A Letter on the “F” Word–Faith

Religions are different roads converging at the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal?” -Gandhi

Dear friends,

Religion has a bad reputation in the United States because extremists throughout history have tainted the word. Now, when someone says they’re religious, many of us wonder why and assume they’re judgmental or brainwashed or using it to push a prejudiced agenda.

What a shame this is. How have we let a few bad eggs ruin the reputation of something that can do so much good?

Gandhi, one of the greatest nonviolent activists and spiritual leaders in history, was a huge proponent of religion. Throughout his life, he urged everyone to follow whichever religion suits them–it doesn’t matter which one. The point is to find one that gets you closer to your God(s)-whether that’s Hinduism, Paganism, Christianity, etc. is up to you. The important thing is that we pursue one, and don’t judge others for what they choose.

Gandhi said:

I have come to the conclusion that 1.) All religions are true. 2.) All religions have some errors in them. 3.) All religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism, in as much as all human beings should be as dear to one as one’s own close relatives.” -Gandhi

In the past, I struggled with my faith. I had a nagging desire to be closer to God, yet I was afraid of what other people would think of me if I did.

It was only recently that I got over feeling this way–because as I’ve gotten older, there’s something I’ve noticed. People who have faith are generally happier. And, once I started exploring my faith, I became happier too. I seemed to attract more positivity in my life, and can better process whenever someone uses God’s gift of free will to hurt others or me.

Like Gandhi, I believe that no religion is perfect. My faith doesn’t have to look like yours, because I have no more proof that mine is correct than you do. But I do hope that you have some sort of faith. A compass that drives you towards making good and loving decisions. Someone (or something) to comfort you when the world is too much. Someone (or something) to prevent you from becoming cynical, hopeless, judgmental, and self-pitying.

A girl in college once said that she’d rather have faith in God and find out they’re fake than have faith in nothing and find out they’re real. Now, I understand what she means. I’d rather strive for light than dwell in darkness, even if the latter is all the rage these days.

How do you find faith? Follow your gut. Read books. Listen to podcasts and vloggers. Go to church or another spiritual institution. Spend time in nature. Do research. Meditate. Journal what your beliefs are based on your lived experience. Find someone you look up to, whether they’re ancient spiritual teachers/ role models like Jesus or Buddha, or your auntie who gets involved in every bake sale for charity. Basically, experiment until you find what works for you. Then maintain an open heart when others share their faith with you, because they may be doing some soul-searching too.

Love,

Paige E.

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