It was right after my grandfather (Papa) passed away (04/23/10) when I first raised my fist towards the sky and questioned if there was really a God. In my mind, I was convinced that no all powerful, all loving God would allow loved ones to be snatched from us so suddenly.
I didn’t get to say goodbye, I didn’t get to cherish his last laugh or smile, or embed his voice in my heart, for the last time. Instead I vividly remember tears creeping down my face, as I told a cold, lifeless body that I loved him.
A chilling reminder that I was too late.
Religion has been something for the last seven years that I have went back and forth on. There were periods of time where I considered myself to be a believer, and other times where I, like many scientists (Click here for a great video explanation of my beliefs), needed evidence of a higher being to pledge my support. Sometimes I wold feel guilty or out of place for not feeling compelled to attend a church service or praise God when something good happened in my life, while other times I felt perfectly normal just chalking things up to good timing, fate (I will touch more on this concept later!), or hard work. Essentially, I was in control of my own destiny, not some omnipresent figure that lived in the sky.
There were aspects of religion that I could really identify with and believe, and others that I just could’t wrap my mind around, as scientifically or logically.. it just didn’t make sense. Additionally, the divide that religion caused really pushed me away from identifying as anything. Certainly, I couldn’t consider myself to be xyz, when xyz considered homosexuality an abomination, looked at other forms/expressions of religions as terrorists or hate groups, would travel overseas for mission trips, yet neglect the needs within their own community, seemed to uphold traditions that placed men over women, and most importantly didn’t evolve with our growing and changing world.
I think that was really it, religion at large seemed stuck. Stuck in centuries ago and ways of life that are rather obsolete now. The words that clung to each page now seemed repressive and didn’t allow for change, evolution, or differences. Don’t get me wrong, not every passage, verse, or scriptures needs to be modernized, because some messages can stand the test of time.
Ultimately I found:
My social and political views didn’t align well with a single belief system
My interest in science told me that I needed evidence
The interpretation from each individual varied too much for me. From there, I asked a lot of “what if” questions..
What if there is a God, will she/he forgive me for questioning their existence?
What if there is no God, where do I find solace in death/after life?
What if I never get proof or evidence of a higher being, then what?
What if I have children, what do I teach them?
What if I want to get married, do I get married in a church if I am not 100% a believer?
What if I never go to church again?
What if I do start going to church again?
What if I just read holy books and don’t go to church – does that count?
What if spirituality and religion are one in the same?
From a very early age, many of us are told not to ask those in positions of power, “why?”. If your parents, teachers, or elders tell you to do something, you don’t ask why, you do it. I’ve found that many of us do the very same when considering religion. You don’t ask, you just believe. Almost as if asking, “why” will get you shunned from heaven or makes you less of a believer. Yet, I can’t help but to ask questions, to wonder, to be curious and confused. If there’s something out there that is bigger than myself and truly is the creator of all things, I want to know all that I can to understand. I don’t need a divine intervention or this immaculate experience to truly believe.
Well, hell… I mean, heck, I don’t know what I need to truly believe.
I’ve given myself time to think, explore and process. Presently, I am more geared toward spirituality and finding peace with the world around me. I meditate, I pray (sort of), and find stillness in the busy world around me. Sometimes I reference bible verses, sometimes I don’t. I haven’t denounced any formal religion nor do I call myself anything.
I sometimes envy those who seem to have it figured out, or at least pretend they do. Those who stand firm in their faith and have something they believe in entirely, it seems peaceful, or reassuring at least.
I was afraid to share this message, afraid that people would look at me different if I wasn’t all about religion, but I see value in transparency. Perhaps there is someone else that is in the same place or formerly was. Perhaps I was just writing this to better articulate my own thoughts.
Until next time..