I took an Introduction to World Religion course in college, due to an intrigue in discovering if God really existed, and if so, where was this Spirit to be found. Prior to college, my childhood had revolved around church services, tent revivals, and vacation bible schools. I, a holy rolling Christian, never missed service on Sundays or Wednesdays for several years in a row (winning attendance awards left and right), attended every church activity–such as parades, walk-a-thons, picnics, and Easter egg hunts–and read from my Bible every single night–all in hopes that if I were to die that very second, I would not have a chance of going to Hell to burn for all eternity.
The turning point came during a Wednesday night church service that included a discussion about dinosaurs, where neither the preacher nor members of the congregation could explain according to the Bible that dinosaurs actually existed. Yet, in our science classes we studied them, watching documentaries, reading about fossils, and listening to our school teachers explain where the dinosaurs had roamed when they were alive on Earth. I was perplexed, and my faith became compromised. I felt like I was living the correct lifestyle, but found myself wondering why there were so many missing details about people and history that were not recorded in the Bible. We have physical proof through artifacts, bones, geographical accounts, and works of art that are consistent and fluid. However, the Bible, which is to be followed as a factual and historical representation, documents Noah’s Ark, the Garden of Eden, and Jonah and the Whale, just to name a few, that are no where to be found in the same type of artifacts or geographical explanations; all without concrete evidence. So, I began to dismiss religion and its connection with God as based on inconclusive evidence.
Then, while in college, as most students, I began on a soul searching mission to find my purpose in the world and the meaning of my life. This is why I signed up for Introduction to World Religions. After learning that there are several religious beliefs all around the world, and every single one believes that they are correct (and the rest are wrong), I began to look for what they had in common as a starting point for forming my own personal spiritual belief system. I say spiritual because I had no intention of forming my own religion, which is based on rituals, community, social connectivity, a system of rules and regulations, and a physical place of meeting. The one thing that I could take from these different religious beliefs and use for my own purpose is their belief in a higher being, a supernatural force that is omnipotent, called God, Almighty, Allah, Bhagwan, or Waheguru, depending in the religion. For me, this allowed me to find God on my own terms, without the need for ritualistic readings or weekly church services. God is within me, just the same as every single other person, and I reach the Spirit through meditation. Rather than attempting to pay or ask someone else to find God for me, I have learned that the journey of life and my personal exploration of who God is, has provided me with my belief. I have no doubt of who God is now, as the Spirit works through me as long as I take the time to listen to what It has to say. God is good, beauty, happiness, peace, joy, and knowledge, and everyday I live to allow the Spirit to work through my body and mind.