Reply A I feel like growing up in the south or South adjacent it is impossible to have religion not affect your life in some way. I grew up in a First Christian church. I went with my Aunt and Uncle every Sunday. It was a conservative church with a mainly older congregation. My mother never really went to church, she was always religious but not a church goer. Maybe because she was a single mother I have never asked her. I was involved in church plays. I went to awana every week on Wednesdays. It was something I identified with as a child and something I clung to until I was older. As I was older, teenage angst you could say I was heavily questioning everything around me including religion. Then in college even more so.

I find it hard to believe at times in a true “creator” when I see so much suffering. Everywhere. Why would my creator take so many people away and let people go hungry and really let the world burn. I cant see how a murderer can repent just before he is set to die he can be accepted and forgiven of his sins and a person who lives a “good life” helping others, not hurting anyone but is an atheist is assigned to damnation. Furthermore, I struggle with why people must have an omniscient being in order to behave in a safe and kind way. Why not just be a good person to be a good person?

I am not saying I don’t find the idea of having another being in charge of it all isn’t possible. I have had miracles in my life I cannot explain. However, I think it is natural to question everything that is put in front of you and religion being that as well. I don’t say I need concrete proof of how many things we do not understand. But I think it is a personal choice and one to make on your own. Even though many have tried to convince me otherwise. The individual needs to decide what is best for them.



I most enjoyed the last speaker. I do think without the construct of religion, there would be less wars and violence in the world. The constant struggle for who has the right version of an idea and the other is wrong. However, I do think it is human nature to search for a higher purpose, to search for something more than what we currently see before us.

Reply B I am a cradle Catholic, which means I was born into my religion, although I’ve also grown to understand the values and lessons I was raised with, and I know enough to choose for myself. Overall, I’d say my religion has impacted my life positively, more than I could possibly explain in words. My religion has gotten me through some of the darkest times of my life mentally, and I don’t know where I’d be without it. As for criticisms of my religion, the main ones I have are some of the Catholics who use it as an excuse for their discrimination. While I don’t see this directly as the fault of Catholicism as a religion, many close-minded people have made this part of the culture surrounding my religion. I see people like these as an insult to the real values of Catholicism – the most important of which being to love everyone and treat all people with respect and dignity. When it comes to my family, I appreciate that they raised



me into my religion, but I wish they had put more effort into teaching me some of the more important parts of it, many of which I didn’t learn until I was older learning things on my own. In my personal life, my faith is grounded on just that: faith. Emotional experience has proven to be more than enough to build my relationship with God and Catholicism in the way that I’ve done. I understand why people are often skeptical about the existence of any god or any religion, but I feel confident enough in my beliefs and experiences that I believe they can’t be shaken. I have experienced only a couple of people who attempted to change my beliefs by using “logic” to convince me to give them up,

but it did not work. My favorite philosopher I read this week was

Thomas Aquinas. The main reason for this was that his writing was much easier to understand than Augustine’s, but also, I found his work more interesting as

well and I enjoyed reading about his reasonings and logic in defense of God