Values and Ethics Emerge from Critical Thinking

I’m beginning to think that a part of being in college is being constantly conflicted with how you were raised and how you want to be.

I was raised as a Protestant Christian, and my father told me when I first went to college not to lose my faith.

He mentioned how many intellectuals are atheists, and insisted not to let some things I may learn “brainwash” me.

Well, I lost my faith, but it wasn’t because I was brainwashed.

Before I go into why I no longer identify with any religion, let me make something clear: I respect everyone’s religious beliefs and am not trying to encourage anyone to also abandon their faith. I’m merely explaining why I chose to leave my faith, and the lessons I’ve learned from doing, so that I hope will resonate with others.

I left my religion because it just wasn’t making sense to me any more.

I couldn’t fathom condemning entire groups of people because they love someone the same sex as them.

I couldn’t sit there and follow teachings that called homosexuality an abomination when some of the best people I know are gay.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to go to heaven if some of the best people I know are burning eternally in hell because they chose to love someone with the same genitalia as them.

I see too much suffering in the world for me to believe in Christianity.

I was privileged enough to be born in a free will society and not be constantly fearful of drone strikes, bombing or living in a constant war zone.

Yet, there are many other people around the globe (and within our own country) starving, exhausted, hopeless and will live their entire lives in misery.

Why are some people born with the short end of the stick while others lead lives where mundane things to them are luxuries to others?

Also, I didn’t understand why I should follow a book written by man that was claimed to have been written through the word of God and transcribed by man. As the Bible was being reproduced thousands of times, I question what changes have been made to it.

I question if God really spoke to the authors of the Bible. I question whether God even talked to them at all. Why won’t God talk to me?

Coming to Wake Forest made me question Christianity not because anyone said anything about it, but because Wake Forest taught me to think. And when I thought about everything I used to believe in, it just didn’t add up.

I’ve been going back and forth since I was a freshman, but never admitted it because I didn’t want to go against how I was raised and break my parents’ hearts.

However, I’m at a point in my life where as an advocate for all groups of people, I just couldn’t believe in what I once believed anymore. Again, I’m not endorsing atheism, agnosticism or abandoning your faith.

However, I do want to encourage my audience to think about why they believe in what they believe. I’ve learned that it is okay to go against some of the traditional things I’ve been taught growing up because abiding by these things without thinking about it takes away your free will, something that everyone ought to have.

If you choose to be a part of something, do it for you.

Doing things simply because you were raised to do it sometimes hinders you from fully seeing the world around you. Also, believe in what you want, honey, you’re grown now.