Middle ground of any religion

Mark Francis

For someone in their 20’s, life is filled with many questions. Probably as many questions as a child, but these days filled with some deep pathos. We tend to go about our lives wondering a variety of questions like, “How do I fall in love?” if we deem ourselves to be forever single; “What is the purpose of it all?” For the most part, these questions tend to go unanswered for years.

Allow me to present my “simple” questions: “What is religion” and “must we follow it to be happy?” If you find this to be even slightly offensive, all apologies. I advise you to please go and read some of the other columns found on Perspectives instead.

As college students, we are not actually bound to what our parents deemed fit for our lives, like we were as children. Instead society molds us after graduation and fills us with different insights on how the world works. We are informed that people have drastically different political and religious viewpoints.

Let me first get this out of the way— I was a born Catholic, so I didn’t have much say as to what my religion was growing up. There was no self-cultivated identity on what I believed in; instead I followed my Catholic family to church every Sunday morning. I was deep in the faith, and confirmed myself after years of religious teachings. Yet some- thing changed as soon as I began college.

My two years at Academy of Art University opened a Pandora’s box of ideas as well as the concept that not everyone has the same view of religion that I do. We are each different; some believe that God does not exist, some believe God exists in only one religion.

I personally began to come to terms with the idea that perhaps God is not just a Catholic, but instead is in all religions — even those that feature multiple gods and goddesses. My whole acceptance of the Catholic church and the Vatican’s ways slowly diminished. These days my views are drastically different than what the Vatican backs. I support gay marriage for the simple fact that, “Love is Love” even if it’s between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.

Six years have passed since I came to that viewpoint. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, much to the dismay of my parents. Sunday church is no longer something I attend, yet it’s amazing that I still know more about the Catholic church than my parents do as to when it comes to Holy Days of Obligations and other Sacramental vows. To me religion, in general, is not a direct route in life, instead it’s only a map on how to live it that we don’t need to follow exactly mile by mile, turn by turn.

These days I believe god is not tied to just the Catholic church but is actually a part of any religion. God itself as an idea and also an almighty deity, was/is never supposed to be tied down to just one singular viewpoint by one singular dogma.

Instead, God is something that most humans need to keep believing in, inside many faiths and beliefs, as it evidently brings a bigger picture and purpose to their lives. I am perfectly fine with this viewpoint.

And if you’re an atheist, then that is fine by me as well. I know the concept of religion isn’t tailor made for all 6.6 billion and counting people on this planet, and that you can’t go around shoving the power of religion down a person’s throat. That is not a way you should be living if you’re that deep in your faith.

We have a consciousness that is continu- ously developing for 20 something odd years of our lives, and then after that we are free to believe in whatever it is that we want to. What I’ve been building up to is that there is no wrong way in finding, cultivating and growing a religion, belief or viewpoint of how the world and people should be.