I am from a world that is very resistant to change; where controversy is not accepted; where people know your secrets; where the Lord’s words are your way of life—regardless. I am from a small town, no larger than six square miles, in the heart of the United States. I lived in what is known as the “Bible Belt” and my life was very much dictated by religious beliefs. Personally, I did not accept these because I could not understand their ideals. I was shunned, disrespected, and harassed because of this. But why should my lack of worship determine who I am? Am I truly a “bad” person for this? I believe that character is determined through actions, not religious belief and we should be judged based on character rather than belief.
As a child, I lived with my mother. She was a very indecisive woman; experimental. She didn’t truly know what she wanted from her life and beliefs. Her solution to this was joining a new church, denomination, every few years. This allowed her to get a taste of everything, to not be dissatisfied. Unfortunately, this did not settle well with me. Her actions left me very confused regarding religion and how I should truly worship.
If my beliefs now could be summed up into one word, it would be Agnosticism. It is the theoretical belief in a higher being, which however, cannot be proven or disproven. Consistently confused for practicing Atheism, the complete denial of any deity, I was regularly harassed by fanatical students. So much so that I was shunned by them. And when they would confront me, they belittled me because I did not know who the Lord was. They completely disrespected me and called me names because I did not know “Him.” People automatically judged me as a bad person, not only for this, but because I supported other “sacrilegious” controversies.
Just because I do not know God, I support love in any form, colorblindness, and women’s rights why does that make me a “bad” person? Who is to say that I do not have morals like any other person? Just because of my beliefs, does that make me dishonest? Cruel? What happened to waiting for love and doing the right thing? What about honesty and respect for others? From what I have experienced, the religious are the most hypocritical in these aspects. They are automatically seen as having these traits, so nobody really hounds them about their actions. To be fair, I’ve made mistakes too; however, should I be more heavily criticized than a religious person? The answer is no, because we are no different.
It is the same difference as a black man from a white man; there is nothing that accurately defines them as different other than the color of their skin. There is no accurate difference between me, an agnostic, and a person who has faith. The sensitivity to this topic goes along the same lines as well: controversy is only sensitive because we allow it to be.
So instead of automatically assuming that someone is “good” or “bad” based on their beliefs, we should look more at who people really are. How do they treat themselves and the others around them? Are people really who they say they are? Look at the way they behave, carry themselves, the things that they say. Rediscover body-language. Our actions define our character; character defines who we are, innately. And religion, really, is completely irrelevant when defining a person.