By Tom McKeown, V Form
This I Believe: Let’s Get Realigious
Religion comforts many people and has for most of human history. However, an omnipresent and omniscient being is inconceivable to some, while it frightens others. Religion offers answers to questions that cannot yet be answered through human conception like, “What happens after death?” However, I don’t believe a person needs religions to live a satisfied life.
As a child, I was taught that I would be satisfied with my life if I pursued something that I am passionate about. This always left me asking myself the question which passion is the right one? I was raised Roman Catholic and went to church every Sunday. I attended Sunday school after mass and often went to church functions during the week. I was surrounded by people sharing the same belief, and after my childhood I realized how many different religions were practiced and had existed. This epiphany made me feel small and significantly unsure of the lessons I had been taught.
I spent my early teenage years concerned that I had lost the faith, so many of my family members lived for. I was afraid of what my dad would say if I told him the probability of a man named Jesus living under Roman rule while performing divine miracles passing into history unnoticed, aside from a book, was fairly improbable. I had been trying to justify other people’s beliefs until I realized I cannot because I never had satisfactory proof. Knowing I would be unable to find the proof God is real and the religion I was raised to believe is correct, I approached my dad and told him about my philosophical crisis.
He expressed his view on religion, and how he sees praising God was satisfying and ensuring. He suggested that I approach the rules of religion as a rubric, and it can help me find satisfaction.
It took me time to realize I didn’t need religion to comfort me or offer me insurance of an eternal life in heaven. I had to find something else. Something that could satisfy me. Religion isn’t the only thing people gain satisfaction through. Some people find happiness and peace in life experiences and materials.
American society is an extreme example of humans achieving satisfaction through materialism. Financial wealth is intensely valued by individuals because it offers them financial security and opportunities to experience what they want. Due to my parents’ accomplishments, I have had the luxury of attending private schools and multiple extracurricular hobbies. However, having money is enough of a factor in my life to entirely satisfy me.
Others search through people and the relationships they can share. Expressing emotions to another person and sharing desires and experiences are less tangible approaches to the search for fulfillment. Although I enjoy interacting with people, I find more satisfaction in being unique and finding another way to achieve it.
After struggling with faith for most of my life, I realized I don’t need to justify my existence or purpose; the point of existing to me is to find individual purpose and satisfaction, not to follow guidelines based on a faith I lack.
Tom McKeown is a V Form boarding student from Concord, MA.