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Why Believe in Religion?
Firmly rooted to a Christian faith, I often ponder the meaning of a “proper” Catholic. I ask myself how one should act, what to say, think and most importantly FEEL. What does being a Christian mean for me? How closely does it tie in to my personal beliefs and ethical morals? Do I apply this religious knowledge on my everyday life, or is it actually another domain in my vast mass of principles altogether? These are redundant questions I ask myself everyday - not in the sense that I doubt my faith, but serves to evaluate my true feelings and changing attitude towards Christianity.
So why is religion important to me? Simply because I believe it to be TRUE. It teaches us something vital about ourselves and serves as the ground for our hope in eternal life. You wouldn’t want to turn to religion merely for comfort, security or peace of mind. Because if religion isn’t true, then these desires will not be fulfilled anyways. If the religion accepted is not entirely true, then you can expect that the longing for truth will inevitably initiate one to pursue the evidence continually, wherever it may end.
If God is God, it cannot be impossible for him to have given sufficient evidence to come to where he wants us to be. Looking for that evidence is the greatest mystery of life and the glorious journey that I believe we must undertake. In a world like the one we live in today, pure honesty is one of the most hardest virtues to locate and can only be experienced by others if the trait sparks fiercely enough in one’s heart.
The state of honestly believing in God wholly and entirely partakes in that crescendo of peace that is so rarely felt in a lifetime. I believe that the strength of a Christian comes from the faith one possesses. It is the strong trust in God that helps and guides in hours of need.
It is often considered a necessity to belong to a religious institution. This is because we are creatures made for the interaction in a community. The weaknesses of real communities force us to brave the difficulties and savor the joys of these organizations. There is no other reason for counting yourself religious, except that is says something about your place in the world.
The Latin language offers five different terms for the word love. Unlike the English vocabulary that compressed this word, Latin provides different variations to convey its many meanings. The five terms are: amor, affectus, dilectio, amicitia and caritas.
The first term signifies general love. Amor is defined as an attraction or a pull in any way; the force of being driven together. Affectus simply denotes the movement of sensibilities and affections. To specifically bestow by choice a special love on another person that is beyond mere affection is the meaning of the third term dilectio.
Amicitia appends to dilectio the note of mutuality. It also implies the strong bond of friendship and reciprocated love. This is the most powerful kind of love, save one. The last term depicts a special form of amicitia. Unlike amicitia however, the origin of this love does not lie within is; we would not know how to conduct it.
Caritas is God’s own love - a fire of his own nature - so fierce that it generates another person, and continues to generate a Third. Caritas is the inner life, the perpetual action of the Trinity. Caritas names God’s own principal activity - the embrace of the good and true. It also illustrates our dim participation in that eminent and one love. Love is mandatory, closely entwined with religion.
Now to provide some more personal opinions and to answer some of the previous questions I stated earlier, I must note that my definitions and thoughts concerning love and religion may be different to those of other individuals. So what does being a Christian mean for me? Does it tie in to my personal beliefs and ethical morals? The Catholic religion acts like a backbone for almost all of what I believe in, be it my morals or my outlooks in life. It is a way of seeing the world from a guided perspective, almost like a habit that is nurtured and developed with time. The Catholic beliefs that have been instilled deeply in me influence my opinions; they remind me of what I am religiously, and force me to acutely determine who I am in character.
The question that I think about the most is whether or not I apply these beliefs enough in my words and in my actions of everyday. Like many other questions I contemplate, this is one that constantly modifies. I think it best to leave it unanswered here.
I have had my share of mockery over the years, encountered skepticism of sorts and have participated in conversations that trigger those difficult assessments of my faith and devotion to Jesus Christ. Sometimes I have even felt incredulity at the seemingly exaggerated displays of worship in the practice of various religious communities.
However I keep in mind that the interaction between God and the individual that occurs in the deepest recesses of the human heart is sacred, beyond the approach of any other. The ways of God are mysterious, liken to the ways of the human heart. People do not even understand their own hearts very well, let alone the hearts of others.
In retrospect I believe that a person’s belief is based directly in one’s self. Even if we cannot fully comprehend all the aspects of this matter, we should be content with discovering and cultivating what we believe is to be true. For religion is truth, and herein lies the journey we are steadily travelling in search for the reason of our existence.