For most people relgion was an aspect of life that they simply grew up with. An aspect that they never had too much personal choice in until a fairly mature age. In America countless children, ages less than say 16 go to church every Sunday, like clockwork, with their family and say the sacred prayers and eat the bread and drink the wine without giving too much thought to the system of belief that they are indoctrinated with. This is what it is, a very American and cultural practice (and is of course in no way solely American, I am sure). This is the face of Catholicism that I was raised without. Some would say that this ignorance of Christianity until well into my teens is unfortunate for me since I had to grow up without the support of a parish and a religion.
I accept this view as valid, and there is some aspects which ring true in my life’s personal narrative. Nevertheless, I hold fast that my late acquaintance with American religion is in fact a benefit to my own, individual growth. I feel that I now have a stronger, more solid grown on which to base any foundation of religion upon. This I do have faith in.
So once I found that I had a fine and sturdy foundation on which to base any possible faith upon I had to find a religion which agreed with my already established set of values and beliefs. This is a story within itself.
I can imagine that it is much easier to find a religion and then adapt yourself to its values and beliefs than to find a religion which matches your values and beliefs. In addition to being a fine example of the benefits of being indoctrinated from birth, this is also a place where the issue of seeing a religion from the outside comes in. A religion can be summarized, sometimes apply, from the outside, yet this quick overview and summary is rarely a competent picture of the religion. A religion can not only change from place to place, but also in the very nature of its beliefs.
So What do I believe in? I believe that all things in the universe are essentially connected. I feel that the small, twinkling star right next to orion’s belt in in fact as closely connected with me as the little pebble under my foot and the tree thats providing me with shade. Beliefs are damn hard to explain. I believe that all (in the universe) is truly one and from this almost all my values and subsequent beliefs stem.