So they say that when you find God and accept Jesus within yourself and claim him as your savior, (in Christian branches), you will experience an indescribable happiness and fullness in your entire self. I honestly, have always felt happy for everything I have. I was raised by the best parents you could ever imagine, went to the best schools, received the best education within schools and within my own home. I have values and a sense of self-worth and my place in society. I always aimed high and can say (rather honestly not only from me but from everyone else), that I’ve always accomplished and received what I’ve always wanted. The dreams I’ve dreamt are on their way to come true, and even through the tough times, I’ve never stopped fighting for what I love. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I would feel like getting up and dropping out of all of my dreams, but I always persist. The fear of failure always comes haunting me after those frustrating thoughts. That “fulfillment” and “state of permanent happiness” that I was encouraged to seek through the church and the Bible was never needed for me. Why? Because I feel fulfilled and extremely happy with the life I’ve been living and myself.
After I entered college, being in touch with subjects like Philosophy and Molecular Biology increased my love towards science; additional to the hours of study during my pre-med years, I literally had no time to socialize or do young adult things nowadays like getting drunk or having an active sex life. I also accused my lack of time and stress on why I stopped going to church. Sunday’s were the only free days I had to sleep from having Monday through Fridays stacked with school work, exams and a freelance job I had teaching Violin to kids in a small music academy. I spent two years without stepping inside of a church, but things changed during my summer vacations on 2014.
After two years of pre-med, I decided to take a break and go to my sister’s in Massachusetts. To summarize things, I had sex for the first time and somehow my sister knew and called my mother and I was immediately sent to New Jersey to my really christian/physiologist aunt. Even though I was 19 at the time (for some, pretty patient for waiting 19 years of my life to have sex), living in a latino, catholic and very strict family, I had disobeyed big time (despite being almost a young adult). In part I felt really ashamed, because I felt I had let my mother’s high expectations of me down; but in part I felt angry that although having a consent age, I was told I did something bad and degradable just for having sex. After various “psychological” (not professionally though) talks with my aunt, she took me to this place to make me “feel better” and get to “know myself”: The World Mission Society Church of God.
I won’t talk about what this branch of non-denominational christian church believes or professes (Google if you like), but I do admit that I felt good at first. I believed I felt calm and more happy than how I always was. I won’t talk bad about the experience because I did felt good with myself and the other “brother and sisters”, but some things weren’t cutting it out for me. Believe me when I say, no matter how smart you may be, sometimes it takes time to identify the flaws in a system. I took my time. During my time assisting the church, I wasn’t unfocused on the subliminal ideas and messages taught throughout those years; but the things I identified through my experience and perspective made me one day leave and never come back. Like I said, no one forced you or told you blunt out how it was, but internally I made and forced myself because I wanted to be the perfect “daughter of God”. Some of the messages I figured out were:
- Using the punishments God used in the bible for not obeying his commands as a fear tool to not stay away from the church.
- Saying that the only “brothers and sisters” that are truly family are the ones that go to church with you; not even your own family was worthy of your time because they weren’t the ones “going to heaven with you” in the end.
- Telling you to not read the internet because there are “false prophets” spreading lies about the church to make you turn away from God.
- Making you go to church on other days differently than the established days, because “the more time you spend at church, the closer you are to God”.
- Planning church activities on national celebrations (religious or non religious) so you can go to church and avoid the “temptation” of celebrating pagan activities.
- Expressing the desire to die in order to ascend to the heavens and be close to God.
- Recruiting new members to save them.
Yeah, you might think it’s crazy, but trust me; the mind is a powerful tool. Once you believe and admit within yourself that these things are true and necessary, you’ll believe it is. You may be surprised on the things I identified from this church, but it’s because it’s still a small church and you may not have knowledge of it. Every religion has their mechanisms of brainwashing you into believe that what they say and do are absolute, non negotiable and indubitable; especially because if you do so, you are denying God who is Omnipotent and bigger than all of us. Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses…everyone has these little details that stick to your mind and make you believe that it’s true. They would even look up a verse in the Bible and interpret it in some advantaged way to make you believe that what they say or do is true and indeed “written by God itself”.
Maybe you might be thinking that my real problem is with religions and not God itself…well I honestly have my reservations with who or what “God” and how he/she is portrayed; but to not make the story longer, after I stopped assisting to the Church of God, I was frustrated at myself for wasting two years of my life believing in these ideas. My mother assisted with me and at the time I stopped going, she had dropped out and was already assisting the Seventh Day Adventist church. I was so tired of going from here to there “looking for something” or trying to “feel fulfilled” and “happy”. Truth is, I always felt fulfilled. I always felt happy. I didn’t need a God in my life to experience the life as it is. I didn’t need a God to ensure my “afterlife” (which I don’t believe in). I didn’t need God to do good; I am good. I believe that “good” values don’t need a Godly image to be taught; “good” comes naturally because of our human nature, just like “bad” values don’t need a Godly image either.
I started attending to the Seventh Day Adventist Church with my mother, and just like the rest, it felt good and comforting…until the dogma’s and brainwashing starts. After that, I wandered through evangelical, baptist and even episcopal churches and teachings. I never felt that “fulfillment” or “happiness”.
I now have 2 years without “God” and I’ve never felt the happiest. I have accomplished (and I keep accomplishing) my dreams and projects. I’ve never been better with my family; I have so much love and compassion towards the people that surround me and I try to make the world a better place every day. I’m not perfect, I have my flaws but I keep recognizing them in order to change and become someone better in the future.
Because I’m a Junior Medical Student, it’s not like I have the time or money to contribute more to our society, but I try to study hard in order to be a great doctor in the future and help those in need. Meanwhile, I try to do little things like giving advice, donating clothing, teaching freely with no cost, and making aware of social issues throughout the people of my generation; but I feel like it’s not enough. I still have more to offer and I’m still correcting my flaws and mistakes in order to be a better person.
My journey throughout different religions and different perspectives of a so-called “God”, made me establish and make my beliefs concrete. I believe in science, I believe in family, I believe in love , I believe in education; I believe in hard work, I believe in fellowship, I believe in you. Only you can make the world a better place, only you can change your present and your future; only you can live your life to the fullest; only you can choose the be happy; and only you can choose to believe or not. Feel free to believe in whoever and whatever you like as long as you’re happy and you fell complete.
My career, my family, my friends, my achievements, my goals, my strengths, and the love within fulfills me…not “God”.