This I Believe

Matthew - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I am a former Christian that no longer feels comfort in the church but still humors the idea that God exists. That is an expression of faith that is not too often heard. Usually when asked what one believes the response is concise, such as “Catholic” or “atheist.” But much experience and introspection has gone into what I believe.

I was raised a Christian. My mother and father had taken me to church quite often as a child, but all church really meant to me was an hour on an uncomfortable bench and a time for doodling. But when I mustered up the will to crack open the Bible to find out for myself what I thought of it I was surprised to find myself becoming a believer in the stories it told. So one day I told my mother that I was ready to be baptized, and soon after I was wading in a pool with my preacher. For the next few years I believed everything about the Bible and made every word that the preacher said a part of me. But my religious journey was not yet over.

One day a few years later, while browsing the internet for a high school religion assignment, I found a Buddhist story called “The Blind Men and the Elephant” which profoundly affected my life and my faith. It is a well known parable of six blind men and an elephant that is meant to reveal the uncertainty of what cannot be seen. One blind man touches the tail of the elephant and says it is like a rope, another touches the side and says it is like a wall, and neither man understands how the other could have such an incorrect perceptive of the elephant.

This story made me consider my religious beliefs and how I am so certain that my beliefs are correct, just like Jews, Muslims, or people of any religion, are so sure that their beliefs are correct. I now believe that I am only grasping a part of religion. Jews and Hindus and Muslims also know God, but see Him in a way that is difficult for me to understand. Because of this lack of understanding of other’s beliefs, religions contribute more disparity to the world than they do love. As a Christian I would look down on those that did not as strictly adhere to the rules of the Bible as I did, or those that did not believe in Jesus. Now, looking at religion from the outside, I see how egotistical and arrogant these thoughts were. Since I no longer unyieldingly share my beliefs with the beliefs of Christianity I have been liberated from these thoughts. Freedom has opened my eyes to the brutality of religion, of which I believe a loving God would not approve.