Religion Can Mean Something Different For Everyone

Religion Can Mean Something Different For Everyone

When it comes to religion, just like with all things, you need to follow your own path.

I'm what my dad calls "Catholic Lite." He describes someone as being "Catholic Lite" when they consider themselves Catholic but don't hold to all the obligations and beliefs of Catholicism in the same way that Bud Lite is still considered a beer but without all the calories.

To me being religious, or Catholic for that matter has so much more to do with being a decent human being than going to church on Sunday's or participating in confession. I don't believe in the nonsense that says going to church makes you better than anyone else and I surely don't believe that only good people participate in the sacrament of mass.

I grew up in a mixed religious household. My mother was Catholic and my father was raised Baptist. When I was really young I remember going to church every Sunday with my mother, grandparents, aunt, and cousins. I also went to Catholic schools through elementary and high school.

Having my entire life be based on religion, I began to ask questions that my parents didn't know the answers to and was taught concepts that my parents didn't agree with. As time went on, we all pulled away from the faith. In part, I think I pulled away because I felt that Catholicism was being shoved down my throat giving me no chance to catch a breath and decide what I truly believe.

A couple of things I was taught that I personally don't align with are as follows:

  1. I don't believe in confession. I don't understand the concept of one man bestowing onto another power from Christ to cleanse me of my sins. I would much rather pray in the privacy of my home to our lord and savior asking for forgiveness for my wrongdoings.
  2. I don't believe that only human souls enter heaven. I believe that all living things are Gods children and I don't think he would deem some of his beloved creatures as having souls more important than another's.
  3. I was once told by one of my religion teachers that it was a sin for my parents to be married when they were of different faiths. I don't believe faith has anything to do with marriage. Marriage to me is about love and commitment. My mother went to mass without my father because that was her choice and my father didn't mind at all. I think that's the way it should be. A spouse shouldn't participate in the faith of his or her partner simply because they feel obligated to. When it comes to having children I would say teach them the things you can both agree on and then when the child is old enough present to him your different religious factions and let him choose which he feels more closely drawn to.
  4. So many religious organizations or faith sects preach acceptance but then turn away those who desire to live life differently than them. For example, I went to high school with some individuals who upon graduation came out as homosexual or bi. Some of them were blessed with families who love them for who they are no matter if everything they do aligns with the faith or not. Others were not as lucky and were turned away by their families. I ask you, what is religious about this?
  5. I believe there is more than one way to pray. I don't think I need to kneel, bow my head, and spew some words I memorized when I was 5 because I was forced to for a religion test. I don't consider that true prayer because when I'm spewing these words I don't really mean them. I think a prayer can be a simple thought or heart feeling.

Going to Church on Sundays and participating in the sacraments does not make you a good person in the same way that not going to Church does not make you a bad person. I guess you could say my religion is based on the "golden rule" that I treat others the way I want to be treated; with respect, dignity, and kindness.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Fun Fact: Karma Doesn't Exist

And What Goes Around Doesn't Come Around

Fairly recently, in my math history class, I’ve heard a wild tale about Pythagoras, how he had a cult, was essentially Mr. Ancient Worldwide™, and believed in karma (actually some version of it but still).

I zoned out for the rest of the class thinking about it. Not the reincarnation part of it, but the very simple, straight forward idea we hear everyday that good people get good things, and bad people get punished.

I thought about it. I thought about it more and concluded:

That is such bogus.

100% USDA-approved organic nonsense.

Karma does NOT exist.

The afterlife bit, I’m not concerned about very much in this instance. What I’m here to disprove is the utterly goofy idea that somehow, through good or bad actions in life we get something in this physical world.

It is naïve and silly to claim that if I were to steal all profits made at a cancer charity tomorrow, that somehow the universe or God will find a way to reprimand me. Moreover, were I to donate a sum of ten thousand dollars to the same cancer charity tomorrow, I wouldn’t have some kind of extra special credit with God- that’s just not how life works.

More than that- this quasi-meritocratic belief implies that people hit with the most tragic circumstances say someone after living for fifty years with no qualms suddenly gets hit with a divorce and loses all of their life savings, deserve what happens to them.

That’s insulting. That’s idealistic. That’s rubbish.

Any good behavior on my part won’t mean anything in this world. It might mean something to me, it might someone’s life better. But in no way should I think that even a morsel of positivity I put out into the world will come back to me.

What goes around doesn't always come around, and positivity and 'good vibes' isn't a boomerang that the inspirational poster in your college dorm claims to be.

If I am to commit some terrible act, the only reason I’d get punished by anyone is if I get caught, NOT because of some cosmic Batman. After all, look at the many world governments and the wealthy corporations who can essentially commit mass murder and get away with it- there’s no karma, and has been no karma to punish them in the history of the world.

Whatever you believe in, in my case God, isn’t a policeman or the IRS. Not in a sense that people try to paint it/Him as.

Nothing I’ll ever do will ever be held against me or for me. If I can get away with it, I can do virtually anything I please. What comes next, and what it does to my soul and conscience is a completely different story, a story that’s not important today.

Moreover, to think that whenever something fortunate happens to one is because of the "vibes" he or she has put out is a little bit of an ego boost, and nothing else. Being a positive and a good person doesn't change what exists in the world already- only your outlook on it.

That said, stay humble. More importantly than that, stay good. Not because the world is gonna give you anything in return, but because it's the right thing to do.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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5 Bible Verses For When You Feel Unworthy

You may feel broken, but you're still worthy.

Hello beautiful friends,

I have come to you today to touch on a topic that affects us all. Being broken and the feeling of not being worthy.

Have you ever felt broken or unworthy of love? If you answered yes, then please keep reading.

I can imagine you right now, you are sitting in class, your room, or heck maybe even on the toilet reading this and you feel like you are not enough, not loved, and not appreciated.

You wake up every day and maybe you fake a smile, maybe you’re in a relationship that you don’t want to be in, maybe you have no idea what you want to do with your life, why bad things keep happening, why you are here, why you are the way you are, or maybe you just don’t know what God’s plan is for you yet.

You feel like you keep trying and trying and see no results.

This is completely normal, my beautiful friends. It is completely normal to feel like you have no idea what is going, what you’re going to do after graduation, or what the future has.

In college especially it can be so hard to feel loved and appreciated. That’s why it’s so important to love others wholeheartedly.

Today I am here to tell you that what you’re feeling right now is OK because the Lord has a plan for YOU.

The Lord wants to see you succeed and so do I! So start praying, smiling, and believing in yourself!

LET'S DO THIS!

5 Bible verses to read and reflect on when you are feeling the way you are right now:

1. Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit."



This verse talks about how YOU are broken and lost, but that is when the Lord is there to pick you back up. This is SO important to realize when you feel far away from God and feel alone. The Lord is near to help YOU and listen to you. He cares for you and only wants you to be happy.

2. Psalm 147:3: “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds."


This verse talks about how when you are broken, the Lord will bind your winds and make it better. The Lord is always there when we stray away and is always ready to take care of us. Has your heart ever been broken? As time went on did you notice it slowly going back together and feeling whole again? That was the Lord working in your heart.

3. Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

This verse talks about how to trust in the Lord with your WHOLE self. Isn’t that crazy? Thinking how we can dump all of our worries and sorrows onto the Lord, and He still loves us. Heck, he still pursues us! I know it’s hard to open up and really let God into our hearts and it takes a lot to share our struggles, but He has loved you since before you born and wants you to share what is in your heart with him.

4. Isaiah 43:18: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old."

All you homies reading this, have you ever made a mistake or done something you regret? If you said no, you are lying. We have all done things that we wish we hadn’t, whether that be not donating that extra $2 to charity, hurting people, or a multitude of reasons. The point of this verse is to emphasise the importance of forgiving yourself for the past and moving on from it. The Lord wants you to admit you have done wrong and then forgive yourself because He has already forgiven you.

5. 1 Peter 4:19: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."

This verse talks about how to fully commit yourself to the Lord. We all mess up and suffer in life, but the Lord wants us to entrust our worries and sorrows to Him, because He will make us feel better. When we suffer, we are getting closer to the Lord and becoming more reliant on Him. It also is saying that when we suffer we see the Lord the most. So the next time you suffer, remember that the Lord is present and there for you.

I hope that this list has helped you see the light and see your worth! You are amazing!:)

Love Your Friend,

Lexi Barry:)

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