The best thing about growing up is being able to form my own opinions on different matters. Over the years, my views have changed quite a bit.
I grew up in a very small, conservative town and that shaped the way I thought throughout high school. I remember being a freshman in high school when Barack Obama was elected president, and my family and almost all of my teachers were upset about that so I was upset about that, too.
Eight years later, I cried when Donald Trump was elected president and we would no longer have the graceful Obama family in the White House.
I think my views really started to change when I stopped attending church. I grew up in a Catholic family. I was baptized when I was a baby and made my first communion at the same church. We didn’t really attend service every weekend, but my grandma tried to make sure we went more than once a month. I didn’t get confirmed in the Catholic church because my mom was late sending in my registration information and the priest was a complete asshole about it so we stopped attending the Catholic church altogether.
After a few months, we ended up attending a non-denominational church and that is where I met my best friends and found a relationship with Christ I didn’t know I could have. We stayed there for the remainder of my high school years. My brother and I were heavily involved in the youth group, becoming youth leaders and heading up our own bible studies. It was fun, but there is something so draining about being so involved in church, especially when you are pouring so much of yourself out and not being adequately poured in to.
My love for church continued into college where I became involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. I loved it. I met my first college friends there and it was fun. I joined a new church and got involved there as well. Soon, I was attending some kind of church, or church related, event almost every day. This happened for two years. I was able to be a freshman leader and eventually was able to lead a bible study for freshman students. I was able to go on mission trips to places I had never been before and I thought the people I was friends with were going to be my forever friends.
The spring of my sophomore year of college, I decided to join an on-campus organization called Union Board. Union Board kind of had a party reputation, but it was also because the organization was supposed to bring fun events to the campus. I didn’t really think I was going to get picked to join the group, but I did and some of my friends weren’t too thrilled about that.
I was super excited to join something that wasn’t church related though.
The summer after sophomore year, I was a camp counselor at a Christian summer camp in California. That was the best summer of my life. I was able to spend time in the mountains in a state that I hope to one day call my home. The thing about the camp, though, was I was teaching these kids things that I was losing faith in. Each week, we would sing the same songs and read the same scripture and do the same activities, but with different groups of kids. That summer I became spiritually drained and I haven’t been refilled since.
When I got back to Louisiana, I stopped going to church. I just had no desire to attend any service. Once I stopped going to church, the friends I had since freshman year slowly started to fall away.
I was able to find a new group of friends who are still by my side to this day.
I wanted to talk about my church journey because those events made me the person I am today.
I don’t know if I believe in god, but I do know I believe in something. I used to think I had to tell everyone about Jesus and convert them to Christianity, but now I think it’s cool that there are hundreds of religions across the world.
I don’t want to force anything down anyone’s throat. As long as you believe in something than that’s all that matters.
Once I left the church, my views on things like abortion and marijuana changed as well, but I won’t get into that.
I don’t hate the church. In fact, what I feel is far from hate. The way some “Christians” act makes me angry, but I understand they are acting the way they are because of what they believe.
I just wish we as a people could learn to let other people live their lives and not try to force any one religion on them. Our world is unique and so are the people in it.
We should let people believe in what they want to believe. Religion is a way for people to find purpose and if they found their purpose in a religion that is different than my own then that’s OK.
I’ve been doing research on different religions and trying to figure out what I believe. I’m still young though, so I think I have plenty of time to figure that out.
For now, I will just keep believing in karma and trying to do some good in this world.