I believe in having your own personal relationship with God, whoever or whatever you may think He or She may be. I believe that each person should have faith, not religion. The different philosophies and teachings of some religions start wars, cause controversy, and divide people. But if each person had their own idea of what God is then it would still motivate people to have morals in preparation for the afterlife without the debates over who’s right and who’s wrong.
I spent Kindergarten through 8th grade in Christian schools. I was always taught to obey the Golden Rule and follow the Ten Commandments and I’d get into heaven. For a long time I believed all of this and did as I was told. I went to the weekly school Masses, I got baptized as a Catholic, I went to Church, I accepted Jesus into my heart, and I tried to be a good person. But when I got older I started to question everything being told to me. For instance, why should I have to belong to a certain denomination to get into heaven if I have good morals? If someone was a serial killer but believed in Jesus as the son of God, why should he have a better chance of getting into heaven than someone who was always good but was a Buddhist? I also questioned why I had to go to church weekly to give thanks to God when I got nothing out of it except for boredom. Why should I have to go in a group to worship when I feel more comfortable alone in my room praying? Some of the concepts of the religion just didn’t make sense to me anymore.
Then I entered high school, which was my first time in public school. I became even more confused about religion and God. Being away from the Christian school gave me more freedom to question my own beliefs. I thought about changing religions, but then I realized that none of them could be completely right, and if one was, how was anyone supposed pick out which one it was? Then I sank lower, and at one point I began toying with the idea that there was no Almighty God. Then I had an epiphany. Nothing happened to cause it. I just suddenly realized that trying to figure out which religion was right was a futile attempt. I think that everyone should have their own individual faith. I believe that everyone should just try their hardest to do good things and be good people without the stress of conforming to what another person’s idea of what God wants. And who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there is one religion that’s right and you must believe in it and obey its rules. But who really knows for sure? They say all questions are answered in death. If that’s true, all we have to do to find out is wait.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.