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Predrag Kalin English 2010 Memoir

My Search For Religion

Whoever thought that a television show could influence the way I think about life? Well thats where I am, in front of my T.V with a light bulb over my head, my decision was finally clear. I guess I should start from the beginning and explain exactly what Im talking about. When I was growing up my parents were very loose on religion in general. My parents are both Roman Catholic; but aside from telling that they were, they never talked about religion. One day, when I was about 12, my mom said I could believe whatever I wanted to believe. Now this may seem strange, usually people are brought up to believe whatever their parents believe. I, however, had a choice. For about five years I just didnt care. We never went to any kind of church or place of worship. We did celebrate Christmas and Easter, but not because of Jesus, we just did. We never prayed, never read a bible, never even talked about religion. The only thing we have is one cross on our living room wall. Due to all this, I never cared about religion. When people would ask, I just said that I was Roman Catholic, despite the

fact that I really wasnt. It was easier to just say that, rather than give a long explanation on my familys religious status. And thats how it went on for those five years. But at the time when I turned 17, more and more of my friends started having conversations about religion. I felt left out, because for the first 16 years of my life I never really thought

about the idea. But they would bring it up every other day, some times it would just be a small thing, mentioning The Bible during a conversation. Other days it would be a full blown debate between friends, those were the times I felt out of the loop. Now both of the friends who would have these debates were Christian, they just had different view points on what you are and arent allowed to do with your faith. We cant be killing over religion dude, said a friend. Sure we can, if its making the world better, said the other. No its not! Sure it is, watch the news. This went on and on, I was just listening with the occasional Uh huh, good point. I couldnt really say anything useful in situations like this. I knew nothing about it. After this started happening more often, I decided I would no longer be left out. It was time I decided what religion I wanted to be. The only problem was, where to start? Through out the next year I researched, I researched anything I could. Now of course I was looking for the history, teachings, beliefs, of each religion so I wasn t going to use their books as a reference point. Sure had I read the Bible I could find out how good Christianity was, but it would only give me a skewed view. Going to the Bible, or any holy book, for an unbiased view on religion is like going to a republican website for an unbiased view on Barack Obama. I went to historical textbooks. They had unbiased views on each religion, which was perfect for someone in my position. I looked at all the different religions that I could, not only the big ones like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

I even looked at Egyptian, Aztec, and Greek. I had no real interactions with religion so I had to look through any ones I could find. Now this research I was doing probably isnt the type of research youre thinking about. I didnt just sit down and read for hours on end. This research was spread through out the span of a few months, simply because it was boring. I wanted to learn about these different religions, but I just didnt want to do the work. I spent way to much time thinking, Why cant I just beam this stuff into my head? I really was lazy during my high school days, but I knew that I wanted to keep doing it because I wanted to be associated with a religion. I wanted to be able to actually answer people when they asked. I wanted to be involved in the conversations my friends were having about religion. I was getting there, slowly, but it was progress nonetheless. The best part about it was when I would discuss religion with friends, I could bring up things they had no idea about. It was one advantage of actually taking the time to study these other religions; and Ill admit, showing off my knowledge did wonders for my ego. But still after all this work done, I had not made a choice. Sure, I could debate my friends now but I still didnt know what to believe. Luckily they never asked what religion I was anymore, probably because they thought I was a weirdo who believed all of the religions. I dont blame them, I never told anyone that I was doing any kind of research. So for me to just randomly start throwing facts about different religions at them was probably strange, considering I used to just answer with uh huh. But back to the point, when I went to bed every night I would just lay there thinking. Thinking about

how I just wasted my last few months researching, and I still cant decide. I should be sleeping but Im too busy thinking, and basically talking to myself in my head. This was a typical conversation that went on, Why cant I decide, they just dont make sense to me? Maybe Im atheist? I guess I could be. No wait, I cant be atheist because I believe there is something out there. Maybe I should do more research. No thatll be pointless, I just need to go see which one makes the most sense. This went on for a while, until I just stopped caring about it. I thought if I dont think about it too much, it will come naturally. That is basically what happened. So one day I decided to watch History Channel, as I sometimes do when Im bored. There was a show on that I had not seen before, but a show Im glad to have seen that day. Ancient Aliens it was called, now for those of you who havent heard of it Ill just give you some quick background information. Its a group of scientists, authors, and professors, discussing the possibility of aliens visiting Earth in the past. Yes I am

talking about E.T aliens, not foreign country aliens. So I was watching this show, mostly laughing at the things they were talking about, because lets be honest most of it is ridiculous. But there were a few times when I thought to myself, Hey, that actually makes sense. I started watching the show regularly and connecting the dots of my religious research with the stuff they were talking about on the show. They would mention all the different early religions like the Sumerians, Mayans, and Egyptians. All these groups had very similar religious stories and writings, without any sort of known

communication with each other. These same stories of God were also found throughout Greeks, Romans, Native Americans, and even Asians. So there I was, in front of my T.V with a light bulb over my head, my decision was finally clear. As crazy as this sounds, I had put all my knowledge of religion with this show and thought, Maybe it was all aliens. Maybe the thing we refer to as God is nothing more than a race of aliens who visited us in the past. It would explain why these vastly different cultures with no methods of communication had almost identical descriptions of God. They all describe going in the sky to visit the Gods and the Gods giving them all this knowledge. They all also build similar looking monuments for the Gods (In the early civilizations case, it was pyramids). Maybe what early civilizations were describing were alien visits. Maybe the best way they could describe it was the earth shaking, fire and smoke rising, and the Gods descending from the sky because they had no knowledge of rockets or spaceships. Maybe, throughout the years, these stories were misinterpreted, and what we today know as God is actually a race of aliens actually called gods. My months of research came in handy while thinking this up, because without it I would just be watching the show thinking, are these guys stupid? Now of course I still technically dont follow a religion, and most people will see my beliefs as crazy. But I really didnt want to find a religion to belong to. I wanted to find something I could believe in, and I did. It may not have a name, but if my research taught me anything its that I look in unusual places I may find what I am looking for.