My faith has been something that I have had a very complex journey with. It is a journey filled with lots of suffering, tribulation, confusion, immeasurable joy, great peace, pursuit of truth and answers, and a journey that I’m still taking to this day. Honestly, this feels very big for me because, for the first time ever, I am going to do what the church calls bearing witness which means talking about how Jesus changed my life.
My journey starts all the way back to when I was a baby. During that time period, my mom and dad were with the Catholic Church and baptized me in it when I was one. However, due to numerous ideological differences, my parents chose to leave the Catholic Church and set off to enter a relatively new church called Buckhead Church. My parents really liked and connected with this church and as a small child, so did I. I continued to attend Buckhead Church for many years enjoying the way it related the Bible to the modern day. I believe a lot of this enjoyment came from the fact that during that period of time, my religious views were not challenged at all.
Doubts started to arise however when I was in 7th grade, since some of my friends were atheists who were very open about their lack of belief. This was the first time ever that I felt like I had my beliefs challenged and not knowing how to react, the first seeds of doubt were planted.
Entering a Catholic high school didn’t help either. There I was taught things that seemed directly opposed to my middle school and church. Where my middle school and church taught me to love and accept all people regardless of background, my High School was more conservative and some of their views felt like they contradicted and nullified what I had learned previously. Also, I had a huge falling out with all of my friends during my freshman year. These events ended up causing me to lose my faith in God at the time because in my mind, “How could it be possible that God is an all-loving being but at the same time be homophobic and religionist as well as allow me to lose everyone that I thought was close to me at school?”.
For about two years of my life, I became pretty atheistic, untrusting, insecure, and very resentful toward myself. In fact, I began to hate myself so much that I ended up doing something that I really really regret now: I started to sink pretty deep into a porn addiction. I didn’t care how evil it was at the time but I just wanted pleasure, happiness and anything that could get me to forget how horrible and depressed I felt. As expected, it brought no joy whatsoever. On my 11th-grade retreat, however, I heard a testimony from one of my school missionaries about his journey to Christ and his battle with his own porn addiction to get there. I related to his story so much that I decided to cut it off once and for all. Little did I know that this was the first step to my journey back into the arms of the Lord.
It wasn’t until I read the Divine Comedy at school that I felt that I wanted to reconnect with my faith. The book had a lot to say about the spiritual life and I ended up finding that very interesting. While reading the book, I decided to communicate with God again through prayer. It started out as kind of scary at first but after a while, it became pretty comforting actually.
It was at a retreat that my small group from Church and I went to that things really started heating up. It was right there that I had what I’d call an ‘Aha!’ Moment. I really bonded with my small group and really felt the presence of God radiating all over during that experience. But still, there was a long journey ahead of me.
It was the end of my spring break and there was a lot of talk about this “COVID” thing escalating quickly. Little did I know, however,that my entire world would be turned totally upside down. When the lockdown began and everything went online, I was completely hurt, scared, and lost because I had always been one to try to look into the future in order to find a likely outcome based on everything going on and this time around, I couldn’t find a likely foreseeable thing that I could be certain will happen. I scoured everywhere for answers but all around me were nothing but clueless experts, scientists, and politicians. All of this eventually led me to seek the answers that I craved from the only person who I knew wasn’t clueless at all: Jesus Christ. It was during the pandemic that I felt that I truly accepted Jesus as my lord and savior.
P.S: To be honest, my choosing to finally say yes to Christ was only the beginning since before me was a road that involved much more struggle and confusion after that. This is a road that I haven’t finished crossing yet but I continue to walk vigilantly. I hope this article may provide you with comfort and hope after reading it.
Religion is a very passionate concept. Many people base their lifestyle on their beliefs and spend their whole lives worshiping or aiming to please/idolise one, or many, or nothing. Meanwhile, others will have beliefs but only follow the basic codes/morals of said religion and not throw themselves towards it. Religion has a huge variety of cultures and beliefs.
There are many religions in the world, some examples being Judaism, Hinduism, Wicca, and Asatru. All these religions, and many more, come with a variety of passionate and part believers/followers, plus a huge amount of ‘rules’, rituals and services. Sometimes there can be clashes between religions and sometimes there can be harmony. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of faiths to choose from.
However, a huge problem can lie when you want to officially convert to a religion when you are already considered part of another.
I was a Catholic child by my own decision. Admittedly, I went to a Christian school, but when I was seven I decided to be Baptised at my Church. I became a server, made friends (old and young) from the Parish and really enjoyed myself. But years later, I discovered Wicca, a modern Pagan religion, which I clicked with right away. I read books and researched its holidays, traditions, morals etc. and fell in love!
Then it hit me: I was still a Catholic who was meant to pretty much go against a lot of the Pagan traditions and follow the word of God. I was on two different sides of the spectrum and had NO idea what to do. I still had an attachment to Christianity but Wicca was the way forward for me. I kept it from my family as I knew they would, unfortunately, laugh at the idea of Wicca, but spoke to some friends about my conundrum. It was a mixed reaction and by the end of it, I still didn’t know what to do.
Did I still believe in God? Did He know I was considering becoming Wicca? What if the Wiccans laughed at me? What if I’m judged by anyone and everyone? What does it all mean?
I was convinced that I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. This lasted until I followed a witch on TikTok who posted a video preaching about validation for Christian witches. CHRISTIAN WITCHES!! I was elated and had never felt more at peace with myself. Through this one amazing women’s ability to share love and peace, I found myself very unexpectedly.
I learned from this experience how hard a conflict in beliefs can be. Luckily for me, no ceremonial conversion was needed, but I know in many cases it can lead to arguments between friends and family (for example, a Jew wanting to convert to Islam would be rather difficult to do, depending on the family of course). I think the best thing to do is to always trust your gut instinct. If you are stuck in a religion that you do not believe in, it can lead to difficulties in the future and sometimes make you quite miserable and drained. Don’t forget that if people don't think your beliefs are valid or do not support you in your endeavours, then they are not worth the friendship!
Here are some simple things you can do if you are unsure about your beliefs:
I hope that this advice helped you in your struggles, and may you have a wonderful life being comfortable and at peace with your beliefs.
I feel like I need to preface this article with a disclaimer. I have nothing against Christians; these are just my experiences and not many of them are positive. I’ve grown up with two moms and being queer myself, in the Midwestern United States. I have religious trauma that I work every day to recover from. I’ll also be talking about my experience in a cult, which will remain nameless for the sake of the people still trapped in it. There is a trigger warning for talking about religion and mild mentions of abuse. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into this.
I’m extremely pleased with where I am spiritually, but it hasn’t always been that way. I hopped from church to church to try and be satisfied in a faith that hated my very existence. Growing up in a religiously saturated midwestern town gave me a fair bit of religious trauma that I won't go into detail about because I have just come to terms with it myself.
I started in a small nondenominational church in Nebraska. I stayed here for five years until I moved to Oklahoma. While at the surface level it seemed to be a very positive environment, I only saw it that way because I was a small child. One day in Sunday school we were forced to walk around the basement carrying multiple chairs on our backs, with the justification that this is what our sins were like. Please remember that the majority of us were four to eight years old. This was one of the many times I've realized something that happened was wrong, but this is the one I've chosen to share.
Then I joined a cult. Well, it was more my Grandma joined and I got dragged along. It was disguised as a small family church run out of an abandoned gas station. It seemed innocent at first, though that was due to the way it was run. The leaders would slowly phase you up until you were either brainwashed or realized it was a cult. I was in their youth program considering the fact I was 7-10 years old. When we misbehaved or questioned what they told us, we were sent to our “spiritual guide”, who would most of the time punish us physically. That is as far as I’m willing to go into my experience there. I’m still trying to reconnect with the child I was before that experience. I left after I was told to wear a skirt and “boycott” pants or go to Hell.
My grandma is extremely spiritual and was desperate to find another church, so after a while, we found ourselves in a Catholic Mass. I was ushered into the youth group, where I started crying asking to not be taken to the guide because I was in pants. The youth pastor then looked at me with a puzzled expression, whispered something to her assistant, and I was ushered off as sobs racked my body and I had my first ever panic attack. I was dragged to a separate room where I was told to step into the small pool, and I was forcefully baptized to “get rid of my demons”. We went to that church for about a year where I was baptized a total of ten times because my mental illness and trauma were seen as demons trying to possess me. I was 11.
After the constant torment, I was done with religion. I was an atheist for a good two years, with pent up anger and trauma. But then one of my friends invited me to her church, and I sucked in a breath as I saw a gas station up ahead and we turned into it. It was the cult. Her mom parked the car and I tried to say something, but nothing came out. What was said to me that night was unforgettable and traumatic.
I cut her out of my life and I never went back there; in fact, I moved right after that happened and was dragged to another church. This was a megachurch, and I’m sure anyone from Oklahoma can guess which one it was. I went for a year until I broke down to my mom, who is agnostic, unlike my grandmother who is ultra-Christian. I was told I was a sin for existing because my mom had me out of wedlock, and their homophobia and transphobia had become apparent. That was the last time I stepped into a church or looked towards the Christian faith. I’m happily a Pagan witch and I’m healing from what organized religion has done to me. So here’s a list of signs I’ve compiled of when a church/religion is becoming toxic:
As for leaving your parent’s religion, there are a few things to consider. If your safety will be in danger, don’t do it until you are independent. By independent, I mean financially withdrawn from them, moved out into a place you rent or own, and fully prepared to cut them out of your life. If you won’t be in danger, start with excuses to miss religious services and break them in slowly. If you are accepted then feel free to practice your new religion freely.
Please remember that these are just my experiences. If you are happy in any of these religions, please don’t take offense to this, it’s just my experience. Religion means a lot to many groups of people, which means it is one of the easiest ways to be manipulated. Be safe and love yourself no matter what and you’ll be fine.
Islam has been wide-spreaded religion for centuries. One of the countries with the majority of muslims is Indonesia. In islam, there is a month called Ramadan, where Muslims around the world must refrain from eating and drinking from morning before sunrise to falls at sunset for 30 days. Muslims also must refrain from doing bad habits, because this is a holy month. Instead they are encouraged to do considerable good deeds, because of the huge rewards will be given. While it may seem ordinary, Ramadan is a most awaited month. It is common for nonmuslims join to enliven the month.
Every Muslim around the world has unique habits or traditions only during Ramadan. Here, I’ll explain several traditions that make Ramadan very meaningful to its people.
Those are several traditions or habits during Ramadan. There are still plenty of traditions Indonesians do that aren't enough to write. Also, during pandemic, there are several traditions restricted to avoid any burst covids’ cases in certain places, such as visiting extended family.