My personal philosophy on life was shaped by my parents and my life experiences upon leaving my home. These experiences have both challenged and affirmed what my parents taught me while growing up. Parts of my personal philosophy have and will remain steadfast, while others are more dynamic; they are enhanced and sometimes reversed as I experience life in today’s world.

One of the more controversial viewpoints I hold involves evolution and creation. I refuse to subscribe to either viewpoint – I don’t believe God magically made everything appear at once, nor do I believe that everything came into existence through random unguided evolution. I believe God created and utilized the mechanics of evolution in order to arrive at the universe we know now. I think it speaks more as to the power of God for him to have not only created the end result, but the process that did create the end result. Critics have said that saying we evolved from lesser organisms degrades humans, who (according to scriptures) are created in God’s image. This makes me think of a flower – it starts as a rather homely, unassuming seed, but grows into something that satisfies human aesthetics; it’s beautiful. Is the flower any less for having started as a seed?

My parents instilled in me a strong faith in Christ from childhood onward as well as the ethics that accompany said faith. These ethics define who I am, what I am willing to do and what I am unwilling to do. For instance, I hold life in general in very high regard and thus take a personal stand against capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion. I also believe people are deserving of compassion, honor and dignity no matter what their station in life.

After I moved out of the family home I came into contact with a very wide variety of people adhering to different faiths and ethics than my own. This is when I learned of the importance of tolerance and diversity. I met people who denied the existence of any gods, people who believed abortions are acceptable, people who believed very different things than I did. I also learned to accept them and live peacefully with them.

I think it more important to coexist peacefully with others than to attempt to impose one’s own views. Most people who consciously hold views (as in, have developed these views on their own, not imposed by authority) have reasons for this and most likely have considered your viewpoint before adhering to their own. There is no reason to force your views on them.

I believe in showing compassion, sharing resources and sharing what has made me believe these things. My religion is touted as intolerant and yes, I believe acceptance and the acknowledgment of Christ’s sacrifice is the only way to reconcile myself to God. I do not flaunt this, my personal beliefs are just that, personal. However, if I am asked, I will gladly share all I know and the reasons I believe the way I do.