Nearly everyone has experienced this feeling at one point in their life.
This feeling that I'm referring to is that "outside looking in" cliche that many books and films use as the angsty teen's reason for being. Now, I have never felt any angst because of what I am about to talk about; however, I have felt out of place. But, before I get too far into this, I would like to stress something.
This article is not me seeking advice or guidance.
While I am almost always interested in hearing about people's religious faiths and beliefs, I don't necessarily want that response at this time. I am writing this because I have recently come to the understanding that I am not the only one that has felt this way before, and the way I'm talking about is this...
I want to be Christian, but I can't be. At least not at this point in my life.
So, let's get into it. I grew up in a pretty rural part of Ohio. People in my town are primarily conservative and, often times, Christian. There is of course nothing wrong with this. I am a firm believer in the freedom of believing whatever the heck you want to believe. More power to you. I like to think that I am respectful of other people's beliefs, religious or not. Everyone has a right to their individual beliefs just as much as I have a right to mine.
But what exactly do I believe in? Well, when people ask, I say I'm Agnostic. According to Google, being Agnostic means that a person is someone "who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God." I align with this, I think. However, personally, I like to think that Agnostic is a fancy way of me saying I have no idea what to believe. Therefore, it is an official way of saying I don't know.
Which is the truth. I have no clue what I believe or if I will believe in anything ever. Some people are entirely OK with this. I, on the other hand, am infuriated by it. Like I said before, a lot of people from my hometown are Christian. A lot of people I met and became friends with when I went to college are also Christian. This grouping of people includes my best friend, 2 of my college roommates, my boyfriend, and the majority of my family on both sides. I can honestly say though that I have never once felt pressured to identify as a Christian. Also, I have almost never felt judged by the Christians in my life for my choices or beliefs. My experiences with religion have always been very positive ones. I am extremely thankful for this because I know not everyone can say the same.
For me though, I have seen religion be a beautiful presence in many people's lives, people that I know and love. I have seen these people rely on Christianity time and time again and watched as it has offered them some sort of peace within themselves. I think Christianity (and a lot of religions actually) are beautiful. I think the concept of having faith in God or any god for that matter is amazing. But, I think that if I were to become a member of any religious faith it would be Christianity.
But I just can't have faith in Christianity or any religion really at this point in my life.
I have been surrounded by Christianity the majority of my life. I have heard the Bible stories. I have been to church many times. I have prayed to God time and time again and each time I'm left wondering: Do I really believe in this? The answer is no, and I don't need anyone telling me that that is okay because I know that it is. However, I want to have religious faith. I want to experience the same things that the people I know have through religion.
If you know me though, it's not that simple. It is no secret that I am a stubborn person, not to mention cynical at times. It isn't that I am incapable of believing in something that is intangible. I am capable of this. I know I am. After all, I believe in things like ghosts. I also believe in fiction, and the power it has.
I firmly believe that sometimes the things in life that you can't touch or see hold the utmost importance to you.
However, I cannot place my beliefs or my faith in God. I just can't at this point in my life. I'm not entirely sure why this is. I think it has something to do with trust. The idea of placing so much trust is something as monumental as God or a god or a religion or even a single belief terrifies me. I just can't get myself to have faith in something so big, so life-changing.
Not yet anyway.
While this is okay for others, right now, it is frustrating for me, but that is okay too. I'm okay being uncomfortable with my beliefs for the time being because I anticipate one of two things happening:
One, I will become comfortable with not knowing what is going to happen when I die. I will become comfortable with identifying as Agnostic, which is a fancy way of saying I don't know. I will become comfortable with believing there is no way to know if God does or does not exist.
Two, I will find my way and be able to believe in God, or a god at least. I will have faith in the most monumental definitions of the "intangible." I will eventually have faith.
I'm okay with either of these options.
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