My version of religion

By The Columbia Chronicle

Growing up, I was taught to believe in God, accept him as my savior and never question that. Religion was shoved down my throat, with my mother constantly reminding me to live through God and think about my decisions and actions so as not to upset this higher power. When I was younger, I listened to pretty much everything my mother said, so of course I believed in God—and Santa Claus, for that matter.

Growing up, I attended church every Sunday with my mother and father. I remember going to a few churches when I was younger and not liking any of them. I grew up in a small town, so naturally the church establishments had small congregations where everyone seemed to know each other and get along in a fake fashion.

The kids from the Sunday school classes were nice, but always seemed to have established cliques by the time I joined. I always felt like such an outsider at the churches we attended. I eventually got to the point where I would go to church, but instead of attending Sunday school I would stay with my mother in the congregation. Bad choice, considering I usually had no idea what they were talking about, nor did I really care.  That ended up being worse than Sunday school.

As I got older, my father became an alcoholic and stopped going to church with my mother and me. It was long after I entered middle school that I stopped going with her to gain my weekend back and sleep in like my other friends. To this day, my mother still attends church by herself every Sunday. However, on the weekends I go home, I do try to make an effort to go with her at least once. This isn’t because I believe in what the church preaches but to make my mother happy and spend some time with her.

After my father became an alcoholic,  I lost all my faith in any higher power. I couldn’t understand how I could have such a happy life, and for no apparent reason that was stripped from me when my father chose drinking over his religion and family. I was forced to grow up faster than I should have because of my father’s disease. I missed out on some major events in my life that I will never get back, and have more unhappy memories involving my father than many children, but that’s made me who I have become today.

Because God sacrificed his only son for our sins, one would think God would want us to lead happy lives without hate and despair. Some of the choices we make in life determine our level of happiness, and I comprehend that.

However, it seems like some of life’s more unfortunate events that we cannot control shouldn’t exist, at least in my mind. No child should ever be abandoned or abused, and temptation shouldn’t be an issue.  If God is almighty and all controlling, he could stop the pain and hurt we feel before it even happens.

I believe there is a higher power,  just not how everyone depicts him to be. A higher power helped my dad decide to stop drinking and fix the problems it caused. I don’t believe he could do this on his own, but something gave him the will power to do so, and I couldn’t be more happy.  However, I cannot live my life for something I don’t believe in. I live my life the way I want to and make choices as I see fit. I may not always make the best decisions, but they have made me who I am today.

Religion tends to make people uncomfortable because there are no hard facts or evidence to prove that any of it is real—it all relates to your level of believing. I’m sure one day I’ll let my defense down and accept God into my life once I stop being angry for the hand he gave me. Until then, I stick by what I know and what I feel is right inside.