A religion blurred to me


Like many of our Founding Fathers, I consider myself a “modern” deist. By definition, this means I believe in a Creator, but not necessarily an individual religion. For me, deism symbolizes much more than a dumbed-down definition, it represents a nearly 17-year-long struggle with religion.

From a very young age, I identified as a Christian. Not because I had accepted the Lord into my heart, but because that’s what I was told to identify with.

But don’t get me wrong – my immediate family has always been very open with religion, allowing me to explore theology without being told what is right and wrong. However, I’ve always leaned toward Christianity. Maybe because of the exposure from my devout Christian friends, or maybe because of my white, middle class social standing. Christianity just seemed like the obvious option.

Until very recently I’ve attended church and participated in a Bible study but I can’t help but fall silent. I’ve sat trying to decode what seems to be the unintelligible text of the Bible only to plateau in frustration and guilt because I don’t feel moved or enlightened.

I look at all of these teenagers, kids my age, who can just spout verses like the ABCs while I’m stuck flipping through my Bible trying to find said verse. They talk about the text like it’s their favorite young adult book, discussing their favorite chapters and characters.

And I can’t help but feel jealous, a sin pastors warn against. These teenagers can blindly love and accept the entirety of a religion regardless if they question a passage. They feel a commitment and trust I can’t fathom. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t felt utter anguish looking at how strong their faith is.

I still pray every night. But my prayers don’t begin with, “God, my Lord and Savior,” they begin with, “who’s ever up there, listening to me.” I do this because I’ve felt the warmth of a superior being, I’ve felt connected with someone or something watching over me. But I can’t say it’s because of Christianity.

I would love to say I’m completely comfortable with my religious stance, but I’m not. I feel inclined to put a label on myself because I’m afraid of how I’ll be looked at. I don’t want to be called godless or lie to myself and say I’m a Christian.

To me, religion is the epitome of the human existence. It’s that drive to explain the unknown while giving us the hope to get through hard times. It has this magical property to bring out both the best and worst in us, to enlighten and confuse, to push us together and pull us apart.

And yet it still remains the most mysterious force on earth. A mystery I hope to figure out.