Here it is: Kimberly's philosophy behind religion. People have asked where I stand, so I’m going to be as open and honest as I’ve ever been!
This entry is probably the most open I’ve ever been on my blog. Not only am I being very open with my thoughts, I’m also touching on a very controversial, and even a touchy subject with some folks: religion. However, it can be one of the most interesting topics to discuss if all parties involved are willing to be open with one another and try to see things from different perspectives.
Having said this, here is the introduction to what you’re about to read…
This was an email response I recently sent to a friend who had asked me where I stand with religion. The friend had explained how they “found Jesus” during a rough time they were going through about 6 years ago when they found themselves struggling with partying—basically drinking. Here is the majority of the email I sent the person in response to their questioning:
As for me, maybe I’ve just never had that “awakening” moment where I felt I “needed” something. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten involved in drinking. About the extent of my drinking history is having a couple drinks here or there with some friends. And though I tasted alcohol in high school, I can count those times on one hand. They were very limited and didn’t include more than normally a sip here and there. In college would be where I suppose my only drinking history exists, and even there, it has never been more than a buzz from maybe 2 to 3 drinks. I’m not much for drinking; I’ve never taken a shot (nor had the desire) and I don’t like the taste of beer, so I suppose this all limits my drinking, which is personally fine with me.
Though I don’t want to come off as tooting my own horn, I can say I’ve led a pretty “good” life style in that I haven’t gotten into any “trouble” or “bad situations.” I say that not to boast, but to better explain where I’m coming from in order to answer your questions.
I’ve talked religion with many of my friends and in the past. I actually enjoy having religious discussions with my friends. They can intrigue me and I love a good deep thinking session.
Personally, my stance on religion is that I can’t convince myself to believe it. Yes, there is the whole idea of “well you must just have faith,” but I suppose being a strong thinker, I tend to question the whole scenario and all.
More and more I view religion as man’s greatest effort at therapy, for lack of better terms. Let me explain…
It seems religion revolves around trying to answer all the “big questions” man has always wanted the answers to. Where did mankind come from, what happens after we die, etc. Without these answers, the human race feels a void, a weakness, it hinders man’s sense of being. Let’s face it, we want answers to everything.
Then there is where a lot of the “therapy” comes into play. Mankind seems to use religion as something to turn to when they are “down.” Even in your explanation of when you turned to Jesus or began seeking him in efforts to help you, you explained how you seemed to have reached the bottom…you needed “hope” or something to turn to because you were “down.” Religion seems like a form of reinforcement for mankind to “feel like they have purpose” or to give mankind “something to wake up each morning for” or a reason to “be good,” etc.
I do not look down upon religious individuals. In actuality, I have great respect for many of them in the fact that I think it makes them “better people” and some people’s dedication to it intrigues me. However, even that plays into the therapy idea…therapy is suppose to do just that: make people better. So, does that mean, if religion is in fact a great plan for therapy developed MANY years ago that it has been successful, I’d have to say yes. In a sense, it is almost like it could be a survival technique…
Maybe way back when it seemed as if mankind might not make it if men were slowly dying because of lack of hope or purpose or motivation in life. So maybe that was when these wise men all got together and came up with the idea of religion and in a sense “wrote the Bible.”
Well, maybe that last one seems far fetched, but it could still be a theory.
I suppose through this all you can see how I question most of religion. Overall I can’t convince myself to believe it.
I think in too many cases the situations that bring people to religion aren’t convincing enough for me. To me, most people are religious either because they were brought up that way (which in a sense to me just means that’s all they’ve known), or they end up seeking religion based on a event they encountered in life which made them either feel helpless, without hope, lacking purpose, or needing a sense of motivation.
I suppose for me I’ve just never encountered that time where I’ve felt I needed to seek religion. As for being raised in the church, as I was, and I usually loved attending church growing up, though for the “wrong” reasons--for social purposes (which brings me to another point of how religion was viewed as a great idea for therapy—it brings people together. We are social creatures and being with one another is a form of therapy in itself). But back to what I was saying…yes, growing up in the church I can say I was “brought up that way,” though I stepped out in efforts to make sure that wasn’t just “all I’ve ever known” and since then I’ve begun questioning and haven’t been able to convince myself that that is what I believe in.
So that’s me. You asked, so I hope I somewhat let you know where I stand on the whole issue. If it doesn’t seem to make sense or you have more specific questions for me, let me know. I’ll try to explain it differently.
So that’s that. That’s basically my thoughts on religion poured out. Never yet have I been this open about my beliefs on the issue, however, I feel comfortable enough in my friendships with people that I don’t think this newly added knowledge on me will affect our friendships in a negative sense.
Overall, I’m highly aware that my thoughts on religion revolve around my area of interest in life, psychology. I suppose, some of this has to do with the idea that we as individuals are able to explain things the best in terms of what we know best, as for me, I’ve had several years of formal education in this area, so it’s my forte I suppose you could say! ;)
But something I want to point out rather quickly is this: for those that know much about psychology history, or even just psychologists/therapists today, have you ever noticed how many of them lack religious beliefs or claim to be atheists? I even had a professor at ACU once say how hard it is to find psychology professors who are from the Church of Christ to teach at the university. Maybe psychology makes us question too much! ;)
Finally, I realize that I have MANY strongly-religious friends and acquaintances who read this blog, and it is from y’all who I expect to hear responses. I can tell you this much, I expect most of the responses to be revolving around the idea of “faith,” which is normally the responses I get from folks when I have touched on my religious beliefs in the past with friends. HA! So bring it on. I’m excited to hear how y’all will respond to these thoughts!
Take care, folks!