What Role Does Religion Play in Your Life?
Do you believe in God?
Are you religious?
Is it hot in here? I seriously should have just gone ahead and shared my super easy, anyone can do it, fish recipe with all of you and called it a day.
Religion is so complicated, and discussions on it, so heated. So, I’m going to navigate these waters very carefully and hope you still love me at the end.
Disclaimer: All of the following beliefs are entirely my own. I truly, truly respect all other beliefs and religions and find them fascinating to learn about. I surround myself with people of all different backgrounds. Because, really, how boring would it be if we were all the same?
I was raised in the Catholic church.
I attended a Catholic school.
I assumed I would always be Catholic, much like my name would always be Allison. It was all I knew and I didn’t really know I had a choice.
Then came a time, when I was twenty or so, that I began to notice many of the Catholic teachings went against what I believed in my heart.
Slowly, it began to bug me more and more and I found myself moving further and further away.
Later, I realized it was not only Catholicism that didn’t jive with me. Organized religion, as a whole, simply did not mesh with who I was as a person. The constraints, and what I interpreted to be judgment, of many religions didn’t seem to fall in line with what I believed.
So, where does that leave me these days, you ask?
In a place I feel really good about.
I still pray. I consider myself a spiritual person. Some might say I’m agnostic, if we must label it, because I don’t mind saying that I’m not sure what’s out there, or that I don’t know what happens after we die. And, as much as I would love for there to be something, I don’t think there is anything wrong with simply saying, “I don’t know.”
I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that if there is someone out there looking out for all of us, I’m not going to be on his or her hell-list simply because I didn’t follow this religion or that one. Or because I eat meat on Fridays. Or because I believe everyone should be able to marry who they love.
Deep down, in my opinion, its all about the simple things. Like how you choose to treat those around you.
Fortunately, my husband’s beliefs are pretty similar to my own.
I suppose, in a sense, we have our own religion.
Be nice. Don’t judge. Respect others and be tolerant of their beliefs. Lend a hand. To each his own. Don’t be a jerk. Have compassion. Leave this world a little better than you found it. Always share your food with me.
Also, we attend the Church of Brunch and Mimosas every Sunday.
And, while I am at peace about where I stand on all of this, I’m now facing a completely different dilemma.
My son is getting to the age where he is going to start having deeper questions than, “Mommy, which of our dogs has a penis and which one has a vagina?”
Things like, “Why don’t we go to church like Bobby, mommy?” And, “Do you believe in God?” Or, “What happens after we die?”
I often struggle with how to answer these.
On one hand, when he’s little and scared of things that go bump in the night, I don’t want him to feel like there is nothing out there. That seems like such a lonely place for a kid.
I want him to have something or someone to talk to when he’s scared, or when he’s struggling with thoughts and feelings that he isn’t quite ready to share with me.
But, when its age appropriate, I also don’t want to lie to him about my beliefs.
There will come a time, when he is older, that I will share my own feelings with him. I want him to know that its great to question things and come to his own conclusion. I’ll also let him know that his father and I will support any religion or belief that he might feel drawn to or that he wants to explore.
For example, if the kid wants to alternate religious services every Sunday to see what each one is like, I’ll stand right there with him. Or kneel next to him. Or chant, hum, and mediate right along side him.
Because, like I said before, to each his own. And this applies to my children, as well.
As for the people I surround myself with, I love the fact that, no matter how different or similar our stances are, we welcome and accept one another for exactly who we are.
Now, I would love to hear from each of you.
Does religion play a major part in your life?
Do you tell your kids what to believe or do you tell them what you believe?
If your partner has different beliefs, how do you reconcile this when it comes to your children?
And what about your friendships? Are you friends with people from all different beliefs or do you tend to stick with those people whose ideas align with your own?
Whew. I know this was long and wordy, but we made it through!
Thanks for sticking around!
Can I get an Amen?