I probably should be going to bed, but ever since reading Aubrey's post on this topic earlier today, I've had this on my mind. So I'm going to write it up now, and sleep right after.

Basically, I just want to talk about my personal views on religion and everything. I feel that not many people know my exact views, and while it's not something I go around telling everybody, I don't mind sharing to those who ask (or, in this case, decide to keep reading).

I didn't grow up in a very religious household - and by that, I mean that religion didn't play a large part in my childhood.

My dad went to church as a child, and his parents were (and still are, to an extent) involved in the Christian church. I don't honestly know if they were part of a specific denomination of Christianity... I've just always known them to be Christian. I'll be the first to admit that I don't really know a whole lot about it.

I believe my mom was raised, to some extent, in a Catholic home. But I don't recall ever talking to her about it, and I've never known her to go to church. The only memory I have of her interacting with a church in any way was at her mother's funeral proceedings. And some of the things that occurred make me believe that it was a Catholic church, but I don't really know for sure.

Like I said, religion never really played a big role in my growing up. We had a couple bibles in the house, including an illustrated child's bible (which I read, cover to cover, a few times, so I'm somewhat familiar with various religious stories).

So, as you can probably guess, I'm not religious. I don't go to church, I don't pray, and I don't follow many religious traditions (save for observing certain religious holidays, like Christmas and Easter).

I consider myself to be spiritual, however. Now, my reasoning and definition of this are perhaps kind of strange or vague, and people who are a bit more fanatical in their beliefs (or lack of beliefs, as the case may be), might call this a cop-out. But whatever.

I do believe there is some kind of higher power, or at least a higher order, to the world/universe. Life is too complex, too perfect at times, for me to safely say that I believe it all arose out of chance. And sometimes, things happen that don't make any sense - be they "miracles", or smaller things like meeting somebody at a certain time in your life that allows them to make an impact on you (or you on them).

Because of that, I believe there has to be some kind of higher power/order. Now, I don't know what this higher power/order is. It could be an all-knowing, all-powerful God. It could be a collection of gods, each ruling over certain realms (like those in Greek & Roman mythology). It could be a flying spaghetti monster. It could be some advanced alien race that decided to run Earth as an experiment. Or, it could just be something more like a "concept", rather than something analogous to a person/people - say fate or destiny. Or, maybe the atheists have it all right, and we're just ruled completely and totally by the laws of science.

I don't really know. But for me, it doesn't really matter. Because I'm not religious, I don't claim to have, nor desire to have, a personal relationship with this higher power/order. Whatever it is, it is most certainly beyond my conception/understanding.

I draw my sense of morality, my ethics, and those things from my experiences, from my family (so, indirectly from certain religions), from things I read, etc. I try to act like a good person, not to please this higher power, but because I feel it's the right thing to do. And, I feel that if everybody did that, the world would be a much happier place.

Now, I do want to clear one thing up - I am not ANTI-religious. Some of my closest friends are religious, with varying levels of commitment. But I do fear religious fanaticism. I don't like when people let the teachings of their religion interfere with their daily life, to the point where it spills over into MY life. So, for this reason, I am a little wary of religion.

And, I'll freely admit it here... my biggest prejudice is against people who identify as religious. I don't dislike them, but as soon as somebody feels it's necessary to tell me that they're religious, or to try sharing their views/beliefs, I get really edgy. It's different if I know somebody, and through talking with them, have a discussion about religion. Reading Aubrey's post doesn't change my opinion of her. But if she'd shared that in some other context, where it made less sense (i.e. pretty much anything other than a deep, open conversation about each peoples' beliefs), it probably would've been a red flag to me. This would've been especially true if it had happened when we were just getting to know each other.

But I feel it's also important to mention that I'm equally wary of people who are vocally anti-religious. It bothers me just as much to see a table on BruinWalk with the words "Religion is for the weak" as it does to see people with one that says "Come learn how God is your savior". Regardless of your beliefs (or lack thereof), I feel that they should be kept more personal, and only shared in the appropriate context.

I had other thoughts on this, including a cool metaphor involving a roller coaster (not the shitty "life is like a roller coaster" one though... mine is actually somewhat clever), and more of an explanation of what shaped some of my morals & stuff, but I don't feel like writing it right now. Maybe I'll do a follow-up sometime soon.


Anonymous said...

Yeah I definitely echo your sentiment on the "religion should be personal" thing. The fact that so FEW people keep it personal is what pushes ME not to want to talk about it.

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