Religious, spiritual knowledge can provide positives for all people

In-Focus Editor and In-Focus Editor

When people ask me about religion, I often tell them that I simply don’t think about it – I prefer to live my life in the moment and worry about the spiritual realm later.

In proclaiming my agnosticism, however, I am still taking my own stance on what may be the most important question ever asked: “Why are we here?”

That question is something we can’t escape. No matter how hard we try, we ascribe meaning to many things, whether they are actions, beliefs or objects. We tend to hold things to be sacred, either to ourselves, the grand scheme of the universe or in the eyes of a higher power.

And if you believe nothing is sacred, think again. That alone is a belief you live by, and it affects the course and meaning of your everyday life.

I place a lot of value in maintaining good relationships and having good experiences.

Everybody dies at some point, but I want to make the most of the time I have by treating people with respect while refining and utilizing my talents.

I am not religious, but religion certainly helped me develop my values when I was younger, since I attended a small Catholic school not far from our local Taco Bell.

While there, I became familiar with the story of Jesus Christ and appreciated the sacrifice made on the cross and the selflessness it took. Even more, it taught me the value of making little and not-so-little sacrifices for other people.

Most importantly, our school had a church, and with that church came a community I remain close to. The shared religion brought a group with different backgrounds together, and it is enough to keep them close.

Even though I changed my beliefs later, my bond with the community remains – because I like the people, and a lot of these people will tell you their good qualities come from following Christ’s example.

I can’t see anything wrong with that, and it is why I figured a story examining some of the religious groups on campus would be interesting; it is a great way for students with common backgrounds to establish friendships.

However, it does not always take religion to bring people together. There is a growing atheist movement that allows people to bond over their skepticism, and the presence of a club on campus is a reflection of that.

Naturally conflicts can rise between religions and philosophies. I always found the debate between religion and science fascinating because I was brought up to believe they answered different questions.

I despise violent conflict, and a fair number of religions have a history of it. While this may deter some people from pursuing one, it is important to realize that opinions and natural human selfishness fuel a good deal of conflict.

In fact, people often use religion to justify their own misdeeds. It is a disservice to the religion to do so.

More than anything, I think spirituality provides an interesting discussion. Everyone’s personal beliefs are different, even if they may follow the same faith.

This section does not have a story on every religion, though I wish there was room for that.

It is my hope the section addresses many of the values, conflicts and rewards of having a formal religion as well as a more personal, self-constructed belief system.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what works for you.

Are you fulfilled?