Let’s Talk about Religion

Oh, we’re in for a big one today. Let’s talk about religion and why many of my friends feel religion and faith are two separate things and what religion I follow.

Firstly, if you feel like joining in on the conversation that’s awesome. If you have some more insight into religion come on over and stay awhile. Share with me and us your opinion and intel, but please make sure to read the whole article first. If you’re going to be hateful and leave judgmental comments again one religion, all religion, my religion, etc. then please find some other blog to attack. I don’t have time for that. No one does and everyone is pretty sick of hearing from hateful people.

            Now let’s hop right in. So, it occurred to me the other day that some of my colleagues and a close friends believe faith and religion are two different things. Let me explain. A very, super close friend to me recently came out to her very religious family that she is agnostic, meaning, as she put it, she’s not claiming there is no higher being like god, she simply isn’t saying there is either. When she told her family this her mother blamed herself for her breaking away from their religion. My friend then went on to explain how she feels religion is actively going to church and church functions and praying at night, but faith is different. Faith is believing in something bigger than yourself and doing everything you can to be a better person than you were yesterday. And many colleagues of mine feel the same. Many others however, feel they go hand in hand. How can you practice a religion without faith? You have to believe in what you’re doing, right? That’s not what some past friends of mine have said.

            I have had many friends in the past who claim they only go to church to please their community, family, even friends. They’re pressured into practicing a religion they don’t necessarily agree with or believe in. Isn’t that a lack of faith? Or is it the opposite?  A lack of religion? A friend of mine once told me she left her religion to follow her faith because she believed her community was not being true to their faith. She still, to this day, is a person filled with faith but she doesn’t claim to be religious. She doesn’t go to church or church functions and she most likely won’t marry in the temple. She just doesn’t believe that’s what a person of faith is.

So, if so many of my friends and colleagues believe that faith and religion are two separate things than what do they believe qualifies a person as someone with faith? Faith in the dictionary is secondly defined similarly to religion. It is strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. The definition of religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. So the definitions are similar and basically convey the same message but many of my friends and colleagues believe someone of faith means actually the first definition given. Firstly in the dictionary faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. For them this means have complete trust and confidence in a higher plain or being, but rather than spending your time in a church spend it becoming the best person you can be. Help people, give rather than take, be a good student, friend, husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, etc. But isn’t this what most of us strive to be? We strive every day to be a better person than we were yesterday.

The answer to whether faith is separate from religion is purely up to your opinion. I am an omnist. I wasn’t raised in a religious home and the entirety of my life I was told I was allowed to believe in whatever I wanted. To choose my own religion when I became old enough to do my research and I didn’t have to be taught not to belittle religion. I grew up with the idea that everyone gets to pick their own beliefs and that’s pretty cool. When I grew up I learned sometimes it’s a bit more complicated than that. Everyone has a differing in opinion on how religion should be practiced and whether it should be practiced at all. And that frightened me. I felt like I was taking a test and if I didn’t pick the correct answer I would fail a class I didn’t even sign up for. So I studied like crazy and being where I’m from the answer was so obvious but I didn’t believe what they did so choosing that bubble to circle felt wrong. So I left it blank and life went on. I made many friends from varying religions and we all got along. For a while I forgot all about the test until a friend slapped me with it.

In high school I had a little crush on someone who was not an omnist. He was very religious and I knew that but the way I was raised mixed in with how all of my friends from different religions got along made me think that wasn’t an issue. Until my friend pulled me aside and said, “What do you think you’re doing? Crushing on him is a mistake. You could never marry him. You’re agnostic.” It was like someone punched me in the gut and I kept the whole ordeal a secret. I pretended I didn’t like him anymore and created little walls between each religion, being real careful how I addressed each person from each religion. I kept tabs in my mind and moved them all into their own little groups. It wasn’t until two years after I graduated that I remembered my upbringing. You are free to choose your own faith and religion. That’s part of what makes our country great. True, there will always be people who look down on your religion and your beliefs just like there will always be people who judge you for your weight, race, culture, sexuality, gender etc. Kill those people with kindness and give focus to the people in your life who love and accept you. I have many friends from many faiths and religions and they all love me for who I am. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t completed and passed the test. I didn’t sign up for the class anyway.

Thank you for reading this and please join in on the conversation. I’d love to see if more people share my views or my friends views and also see if more people don’t.

Published by Skyler Winder