A Religious Journey: Searching for Faith

I’ve struggled with religion and faith my entire life. My studies began early and continue today. It started before I can remember as my Parents dropped me off at Church. Some of my fondest memories are those in a little Baptist Church as a child. Sunday school, church plays, and of course the plethora of Southern banquets featuring some of the finest dishes Grandmothers from around the county could muster.

Religion and the church community gave to me what everyone desires in life. An absolute truth, the warmth of love and affection, family, the kindness of a stranger smiling at you from a few pews away, and of course belonging. In a word: Comfort.

But from the time I can remember “believing” was always difficult. I would constantly struggle with the nagging feeling religion is make believe. I felt out of place and wondered how everyone else seemed to believe so whole-heartily and so easily while I struggled with my faith constantly.

I didn’t give up. As in life, the things that didn’t come natural to me (faith), I worked twice as hard as the next person to achieve. So I prayed daily for God to help me “believe”.

“Dear God – Please help me with my struggles in faith. Please help me find the evidence I need personally to find strength in my faith in you. I am sorry for my lack of faith and I am working hard to  find it.  Please put me on the right path.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

So my days would go from about the ages of 12 – 18. There were even times I believed strongly that God was there. Sometimes my hard work seemed to be paying off – though my doubts were never far behind.

Search for Faith

When I first arrived in college I decided to get serious about religion. I started watching videos that I hoped would strengthen my faith. I met a “preacher” who taught young people. And so intense self-indoctrination began – seemed to work – but eventually failed.

At one point I was ready to testify to my fellow college students on campus. I had almost convinced myself it all made sense. I painted an almost clear picture of what I had come to believe. But what I found mostly radicalized me and I saw in myself the symptoms of any individual induced to delirium.

Most of what I found I could not reconcile with my own personal thoughts and feelings.  Everything seemed overly radical, lacked evidence, and seemed almost loony. Though I learned many good lessons – those lessons were not independent to Christianity and proved nothing.

There were young earth creationist, those that claimed religion was about faith and not proof, those that claimed man and dinosaurs roamed the Earth together, and worse. Even those whom I admired failed in their efforts to provide reasonable evidence.

So, as a college student I decided to seek knowledge the best way I knew how. I enrolled in a few religion classes and finally I found what I was looking for, but not what I expected to find.

The scholarly approach to Religion was exactly what my personality craved. I learned about the history of the Bible, I found evidence of scholarly research, and was surrounded by people seeking the same information I desired. I had Christian Professors, Professors of different faiths and belief systems, and Professors with no beliefs at all.  I was truly left to gather the evidence and for the first time decide for myself rather than be told what I should believe by a Spiritual/Intellectual leader.

My Decision in Faith

I have become comfortably Agnostic. I’m an Agnostic because after years of searching for the information to strengthen my faith in Christianity, after giving it all I have to feel the right emotions, and after an entire youth spent in the indoctrination process of religion – it all failed.  I still came out hopelessly unable to believe.

I’m an Agnostic because I am a Scientist of sorts. Not a Rocket Scientist, of course, but a Scientist in logic and methodology. I am open to new evidence, new ways of thinking, and new interpretations. For or against religious belief.  Thus far all evidence points toward the non-existence of a God – especially the one described in Abrahamic religions.

I’m an Agnostic because for the first time in my life I feel like I am not lying to myself. I’m not struggling to force myself to feel a certain way or to believe a certain idea because that’s what I’ve been taught is right.  I think that’s something I can live with.

* I have written in length on religious topics on this blog.  You can check them out here.

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4 thoughts on “A Religious Journey: Searching for Faith

  1. Jon

    You and I are about in the same place – in terms of agnosticism (maybe that’s just a polite euphemism for atheism – since my doubt about the God of the bible is about equal to my doubt about Zeus being a deity — so much doubt you might as well call it non-belief). But, you know, I’m going through a process that’s the reverse of what you describe here in this post. You were seeking faith while part of you strongly doubted. I’m seeking to rid myself of faith, while part of me is still in the habit of praying to God when I’m worried. I think I got so used to praying to God as a kid that it comes to reflexively, even though I feel pretty sure that it’s hogwash. Basically, I feel like society has brainwashed me, and it takes work to maintain a rational, objective, perspective. I think I’m the type that if I’d been brought up in ancient Greece and got used to praying to Zeus, it would have been hard for me to shake that as well.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      Sometimes I find myself saying “Please God…” Silently to myself as almost a reflex too. When something is ingrained into you and society its a tough habit/reflex to just stop doing. I relate.

      Reply
  2. Rattlesnake

    I’m an Agnostic because I am a Scientist of sorts. Not a Rocket Scientist, of course, but a Scientist in logic and methodology. I am open to new evidence, new ways of thinking, and new interpretations. For or against religious belief. Thus far all evidence points toward the non-existence of a God – especially the one described in Abrahamic religions.

    This is essentially how I feel as well. I call myself agnostic, but I’m effectively atheist, just because the evidence seems pretty conclusive on this matter to me.

    Unlike you, I was raised in a secular household. I never went to church, and was never told about God. My dad was raised a Mormon, but he left the church before I was born. So, I’ve had sort of an “outsider’s” perspective on religion for my whole life, and I can’t remember ever thinking it made any sense. When I was younger, I viewed it with contempt, although I’ve become more accepting of it as I’ve gotten older, even though it still makes no sense to me and I’m perplexed as to how seemingly intelligent people can still believe in it in spite of all the evidence against it.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Daily Prompt; Un/Faithful/ The Daily Post | terry1954

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