Where do we come from? How did we get here? What happens after this life? These are some of life’s greatest questions. To some, there may never be a definitive answer. For others, religion has provided answers and hope within oneself. But what happened when I no longer found peace within the religion I was raised upon and called myself a follower? Am I lost, or have I been found?
Culture’s from all around the world always have the same 3 constants: language, art, and religion. Since the beginning of time, people have had and created this idea of a higher being and afterlife. From ancient Mesopotamian religions, to the Mayan, Aztec and Inca, to Hinduism and Eastern religions, and our monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam they all carry their own set of beliefs and ideals. They provide answers, structures, a means to an end, and hope. It’s no wonder ~6 billion of the world’s population follows some sort of religion, and for the majority of my own life I fell under the title of a “Christian.” However, as I continue to evolve into a deeper self and develop my ideas and thoughts of the world, so has my religion.
Growing up, I was raised a Christian. My father was saved right before he met my mother, and my mother was saved after she met my father. Neither of my parents were “Bible Thumpers,” and never forced me or my sister to do anything pertaining to religion that we didn’t want to do. My father, who is quite religious and has a strong relationship with God, wanted us to find our own relationship with God on our own terms. We went to church on occasion when I was younger, and for a time pretty regularly. I hated it mainly because I didn’t like waking up on Sunday’s when I had to go back to school on Monday. Despite never liking church, I still believed Jesus Christ was my savior. He was the reason we were all here today, and to consider any other religion as valid? That would be preposterous!
However, years go by and I still had no desire for this relationship with God or what that would even mean to me. We watch The Passion of Christ on Easter, celebrate Christmas’s, I say the occasional prayer, but in the end what did it all truly mean to me? Nothing. I called myself a Christian, I did these Christian things, yet the most Christian thing was lacking- a relationship with Jesus Christ. I didn’t want to read the Bible, I didn’t want to try to lead a holy life by ideals I mostly didn’t agree on, but I was too scared to admit to myself that I wasn’t actually a Christian. I’d have these brief conversations in my head where if I felt like I was allowing myself to feel how I truly felt, then I’d be condemning myself to hell. What would my father and everyone else think if I admitted that wasn’t who I was? If I didn’t recognize myself as a follower, then what would I be? An atheist? An agnostic? Up until very recently, those brief conversations became more than just brief. I decided it was time to finally leave this part of me behind, as I’ve done with most of the rest of me.
I have always believed in a higher being, a God who has created this surreal and spectacular life we live. The peace when the wind blows, the way we connect with other people, the complexity and beauty of nature and the animal kingdom, it’s all too unexplainably captivating to not have an explanation. A giant space dust didn’t explode and BOOM! Mankind and beautiful shit erupted into the universe. It’s a power that is so divine, so special, and so unbelievable, that you have to believe it. I constantly think and see of all the different ways this power works in my life, and at times I can feel overwhelmed and blessed by it. What I can’t allow myself to do, is to say it is just Jesus Christ. Or Allah. Or Shiva, Vishnu, or Brahma. Or the Sun God. or Sky God. Or Serpent God. Or The Flying Spaghetti Monster (sorry, had to). I believe we all have had the same idea, that we come from something and we’re going somewhere. But, who is to say that two and half billion Christians are wrong? Or that one billion Hindu’s are going to hell? I can’t have that on my conscious. I can’t tell another person what they believe is wrong or right. I’m not trying to sound crazy or begin my own cult (although I’ve always secretly thought that’d be super cool), but to me every religion is interchangeable. I believe they are just each and every culture’s own depiction of why we’re here, trying to provide guidance on how to live our life, and to give us hope.
My path towards honoring my own spirituality and beliefs has allowed me to feel closer to whatever is in charge of this weird ass thing we call life. I know some people are going to read this and think, “Poor girl, she needs God in her life.” Or “She’s just lost, and hasn’t found her relationship with God yet.” My answer to that is I’ve found MY God’s role within myself and MY life. I feel privileged to have such open, worldly views and to not be ignorant towards another person’s own set of beliefs. For myself, I know I have purpose in this world and can live without feeling burdened by disappointing or letting down a God. I do things that bring me the joy that we all should feel in our lives. I have relationships with incredible people I can’t believe I’ve been able to meet. I am given this mind to think the way I do. I am simply living my life and having faith in whatever has created and brought us here. I have faith that myself and my family are watched over. I have faith that the next life will be more beautiful than this one. I have faith that I’ll see every one I cherish in the next one too.
Coming to grips with this revelation in my life and beliefs has been hard and something I haven’t truly talked about. As I’ve talked about before, it’s terrifying to lose a part of yourself that you thought you were sure about. I was scared to admit to myself that perhaps what I thought I believed, wasn’t really it at all. Yet, It was so much more. There is so much more in this life I have yet to experience and learn, and who knows what more revelations may come. For right now, I can say I have my peace with God and my relationship. I don’t have to go looking for it anymore, because it has found it’s way to me.
What are your own religious views? Do you resonate more with the word religious or spiritual? Have you ever doubted your own relationship with God? Share your own thoughts and idea’s of God, Religion, and the after life. I’d love to hear them!
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