No, this world isn’t “evil,” and no, it’s not a bad place…being here isn’t a punishment. Sure there are bad things…lots of them…but there’s also MORE wonderful things. You see, in order to recognize that there is bad in this world, and what exactly is wrong, you must also be able to recognize what is GOOD. Am I right? You see, as human beings, God gave us freewill…freewill to make our own choices, and think for ourselves, and while, yes, some people chose to do bad things and create evil, people also choose to do lots of wonderfully good, AMAZING things…all on their own freewill…and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That people choose to do good because they want to. I could easily make this a religion thing, which I tend to be careful about in order not to shove my beliefs down people’s throats, but this is what I believe to be true…this world may not be perfect, and there is a lot of bad and evil things in this world, but that’s not to say that this is the devil’s world. I don’t believe this world is a bad place, and I definitely don’t believe that the devil runs this world. Is he present in many of the things here? Absolutely. And does he try to scheme and trick us into doing bad things? You bet he does! BUT, God is also very much so present…even more so than the devil…and SO much more powerful. Yeah, this world might get tough sometimes, but God is here to guide us, and help us along the way to protect us from the bad. God helps amazing things come from even the worst situations. And that alone is beautiful. Without suffering, there would be no compassion, and to recognize that there is wrong in this world, you are also recognizing that there is good…because what is good, if there was no wrong? If that makes sense. Whether what religion you are, or whether you believe in God or not, I’m just going to leave you with this…not to say that people without religion cannot have morals, because they most certainly can, BUT, how can they explain WHY something is good…what makes it good? The only explanation for good, is God. Also, from a religious standpoint, being “good” and following God’s law does not get you on his good side, or into heaven. Very common misconception. In God’s eyes, we’re all bad; we’re all sinners…every single one of us. And just because we may do some amazing things in this world, we also sin…every day. And sin is sin…no sin is any worse than another. And no matter how many good things we’ve done, it still doesn’t erase the sins you’ve made. It’s not about following God’s law as a perfect human…that’s impossible, and God KNOWS that. The only perfect person who will ever exist is Jesus, and that’s why he sacrificed himself for OUR sins…so that as long as you accept him into your life and follow him, HE covers all the sin you’ve made in life, which allows you to go to Heaven regardless of your sin. He’s kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card, if you will. A lot of people have a misconception…just because you’re a good person and follow God’s law, does NOT mean you’re getting into Heaven. That’s wrong. The only way you’ll get into heaven is through Jesus and accepting him as your savior. After accepting Jesus, that should change your heart and make you WANT to do good things, but without doing that, and simply just being like “well, God and The Bible tell me I can’t do this, so I’m not going to because I want to go to Heaven,” will NOT get you into Heaven. The fact of the matter is this, you can sin all you want, but as long as you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart as your savior, you’re set. BUT, that being said, having Jesus in your life SHOULD, in your heart make you want to do good things, and be a good person, and live fruitfully and graciously because if you don’t have the fruit of being a Christian, then it’s questionable whether you’re really a Christian at all. Anyway, I didn’t want to make this completely a religion thing, but I guess there’s no getting around that because this is what I believe to be absolutely true. Moral of the story; no, this world isn’t evil…it’s absolutely beautiful…even despite the evil, because we still have God, and he’ll always conquer. He’ll always win and the goodness in this world will always triumph the evil. God doesn’t want us to despise our time here because it’s “evil”…he wants us to enjoy it, and use our time here to not give into the temptations and CREATE more goodness. I believe this world is a beautiful place, despite the bad things, and being here is an absolute blessing. God is trusting the freewill he gave us to create goodness, and what could be more beautiful than that?
Day 7: Views on Religion.
For me, my religion has always been something that I never really open up about or talk about, and frankly, I don’t really know why. Maybe because it’s just something I feel is very personal to me. I do think most people would be surprised to know how important my faith actually is to me. I was raised Roman Catholic. I grew up going to church every Sunday and going to a youth group every wednesday night as a child. I went to Christian summer camps, and have always credited God a million percent for my whole existence. I was born very ill…countless medical problems, birth defects, and what should have been fatal illnesses. Doctors told my parents I wouldn’t survive the first 24 hours of my life, and once I did, they said that there was no hope for me to ever live a normal life. Obviously the doctors were wrong, and here I am 22 years later living an extremely normal life despite everything. I COMPLETELY believe that my mom’s prayers, and God are the only reasons I made it and that I’m still here today. God has made so many miracles happen for me my whole life…nonbelievers can say that it was all the doctors and science all they want, but I know it was God. When I was twelve, we found out that I needed an emergency skull reconstructive surgery…basically, it was brain surgery. Needless to say I was beyond scared. My mom and I got home and prayed that night, and asked God to perform the surgery, and to let me be okay. A few days later at school, it was my last day at school before my surgery. My math teacher gave me a card before I left school that day, and when I got home that night, I read it with my mom. In the card, my teacher had written, “my prayers are with you during this hard time. Please do not be afraid…everything is going to be okay, God is with you and his hands will be performing the surgery. You’re going to be okay.” I kid you not. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. God has saved my life many other times…he’s helped me through the dark times in my life, and has blessed me with so many wonderful things in life. I guess it’s kind of bad that I don’t talk openly about my faith…and honestly, I’m kind of awkward when it comes to talking about it. I think I’m so used to keeping it to myself that I just don’t know how to talk about it. I was always taught not to shove my faith down other people’s throats and to respect the fact that different people have different beliefs. I’m very accepting towards other religions and I’d never want to offend anyone because I know how it feels. Growing up, I had a neighborhood friend who took me to her “Christian” church one day. There, I was told that because I was Catholic, and did not belong to their denomination, that I was going to hell. Mind you, I was only nine years old. I remember going home and crying because I was so scared of going to hell. I never want to make anyone else feel inferior because they have different beliefs than mine. But it’s gotten to the point that I don’t even talk about my faith with people with the same beliefs as me…and maybe that is because of it being so personal to me. I also think that because my mom and I stopped going to church about four or five years ago might also have something to do with it. But nonetheless, whether I fall out of my faith a bit, or keep it to myself, it will always be the most important thing in my life, and I’ll always find my way back to God in the end. He’s the one behind everything. No one else. He makes everything possible, and I’ll never ever forget that. I think religion is an amazing thing, no matter what religion you are. It provides a sense of peace, and love that absolutely nothing else can provide. As long as you have God, you have everything in my opinion. And no matter what phase I am in my life, what I’m going through, or what I have, I always pray, every single night and thank God for everything I do have and ask him to continue to help me through everything. No matter what his plan for me is, I know everything is going to fall into place and work out in the end. I’d be so broken and empty without my faith or religion, and I can’t imagine how people without a religion must feel. I have no judgement, but to me, it’s just weird and empty.