Where’s the Faith?

Look at me, watching more TED Talks. But they are very inspiring as to different topics that pique my interest, a new perspective on a issue I might haven’t considered before.

In this case, I’m going back to religion. Any and all religions. A traditional institution that is waning as the world continually seems to be darker, more violent, less hopeful. We fear bringing a future generation into this world.

And as this TED Talk points out, we’ve come to a point in religion where we go through the motions. We lose that actual spirit and faith required to inspire belief, to feel like we have a purpose, something we so desperately need right now. It leads people my age to lose touch with spirituality altogether or choose to forge their own path when they can’t rely on “outdated doctrine.”

In this doctrine is where we find conflict, wars fought and terrorists provoked toward making statements in the name of certain gods and beliefs, something that seems so backward from the practices they should follow. When we narrow our focus on just our own beliefs and don’t deviate much from the norm, the result is that we just get burned out. We see our world changing every day, but the institutions we rely upon to fulfill that need for something higher beyond ourselves stays stagnant. It loses its relevance to our lives and situations. Not necessarily the messages it promotes (or, most of them), but the way of going about it just doesn’t do much.

Admittedly, I have to agree with that mindset. I went to church for the first time a few weeks ago in a very long time. I have always been a very spiritual person, but I have grown to be less “religious.” In this, I mean that I see more flaws in the Bible. I’m more critical of the people who show up to church and order and purpose of going about the service. I think about how too often, people just go to church to keep the facade that they’re faithful, or I see the church pamphlet always having a section about its finances and debts to be paid. Rather than leaving the service feeling peaceful, I leave it questioning myself. Not exactly the best feeling.

But in this TED Talk, we are offered a way to invigorate what is outdated, what doesn’t seem to meld well with the world we live in. It’s less about the rituals we have to follow and more about the people involved. It’s about starting a dialogue that has us actively engaged in our beliefs, communicating with others about current topics and situations and applying religious principles to them. We don’t have to sit back idly and only stand up when we have a song to sing or Gospel to read. We learn how to find mightiness within ourselves to stand up for the core beliefs that got us faithful in the first place.

Right now, as we leave religion, the people being drawn to religion seem to be the ones misusing it. Taking it to the most extreme extent. It’s when we say there is only one way to believe, that everything else is wrong and is ruining the world, we lose sight of spirituality. Religion is not supposed to translate into the human sins of resorting to violence.

This world isn’t perfect by any means, nor will it ever be. We can’t pray away our problems. Reinvigorating religion means that we take action. We take our love and good will and help those in need. And that doesn’t mean we shove ideas down others’ throats. We make an active impact on the suffering surrounding us rather than sitting in a sanctuary, going through the motions. In this instance, actions speak much louder than words.

We cannot rely on outdated systems to help out. It’s our responsibility. I would rather not define religion as the source for chaos. Obviously it isn’t the only one, but the farther we veer from our roots in tradition, the more mistreatment from them occurs. We should not run away from what we disagree with, but face it head-on and change the way we go about it. We open our minds, take down unnecessary steps and barriers, and just talk and listen to each other.

Faith is not for appearances. It isn’t showing up at church every week, nor is it shooting others in the name of a certain god. Faith uplifts us. It strengthens us. It reminds us of our purpose. And we thus regain hope that despite suffering, there is light.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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