Thoughts on Religion

This is Day 4 in my 30 days of blogging challenge. Today's topic is my views on religion. To understand how I view religion and the role it plays in my life, you have to understand my childhood. I was raised in a family that was....different, when it came to religion. My mom wasn't particularly religious, so my dad took the lead. My entire life, my father's philosophy was always "read, learn and understand for yourself. Don't simply take anyone's word for it." That meant not simply listening to a religious leader and accepting what they say as truth; be able to read and interpret the religious text of whatever religion you subscribe to and be able to understand and articulate it for yourself. Don't be able to just regurgitate what others tell you, understand why you believe what you believe. Use that time of reading and study as a basis for your own personal relationship with the Higher Power you believe in.

Because of my father's philosophy, my family would have "lessons", which consisted of the 6 of us gathering in the living room, doing some reading and having a discussion. These lessons began with the Bible, but as my father began to embrace Islam, the Quran was added as well. We'd take turns picking a topic and the entire family would converse and debate on the topic. I was just a kid, but I found these lessons so valuable as I grew. I had a lot of questions, but my parents never simply gave us an answer, they researched and debated with us.

That desire to know things for myself and not simply take anyone's word as gospel has stuck with me as an adult. And sadly it's something that I feel is lacking among a lot of people who claim to be religious. They go to their house of worship several times a week but they can't tell anything about why they believe the ideology they believe. They may be able to quote scripture or text, but can't tell you what that really means. In some ways I can't blame them - Western culture teaches people from a young age to memorize what they are taught and regurgitate it on command, whether it's a math lesson, religious ideology, or what they heard on Glenn Beck last night. It's not an excuse though, people should have a desire to truly understand what they claim they believe in and be able to explain it when asked.

For the past few years I've considered myself to be agnostic. I believe in a Higher Power. I believe that I will have a Judgement Day and will be judged for all the things I've done in my life, both good and bad. I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated, in putting out positivity into the Universe. I don't believe any one religion is 100% right, and so I have no idea to put any label on myself. I communicate with the Universe through meditation and prayer, and I try to be a good person. I continue to read and learn about other faiths and try to grow in my knowledge of the Universe.