I used to believe that I knew exactly why I was on this earth, what my life’s purpose was, and where I was going when I died. I used to believe that anyone who believed differently than me was simply wrong and quite possibly stupid. I, like so many others, chose to believe the same religion my parents, and their parents, and their parent’s parents chose. After all, how could it be wrong when mom and dad say its true?
Today, I’ve learned that I believe that I am a better person accepting the fact that I may never know the reasons for my existence. It amazes me how many people have died in the name of religion. Most of these religions teach great things, and yet people are still killing people over whose religion is right and whose is wrong. While I personally haven’t seen anyone die in religious wars, I’ve certainly fought my own wars.
Everyone in my life had shared the same religion. When all of your family, your friends, your neighbors, even the pet dog all have the same views, it makes for a pretty tough run when you sit them down and explain why you are no longer attending church. Even my best friend who had known me for more than half of my life decided I had turned sour and it was time our friendship expired. It was as if I had caught some highly contagious disease. I couldn’t believe that these were the same people who taught me to be open-minded and to accept everyone.
I remember when I was about fourteen, I had one friend that was willing to hear me out and actually listen to my newfound perspective. We were sleeping over at his house and it was about two in the morning. I was about halfway through explaining my views when all of a sudden his dad marched into the room, giving me the glare of a lifetime. He then went on to bear his testimony at me as if he were performing an exorcism. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought I’d sprouted a set of horns. It goes without saying that that was the last time I was invited over to that friend’s house.
As life has gone on, I’ve had to build new friendships, and while I’ve been able to bridge the gaps back to most of my family, many of them still talk to me as if I’ve lost half my brain.
I used to believe that I knew exactly why I was on this earth, what my life’s purpose was, and where I was going when I died. I used to believe that anyone who believed differently than me was simply wrong and quite possibly stupid.
Today, I believe I’m a better person without having to know the truth as to why I’m on this earth. Rather than focusing on all sorts of technicalities, rules, and rituals I can now focus on actually being a better person. I’m not about to tell anyone else that his or her religion is wrong, because honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue as to what is true. But I do know I’d rather spend my life focusing on the here and now, doing good, rather than worrying about what came before and what is coming after. I figure if I’ve been a good person, then I really don’t have to worry about what comes next. If I die and god sends me off to hell for not following the extra rules and rituals of that needle in a haystack religion, then I can honestly say I don’t want much to do with that type of a god anyway. I believe that I have done more good for people by simply forgetting about religion and by just focusing on doing good.