What Am I? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 31, 2010
My father is Missionary Baptist. I sit in his church and hear the less-than-sophisticated pastor preach about a salvation that never ends, about a God that sends people to hell when they've never heard “The Way.” I hear about being a “good Christian,” saving souls and leading people to the Lord by telling them that all they have to do is believe and pray a prayer, and then they've got a one-way ticket to Heaven. I am told that their way is the right way, that any other path is false.

I am told that Catholicism isn't right, that it isn't Christian, that it's Satan-led, designed to pull people from the Lord. I am told that Muslims should have no rights, that those who follow Hinduism are “weird”, that Jews are blind. I am taught to fear customs that aren't “Christian.” I am taught that the Biblical gifts (speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, etc) have ended, that God has cut them off from his people, that people who do such things are “wrong.”

I am told that evolution couldn't have possibly happened; all the evidence scientists have found to support it is fake, planted to convince people that God isn't real. I am told that science and God have nothing in common, that they are two clashing forces that contradict one another.

My mother doesn't know what she believes. She says she believes in Jesus and His teachings, then turns around and uses tarot cards. She believes that races shouldn't mix, that “whites” are superior to “blacks,” that God advocates a separation of races. But, she allows me to believe the way I want to.

My grandmother is Pentecostal. She believes in speaking in tongues, in healing, in prophecy. She believes that a continual belief in Christ is the way to Heaven, that your ticket can be revoked at the gate if you turned your back on Jesus. She believes that God and science can mix, that science supports a God-given ability to adapt with the ages.

I am... spiritual. I believe in the tradition of the Catholic church, the emotion of the Pentecostal faith, and the cold facts of nature. I follow a kosher diet as well as I can; I believe in karma, the law of three-fold, and the aspect of God being everywhere. I believe in truth, in life beyond death.

I believe that to deny evolution is to limit a limitless God, to pretend to know more than He does. I believe that a Christian or anyone spiritual who denies science to be denying one facet of an all-powerful God.

I do not believe in predestination. I believe in a God that knows our decisions, but leaves our lives up to us. I believe in consequences and in fate. I don't think that something bad happening to someone is the result of past mistakes in all instances. I don't believe that a child experiencing sexual abuse has done anything to deserve it. I don't think that someone who has been raped has “asked for it.”

I believe in clean slates, in starting over, in true love. I do not believe in soul mates, in each person only having “one,” one person that will make them happy. I believe in modesty, in doing things that feel right, before, during, and after. I don't believe in using sex to get to God. I don't believe abstinence is right for everyone.

What am I? Am I a heretic worthy of burning? Am I a blasphemer worthy of Hell? Am I shoving my “religion” down everyone's throats? Am I shoving science down everyone's throats? Am I believing in a lost cause? Am I just a girl trying to reconcile her families beliefs to make her life easier? What am I?

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benji said...
Aug. 7, 2010 at 9:59 am
Well written and thought out.  I think alot of young people are in the same place you are, questioning religion and beliefs that are around them and in their lives and finding the right spirituality that fits for them.  It seems like you are on a great path of discovery, continue to stay honest and true to yourself, you'll never go wrong. =)
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I enjoyed reading this, and I encourage you to read my article 'Religious Acceptance.'

What are you? You are another soul that is trying to find its way. You have your own set of beliefs and I doubt that God will condemn you for it, although other people might.

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