Attending a liberal arts college with a Presbyterian background for the past three years has been incredibly difficult for me. The views that I have on religion are vastly different than the majority of people who I attend school with and sometimes it really frustrates me when the topic of religion comes up. The majority of the friends that I have made are hardly religious, but most don't even believe there is a God. Coming from a strong Roman Catholic background, I am constantly patronized for my beliefs, which is extremely disheartening.
To those people who question my faith, I have one thing to say: I don't question you for not believing in God, so don't question why I do. If you choose not to believe in God, that is your choice. I respect that and I would never try to force my beliefs on you, so don't try to force yours on me. My atheist friends constantly ask me the question of "How can you believe in God when there is so much bad happening in the world around us?" My answer to this is simply one word: faith.
To me, it's simple. I grew up in a home where God was always at the forefront. Whenever times were tough, I was taught to look to God and ask for His help and His mercy and know that it will be given in time. I attended Catholic school for 9 years, I went to church twice a week--once on Wednesday and once on Sunday--and I had religion class every day. I grew in my faith and learned a lot about my God in those 9 years, and I continue to enrich myself in my faith to this day. I am not ashamed to call myself a Roman Catholic, and just as feminists fight for equal human rights, environmentalists fight to save our planet, and PETA fights for the rights of animals, I express my freedom of religion and I defend my faith. My beliefs don't affect you, so please, please stop treating them as if they are inferior to yours.
I proudly believe in God. I still go to church on Sundays and I still pray before bed every night. This being said, I still sin. I make mistakes, I don't obey all of God's commands, I understand I am not perfect, but God has gotten my family and me through many difficult times, and I really believe our faith in Him is the reason. When I have nobody else to look to, nobody who understands what I'm going through, and nobody to comfort me, God has always been there. I can always look to Him in times of trouble, and I always feel my spirits lifted after talking with Him. This being said, I am not ashamed of my faith. I don't feel like I should have to be, just as I don't believe my friends should have to have the same beliefs that I do. All that I ask is that I am allowed to express and practice my religion without being belittled.
As stated in Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you." I will never feel contrite because of my beliefs, no matter who looks down on me for them, because I know my reward in heaven will be great.