The Big 150: 23, World – What are your views on religion?
Ah, a nice, easy, non-controversial question. Let me start by saying that I am not someone who automatically thinks religion is bad. I think that people having beliefs in a greater power, finding a community where other people possess those same beliefs, and using those beliefs as a guide on how to live their lives can be a good thing. Where things take a turn, however, is when someone uses their religion as a catch-all justification for treating other people poorly…. Or cults. As someone who watches a lot of cult-related content, let’s just all assume (for the sake of this blog post) that I know cults are bad and we don’t need to discuss them at length.
I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual person. I don’t subscribe to any one religion, though I do have family roots in Catholicism and Christianity. As I have gotten older and been able to make my own informed choices, I have stepped away from most organized religions and churches. I do not have a practice, and I do not accept the Eucharist – not even at weddings.
I still consider myself to be a spiritual person, though. I believe that at the heart of things, most people in the world are good, and, in their day-to-day lives, they do not mean to cause harm to others. I have traveled enough to other countries and interacted with enough people from other countries to know that most people just want to lead their lives, to be as happy as they can be, and to spend time with their loved ones. To me, those are the important things anyway: authenticity, happiness, and quality time with people you love.
My closest friends and I have had these conversations over the past few years about religion, spirituality, and beliefs in higher powers. Some of my friends still practice the religions of their childhood, and some do not. We all agree, however, that there is a level of connectedness in the world. Perhaps it’s the part of me that has always loved studying human communication and sociology. There are certain human characteristics that apply across-the-board, and there is a reason that a smile is a universal communicator.
I don’t know if there’s a higher power, but I also don’t think completely writing the idea off is appropriate either. It doesn’t make you smarter or better than someone who has beliefs; your beliefs are just different. That scientists believe there are species in the ocean that we have yet to discover and that many people believe in the existence of aliens makes me feel like believing in a higher power isn’t really that absurd of a belief in the grand scheme of things.
So what does all this say about my views on religion? Well, I guess I feel like if you have a spiritual or religious practice that makes you reflect on your purpose in life or feel more connected to the world or the common good in us all then I don’t see how that could be a terrible thing. If you’re not hurting yourself or hurting other people then go for it. Just don’t try to force it on other people… or start a cult.
To everyone’s right to freedom of religion, and pushing for connectedness instead of division,
ICYMI: The Big 150