My Dance With Religion

I come from a traditionally, Haitian-American, Roman-Catholic family. Sunday Mass, Holy Communion, and prayer before meals were regular staples of my life. I even went to Catholic school from K-8 and then went to an all boys Jesuit Catholic high school where the principles of Catholicism and Christianity were embedded throughout my formal education. And for most of that period, you could have considered me as the typical, good, well-behaved Catholic boy.

However, around 7th or 8th grade, I began to ask questions. As many kids do in their pre-adolescent/adolescent years, I challenged the status quo of my current reality. By this point, I had encountered individuals who were Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and even atheist. Many, I thought, were genuinely good people. But throughout my life up to that point, I was taught that you can only truly be saved if you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the central tenet of Christianity. As you can imagine, that discrepancy between what my faith required me to believe and what I actually saw, wedged a distance between me and my religion.

During high school, my Jesuit-inspired education allowed me to get an in depth look at the major religions of the world through 4 years of theology courses (If you do your research, the Jesuit sector of Catholic priests were all about having a well-balanced education and spreading it to all of the world). I became fascinated at not only unique aspects of each religion, but also paid as much attention that I can to the similarities. I tried to find the universal principles that united all of the world religions in an effort to calm the internal conflict that was growing inside me. Despite these efforts, I still couldn’t unite all of the religions thematically, without compromising Christianity’s central tenant. In essence, it was the rigidity of my faith that bothered me the most.

Regardless, prayer was a very prevalent feature in my life at this point. It brought me through very difficult times and it made me more grateful for the more positive aspects of my life. Despite my qualms, I did and still very much believe in an omniscient and benevolent being that is watching over my life.

Through college, however, the wedge between me and my religion grew greater, mostly as a function of going to a liberal arts college. For the first time ever, most of my friends and acquaintances didn’t have any affiliation with Christianity. There was a freedom of intellectual thought and inquiry that I found absolutely liberating.  Although I continued my own praying and personal devotions, I didn’t feel guilty openly challenging or deviating from the hard-set beliefs or customs of Christianity.

Regardless, as a consequence with dealing with my own personal issues in medical school (and also dating a girl that was Christian), I joined a non-denominational Christian church and even attended a weekly bible study/prayer group. To be honest, it was very refreshing in the beginning returning to full on devotion to my faith. I met a lot of a great people, relearned some old lessons, and felt part of a larger community. However, soon enough, my internal questioning reappeared and eventually I fell off and stopped attending services as well as the prayer group.

Recently, as part of my morning routine I’ve been praying to God, reciting affirmations and expressing gratitude. This consistent part of my day has really been a life changer for me as my mood has improved and I’m just generally more excited about life as good things continue to happen to me.  I’ve also been reading certain passages of the Bible which has also had a positive effect on my life. I’m not sure if I’ll ever return to the full on observation of the beliefs and customs of Christianity. Maybe I’m just not built for that type of rigidity or maybe someday I will see it as absolutely necessary part of my life. I don’t know. All I really know, is that what I’ve been currently doing has been good for me.

Thank for reading Day 3 of my 5 day series of just trying to be consistent uploading to the blog. Thank you for all the continued likes and follows. Seeing those notifications really encourage me.

Best,

IBM

 

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