First Person: Losing My Religion and Gaining New Life

Once upon a time when I was a child, I got a birthday card. It read, "You are a human sparkler, you are." I still have that card, but now I keep it in my car, so it is the first and last thing I see when I step foot into the outside world, where any action thereafter I make leaves a ripple, much like in water. Ripples are a sign that something has altered the environment that had existed, even in the smallest sense. I am 29, and I am an agnostic.

I was raised Roman Catholic. My children now are at the private Catholic church and school where I was educated, baptized, and confirmed Roman Catholic years ago. My feeling is that, regardless of what religion, children are better off raised and educated with a faith and a moral compass, in a smaller class, and in an environment of learning to give than they are fending for themselves.

My problems with faith started early in my life. My mother and grandmother taught me to read early, and I read anything and everything. I asked my teachers many questions, and they would try to console my thoughts with comments, like "Faith is what it is, and you must just believe in it." This led me to explore religions, big and small, monotheistic and polytheistic, old and new, throughout the course of my educational endeavors. What I found was that all religions encourage social order, encourage giving and forgiving, and encourage thanking whom and whatever for what is there for you to have, take, or utilize from health to plants, to ingenuity and invention. It did not matter the name on it, or how many gods were there to give thanks to, if at all. I was fascinated and could appreciate parts of many of them, but there was no single religion that encompassed all the parts I felt were respective of the ripple I felt my life could and should make in this world. Agnostics believe there is a higher power, but they do not live within the confines of any one religious sector or set of beliefs. Agnostics also can and will take the parts of various faiths and use them to help align thoughts and decisions where the need for faith is helpful to render the best possible outcome for parties involved.

Agnostics do not attend services. Their lifestyle is their service.

My personal motto is: There but for the grace of God, go I, and when I am asked by him what I did with my life, listing off a religious label will matter little next to the person who lived their life with the purpose to light up the world in some way, and to leave the ripple that floats the lily pad closer to the baby frog, jumping to it the very first time.