When approaching this article, I didn’t entirely know where to start. The role of religion in my own life is a strange one, as I suppose I sit on the fence with it. I wouldn’t say I’m an atheist, but I also wouldn’t say I’m religious. It’s equally not something I think about or consider every day. However, when I sat down to contemplate what I should write about, and discussed the topic with my friends and family, it was surprising to me the role that religion and spirituality does have in my life.
I believe in heaven, or I believe that there is something more. I’m not sure whether it’s a coping with grief thing or just how my parents approached religion with me as a child. I was always told stories by my mum about my Grandad Fred, who l was told lived up in heaven. And even though he passed away many years before I was born, I have a very clear image of him, and still now I feel as though I know him, and he knows me. His presence is very much alive to me. Death is difficult to deal with in any respect, and for me, the idea of an afterlife, or a heaven, is a way of coping with grief.
As well as this, I was reminded by my family that many of our morals, things that we don’t always consider religious, can be. In The Ten Commandments it states, “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not steal.” Even though these were written in a time incredibly far from our own, the morals and teachings are still ones we stand by. We are still aware in this day and age that acts such as stealing or adultery are the wrong ones to commit. So, it doesn’t mean if you don’t practice religion, it can’t still play a role in your everyday life. It just may not be an obvious one.
I was also quite sceptical about the role of spirituality in my life. But recently I moved in with a new housemate, and one evening we decided she should read my tarot card. It took me by surprise how much I enjoyed it. It was a really interesting experience and the next day left me reflecting on things in my past, present and future. It was actually really helpful for encouraging me to think more critically about things going in currently in my life, and where that was taking me.
We are lucky enough to live in a multicultural society where many beliefs and religions have a place. Even on our own university campus, we have thousands of students from all different backgrounds. Through writing this article I’ve realised that I have a lot to learn about religion and spirituality, and it is something I think we could all learn a lot more about.
Religion and spirituality are different for each and every person. Everyone has their own individual beliefs and their own ways of viewing its place in their life. For me, I like to think it helps me cope with the bigger thoughts that sometimes I struggle to get my head around, grief included in that. Spirituality can also be used as a way to consider more deeply how you feel about your life, and the events going on in it. To think that before I wrote this article, I believed my life was quite empty from these. In the future, I’m going to try and be more open minded to the role religion and spirituality play in my life.