Religion should be a personal choice
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 16:09
Many people have issues trying to identify with a religion, and I think it is okay to not know which religion you affiliate yourself. Most of us usually associate with the religious group our parents pick for us; but what if you do not agree with some of the views in that group?
You need to look around and find out what works for you—so go out and find a religion that moves and empowers you. In New Orleans, we have so many different houses of worship that it is almost overwhelming. Go to one or two of them if you are looking for a way to connect with God.
My mom and dad decided I was going to be Catholic, stuck me in my crib with a cross and my first book was “The Bible in Pictures.” My “big girl” bed still has rosaries and scapulars strung across the headboard, and my room has numerous miniature statues of Mary, Jesus and various saints.
Despite the fact that my family firmly pursued a Catholic upbringing for me, I began to doubt my faith when a close family member died a few years ago. I was extremely depressed and, on more than one occasion, thought about hurting myself. It was pretty obvious I needed help, but I was too angry with God to pray to Him.
Eventually I turned to my parish priest and to the leader of the church youth group for help; however, both told me that I was a terrible person. The priest then said, “Kathleen, you need to be there for your mom; this divorce is hard for her.” Okay, so my name is Kaitlyn and my mom was not getting divorced. He was not even listening to me.
After that disaster, I began looking for a way to pray to God that worked for me. I visited different places of worship and started to understand and pinpoint parts of other religions I liked. I read books about various religions and studied the beliefs other people followed. Now, I identify as a Catholic, but I really take the bits and pieces from other religions that I thought made sense.
I understand being apprehensive about visiting another religious group. People naturally do not like going outside of their comfort zones. In my experience though, the church members will not jump on you and immediately try to convert you like they do in movies.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people want to help you understand their beliefs because they want you to know what you’re getting into. I have had people take time to sit down and give me the full history of their churches.
I suggest you do your research as well. The Internet is great, but don’t limit your search to the first page of Google and think you have all of the answers. Try venturing into the Monroe Library up to the second floor (it’s useful for more than research papers.)
So, if you’re looking for a way to connect to God, get out there and find what you need. People are willing to help you find God. Just look down St. Charles Avenue at the numerous churches and temples and one of them might work for you.
Kaityln O’Connor is a history sophomore. She can reached at email@example.com