for me while he focused on critical issues of world. My petty issues seem insignificant compared to the universal death and despair. My beliefs ground me.
I believe in the power to choose what to believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.