By Tequila Cheatham
Religion has always been a controversial topic which is why people divert from the conversation, or has endless debates about it. Religion is and should be personal. It is a major part of who we are and determines our lifestyle, morals, and values. It governs our thinking which is where the potential problem lies.
Coming from a spiritual background and not necessarily one who grew up in the church, I decided to be baptized as a teenager. It was a decision that was based upon my experience attending church with others, and the overwhelming feeling of emotions I had whenever I was there. The church atmosphere was an entirely different world once I stepped into the door, but that is not where I learned about God. My parents, although separated during the time, were spiritual and worshipped God in their own ways. My mother would read the same passage from the bible every morning as soon as she opened her eyes, and every night before going to sleep. My father prayed over his food every time before eating; and, my stepmother and step grandmother would take my stepsister and I to church sometimes. The first time I went to church, I asked the Pastor many questions about God that not even he could answer, so I made it my mission to discover God for myself.
I’ve come across many people with various religious backgrounds. We’ve had arguments over the words in the bible, history, and the ideology of the moral majority. There were times I became frustrated with the idea of religion and how it was being used to divide and conquer; but, what I’ve also realized is that it also brings people together. We should be able to believe what we want to believe via thorough research; but, what we lack is respect for one another’s belief. Instead of using it build others we use it to attack. Whether I view God as a woman, refer to myself as God, or believe in no God at all, the ideal is to promote love whether it is love of self, the universe, or a spiritual being. God is whoever we want God to be. For example, if I’m listening to gospel music, and believe that my God is a female as oppose to male, I would use the pronoun ‘she’ to replace the ‘he’ pronoun that is often used songs. If I believe God is the universe, I would replace the name ‘Jesus’ in the song, for the word ‘universe.’
Our personal God allows us to create our religion which is simply a system of your beliefs and values. We do not all have to agree with each other’s systems; but, what we must do is find parts of our systems that are similar and use that to build stronger relationships. We do not all think the same which means our systems will vary. Variations can be a good thing if only we adjusted our thinking which could essentially refocus the way we interact with others.