Note: this post is not intended to be offensive to any readers who may disagree with my personal thoughts and feelings about the political and religious topics discussed in this article. You, as the reader, have every right to disagree with me, and have the right to express such feelings, but I would like you to do so in a polite, diplomatic manner. No hate speech, no insults, don't be a jerk. Stuff like that.
I used to be really...I guess you could say I used to be really good at religion. I was born and baptized Catholic, and growing up, I loved going to my CCD class every week, I prayed often, I regarded everything in the Bible as fact.
But then, as I grew older, I began to start diverging from this. When I learned about evolution, I was at first shocked, horrified even, at the idea of something in the Bible not being true. But later, as I learned more about fossils and finches and Charles Darwin, I began to accept evolution rather than the long-familiar story of Adam and Eve as the true story of how humanity began. As I developed political opinions, I also noticed that they seemed out of step with the ideals the Catholic Church promoted as well. I never once thought of homosexuality as evil, unnatural, sinful, anything of the sort. My fellow Catholics seemed to think differently. They were against same-sex marriage or were homophobic and it didn't make sense to me why they would believe in treating some of God's children any less because of the way that God created them.
And the same went for my views on women's issues. I discovered feminism early on in my life when I was in the bathroom one day and I suddenly started to question gender roles (that's a story for another day), and so early on I grew frustrated my church's promotion of the pro-life movement when I was adamantly pro-choice, in addition to Bible passages about women being subordinate to their husbands and lacking permission to speak in church. How could I believe in the Bible when it promoted values that enrage me as much as sexism does?
Later on in my religious education, I had a very devout teacher, who liked to promote values that I felt were oppressive to women as part of her teaching. She once made a comment something along the lines of women being inferior or subordinate to men or something like that (I don't remember the exact comment...), and had us all pray for the end of legalized abortion. The latter outraged me so much that I confronted her afterwards saying that I was offended by her forcing her pro-life values on me during prayer, and that I don't agree with what she told us to pray for. The days I spent under that woman's thumb were some of the most oppressive days of my life and I remember crying after I got home from my first day in her class.
But anyway...I also feel that many of my religious beliefs are very out of step with those of the Catholic Church. Like, is there an afterlife? I'm not so sure. And what role in this whole thing do I believe Jesus played? I don't know. I believe in Jesus, I just don't know where I believe he factors in. Original sin? That comes from Adam and Eve, and how could I believe in the existence of something if it's derived from something else I don't believe ever happened?
To sum up my feelings in the words of Lisa Simpson, "I believe in God, I just think there's another path to Him or Her."
I've searched for other religious identities, reading extensively about various other faiths, looking for one in which I see spiritual truth. Faiths that I have especially taken to are the Baha'i Faith, Unitarianism, and Reform Judaism. But I don't know which of these three (if any of these three) are right for me. Like, while Unitarianism perfectly captures my liberal opinions and feelings of uncertainty regarding my beliefs, I feel Judaism has a sense of principles and creed that also has room for disagreement and welcomes personal opinions.
My adolescence has been full of uncertainty. While I hope to major in Biology in college, I have no idea what I want to do with said major. I never know if boys (or, for that matter, many people in general) like me or not. I don't even know if my patchy eyebrows are the result of trichotillomania or some other affliction, because I have yet to be tested and diagnosed. I feel like I need something to be certain of. Religion used to be one of the few things I was absolutely sure of. Now, it's not, and that upsets me. I'm uncertain about both my religious beliefs and my religious identity, and I just don't know what to do about that.