Giving up on religion, holding on to faith


By Isabel Trumbull

By Isabel Trumbull

At some point in the last decade I took to studying religions other than the one I was born into. While all of my friends had their bar/bat mitzvahs, I was very enthralled by Judaism. As I studied ancient Greek and Roman gods in 3rd grade, I began to believe in each of them. After reading the autobiography of the 14th Dali Lama, I was fascinated by Buddhism. Around the time that Slum Dog Millionaire came out I grew a love for mehndi, and by extension read a lot about Hinduism. When the Arab Spring took place I became very interested in the Quran and Islam.

I was four years old when I was first introduced to the concept of reincarnation. It happened just after my grandfather died. As an old Irish Catholic man, I can’t imagine he would love the idea, or me being introduced to it at a young age. I do however think that he would have enjoyed that I was trying to make him live on forever.

Over the years, I have struggled with finding my religion or where I fit in with all of the different beliefs around me. Particularly when I began studying ancient mythology I started to really question if there was even a god. I had questioned this long before, and the thought had always been in the back of my mind. My mother recalls me questioning the existence of a higher power as early as three years old. After one conversation in the car I equated the concept of god to the Power-Puff Girls. Today I have a Power-Puff Girls magnet in my locker that I see every day. Why? Honestly, I don’t really know, but I do know that I like seeing it and that it gives me faith in everything happening for a reason, and that it will all work out in the end.

Through some of the toughest times in my life all I have wanted to do was have faith in some higher power to take care of things for me. I have always wanted to believe that if I knelt long enough, or prayed hard enough, that good things would happen. I’ve always wanted to believe that if I was a good person, and if I made good choices, then someone would say that I deserved a gold star in the form of a raise or a nice vacation. Unfortunately, I just can’t seem to be able to.
Hearing the way that people put down other religions gives me faith in thinking that no one knows anything at all. Some find this a frightening thought, but I find it nice. I think that because I believe that no one really knows the unknown, it’s okay that I don’t either.

For a long time I called myself atheist. It was more out of convenience. The word was there and ready to use: I didn’t believe in god, in a higher power, or in any religion. Today, I don’t know what I am. In ancient times we had gods and goddesses, but somewhere along the line people began to believe in one God, and today we have science. I believe that in about 30,000 more years, assuming humanity is still around, we will have some other belief system and call all of the ones before juvenile and primitive.

I don’t know if we will ever have the answer to what happens after we die, or how things come to be. All I know is that one day I will die. My existence may no longer exist or I may rot in Hell. All I know is that if I had the choice, I would like to be reincarnated as a dandelion. It just seems dandy!