When I was growing up, I was forced to attend church every Sunday. I hated it! As soon as I turned 18, I broke away from my church, and stopped attending. My 18 year old self couldn’t fathom the idea that people actually liked going every week.
However, as I’ve become older and wiser, I’ve discovered many positive benefits from being involved in a religion, regardless of whether you believe in it or not. Although I personally choose not to be involved in a religion, I now understand why others do choose to be involved.
Benefits of belonging to a church
Spirituality: Although I do NOT endorse joining a religion because of this reason, many people I know have found that through an organized religion, they have been able to develop their belief structure, and in turn become spiritual.
Spirituality plays a major role in all of our lives, whether its our own actions because of our beliefs or other peoples actions because of their beliefs. If you do not develop yourself spiritually, you will be subject to the whims of others, which often are for their own good, not yours. In this sense, religions can help people create a belief structure that protects them from the whims of others.
Develop your spirituality by developing your own set of personal values and beliefs outside of the organized religion structure. A great way to discover your own unique spiritual beliefs is through meditation and inner reflection.
Social Support: One of the best positive benefits from organized religion is social support. Churches create a gathering spot for others that (hopefully) share the same values and beliefs as you. In my experience, church activities create a fun atmosphere that encourages human connections. Even if you don’t believe in the tenants of the religion, you can still become part of this social atmosphere and connect with others.
If you ever need support, connections made through your church are a great source. Oftentimes, churches are focused around helping others, and so you can get help from others from the goodness of their hearts.
Education: Many churches offer education services that would be otherwise unavailable to you.
The problem that I had when I was 18 was that I wasn’t getting any benefits from my religion. It wasn’t my choice to go to church, and I was punished if I ditched out early. Although I don’t regret my decision, I feel as though I would have had a much more enjoyable childhood if I chose to focus on the benefits of religion, instead of the issues that I had with it.
A better solution than joining a religion
Instead of picking and choosing a religion that will never perfectly mesh with your own personal beliefs and values, you should develop yourself spiritually on your own. This solution will allow you to not become dependent on other peoples beliefs and values, which may or may not mesh with you.
By creating your own beliefs, you empower yourself, and allow yourself to become fully satisfied with your beliefs.
You can pick and choose tenants from many different religions, and live how you want to live. Although I’ve never been Catholic, I’m choosing to participate in Lent this year, because it fits with my goals and aspirations.
Learning to create your own sets of values will empower you in many parts of your life. By doing this, you can create much more control over your own life, and allow it to shape in the way you want it to.