I grew up Catholic. And during my years of living under the Catholic faith, I had a lot of unanswered questions and many judgemental glares. Although I am very grateful for being raised Catholic and taught me many of the morals I follow today, I still had questions and different values from my faith. So, I decided, away with everything and became an atheist.
With learning about the Big Bang and evolution from school, I thought I had all the answers necessary to carry out my life and thought religion – pointless. And coming to universities people would say they will drive you away from religion, however, for me it was the very opposite.
I always knew you could not convince a Christian that they are wrong but I could handle being wrong if I could just understand why they were so hard headed in their ideas I believed were far fetched.
So I took courses all which relate to what the deeper meaning of life is – in different perspectives: Astronomy (the science and math facts perspective), Intro to the New Testament (with which discussion brought ideas of both believers and non believers in regards to the bible and its historical accuracy), and Ideas of the 20th Century (this class brought the philosophers ideas about the world throughout the time period, with high and lows worldwide). I also attended (and am continuing to attend) a course offered by a church group on campus that allows anyone to look into Christian foundations and accepted all my burning questions.
All these different views on life really made me realize I had to think for myself. I have to look at what I believe now and what I want to believe in order to construct what is the right thing for me to believe in.
The truth is I always wanted to believe in a higher power. It brings hope and kindness and morals and answers. But the nihilist in me thought what would that change. Why does believing in something matter now, if nothing matters in the end.
Well Christians got that covered too. I quickly learned and finally made sense of what christians meant when they said they will “save” me. Their belief is that if you do not believe in Jesus and God and the whole 9 yards you will literally go to…the bad place. Even if you are a saint your whole life you will not be admitted into heaven. This for me was a doozy. I felt like they were trying to scare me into their religion and silently judging me knowing that I will be in hell while they are on the other side. But I also felt weirdly cared about. They really wanted me to understand Christianity so that I could be saved and go to heaven. Which, I think, is kinda nice.
If I were to go into the specifics of all the questions I have had answered and even more that have been brought up, this would go on forever. But I have been slowly discovering what I really believe, not only consciously but subconsciously. I now declare myself non-religious or in the spectrum of agnosticism. Which one are you?
Wherever you lie, I challenge you to challenge your own beliefs. Such as my wonderful mentor and friend from the Christian Foundations course, I am sure I have challenged her own beliefs with my questions as she gives me puzzles looks but she has never stopped believing. I really respect her for having that much faith in God to accept my questions and putting thought into answering them for me. So not only shoutout to her, but it is a reminder that asking questions about your own religion can actually strengthen your beliefs. If you really believe in them, don’t be afraid or close minded to learn about other religions or different beliefs. I did and I am very grateful.