While growing up, I had a slightly inconsistent religious upbringing. Most of my childhood, we seemed to have gone to church consistently each Sunday, as far as I remember. However, going to church meant nothing more to me than “going to church.” I remember being younger and looking forward to possibly having an Oreo that they sometimes give you after little kid Sunday school. Did this mean that I did not really value faith? Well in my opinion, if you need to be bribed to stay the entire session to get food, the pastor knows that the stuff that they are teaching is not interesting enough to stand alone to most, especially not among grade-school students. I guess if you are trying to raise your kids as Christians or in any religion, it is important to make the impression young. However, how many little kids are actually internalizing much about the bible when it is simplified to them, or when it just seems like an hour or two of mandatory story time? Consequently, though, when a child goes off on their own and into the real world, they might question their views, but some may not. It seems to me that some people use religion as an excuse, they use it to define themselves, and to justify why they think a certain thing. Christians are smart to a certain degree, do not get me wrong, but does this type of environment of “believe this, and believe that” actually foster deep thinking? When I am talking to someone and their argument starts with “well the bible says….” I shut off. I try to even reject their reason, because it seems so absurd to me that they are not forming their own opinions and are using the bible as a cheat sheet of what to think, my question is “what do you think?” I do not care if somebody is a christian, that is fine, it is good to believe in something. However, when you can not debate against something without bringing up the bible, it baffles me. I am not very religious. That being said, I do not enjoy being “religious” in the sense where I wake up early every Sunday morning to go and keep up appearances. When you go to Sunday school there are a few stereotypes: the mega believers, whose parents have been going to this church ever since they were married at least; the outcasts, who do not feel like they belong, but are forced to sit in there while their mom, dad, or grandparents are in the “adult” sermon; and the undecideds, who are not sure if they believe this stuff, and who usually sit quietly and listen to other’s points of view. I do not enjoy listening to the prayers that basically say nothing “dear lord, just lift everybody up, bless us, keep us close to you, oh god, carry us lord, lead us” and basically they just keep saying different variations of what they have already said, because everyone feels guilty about saying a “short” prayer. That is another thing, I do not feel comfortable praying around those people. I know it is supposed to be a safe place, after all, “Christians” do not judge and gossip, correct? Wrong. They talk about you, and other people. I was at a sleep away event with the church for the first and only time, and I overheard these girls gossiping about somebody. Keep in mind, these were the same girls that were like quoting the bible and having every answer in Sunday school in the weeks past. It just seems fake to go to church one day of the week and answer everything, but not apply it to your actual life. My personal belief is that you should create your own morals. It is fine and dandy to form some morals based on the bible, but I think you should look further than that. do not ask yourself, “what does the bible want me to do?” ask yourself “what do I want to do to feel like I am a moral person with set values?” Just as a disclaimer, I am not trying to say that I never slip up and talk about someone, however, I do not go to church and put on the impression that I do not sin and that I am an avid follower of Christ. Also, I do not really go to church; that is another thing that bothers me. It is not that I would like to, it is just that I do not think that my parents should continuously go around saying that “god has really blessed us” and junk like that, because honestly, it seems opportunistic to me that we only speak of him and give him credit when other people are hearing us. Christianity and faith to me have no bearings anymore if it means being like the “Christians” I have come across, or blindly following a book. In my life, I seek out knowledge, but not necessarily from the bible. I form my own opinions, whether they be right or wrong, it does not matter. What matters to me is that my morals are more internal than following those from a book. Recently, I have had this revelation that I am not really a “christian”. On the other hand, I do not believe that there is no real higher power, I just do not necessarily buy into the religious books and practices that everyone else does. Honestly, when I realized that I was not truly devoted to being a christian, I felt a little lost, and ashamed that I did not believe necessarily in “god’s word.” Because I did not know how to define my views, the only thing against, or not for Christianity at least that I knew of, was atheism, and I surely did not consider myself that. I found the word in which I will probably define my religious standing “agnostic,” I neither believe or disbelieve any certain religion, I am open to picking my own views, but not rejecting that there could in fact be a god.