On Religion, and Why It’s Not For Me

Abigail - Manchester, Missouri
Entered on December 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: atheism

I am agnostic. The literal meaning for “agnostic” is something along the lines of “does not know,” and this describes me very well: I don’t know. But I also very firmly believe that I have no way of knowing. I neither believe nor disbelieve in God and this is not going to change. It’s not out of laziness or ignorance or whatever, and I certainly have not strayed from a path of righteousness. It’s quite the contrary, actually. By taking it upon myself to choose a single religion, I would betray myself.

Don’t try to tell me I need religion to tell me how to be a good person. I can manage that just fine by myself. I rarely lie, I never cheat, I try to be kind to everyone I meet. I don’t make promises I won’t keep. I do my best to turn the other cheek. I try not to judge. I never, ever deliberately hurt anyone; I can’t stand the thought of hurting someone. And if I can help someone, I will, with little hesitation.

This is all with absolutely no religious training whatsoever. I don’t need someone to tell me the difference between right and wrong; I don’t need the incentive of heaven or threat of hell to be a good person while I’m alive.

And then there’s these jerks that will say, “If you don’t welcome Jesus into your life, you’re going to hell” or some such nonsense. So it doesn’t matter if I’m perfectly angelic in life: if I don’t share their theology, I’m doomed to eternal damnation. Excuse me if I don’t subscribe to that. Granted, there’s variation, but almost all religions basically insist, “This is the ONE TRUE religion. Believe or else.”

And that’s another thing. There are so many religions, almost all claiming to be the only right one. Who am I to decide which is right and declare all the others to be wrong? No human has that right, as far I’m concerned. If God comes down and tells me Himself what is right and true, then I’ll believe Him. But no human, no mortal, can tell me what to believe, because they don’t know either. They’re generally just accepting the word of someone else, who’s accepting the word of someone else and so on. “But what about the people who have heard God Himself?” one might ask, to which I repeat: which is right? They can’t all be. It’s the same thing all over again.

It’s not that I don’t respect religion. It’s just not something I feel I need. I can easily find enough purpose, guidance and support in myself and the people around me, and I know right from wrong. Religion has noble enough intentions, but it is not so vital to my survival that I’ll abandon my own beliefs and philosophies.

So I’m strictly agnostic, and I’m going to stay agnostic, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This I believe.