WUIS' "This I Believe" - 2011 Selection
Kincaid High School
"A Question of Faith"
When I was a child, I began attending a Catholic church every Saturday or Sunday with my parents. I also began taking religion classes, which were basically a Sunday School on Wednesday nights. When I was young, I didn’t mind this. I somewhat even enjoyed it; after all, all my friends were there with me. But as I got older, it wasn‘t quite the same. Believing in things that the church taught like the stories of the Bible was like trying to convince myself that Santa was still real. As much as I wanted to believe them, I just couldn’t force myself to anymore. We were told that God had unconditional love for everyone He created. Yet we were also informed that if we weren’t baptized or didn‘t believe that we truly received that body and blood of Jesus Christ during communion, we would surely end up in Hell. Or if we died without confessing our sins, we could go to purgatory, but we could still go to Hell. To me, it seemed incredibly ridiculous that a God with so much love for everyone could send otherwise good people to Hell for these miniscule things, and that simply being good people would never save us. This, among many other conflicting ideas, made me question whether or not I should really believe what this church was teaching me, and I made the decision to walk away from it before I was confirmed.
For some time, I was content with simply forgetting about religion, putting any thoughts of what might happen after my death out of my mind. But I wasn’t content for long. I explored different religions, but always asked myself, “What makes this religion right above all others?” Each time, I would answer myself, “Nothing.” This really frustrated me. Could I never truly have a religion? Was I becoming an atheist? I had no idea what to think or believe in and again tried to put these questions out of my mind.
But recently, I’ve started to view things differently. Who’s to say that one religion is the “correct” religion that will get a person into Heaven? All religions require faith, or belief that is not based on proof. To me, this means that no one can be certain that their religion is completely right, or if it’s even right at all. All we can do is have faith in it. This has made me embrace my agnosticism, rather than being discomforted by it. Humans are not meant to know everything, and I believe that whatever is going to happen after my death will remain a mystery to me until that time comes.
In the mean time, I will continue my life as a happy, passionate, and good person, because as Albert Camus once said, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”