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These are my own personal thoughts and experiences about religion.  I do not mean to offend anyone here.  Please keep an open mind about what you read.

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Here we are. The most dreaded subject by most of the general public, yet one of my favorite things to talk about.  So let’s start with me.  Growing up I was raised Catholic.  A very strong Catholic belief was taught by both my parents.  My dad became a Deacon as well as both parents assisted in youth ministry.  So, when did that chapter end for me and why?  Well, the first part started around early high school.  I realized I was a wolf and had a massive struggle about whether or not God would accept me the way I was.  I even thought at one point I was born with some kind of evil intent.  I was very confused trying to figure things out at that point in my life.  A little later I realized that I was attracted to guys as well and struggled with it, but that I mostly pushed aside because dealing with two things that lay that heavy on my mind would have just caused me to go completely mad (though some may argue I’ve always been there).  After I finished my first year of college, I finally had peace about myself and what I was and was able to move on and grow further spiritually.

In the end, I left the Catholic church not because of what I was, but by the lack of love that was taught and shown by many people of the faith.  This can be said for many other religions as well, but I’ll be sticking with my experiences in Catholicism.  First of all I do admit I enjoyed the social aspect of being religious.  My first year in college, there was the Catholic Student Center where I made some great friends, but it’s also where I saw a majority of the division and exclusion.  Just like most large social gatherings, everyone divides into their own cliques.  Nothing wrong with that. What I did learn was that certain cliques and people had a habit of being sure to exclude and look down on other people.  This is where I started to have most of my doubts.  I understand being human and being imperfect, but even one of the main people in charge of the Student Center seemed to openly exclude as well as seem to look down upon other religions because “Catholics are right”.  Many times I had to defend my faith because according to other christian faiths, I was going to hell.  I was not about do the same thing.  In the end, my biggest problem with religion is that they do not always teach love.

Religion isn’t bad.  I’ve seen many people become better people for it, and I’ve seen many fall hard and harm others because of it.  It shouldn’t be about who is right.  It should be about living a good life, living as a good person as God intended for us, a life of love.  I’ve had a conversation before with some people who had came from strong baptist backgrounds.  We had a debate about Buddhist monks and whether not they were “saved”.  I said they were because of their peaceful lifestyles and devotion to sharing that with others.  The others insisted that he wasn’t “saved” because he didn’t believe in Christ and that is the only way they could be saved.  While I do believe that is one way to receive graces, I don’t believe that’s the only way.  I have met plenty of atheists who live better lives than devoted Christians.  I would rather people know me by my good actions than by the Religious organization I belong to.  I wish Religion would teach more love than judgement.  Learn to truly love thy neighbor.  Jesus never forced himself upon anyone, why do we feel we should do that? When I was visiting my family, my grandfather and I had an interesting conversation.  Apparently at some point they (he and my grandmother) thought I had joined a cult of some sort.  So he spoke to me about coming back to the church and gave me a pamphlet to read about coming to Christ.  I did my best to explain to him, but sometimes the old mentality just doesn’t understand.  I wasn’t upset.  I found a little humor in it in all reality.  I just wish he didn’t feel like I needed to be saved because I didn’t go to church anymore.  It’s the life of a heathen I guess.  🙂

I honestly don’t have anything against religions themselves.  I respect those who choose to follow a religion.  People can become truly amazing and beautiful people because of it.  I know a specific religion just isn’t for me.  I’ve taken a look and many religions and have held on to some beliefs.  Most of all, I want to show a life of peace, love, and hopefully somebody that people will look and see that in me.  I just hope one day people will see each other and not try to judge by the color of their skin, sexual orientation, or beliefs.  Just see them as someone else on the same journey, but a different path.

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