I'm not a big person of faith, and for the past few years I have become far less gullible than before. But then again I believe in such things as love, and that belief that all people are good. Personally, I just think of myself as a skeptic who treats everything with a grain of salt. When asked about my religion, I introduce myself as a Buddhist, just so I don't have to explain my views every single time. But to describe my beliefs in a single religion is inaccurate. I have a moral code and everything, but it just doesn't fall neatly into any one religion or category. It just seems as if people are too quick to label others into any one category. But I don't see the point of going to church or mass if you don't truly believe in God. I don't believe that performing some ritual will guarantee me some place in heaven. I don't have a real problem with being thrown in any group by people that I don't know, I just only accept ideas that I have thought through myself. I enjoy the freedom that not having a religion provides, and the ideal that my life is my own. Which is why I found it so shocking that the issue of abortion is still such a huge issue. I myself was part of an abortion conflict a couple of weeks ago that happened on my campus. There were huge billboards comparing women who got abortions to genocide and the Nazis. This was absolutely ridiculous, and many other people thought so too. For some religious people, the term FAITH (all capitals) serves as an excuse to not accept people who are different then they and therefore spread hate. This is not to say that all religious people are this way, not at all. It seems to me as if there is a lot of finger-pointing going on whenever religion, specifically Christianity, is brought up. Things have gotten so bad that now whenever someone so much as says, "Well, the Bible said..." I literally block them out. There is a passage that the sociologist Randy David carefully points out in his essay which says that we "are quick to accept the conditions of our lives as though they were unchangeable givens, waiting for a providential God to supply what we lack."
This point is true and extraordinarily tragic. There seems to be a dependence on behavior, that some thing out there will fix everything out there for us if we go to church every Sunday, or pray to this somebody, or celebrate a certain day every year, or chant with beads, is nothing but praying that an illusion is more than that.
But then again, I can't blame some people for this, as much as I don't understand. There has been more than a fair share of tragedies that have been thrown at us the last couple of months or even years (various shootings: UCSB, Aurora, Sandy Hook), and there are a lot of people who have a need to understand that there is a purpose or meaning to all of this madness. And for some people, there is God or other divinities, and they believe that this will help them understand.
Maybe it can be thought of as a loss that I do not share this belief, that I don't believe that there is something better on the mystical "other side". And to me, it doesn't matter whether or not I believe. What I do believe in is living in the here and now, not waiting to die and hope for something better.
I flipped back in an essay that I wrote a couple of months ago which summarizes my thoughts:
"I've always known that I was insignificant to the world but significant to a few people. Rather: even though I may not matter to thousands of people like celebrities are and may never become famous, I am important to the few lives that I have and will touch in my lifetime. Therefore, I can say that I have power to a certain extent. Some people believe that they are unimportant to the world in general, and therefore drown themselves in alcohol or drugs. There are people who do have a lot of power, be it in money, armies, or fame. There are also others, like me, who enjoy making some sort of difference in the world."