Religion plays an important role in the life of humanity that each person feels the need of being part of a religious sect because of the spiritual hunger that is naturally created in man (Hammond 4-10). Despite the fact that atheist do not want to recognize the existence of a supreme being, they still have to find something that will cover up for that spiritual need due to the spiritual thirst created (Yinger 90-95). There is usually that hunger and thirst within my spirit to know God more and even let Him guide me in everything that I do. I realize that I cannot understand everything that happens around me but knowing that there is someone in control gives me hope to face another day. In this paper, I shall focus on the aspect of religion and its effects on the activities that surround my life. After observing my life and those around me, I came up with a five-day journal of activities and observation. All I found out is that religion has a place in every person’s heart. This has been revealed through observing bumper stickers in cars, my daily crossing, greeting my parents, how people dress around me, the need to pray before I take tests and reading religious books.
One of the observations I made is that religion, contrary to what we believe is about the way we relate with people around us. There is a reason why God saw it important for me to live in a world where there are different people all together. It would have been possible for Him to create a world for each person if all He wanted was for us to worship him. However, our relationship with God is revealed through our relationship with other people (Guntrip323-329). Growing in my spiritual life, I have come to realize that the more I understand and love people, the more fulfilled I feel. There are times when we are wrong but we only obtain peace when we exercise forgiveness and patience. My relationship with my parents has always helped me cultivate patience and even forgiveness through constant communication.
I have never failed to kiss my mother bye whenever I leave the house. This to me is a way of letting her know that I love and care for her. I also feel that my day will be more fulfilling if I have the blessings of my mother. I tend to be closest to my mother considering the fact that I learned many things from her. It is as if God has used her to mould my life and even teaching me the ways of religion. My mother has had a lot of influence on my life. When it comes to religious influence, I had had it more from my mother compared to my father. This is because I spent more time with my mother from the time I was conceived until when I was independent enough. It is the gratitude I show to God through my mother by kissing her every day for all she does for me (Hammond 8). Through my mother, I have learned virtues such as patience, forgiveness, being trustworthy and even long-suffering. In as much as I only read this in the bible, my mother is like a practical example that confirms how important this is to me.
Each day before I retire to bed, I also have to greet my parents. Greeting them is also a way of thanking them for all they do as well as assure them that I still love them. The driving force behind religion and more so Christianity is love; it remains to be the greatest commandment of all. Whenever I show love to anybody, I fulfill one of the greatest commandments in the bible, however, it is almost impossible to show love to a stranger if I do not exercise it with the people around me. I have come to learn that whenever I show love to my parents, it becomes so easy for me to love the people that I meet. This also sets me free as feel a sense of relief as I relate with them. My daily routine of greeting my parents and kissing my mother does not imply that we never have issues. However, allowing myself to talk to them through the greeting helps us to sought out any issues that we might be have. It also gives them a chance to correct or rebuke me especially when they feel I have not behaved well. This also maintains a good channel of communication between us where we can easily share and relate.
Crossing myself is also a habit that I have found helpful to me. This is simply a way of recognizing that I am nothing on my own and that I need divine guidance and protection. This happens especially when I am driving to school. There a number incidence that are likely to happen on the way and knowing that I have committed my life into God by crossing myself gives me the confidence to face the day. Praying is also an activity I observe every time and more especially when I am about to face a serious test. I realize that what I have is always inadequate and will always require more wisdom from God (Ziolkowski 345).An exam being one of the serious tests I require guidance, I am always careful to pray and ask God for his guidance and wisdom in tackling the papers.
In most cases when I am travelling to college, I use public means and make many observations. I have encountered a number of bumper stickers, which signify that most people subscribe to a higher authority. There was one that written ‘God is my lawyer’ and ‘the blood of Jesus’. Seeing this in a public service vehicle made me realize that even those in the service industry recognize the sovereignty of God in their work (Ziolkowski 345-347). There is a reason why such bumpers were selected for the vehicles and not just any other that talks about the general issues of life. To me, this served as a great encouragement to know that people look to God as their overall mediator. The bumper sticker in the bus made me meditate a lot on the blood of Jesus as I remembered the sacrifice he made for humanity. This also made me learn that relationships are all about sacrifices. Usually a price needs to be paid if a relationship has to be strong and long term. Some of the sacrifices include making time for one another, buying gifts and paying visits.
The bumpers I observed also helped me to know the religion that most people around me belong. The fact that they were all talking about Jesus and God helped me realize that most of the commuters are Christian. It is normal for bus companies to put bumpers that most people will relate to for the sake of their business (Guntrip 639). They will not want to offend their customers by putting bumpers that are contrary to their religious believes. The Christian bumpers hence taught me that most of the people I travel and relate with are Christians. However, my observations also helped me realize that there were also people of other religious backgrounds around me.
A persons attire and how they wear it also reveal the level at which they are committed to a particular religion. Staunch religious individuals are very conservative in the way they do things and would do anything to ensure that they strictly follow their religious beliefs. I have observed people wearing different hairstyles such as rastas, pony tails in men, long and free dressed for women and the likes. This may be deemed as fashion to some people yet to others, it sends a very strong religious message. Religions such as Islam believe that a woman’s body belongs only to her man. They are hence to cover it completely so that it is not seen by others. This is also similar with the Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists that are taught on how to dress and wear their hair. This not only identifies their religious backgrounds but also make them feel fulfilled in their lifestyle (Yinger 92). As a young child, I grew to know that Christianity is the only true religion. I therefore considered any other person subscribing to a different religion as a sinner. However, this has changed since I took up religious classes. I usually think that it would have been different if I were born in another religious background. I have grown to understand that just as I view people from contrasting religions as living in deception, it could be the same way they also look at me. This is one area that I struggled with and felt that everybody should serve the God that I serve and follow what I follow.
I have since changed by approach to this and simply try to befriend people from other religions. Through this, we share a lot just to know if they really understand what they believe in. I learned as I grew up that I need to understand what was imparted to me by my parents. I currently do not just subscribe to Christianity simply because I was born in a Christian background. I take my time to read the bible and pray as I get to know more about Christianity (Idler 689-704). My faith grows more each day when I confirm that indeed, what is written in the bible is a true reflection of the happenings around me. I take time to go to the library and search out for religious books, all in an effort to know and understand what religion entails. I do not just read Christian materials but also other religious materials. This helps me to understand and appreciate other people around me who are not necessarily Christians.
I have also noticed that religion has a lot of influence on the decisions that we make. For instance, I went to a certain supermarket, noticed several women with long skirts, and long sleeved shirts. Something peculiar about them is that they had many children. I wondered why they had such a number of children in a world where people are shunning away from bigger families. I however learn that some religions do not allow worldly things such as family planning to corrupt them (Idler 685). They believe that God gives them children and should therefore not go another extra mile to stop the process of procreation. When it comes to such matters, I avoid much speculation but simply try understanding why it is so. Anytime I am tempted to question why people have to wear long dresses, set their hair in a certain way, have many children and the likes, I realize that such people are also wondering why I have to cress myself, pray frequently and read the bible. It is all about diversity in which we have to find unity in it.
In conclusion, I have never taken anything for granted knowing that there is a reason why I am alive to see each second. I have always made it a routine to thank God for the day, no irrespective of how good or bad it has been. The fact that God spared my life to see another day is a clear indication that He is not yet done with me. There is something unfulfilled and unaccomplished which only I can fulfill. I therefore pray that He shall give me the strength and the ability to accomplish that which he has for. I also thank Him for the opportunity to learn and appreciate the people around me. It is not always easy to realize that we are all important in the eyes of God irrespective of our religious backgrounds. There is still a reason why God allowed all these religions to exist. The more I learn the better I become as I relate with people even better.
Guntrip, Harry. "Religion in relation to personal integration*." British Journal of Medical Psychology 42.4 (1969): 323-333.
Hammond, Phillip E. "Religion and the Persistence of Identity." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1988): 1-11.
Idler, Ellen L. "Religion, health, and nonphysical senses of self." Social Forces 74.2 (1995): 683-704.
Yinger, J. Milton. "A structural examination of religion." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1969): 88-99.
Ziolkowski, Theodore. "Varieties of experiencing Religion." (1987): 340-347.