Why Religion Doesn't Make Sense

Religion: How And Why It Doesn't Make Sense

My journey with my struggles with religion and the unsureness that accompanies it.

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Religion, a complicated word. According to Merriam-Webster, religion is defined as "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices." This definition, as a dictionary definition should be, is incredibly clear cut. However, religion has not presented itself as simplicity in my life.

I have been integrated into varying degrees of religion. I learned the Hebrew alphabet at the same time as the English alphabet and was taught the stories and history behind Judaism. I was not taught, though, the spirituality of Judaism. Yes, I was told to believe, but never learned how.

What I have come to realize is that the belief cannot be taught; it can develop, and it can be argued that the act of believing can be achieved along with any other goal. I have not yet achieved this goal at 19.

I was raised in a Jewish community, but not in a religious community. I find this very confusing since I always associated religion with being religious. Boca Raton very much fit the stereotypical "Jew" community, but that does not encompass the religious community.

My family celebrated all of the holidays, with one of my households being more observant than the other. Although I was always told that you should just "do what you can" to keep the religion, both sides of my family could have done more. You can always do more, it is just a matter of choice.

What I am sure that I believe in is the communal aspect of religion. I cannot speak for other faiths, but I can say that meeting another Jew automatically sparks conversation. Especially based on our history, I truly believe sticking together is imperative. There is also "Jewish geography," which tightens our world. I believe that Jewish people should be aware of our past, and realize if we sit around and do nothing, history will repeat itself.

I also am an incredible advocate for the Jewish state of Israel. While there is some controversy surrounding this (a conversation for another day), I am sure that I believe the Jewish people have a right to call Israel our home, and we must act against anyone who threatens it.

When you dive a little bit deeper, though, things get complicated. Since the Jewish culture stems from our history, origins come into play. Our origins, however, are based off of this immense trust in a power that cannot be seen. There are many who are incredibly content with this mystical figure, but it was never a concept I could grasp.

If you were to ask me a few years ago if I believed in the power of prayer, I would have said no. I also would have told you that I think the days of fasting are ridiculous, and we do not need to keep reliving the past that no one alive today witnessed. I also would have told you that being cut off from the world on Shabbat can become dangerous and people need to constantly remain aware.

If you ask me now, my responses have slightly changed. Regarding the power of prayer, I really do not know. I have never met anyone who was completely certain that prayer has an impact. I also see the validity in the argument that the impact of the prayer itself is irrelevant, as believing can be equally impactful. The days we fast, I now understand. I do not necessarily participate, but I understand due to Jewish history.

So, do I believe? It depends on what you are referring to. I believe in the right for Jewish people to exist and have a land to call ours, and I believe that we must never let history repeat itself. I also believe in the community aspect of the religion, and how important it is for us to come together as a people to defend ourselves when no one else will. When it comes to the source of all of this, our higher power, I am unsure.

Being only 19, I have plenty of time to figure it out. I go back and forth, and sometimes I like to hope that there is a higher power present. I do not think there is anything "up there," watching over everyone at all times. There are many points where I wish I could believe that, but I do not think it will ever be something that resonates with me.

The point is, I am confused. The uncertainty sticks, and I wish I could just easily resolve it. If I told myself I truly believed, though, I would be lying to myself. So, I focus on the things I am sure I believe in this moment and allow myself the wiggle room to learn, develop, and alter my beliefs if need be.

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!
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I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!


1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"


A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.


Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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Calling People Hateful Is Not A Productive Dialogue

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

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The political climate is rough. I don't enjoy commenting on it because of how controversial it has become. Every once in a while, however, I come across something that rubs me the wrong way.

As I was walking through campus the other day, chalked on the side of a cement wall was a phrase claiming the College Republican club on campus was a hate group. I don't know anything about the person who wrote this statement or anything about the College Republican group on campus, but I do know one thing: this statement is false.

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

Just because someone has a different opinion from you doesn't mean they are hateful. There is room for disagreement.

A psychology professor of mine once said something that impacted my perspective toward both political parties: "Both sides think they're right, but both sides can't be right." Both sides make decisions based on what they think is right. A person's opinion is not "wrong" if it differs from yours. It's just different.

It's important to recognize that people won't always agree with you, and that's okay. That doesn't give you the right to call them mean or hateful. It allows an entrance into discussion. Besides, if you want to persuade someone that your belief is more accurate, name calling won't get you anywhere. It will only cause the other person to view you as inconsiderate and unwilling to understand.

How can you convince someone to believe you when you won't listen to their perspective? How can you expect people to listen to you when you won't do the same in return? Not only is it important to recognize a person's beliefs, it's important to understand why they believe what they do.

In order for people to engage in productive dialogue, both sides need to listen to each other and respect each other. Tossing labels around progresses nowhere and doesn't benefit anyone.

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