I was born and raised a Christian. Although not like your typical Christian because my family was a firm believer in both the Old and New Testament, I still had Christian values instilled in me.
However, after spending years and years of questioning without getting the answers I was looking for, I stopped believing in religion. I no longer identified myself as someone with faith in a religion.
The Day I Realized I Didn’t Believe In Religion Anymore
I still believe in God, I just don’t subscribe to a specific religion
Religious people will call me a traitor for turning my back on my religion and God.
Others will just call me a free-thinker or an atheist.
I prefer not to have a label. Rather, I’m just someone who is without religion but very much believes in the existence of God.
You might find that odd.
How come I believe in God if I don’t follow a religion? Doesn’t every religion have its own God? The Christians, the Muslims, the Jews, etc all have a God that they pray to. If I don’t subscribe to any of those faiths, how do I then pray to God?
Well, let me tell then about my relationship with God because, not only do I have one, it’s a pretty strong one at that.
I remember being told as a young Christian boy that those who do not have a religion, do not have a relationship with God. I was made to believe that the only way you can ever have a relationship with God is if you have a religion. Of course, which religion you subscribe to will then determine which God you have a relationship with.
If you’re a Christian, you’ll have a relationship with the ‘real’ God, the one TRUE God.
If you’re a Muslim, a Jew or believe in any other religion, you’ll have a relationship with a ‘false’ God.
That was how I was brought up as a Christian.
But, having grown up in a country that is multi-racial and multi-religious, with Islam as the official religion, the Muslims will tell you otherwise. They will claim that the God they pray to is the real, TRUE God and any other Gods are false Gods.
You can imagine the tension for those who are not open-minded having conversations about which God is the real God.
Anyway, that was also what set the tone for me to be a non-believer in any religion.
But because I grew up with such a strong background and understanding of the God that was taught to me, I still believe in His existence and I still believe that He is the One and the Almighty.
It’s like I’ve always believed that God is the final destination in your spiritual journey. Religions are therefore just different ‘highways’ that you can use to get there. Regardless of which highway you use, you can and will still reach your destination.
That’s how I’ve always viewed religion and spirituality.
God is but one.
Religions are many.
There is no wrong or right religion, just which one suits you best as an individual.
And that brings me to my relationship with God.
You see, growing up, I was always taught that when I pray to God, it has to be in a certain way and I can only say certain things. I have to always thank Him and can only ask for certain things from Him. I can’t be fully honest, I can’t say bad things and I can’t ask for everything that my heart desires.
Because of that, I never had a personal relationship with Him.
It was a very God-discipline kind of relationship. How then can I call Him my father as we have been taught to look at him as so?
Needless to say, I was very fearful of God and that’s exactly how religion teaches you to look at Him.
However, ever since I stopped associating myself with religion, my relationship with God has turned from one of fear to one of love.
How is this possible you may ask?
Well, it’s pretty simple actually.
I just don’t fear Him anymore. Do I still believe that He is capable of doing all the things that the Bible says He can do?
Yes, yes I do.
But instead of seeing Him as someone who will smite me or punish me just because I don’t follow the rules in the Bible or I don’t act/dress a certain way, I now see Him as someone who will listen to my troubles and my worries. I see Him as someone who genuinely cares for who I am and what I’m going through. I see Him as someone who is a father figure and loves me as His son.
And because of that, I now am able to tell Him anything and everything when I pray. I’m able to open up fully to Him and let everything out to Him, just the way that it’s intended to be. I know that if I am judged, I’m judged by the mightest being ever, and that’s OK.
But I also know that He will judge me based on my actions from my heart.
Just like how I would judge my child’s action based on his intentions, I know God will judge me like that too.
And that is why now, my relationship with God is more personal, it’s more father-son like and I think that is what a good spiritual relationship should be like. If indeed the Bible said that God so loves His people like His own children, then the relationship should really feel like one.
Just because you may not have a religion, doesn’t mean you cannot have a relationship with God. Just because you don’t have a religion, it doesn’t mean you cannot be spiritual.
At the end of the day, a spiritual relationship should be a very personal relationship.
It should be a relationship that is based on love and respect, not fear.
It’s ironic that I finally have a relationship with God that I’ve always wanted after I stopped believing in religion.
So yes, I do have a relationship with God being agnostic.
And it’s a good one too.