This was written as an assignment for my grade 12 religion class, which I recently re-discovered. Interesting for me to read, to see how it aligns with that which I believe now, but likely boring as hell for others. Enjoy at your own risk.
For me, my beliefs are based on logic and facts. For this reason, I do not follow any established religion, nor do I believe in any sort of omnipresent being. I believe that the universe and our world are controlled and exist by the laws of physics and human decision. However, even though I believe this, I have no objection to what others choose to believe, so long as they do not try to convert me to their method of thinking.
Since I was young, I have always been curious, and have always sought answers. Anytime something puzzled me, I sought to know the truth about it. In light of this, I never completely warmed up to the idea of a god. I found that a being watching over us and controlling the universe was completely absurd, and I therefore discounted it as a myth. Since then, I have not changed my views, although I have become more understanding of why people choose to be religious. Some seek safety – they believe that the afterlife will welcome them, no matter what they do in life. Some seek answers to the questions that science has not yet been able to solve.
Others, though, are essentially forced into religion by the teachings of their parents, teachers, and peers. This irritates me. Much like advertisers, religions tend to go after youth, as they are the easiest to influence. Many people, when asked why they became religious, will simply say that it is because their whole family is religious. Is this really a reason? If my parents love to drive motorcycles, does this mean I should too? In my mind, no. In my mind, religion should not even be introduced to children until they are at least 12. By this time, they are generally mature enough to decide for themselves whether they will choose to follow a religion or not. Although this will likely never happen, I would be curious to see how the number of people who are religious would change.
Another problem that I have with religion is the tension it creates. The Crusades, the Salem witch trials, suicide bombers. All of these are caused by misunderstandings and intolerance between religions. Even though most religions teach non-violence, there are those who misinterpret these teachings and cause suffering. Although I do believe that religion helps some people become more upstanding members of society, it has the opposite effect on others. I do not believe that godlessness is the solution to suffering, but it may help some people become more tolerant of others.