I was born and raised catholic. Religion was force-fed down my throat from the time I was a baby.
"DO NOT SIN OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL"
"GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL"
"READ THE BIBLE OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL"
"PRAY OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL"
Ok, not every sentence or spiritual directive said to me ended in go to hell, but that's the funny thing about Catholics...they have this uncanny way of ALWAYS making you feel like you will actually go to hell if you don't do this or don't believe that.
Enter my senior year of high school. I (OF COURSE) was confirmed. It was something I was more or less forced to do. The classes were fine, but my favorite part was having heated spiritual discussions so I guess I have my confirmation leader to thank for that.
Enter my early twenties. I rarely ever went to church. Then BOOM, I found myself 23 years old, pregnant and unmarried (GASP I AM GOING TO HELL). Of course my guilt lead me to tears many days, and when baby boy was four months old I attempted to go to church with my mother.
Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
Not only did I feel as if I didn't belong, I ugly cried the moment I got to the car after church was over. To me, being a spiritual person shouldn't have entailed making me feel that way. Ever.
Enter today. I have a new outlook on my life and the role religion (specifically spirituality) plays in it. I do not believe in the same ideas of Catholicism, or even Christianity (I can't wrap my head around how someone can worship a "so called man" who SUPPOSEDLY did all of these things. I can't wrap my head around a book that I whole heartily believe was made up hundreds of years ago to shut people up who were commoners and asking questions. I digress).
What do I believe?
I believe in Humanity. Show me a church or gathering that gets together to celebrate Humanity and I'm in.
People can do horrible things. I've witnessed many of these heinous acts firsthand...
People can also be absolutely amazing, unselfish, wonderful and uplifting. These amazing people are what I label as Humanity.
Humanity is my "God". Living by the Golden Rule* is my life (at least, living by the golden rule as best I can...).
*JUST in case you're unfamiliar, my Golden Rule is to treat others as if you would want to be treated. Period. The end.