April 16, 2013

Why I struggle with religion

I've never really been a practicing member of any religion. I was raised by parents who didn't attend church but were quick to call themselves Christians if the question came up. They forbade the use of the words "God" and "Jesus" in vain, but I'm not sure either of them even owned a Bible. I've been to church with my grandmother on numerous occasions. I really like the preacher there—he's a great man who really puts his heart into his beliefs—but no matter how hard he tries, my brain doesn't want to accept what it's being told.

I'm a thinker. I always have been. My mind is fueled mostly by logic and reasoning, which makes it difficult to accept claims, such as those made by religion, based solely on faith with no factual evidence. I usually see this trait as a good thing—I like to question what people are telling me, rather than blindly accepting statements that could be false or misleading. But in the context of religion and in the social situations surrounding it, even beginning to question what a 2,000-year-old piece of literature tells us is sacrilegious and just cause to label me a flawed individual damned to burn for eternity in a lake of fire. My apologies.

You could probably blame my education and independent research for my lack of faith—after discovering that most world religions are dominated not by spirituality, but by politics, money, and power, I'm not sure I want to be a part of that. Prove me wrong. :-)

But we're talking about faith—and you can't prove faith. Faith is very personal. Faith is also not genetic. I'm not questioning the existence of a higher power—and never could. I question man, and have every reason and ability to do so. I don't question followers who have already questioned their faith—"God" is who you believe "God" is, if you believe in "God" in the first place.

The more I learn about churches and the corruption that goes on within them, the happier I am that I didn't become too involved as a child. What would Jesus do? Start his own religion—which is precisely what hundreds of men have done throughout history.

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