Religion, not Identity

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These days, I’ve seen a lot of bashing on religion in general. Not any one religion—maybe I could understand that—but on the belief in a divinity or deity as a whole, on the whole concept of religion. “Religion is such a joke” and such. I mean, of course people think that their own philosophies are correct, but seriously? I’m not even remotely religious, and I find this a little offensive. How could someone judge an entire world of beliefs and opinions based on their, perhaps, single experience with an individual set of beliefs?

            To tell the truth, I’m a little puzzled about atheism. From what I understand, atheists believe that there is no God, or gods, or anything “out there”. Common knowledge is that most atheists tend to be people of a higher degree of education, too. I’m guessing this little bit of information is supposed to show that the more you know, the less you believe. (I’m not by any means trying to imply that it is good or bad, I’m just thinking in ink here.) That’s fair enough. But still, that doesn’t mean they should criticize people who do believe in god(s) and are religious, just because they don’t believe in the same things? Furthermore, just because someone personally does not believe in a god or gods shouldn’t give them reason to think this belief is foolish or wrong, or leads to making bad choices.

            In relation to this, I don’t think religion (and this probably applies to all religions) is just about worshiping a god(s). There are other things, like their philosophies, that matter too. I’m not (and probably never will be) one of those people whose religion would become their identity (well, this is partly because I don’t have a religion. Ignore that for a second). The deity of the religion isn’t so much of a big part of it as is the person who believes in it. It’s so obvious that because we’re all different, there are different ways that we practice our religions, whatever it may be. I’m not just talking about different, as in different branches of religion—Orthodox, Unorthodox, and the like—but real differences on an individual, person-to-person level. The way any person thinks and analyzes and believes and applies this belief to their life is unique. Because if you believed in something, it would really depend on you and the way you interpreted everything you were taught, and not just what was told to you.

            That being said, there are different reasons people believe in a certain faith in the first place. In no way can it be justified that being of a religion, or being of no religion, is a quality of weakness. Besides the fact that it is prejudiced and stereotypical, there are also things that make us different and contribute a lot to whether or not we believe in something.