My Religion This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I have a magnet on my mirror stating, “Life is not about finding yourself – life is about creating yourself.” This is the statement I live by.

Many people do not believe me when I say I am an atheist. They don’t understand that I simply do not believe in any sort of god or afterlife. I also do not believe in the devil, in angels, or in souls. I believe in myself and the strength I have gained through the help of my parents, teachers, and friends – and my own hard work.

I am not going to try to dissuade anyone from his or her own opinions either. I know that people enjoy having religion in their lives; some need their faith to help them through hard times. And some do not want the responsibility of their misfortunes weighing down on their shoulders.

I do. I abhor the idea of fate – that everything is already planned out and you have no control to change anything. If you believe in fate, when bad things happen, it is not your fault; it’s just fate. When my life is not going well, I know that it is no one’s fault but my own. When I do well in school, when I fall in love, it is not fate and we are not soul mates. I worked hard and paid attention and did the homework. My love and I simply love each other – that is all it is, and for me that is all it needs to be.

For some, life is overwhelming. How can anyone be successful and happy in such a difficult, horrible world? They need someone to help them, someone to guide them, and someone to have faith in to make sure things get better. Placing my success and happiness in another’s hands breaks my heart. I need to be successful because of my efforts. I must be responsible for my own happiness. That is what I need from my religion.

Who will ever know what the truth really is? All I know is in the same way that some have full faith and trust in God to give them hope, I need to believe I am on my own to be truly happy – for how can I create myself if I spend my entire life just looking?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Heather C. said...
Sept. 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm
I'm a Christian. I believe in a supernatural being. But it's not because I don't want the responsibility of my actions on my shoulders. When I do something I shouldn't, I know that there is no one to blame but myself. I can empathize with many of your points, but I love to believe the I have a heavenly Father looking down on me with love. I quote, "I'd rather live my life believing that there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than to live my life not believing that there is a god and die... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm
I'm sorry you feel that way. I know that people do horrible things "in the name of Jesus Christ," but do you really think my Jesus approves? We humans are only that - human. Only God himself is perfect. We all make mistakes. Many of which are unforgivable in the eyes of the world, but somehow, my God forgives those. If someone murders and maims in the name of Jesus Christ, I think that person has a pretty sick view of Him. Just because someone does something in the name of God, doesn't mean it's... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:57 pm
A verse in the Christian Bible, Matthew 7:21-23 answers your question: "Not everyone who says to me [God], 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 8:25 am
Thank you. You're actually the only person that I've ever argued theology with that's listened to what I said and gave me a straight answer. However, in the end, it is all just a matter of belief, and a matter of how one chooses to pursue self-actualization. I have my way to achieve self-actualization, and you have your way. I still say that there are other games in the toybox, and I also say: Timur Mortis Conturbat Me. I don't think that it's anything but wishful thinking that we become anythin... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
I hate to extend this longer than need be :), but (and this is just a question of curiosity) what is it about evolution that makes you believe that matter created information?
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm
............Eh? What are you talking about? Evolution has nothing to do with that.
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm
But isn't that the idea of the Big Bang? Matter compressing so much that it caused an explosion that created life? Well, planets and stuff?
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 11:28 am
Ah, okay. The Big Bang theory and the theory of Evolution are two entirely seperate things. Actually, a common misconception about Evolution is that it attempts to explain the Origin of Life. It doesn't, it never did. All Evolution says is that traits that enable a greater chance of survival and procreation will continue while other traits will either die out or be rendered obsolete. It's not about the Origin of LIfe, but rather the Origin of Species (Hence Darwin's title). You can see this with... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm
I apologize for my ignorance, as I cannot pretend like I know much about something that I have never been taught. I've never been in a public school, believe it or not. My parents are Christians, my siblings are Christian, I've grown up in a Christian home - it's all that I know. But I can't imagine my life without God. I know that some Christians believe in God and evolution. They believe that God used evolution to create the world. But the people who believe that don't believe the Bible, for I... (more »)
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm
Never said that I didn't believe. And quite a few theologists believed that "day" meant 2,000 years. (That's actually how Clarence Darrow managed to defeat William Bryan Jennings' "No room for translation"-stance on the Bible during the famous Scopes Trial) That's why the year 2000 was supposed to be the End of Days, because earlier theologists theorized that the Earth had been created on 4004 B.C., and for some reason they thought that the Earth was only going to last for the same length of tim... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm
First things first: I am not trying to convert you or anything like that. I'm simply having a discussion with you about different ideas. Simple as that. May I ask how old you are? You portray a significant intelligence that I don't find in many people. It's very refreshing :) And no, I have not heard of Solopsism.
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Um, I'm only sixteen. "Sigh" sweet sixteen, never been kissed, that's me. Hehehehe. I know, not very compelling for great arguments, but that's how it is. How old are you?

Also, I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions. I know its really significant just for the pair of us to have a serious theological discussion without ever resorting to violence or name-calling or anger. And I'm glad that we can have a conversation like this.

Oh yes, and Solipsism is the train of thought that stat... (more »)

Heather C. replied...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm
I'm 13. Turned in May. :) I am not yet concerned with a dating life. Even if I wasnt a Christian, I'd rather wait until after college or at LEAST after high school, so that I know what I really want in a guy, and I really know who I am. Solopsism doesn't sound like a fun way to go :/ For me.
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm
Mm, I think that I know what I want in a girl, but I don't think that most high school girls fulfill my criteria. Plus, I think that it is wise to at least wait until after High School to start seriously thinking about relationships. But then again, I suppose that if both sides are mature enough to start a serious relationship, and they're both willing to put in that extra effort needed to make it work, a relationship starting in High School is relatively plausible. But now we're getting off int... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm
And the same to you. Alanzi Alonzo! (if that's even how you spell it.)
TheEarlofZerces replied...
Nov. 13, 2011 at 9:20 am
...You watch Doctor Who? :D Ta!
Heather C. replied...
Nov. 13, 2011 at 10:28 am
Sure do!!! ;) Sayonara.
Kelly R. replied...
Nov. 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm
I love reading a conversation that starts in a disagreement and ends with two people finding out they love the same t.v. show. So cute!
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Heather I have a question for you; You say that people who believe in God but not the bible aren't really true believers (that's at least how I took it) because the bible is the truth in your views. How do you know it is the truth? Other than your parents and a priest telling you?


TheEarlofZerces; I read about Solopsism recently in The Pleasures of Philosphy, along with other similar theories, I find it really interesting. The world is full of interesting theories.

Heather C. replied...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:29 am
At my church, we refer to the "leaders" as pastors, not priests. But, in response to your question, that is where faith comes in. An I believe that the Bible holds a vast amount of evidence that did and continues to exist that God is indeed alive and real. Yes, it's true, my parents did raise me to believe in that the Bible is true, but all in all, I still have a free will and it is my choice whether or not to believe. I choose to. I don't really have much explanation, because the answer is simp... (more »)
Heather C. replied...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:42 am
Oh, by the way, I am a non-denimational Christian, so I'm not Baptist, Methodist, Orthodox, Catholic, or anything like that.
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