I’ve never been a religious person, nor have I ever had the desire to be religious. I believe that religion is like a paradox. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that Jesus treads water or that Job managed to endure all those cruel and horrendous trials and still keep his faith. Religion allows one to test the grounds of the spiritual and physical realms. However, if this theory is valid, why do so many people believe in it and base their lives around it?
I’ve never had an interest in becoming religious, at least not until I visited Vatican City in Rome, Italy. It was overwhelming to experience the love and faith of all the followers in the church, and in a way I felt as though I belonged. The artwork and the beauty of the church made me feel guilty for not believing as devoutly as the pious followers believe. I felt serenity as I walked passed the ancient and historic artwork. I was able to just sit back and absorb the experience and reflect on where I am now and where I am going to be. As I looked around, I saw that people have found peace through religion, and I wondered whether I would be able to find that type of peace if I were religious.
However, religion is only effective if the person is a true believer, and I am not. I don’t find many aspects of religion unbelievable, and I don’t agree with many of the implications of the Bible. There are too many references that degrade women and blacks, and this prevents me from deeply involving myself in it. People have a tendency to neglect that aspect of religion. Certain followers pick and choose which aspects they want to believe, and that is something that I am not able to do. I cannot neglect one part of something and then embrace the other. I am in no way shunning or demeaning religion anyway, and I have full respect for all people who practice Catholicism. I am just stating the reasons why I personally cannot practice Catholicism.
However, I must admit that Vatican City did allow me to understand why people believe and why people are so adamant about their religion. Vatican City really opened my eyes and allowed me to explore an aspect of life that I had never explored before. I confronted many of questions, and problems and I realized the power and the influence of religion. I¹m not saying that from now on I¹m going to go to church every Sunday, or even go to church at all, but I¹m definitely going to have a greater respect for Catholicism and for those who practice it.