How I have come to believe what I believe

christopherw - norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

In 2004, one year after I had joined the army, I got news that I was going to be sent to Iraq. As I made my way to Iraq, it dawned on me just like everyone else that is going, has gone and ever will go overseas that I had no real solid respectful concept of death. I didn’t quite understand that when it is over, that means it is over. So with that I started to go very diligently back to a Baptist church. Before my plane ever even touched down in Iraq I was shot at. To put it plainly, that made the most definitive impact on me by making me put my faith in something. In all of my free time while I was over there I was fortunate enough to be able to study with a chaplain who had a doctorate in philosophy. I studied everything from ancient theological studies like the evidence of truth in the bible and the way the religion started in Islam and the anthropological approaches to them. I pondered the thoughts of all that I had been taught and all of the people I was fortunate enough to meet and I came to the conclusion that there is one reason and one reason only for existence, and that is this; I am put here in this body, on Earth to help others and be there for them before myself. I fervently believe this because out of all of the things I have seen, heard, and deeply felt that there (in the history of mankind) has never been a greater reward for anything than that of those done through self sacrifice. So, had it come down to me having to have given my life for the guy next to me if I knew it would have saved him, I would have gladly done it. 4 years later, I still feel and believe the same thing. The only thing that ever got me through Iraq and my two tours there was my belief in the fact that I was not going over there for “patriotism” or anything like that, but that I was there in case I could have had the chance to save a life, make one better, or replace one. My faith in Christianity is no longer the same due to the real life situations that have been presented to me, but that is the beauty of being able to be there for someone else is that when I am there, that means I am there for everything and the acceptance of the way others believe. I feel there is no other way for me to live other than to be selfless in all realistic circumstances and I am content and happy in that knowledge.