I was really lucky that my parents raised me Catholic. The truth is, I don't attend mass regularly anymore, but the meaning behind them raising me with a religious foundation isn't limited to doctrine and observances. At least that's not what I took from it. What I took from it was a humility I wouldn't otherwise have. Growing up with the feeling that someone, something if you will (I'll develop this more later), larger than life is watching over me makes me think twice about how I treat others and limits how highly I get to think of myself. Because of my Catholic upbringing, I have always believed in a god. But I don't name my god Jesus. I simply trust that someone larger than tangible life sees me through things I wouldn't otherwise make it through. I don't pretend to have had the most horrendous of lives. Generally, I have been very blessed with all I've ever needed and a lot of what I've ever wanted. And to ground myself, I thank a god for that. I sincerely believe that despite my mistakes, someone forgives me enough to believe I've deserved the things and people that have made me happy. I find comfort in the feeling of being watched over by something I will never be able to prove, and at the same time, something that no one will ever be able to disprove.
Discussions of religion aren't generally my forté. I've never read the Bible in full and I know very little about other religions that the general masses don't know. Since I don't like to delve too deeply into things I haven't put an effort into researching, I tend to listen more than debate about this topic. But what I mean to discuss about religion via this post is that, unlike Bill Maher, I find it to be more positive than negative. What this world has become is something so undefinable and sometimes scary that I don't think anyone would make it without the belief in something bigger than themselves and people in general. I'm bothered, as anyone should be, by any religion that condemns anyone and that doesn't encourage people to love one another despite their differences, but given the option of someone with no faith and someone with blind faith, I find the person with no faith to be more dangerous. Of what people choose to put their faith in, I have no judgments. I just hope that everyone has something they can turn to that never lets them down.
Take note that I don't consider a higher power to be limited to the gods that religion presents to us. Be it Jesus, Allah, whomever, and whatever, I encourage people to believe in something more than they can see or prove. Or at least to believe in something other than the inconsistency of mankind. Perhaps some see science as their higher power, and that is a perfectly reasonable decision to me. Unlike Bill Maher, who makes very clear that he believes religion is the bane of human existence, I find that a lot of times religion keeps us human and from believing that we are our own gods. Human hubris is just as dangerous as religions that preach any kind of hate. I often agree with what Maher has to say, but of religion, the things he says makes me cringe. To call anyone stupid for believing in something that gets them through things that people can't help them through is irresponsible and unsympathetic. Love, for example, is an intangible thing. We can't physically touch it, but we feel it. We feel it despite being able to see molecules that are called love, and we often make huge life decisions based on love. This does not make us stupid. (Even though love can make us stupid, but that's another post...)
Believe in whatever you want that allows you to sleep at night, and that makes you want to be a good person. I hope you raise your children to do the same. People with faith in nothing are people who haven't been lucky enough to have been humbled by the realization of how small they are in this huge world. Everyone should dream big, but stay grounded by the small. And everyone should have faith. And everyone deserves to.