It was hard to accept myself and my own beliefs. My whole life I've struggled with religion, with all the unanswered questions it left me with.
The more I researched, the more I doubted and the deeper I fell.
However, I've started forgiving myself more and letting myself just be who I am, and not who I think I should be, or who other people want and expect me to be.
My fear of the truth almost consumed me, but beyond fear I was met with peace. The peace of accepting myself outside the confines of any societal expectations.
One of the things I used to be most afraid of was the concept of right and wrong. I was taught good existed only as a consequence of believing and following rules.
What a truly bleak thought: that people were good only out of fear of a higher being. It gives basically no credit to us for distinguishing good from bad.
What a despicable world this would be if humans were incapable of doing good just for the sake of it being done.
Another bone I have to pick with organised religion is guilt. It is ever-present, in every rule, guide, holy book. Feeling guilty about doing things that cause no harm to anyone.
You looked at someone with lust? You must repent. You drank a glass of wine? Repent. Had a bit too much food for dinner? Repent. Expressed love physically? Repent.
Who am I really hurting by doing any of these things? How is any of it morally wrong? Why should anyone feel guilty about these things?
The last thing that always bothered me about religion was the concept of thinking. By this I mean the fact that your thoughts are seen as being able of committing sins.
Who was I hurting when I was lusting after Joe Jonas in the sixth grade? Or when I smiled at that lady who called me a bitch at work, while screaming bloody murder at her in my mind?
My mind and my thoughts are the final frontier. It is something that is completely and forever only mine, until I decide to share them with someone else.
They are the safe harbor where I keep all of my regrets, hopes, dreams and impossible scenarios. They are an integral part of who I am, just as your thoughts are an integral part of who you are.
They are what makes us all unique and different, and what keeps this world an interesting place to live in.
If you asked me whether I am religious or not, I don't really know what I would say.
All I know is, I believe in the ability of every individual to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong for their specific situation.
I believe we can all define morality without guilt and find peace within our own minds. In the end, everyone decides for themselves. That's the beauty of being human.