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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

10th place (tie): College essay contest — Andrea Gutierrez

Andrea Gutierrez

FFRF awarded Andrea $300.

By Andrea Gutierrez

Growing up, I was a devout Catholic for approximately 16 years. Then, I renounced God and my faith in anything above myself as an experiment. While deprogramming myself from everything I had been taught, I realized that religion is fictional and I became much more grounded in reality and my physical environment. In this process, I learned that there is no savior, no higher power to help me with my problems. I must be a self-responsible human and turn to myself if I want to resolve or solve simple and complex issues in my own life.

Prayer and worship resulted in low self-confidence, as did not believing in myself to accomplish my goals, and believing I needed a god to give me the life I wanted. That is no longer the case.

When human beings turn to prayer and other forms of worship, we surrender self-responsibility to solve our created problems. We hope that a god will come through supernatural means and fix issues. Humans pray to God for fear of death. They fear eternal damnation or pain of death, perhaps. This distracts us from being present and attempting to fix what is here and now. People pray for tolerance and acceptance of others; however, nothing is more divisive than religion.

Faith will tell you, “I am right, and they are wrong,” and “Homosexuality is a sin and unacceptable.” It pushes people apart instead of together.

When humankind turns its back to God belief and places trust and confidence in themselves, we find solutions — having self-trust forces one to be creative and determined to solve real-world problems. By deleting the idea of heaven or hell, humans will look at Earth and society and focus on creating the best world for ourselves and all those in it. 

For example, by removing the option of God to make our world a better place, we are forced to come together to solve our environmental issues, socio-economic issues, and personal relationships. We cannot rely on outside forces to intervene.

An unfortunate example is that in the United States, school shootings are a recurring issue. Too often, post shootings, we see on social media a call for prayer and faith that things will change. Nothing debunks God or the taught nature of what God is more than this. God is not a loving parent, nor does any god care. We as Americans must turn away from God belief on this issue and find the solution to this evil phenomenon. Abdicating the answer to this issue through prayer to God only delays a solution, whatever that solution may be.

Many people pray to a deity to solve their monetary and economic status. If one removes faith in God, they can see that they are fully capable of developing themselves and personal skills that make themselves competitive for employment in highly desired careers. Do not pray to God to land your dream job. It will not get you anywhere, for nothing is being done.

In summary, faith in God, prayer and worship is the lack of action. It is the abdication of self-responsibility to do something ourselves and better our world. By placing the world’s issues on our shoulders, in our laps, we are forced to find solutions. We are forced to look at the world’s problems here and now and deal with them. We can no longer pray and attempt to live a good life in the hopes of having a better afterlife. We have one life, it is here, and we must constantly work to improve it for ourselves and others. No one is coming to save us, and we are already here. It must be us.

Andrea, 23, attends Texas A&M International University and is majoring in kinesiology. “I’ve been training people for five years,” Andrea writes. “I love to share my knowledge and help people improve their health and reach their fitness goals. My goal is to become a physical education teacher, inspire and educate many children on how to become more active, and hopefully contribute a little to fighting the obesity problem my country faces.”