This I Believe

Rachel - Baltimore, Maryland
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that anything worth believing in is worth questioning.

Growing up Catholic, I never once questioned anything regarding my faith. When I was ten years old, I was praying fervently to God for hours on end every night and often during the spare moments of my day. I knew all my prayers and I treasured my Bible and my rosary above all my earthly possessions.

When I was eleven, I began to question everything.

Unfortunately for me, the adults that ran my Sunday school classes did not believe in questioning, for my quizzical, wide-eyed looks were easily ignored or placated with easy, ambiguous answers, answers that never really addressed my too-dangerous-for-a-child questions. I would leave Church feeling perpetually more and more confused; it felt as if there was some grand, mystical secret I would never be able to discover hidden between the pages of the Bible and behind the eyes of my educators. How could I continue to believe so completely in this religion if there were so many things I did no understand? My priest taught that I should love and worship God unconditionally, without reservation, but I had reservations and I was all for the scientific method of investigating this obscure and frightening unknown.

For several years I was stuck in limbo, until I met a Jewish friend who remains a source of strength for me to this day. On the bus to and from school he showed me that it was perfectly acceptable to question my faith, and together we debated Christianity and Judaism while he taught me the histories of other religions, religions that he learned about in Sunday school class. I wondered why it was that my friend could learn about other religions and I wasn’t allowed to ask even one small question without having to slip into the confessional. I took matters into my own hands, and I researched and tried many other religions before settling on what I believe today. It is a belief that changes as often as the weather, as often as I question.

I no longer identify myself as Catholic or even Christian, but I still believe in God on a good day, God as I see him. The difference in my faith as it stands now is that I question God every day, and he does the same of me. I feel that because I spent so much time questioning, and learning about the world and myself in the process, I am not only a stronger person but I have a stronger faith, even if I do spend more time talking to squirrels than I do the big guy in the sky.