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Monday, February 17, 2014

Blog Challenge Day 4: Views on Religion

Today's topic: "Your views on religion."

...And now we get controversial.

Foreword: Please know that as I write this blog post I am NOT pushing my personal beliefs or views of religion on anyone else. I am merely retelling my story and my views of religion. Though I think it is absolutely vital to know the other point of view if you are nonreligious, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of reading about religious views I would suggest directing yourself to one of my other blog posts.

To answer straight up, yes, I am a very religious person. To this day I can easily picture the day I became a Christian. I was in 3rd grade and I was at church camp with my best friends. Our evening speaker ended his sermon by telling us that if we loved the Lord and wanted to spend our lives serving Him, that we should think about asking Him into our hearts. And so I did. I realized that before that moment, I had only considered myself a Christian because I went to church every Sunday with my family. After finally professing my faith that evening on the rickety, wooden steps outside of my cabin, I was overwhelmed with feelings of immense joy and fulfillment. I broke down in sobs next my camp counselor, who enveloped me in the warmest of hugs. I felt pure. It is something that typed words cannot fully express and one of my fondest memories of my childhood.

However, when it comes to the word "religion," I'm mortified with the negative connotation attached to it. When today's society thinks of religion, it immediately pictures clones of the Westboro Baptist Church members and their hateful protests against gay marriage, all whilst declaring that their horrifying acts are "an act of God's will."

This is large load of absolute crap.

First of all, God taught us to love. What those people are doing is the complete opposite of loving on all of the people of the world. If the world is striving towards world peace at some point in the future, our first move should be to ban the Westboro Baptist Church. Sorry, crazies, you are cordially uninvited to our peace party.

Another image that comes to mind when people hear the word "religion" is the Republican Tea Party. I would just like to point out that my grandmother was a hardcore Democrat and head-over-heels in love with the Lord at the same time. So you can knock that stereotype out of your head because I know without a single sliver of doubt in my mind that she's rocking it upstairs in Heaven right now. I love you, Grandma.

Today's society puts too much emphasis on the idea of "religion" and not what it really pertains to, which for me is my faith in God. That's it, bottom line. Where did that idea of religion go? As a Christian, I think that the word "religion" is a very broad and public display for an intimate and personal relationship with God.

However, because "religion" has become so warped in our society, people are beginning to dissociate the word from one's faith and belief in a higher power of the universe. According to a report released by the Public Religion Research Institute, 6 out of 10 Americans (59 percent) think that a religious person is "primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing."

For me, religion will forever remain a large, tacky poster board sign that automatically categorizes me as a person. Before people can even get to know me, they will have already given me characteristics and determined whether or not they will like me based on my association with Christianity. They will see me as homophobic, superficial, judgmental, intolerant and hypocritical.

If you know me as a person, you will know that these characteristics are far from true. One of my best friends is gay, for crying out loud (SHOUT OUT TO JESSE IMHOF, you're the greatest!). Just because I consider myself to be religious does not mean I am a indecent human being. So please, next time someone says they are religious, don't be quick to label them with a preconceived idea of what it means to be religious.

Until Day 5 of the Blog Challenge,


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