Faith, not Religion

 

By Jean Park

My parents have never shown much interest in religion. Although my grandma is a Mahayana Buddhist, my mom has always told me that organized religion is just a human conception of something much greater than our own lives.

 

She tells me that people don’t need it to live a good life because it doesn’t have a tangible or obvious effect.

My mom sent me to an Episcopalian school, knowing that I would be forced to attend chapel services every Wednesday, read hymns in the Bible and actively participate in communion.

I always ate the bread of Christ and drank the wine, symbolic for His blood, but none of that had any profound meaning for me.

I didn’t want to be the odd one out in elementary school, so I told people I believed in God and I went to my community church on Sundays, but that was all clearly a lie. It didn’t really trouble me as a kid whether I believed in a higher power or not, since my immediate family has never stressed the importance of organized religion.

My mom’s beliefs in religion have definitely rubbed off on me a little and I have always struggled to find what I have faith in, by way of spiritual forces and higher powers. I’ve always questioned it and I still do now.

People tell me that I “have” to have faith in something and they usually mean higher powers or spiritual forces, but I’ve been pretty content with having faith in the people in my life that I love and the emotional strength and capacity of human beings.

With my personal experiences, I have always found strength within the people around me.

I’ve watched many interviews and performances by the late comedian and author George Carlin, who blamed the whole concept of organized religion for the weaknesses of human capacity, and I think his point of view is somewhat valid.

I feel that if I had faith in uncontrollable forces, I would be setting myself up for disappointment.

I guess I am technically an atheist, but that does not mean I don’t have faith in anything.

Having faith is probably the strongest power that human beings can possess, but I honestly don’t think that people should be divided into separate religions depending on what they have faith “in.”

As long as they feel a deep and personal connection, that should be enough.

My good friend is a very devoted Catholic and my grandma, who is Buddhist, has been trying to convert me for years, but I feel that putting a title on my “faith” would not change my real feelings nor should it have an effect on me if I remain title-less.

 

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