I come from a religious background, where God is proclaimed to be the creator of all things, who answers your prayers, who always forgives and loves you. My entire family believes in Catholicism/Christianity. I experienced, what is referred to as childhood indoctrination (a child born into religion) which wasn't too insidious. I grew up having to attend Catechism, which is defined to be teachings of the biblical word. I attended class for eleven years (from 1st-11th grade), but my family and I would hardly attend church. My parents weren't strict about religion but they made it clear about what is "right" to believe in. They treasure the bible, use God for their reason of existence and to my knowledge, haven't bothered to think otherwise. My father would say, they were raised that way and will continue the tradition. So I took their beliefs without questioning because in all honesty, I didn't care. If anyone asked, I believed in God and had no true reason other then "The bible says so!" (along with my parents).
Through high school I had many phases and joined different crowds, who carried different beliefs. I am a very influenced person so I was easily convinced into believing what my friends believed in since I never had my own true beliefs. I wouldn't just believe either, I would verbalize it. I've had countless blogs over the internet that have, at some point, talked about my belief, or not belief, in God. After high school I started hanging out with a different crowd and became entwined with their beliefs. They loved Jesus and were die-hard Christians/Theists. It became a routine to hang out with them every day and go to church every Sunday. Not that I’m criticizing them, either. It was laid-back and acceptance was never an issue. It struck me and made me crave to feel close to the God they cherished; the God that made them feel free and wanted. I would pray, read the bible, talk/write about it, and God was the center of my attention.
My parents were very pleased, yet surprised. It was a transformation, literally. I have witnessed many things, like tongue-speaking and fainting to the ground because you've been “hit by the Holy Spirit.” It was truly an eye-opening point in my life and when I look back upon it, I don't regret it. It has taught me a lot because you can not believe in something without seeing all sides.
Once I got a job I could hardly go to church. My job took up most of my free time and I started losing touch with my friends. Plus, there were minor issues that I kept in the back of my head, keeping me from being in touch.
It's hard for me to explain my next transformation and it would have been hard to believe considering how outspoken I was about faith, but I began to question my beliefs. What was I standing for exactly and why? I always knew how to answer the first question but never the second. At which case, anybody would say it isn't a valid belief then, but when it comes to religious people... they let it slide. Richard Darwin said it very well, "What is so special about religion that we grant it such uniquely privileged respect?"
I know my parents would feel doomed knowing "I'm going to Hell" and try to find a way to "save me," though I could easily question my parents for their traditional beliefs. Why should my opinion or concern in God (supernatural, or not) be disregarded because of a continuous cycle to have faith? As I learn more about science I know exactly what I am denying. I am simply accessing and breaking apart what I’ve been told, to see what's really going on and to know where I stand. I think my choice to have believed in God was not just because I was afraid of the unknown but because I felt part of something. Nothing’s as satisfying as it would be with company. I no longer felt lonely. I was reminded that my thoughts mattered to "Him" and the romance blinded the truth.
So far, I’ve learned we should embrace the unknown as a gift to our minds and souls. It rejuvenates us and revitalizes the very core of our being. Ultimately, it reminds us how small we are. This doesn't make me hopeless or lose compassion as a human being. And as I search for reason I know that I could never be fond of religion again. I can say without any skepticism, I do not believe nor follow the bible and the God it claims.
What do I believe?
I won't deny the need for it. I have written, "Believe in something. Because if you don’t believe in anything, where’s the life in that?" But do not mistake this statement for religion, or a God.
This clip from Laci Green is where I stand these days. It's like she read my mind.