I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:
Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens “next.”
There are few topics that make me really uncomfortable discussing, but religion is undeniably one of those. A person’s spiritual choices are their own, and I respect that no matter what they may be. Would I consider myself a religious person? Not really. Do I know what happens when we die? Not a clue. Sometimes I wish I had blind faith, though, as I can see how being religious and a part of a religion would give so many people some sort of comfort. However, I am filled with uncertainties.
Without going into great detail or specifics, I did grow up in a mostly religious household. When my parents divorced, only one household remained in that same faith, but it was a still a part of my upbringing to a certain extent. While I didn’t always see the value in some of the teachings when I was younger, I do value and appreciate many of the moral and ethical lessons that I learned. That being said, my current beliefs (which are still undecided) do not really align with what I was taught as a child. I don’t see myself as ever being a part of a religious organization mostly because I’m not sure I’d ever find a religion that suited me, but also because I’ve seen the negative effects organized religion can have on groups of people and would have trouble dealing with the hypocrisy that often seems so prevalent – or at least was in the area I lived in.
I knew from a very young age that I wouldn’t follow the same path that I was raised in. I can’t remember all of the specifics of the day, but I do know it was on a Sunday and as I sat and listened (I must have been 8 years old) there was a moment when something didn’t add up to me. Whatever was being said and accepted by everyone around me, left me uneasy and with questions that went unanswered. So, I continued on… keeping the peace in my family and avoiding being baptized because I couldn’t live a lie, and ultimately becoming more and more alienated from that part of my life, which also meant becoming estranged from some family members. I could have easily gone along with it all and gotten baptized and done what so many other kids were doing – living a different life behind closed doors, but I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and had to remain true to who I was.
I truly cannot say definitively what I believe in or what happens after we die. I cannot say with certainty that it is the absolute end, but I also cannot say that there is something more. It’s rather fitting that this prompt came up this week as Josh and I were having a conversation about spirituality in general and what we would teach our children. Ultimately, we want to let them decide for themselves. We’ll offer the tools and knowledge that we can, but will not point them in any one direction. The truth is theirs to find, and quite honestly I’m not sure that there is just one truth. Perhaps another day I’ll delve deeper, but for now I think this will suffice.