Updated: May 3
When people refer to religion I struggle to bring my faith into that image. My very personal and sensitive relationship with my Higher Power is fueled by my practices of spirituality and the nostalgia of a childhood spent in church. However, religious practices in my life today, don't hold as much weight for the basis of my faith as they do to others.
I have a strong faith and am a somewhat spiritual person who can struggle to bring God into her daily life, but would I say I'm particularly religious? I'm not sure. For me, church is a doorway to a second family and an opportunity to strengthen my faith. Similarly, the Bible is something that doesn't provide a foundation for my faith but can occasionally open a door to a deeper understanding. Personally, it is with music, meditation and prayer that my relationship with my Higher Power strives.
I think that religion, regardless of creed or denomination, can be a wonderful thing. It can provide a shared experience of worship and understanding for the spiritual aspect of our being that by many is often left untouched. However, religion can also be hugely regarded as a social construct that is a means to an end in terms of control, regulation and bureaucracy. Religious practices, religious buildings, religious people are incredibly valuable to the spiritual lives of so many and I couldn't ever say that practicing religion is wrong. However, I believe that there are aspects of religious doctrine that cause more harm than good and raise the overriding question in my head of 'Is it really worth it?'
Have as many opinions about sexual orientation, sexuality, addiction, and all other types of 'immorality' as you like. But is it really worth Bible bashing us all and dictating these regulations when you see the amount of pain that is caused? Are the suicidal deaths of so many queer people still lighter to you than the ideology of monotonous, celibate, or simply false but heterosexual relationships?
I don't want the aspects of religion that hurt people. I want the aspects of religion that open up a little flap and allow me to spend time with God as if walking into church was like walking into Santa's grotto. But if you continue to drill that I'm on the naughty list and can't see him and I end up so psychologically warped by society's social construct of religion that I cannot see a way out - will you still say that it was worth 'serving' God in that way?
Religion has so many positives that people can draw from it, but I believe that at times the foundation of faith and a relationship with a deity or two has been lost. Instead the exertion of power and performance have been thrust into the limelight and the pain it has caused is, in my opinion, not worth God's pride in you delivering your interpretations of the Bible.