Belief: Step One to Knowing Who You Are

By Matthew David Ward

In this short rant, writer Matthew David Ward shares with us this stage in his personal development. He is expressing the realization that he is free to believe whatever he determines to be the truth, regardless of pressure from those around him.

I guess the first step in self improvement is to figure out who you are and what you believe. Without knowing yourself how can you improve? So, in spite of living in a Bible-thumping, George W. Bush loving area, I tend to be in the minority and walk against the grain. I have a very complicated view on organized religion. But, basically, I believe it does good in the sense of fellowship, support and peace it provides to the congregation. Once it gets into the “I’m right, you’re wrong” area, I part ways. I have nothing against any religion, but I don’t buy into any of them either. I’m completely satisfied with my own spirituality separate from the organized religions. And don’t get me started on King Bush II.

I also seem to be in the minority in my area when it comes to my stand in gay rights. I’m not a homosexual myself, but I do believe they should have more rights than they get now (be able to marry, at the top of the list). This is the main reason I am very supportive in separating church and state (the Christian bias in the law seems to be the main reason given why homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry). We live in the “Land of the Free” yet we still ostracize certain groups of people. We do it with so many groups and it’s really sad. I’ll just add a note that it happened with slavery and we finally got past that (for the most part). I’ll step away from this subject since I could go on and on.

I tend to develop my own beliefs and thoughts. I got this way from reading a lot and trying to understand others. The fact that I wasn’t raised in a religious household or background allowed me a more open view. We are all human beings after all. No one better than the other. We’re all fighting the same damn fight, but we’re still holding and pushing each other back. I don’t want to be part of that. There’s already too much hate, prejudice and anger in the world.

I used to back down when people asked me what I believe or thought because I was always in the minority. I came from Eastern Kentucky (not necessarily the most open minded area) to the heart of Bush Country. I think I used to believe my opinion counted less than someone else’s as if their beliefs were always one step ahead of mine. This is a dangerous way to think and I’m beginning to allow myself the knowledge my opinions and beliefs are just as valid as everyone else’s. So, only in accepting and standing by what I believe will I actually be able to grow as a human being. Maybe this has been what has been holding me back for so long?

Matthew David Ward is a 21-year-old college student who currently makes his home in Tennessee with his beloved border collie. He is an amateur poet and writer. He currently shares his opinions and thoughts via his webblog, The World As I See It (http://matthewward.blogspot.com).

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