Journal Day \\ eight

Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens “next.”

Religion. Oh boy. I wasn’t going to post a response when I first saw this prompt. I’m always a little bit hesitant to discuss religion with anyone. While I’m not generally shy about my opinions, this is something I try to think twice about before offering my thoughts. Danielle posted this morning though & her response inspired me to write something. I’ve posted a Journal Day response every week so far & I think it’s silly to censor myself in regards to this. I know not everyone will agree with what I have to say. So as Danielle did, I will just preface this post with this disclaimer: I don’t mean to question your beliefs or lack thereof. Please do not take offense to what I have to say here – I don’t want to judge you & I hope you won’t pass judgement on me either.

Religion is an incredibly interesting topic. I can’t think of many other topics with so many different variations of belief (or disbelief). There is so much emotion tied to this topic that it’s a little intimidating to put my thoughts out there, but here goes…
I do not consider myself to be a religious person, at least not in the sense of organized religion. This idea does not come from a place of disrespect or rebellion. This is something I’ve come to realize in the last 10 years. I don’t have a problem with other people believing or not believing – I think as long as we are respectful of each other & of others’ beliefs, we’re on the right track. 
We grew up with some knowledge of the Anglican faith. As a baby, I was baptized in a beautiful Anglican Cathedral, the same one in which my parents were married & my brother would later be baptized. We attended church around both of those events, but as we got older services took a backseat to swim meets & soccer practices. I was never opposed to church as a child, but I was also happy to sleep in or play sports. It wasn’t a priority for me. 
I had many friends of different faiths & backgrounds throughout school. I attended public school in a province that offers a non-private catholic school option so most of my religious peers were either Christian or Jewish. For the most part, we didn’t discuss or think about religion much. The public school system is meant to welcome any & all religions. There was one exception at the end of High School. As I spent more time with a Mormon family, I did think of religion more. Although I never really discussed my own beliefs with them, their discussions with me about their beliefs caused me to focus a little more on the topic. I think that’s when I came to the conclusion that, although I had never identified with my atheist peers, I didn’t identify with organized religion. I was somewhere in the middle of things (oddly enough, this seems to be where I fall on the political spectrum too…)
You hear this often from non-believers: I like science. Or I like facts. & I can identify with those statements. In order to believe, you have to have faith in the unknown &, while there are some things in which I trust completely, a higher power isn’t necessarily one of them. Now, I’m not saying I don’t believe in a higher power at all. I’m just also not saying I do believe. I don’t know if there is, but it’s not something I generally occupy my time thinking about. I’d rather just be. & be present. 
Sometimes I think it’s easier to believe in something then to wrap your mind around nothingness. Having faith in a world after death is comforting. It means there’s more to life than just what’s going on here & now. It means that life doesn’t just end when you die. It means good people will go to a good place together. (Or maybe it means something different to you. That’s ok too.) I just don’t know if I genuinely believe that. I’m not going to write it off, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about it either (beyond the thinking I’ve already done, I suppose). For me, either possibility is valid – something might happen next or it might not. 
The point is that I don’t know the answer to what happens next. I don’t think anyone does. & instead of worrying about it, I’m going to do my best to enjoy my time in this world. I hope you can respect that, whether you agree with me or not. 
This post is in response to Danielle’s prompt on her blog, Sometimes Sweet. Find the rest of my responses in this series here
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