I’m going to take a slightly different direction with this one. Everything is personal and not meant to impose. First, I think that “religion” refers to something rather external while faith is is a little more fundamental and personal. Next, I think that there are two main things that throw people off about religion/faith/belief: 1.) The lack of tangible evidence to prove the existence of a higher being, and 2.) Religious people who claim to be without flaw yet fail to practice what they preach. A disconnect in humanity.
Belief started as a mainly theoretical practice. It was taught in school. It wasn’t practiced at home in the conventional way but it was still very present. I knew it was inherently good, but it remained mostly on the books and not in my actual life. I’m not gonna lie though, a lot of misguided preachers tend to give God a bad name. It gets discouraging. It almost makes you feel like you are defined by your faults. And that faith is only for those who live without faults. “Love your neighbors” became “love your neighbors if they’re (insert supposedly superior quality here)”. I’m not surprised that it throws people off. However, if you truly want to know faith, you need to look beyond second-hand information and experience it yourself. Seek it. And of course, learn how to listen!
During my early years in high school, I met other Christians who practiced their faith in less customary and more personal manner. I realized that this is not a one-track thing. And it was actually something that made sense. No, not sense. More like something I could connect to. Something human but spiritual. It was not a turning point, but definitely a start. Eventually, I started studying more about other faiths. They are very different but quite interconnected at the most essential points. It did help in putting things into perspective. I also started reading the Scripture in a different light. I think that it gives us a good grasp on God’s character, but it can be confusing as it can be re-interpreted in so many ways. Note that I used “re-interpreted” because the Word in itself is already an inspired interpretation.
I did not go through a phase of questioning higher power. I didn’t have a need to. I’ve been through countless situations wherein it would be perfectly normal to think, “If God exists/is good, then this would not happen.” But the thought simply didn’t make sense to me. Besides, if everything happened without flaw and trouble, what would be the use of improvement? The human experience simply does not work like that. If it did, then it would be not much different to a movie with a linear story line and a completely predictable turnout of events. Balance is constant. Seemingly opposing, but complementary forces exists to keep the balance. Or something like it. The Universe has a way of balancing itself, and it always blows my mind whenever it happens. Maybe if you try to step back once in a while and put things in perspective, then you can probably see that things that didn’t turn out well can actually turn into something unexpectedly positive. I believe that every good thing comes from God. And that, because the creator is reflected in the creation, every being is fundamentally good. But wait. A lot of things turn out terrible doesn’t it? It’s either a.) free will lacking in guidance or b.) the initial, ugly phase of ‘bigger plan’ (cause and effect? metamorphosis?). It could be one or both. Also, remember how darkness exists only when light is put out or decreased?
I see the existence of a Higher Being in people, chances, dreams and the small unexpected things that make everything better exactly when you need it (some may call it miracles, others consider it luck). There’s still so much to discover and so many things to experience. I know that I lack consistency in staying true to my belief but I’m working on it, little by little. After all, a part of me is still completely human and flawed.
Belief/disbelief is experienced in different ways for different reasons. This is how it’s been for me.