Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Honorable mention — High school essay contest: Matt Giles

Vol. 36 No. 06 August 2019
Matt Giles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Depending on ourselves instead of God

By Matt Giles

I grew up in a religious household. My father is a pastor for the United Methodist Church and my mother a loyal follower. It wasn’t until I was about 13 years old when I realized how absurd it was to place all faith in God. Once I was able to look at religion from a different perspective, not as a brain-washed Sunday school child, it became obvious to me just how much the human race is responsible for what kind of future the world will have. We have the important job of determining what happens in our future, because there is no higher power that has any control over it.

One thing in particular that gets to me is when someone has a severe illness or disease, recovers through the assistance of science and medicine, and says something to the effect of, “God saved my life.” God did not save their lives, but rather the people who worked tirelessly not only when that person was in the hospital, but those who worked years prior to research medicine to discover ailments that could help heal someone. Humans must rely on ourselves to solve problems, and not God, for it is humans who save each other’s lives.

On the same note as recovering from illness, vaccines are extremely important. The fact that some individuals are refusing vaccines due to “religious beliefs” is outrageous and inconsiderate. It has been scientifically proven that vaccinated individuals can resist deadly illnesses and prevent their spread, yet many people don’t use them. We must rely on ourselves to keep those we care about safe by using vaccines.

A few months ago, I saw on the news that a woman and her child had been trapped in their home after a tornado knocked down some walls. Luckily, the two had gone down into their basement to take shelter from any windows upstairs. Once rescued by paramedics, the woman said, “I just thank Jesus that he was there to help me and my baby out.” As happy as I am that no one was harmed, this goes to show that humans take care of themselves by taking precautionary measures, rather than being saved by some high power. God did not save them. In fact, if he somehow did have the power to control this, why not question why he just destroyed a community with a tornado? We, as a human race, must do everything we can to help ourselves going into the future. While we cannot control everything, we can control what we put our resources to, and this should be ourselves, not a higher power.

Matt, 18, is from Waymart, Pa., and will be attending the University of Rochester with plans to major in computer science. He played soccer and volleyball in high school, and was also a member of the band, jazz band and drama club.