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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

First place — High school essay contest: Arianna Kassatly

Arianna Kassatly

I don’t need to be fixed, thank you

FFRF awarded Arianna $3,500 for her essay.

By Arianna Kassatly

“Yeah, I’ve just never really considered myself religious. I prefer to think freely, you know, instead of following the rules of a 3,500-year-old book that has been rewritten over and over again by power hungry white men.”

Every time one of my privileged peers pressures me into explaining my lack of spirituality, that is the monologue I recite. Their jaws usually drop, followed by a mumbling apology, and a brisk exit from the conversation, but I’ve never quite understood why. Is anything that I said untrue? If Jesus/God is real, why would he let a raging pandemic end the lives of thousands? If he were real, why would he let racism and bullying swallow my childhood years? If he were real, why would he let me, or anyone else, grow up without a father?

Religion is simply a trap in our modern society, convincing kids to stop having sex, only so that parents can rest at night knowing that their little girl is “pure and clean.” Christians claim that “loving thy neighbor” is the only way to secure a place in heaven, and then continue to fight for the restricted rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Why can’t these people see that they are being controlled, brainwashed even? Their narcissistic ways are limiting the opportunities of growth that they so obviously desire.

So why not just live? Without a book telling you what you can and cannot do. Without a judgmental group of “friends” that will abandon you the moment you get into real trouble. Without the constant pressure to be a “perfect Christian.”

I do. I live freely, and I love my life. I guide my own path, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I have a perfect 4.0 GPA, big dreams, and strong relationships that support me. So, no, I don’t need to go to church with you. I don’t need to start a relationship with God. I don’t need to be fixed. I am free, and I am happy.

Arianna, 18, is from Sugar Hill, Ga., and will be attending Florida State University. She enjoys performing in theatre shows and also volunteers as a student theater director for elementary school students. She was raised by a single mother who each year takes her and her brother to a previously unvisited country. When she isn’t traveling, she works as a waitress.