First Person: The Baptist Religion in Perspective

Growing up, the Baptist views were ingrained from the time I was very young. My father has been a preacher for about 30 years, so I have been faithfully attending a Baptist church for most of my life. The Baptists are very clear on their standards and beliefs, including biblical separation, anti-abortion, against gay marriage, and old-fashioned in their singing and their beliefs. They say that God is the one true God, and that he died on the cross about 2,000 years ago to suffer for our sins as an atonement. They believe Heaven and Hell are both equally real and going to Heaven is a gift gained by accepting Jesus in your heart and life. And nothing can take this salvation away, no matter how many times you do wrong or make a mistake. God's grace is sufficient for every sin.

In my childhood years, I had these decisions in Christianity and my beliefs handed to me. I didn't have to worry about what I believed in. It was just whatever my parents said. I never suffered for my religion. I was never crucified or persecuted, because I was in a world that was sheltered and closed from anything that could harm me. And I thank God for that today.

But as we all know, there comes a point when you have to grow up. Every bird had to learn to fly and likewise to humans. We start developing our own views and beliefs from our own perspectives on life. Some of us disagree with what we were raised on, and some of us don't. But we should not hold on to religious beliefs and a practice because it's what others believe is right. It needs to be about what we believe is the truth.

I had to learn this in life, and I did find my center of beliefs. And for me, that means I believe in God. I believe in Heaven. And Hell. I believe in Biblical separation. I believe in Jesus' death. But I also believe in change. I believe in making a difference and in helping. I believe in putting people above standards, not religion, but to point people to the right way.

I don't look at my religion as something written in stone that I have to always obey or am condemned. I look at it as my life. My beliefs. My heartbeat. What I think is worth spending my life on. My religion is more than a religion; it's my heart.