Monday, January 25, 2016

(Losing) My Religion

Every Sunday, since I can remember, has started the same way. Church. As a child I remember being dragged out of bed and dreading the hour and a half to come.

I was baptized Catholic and attended Catholic church until I was in middle school when my family decided to make the shift to Presbyterianism. I took part in most of the sacraments. I was baptized, I had my first communion and my first confession, I was confirmed. 

I went to Sunday School every week when I was too young to attend regular service. I went to Vacation Bible School every summer. When I was too young to attend, I volunteered. I taught Sunday School a few times with my mother. I helped teach children about Jesus at Vacation Bible School for several years. I volunteered for numerous causes. 

So there it is, my christianly resume. 

I did all these things because that was what my family taught me to do from a young age. My mother is very religious. She is active in her faith and is always looking at new ideas about how to best serve God and others. My father does not seem as rooted in his faith but he actively volunteers as a deacon in my home church. 

Religion has always been a part of my life and I have always struggled with it. As a child I had fun at Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and youth groups (I had fun singing and dancing and eating snacks and spending time with my friends.) As I got older I tried more and more to understand the Bible and the meaning behind the songs I was singing or the words I heard in church every Sunday. 

But I had questions. A lot of questions. And I still do. 

When I entered college I saw a new opportunity to explore my beliefs without the presence of my family. But when the first Sunday came, I chose to sleep in. I didn't feel bad about it. I still went to church when I visited my family at home. I didn't mind going. I prayed on Sunday mornings. I didn't think there was anything wrong with that. I knew that I should be more active in my faith but I couldn't quite figure out how to get there.

Honestly, I still don't know how.

I have recently decided to start going to church with a few of my close college friends. I sometimes (rarely) attend the Christian fellowship club at my school. But I often feel as if I have no personal connection with God. I truly want to believe that there is a God, but I struggle to make time for Him in my life. I try to read the Bible and I get lost. It's so hard for me to accept that a text that was written so long ago can still be 100% true. Have we discovered everything about God and Christianity already? Is there nothing new? 

And what about other religions? How did we decide that Christianity is the way? Many other religions have valid ideas about how to treat others and live a full life. Are people who are living meaningful lives and helping others destined to go to hell if they do not believe in the Christian God? Am I going to hell because sometimes explicates are the only words to express my feelings and I sometimes think about sex? 

I want to know God better. I would love to have the passionate faith of some of my close friends. I don't want to doubt, but I do, and I have a feeling that my doubts may never completely disappear. 

I will keep listening and learning ,and maybe someday, I'll have some answers. 


Love,
Beth

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