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"Religion and Atheism" - Common App, significant experience


stevelee2030 1 / 1  
Dec 25, 2010   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Hi everyone! This is really a first draft, and I would like all the advice I can get! Thank you!!

Title: Coming Out of the Closet

I thought I was a pretty well-off man. Fourteen years old, I had the latest video games, the facade of financial security, transportation (provided by my mother), and academic success that would supposedly promise me a bright future. In short, I fulfilled the role of a young, Korean man. And like many other Korean men, I attended a Korean church, where I took an active role and participated in many community events. My fellow church-goers and I were united by a single belief. We read a sacred book, known as the Holy Bible, and believed in it-and had faith that it held the singular truth to our lives and the key to eternal salvation.

Although I was a devout, unquestioning believer, I questioned everything else-how do birds achieve flight? And why can't we see atoms?My nature dictated that I not rest until I found reasonable answers. I researched random subject matters, and spent hours on Wikipedia reading about the various natural phenomena of the universe. Then one day, unsurprisingly, I glanced upon the articles about religion and philosophy. The articles about Christianity, Zoroastrianism, realism, and metaphysics were as captivating as the articles about Schrodinger's cat and the workings of the human lung. Then it was only natural that I began to question aspects of my own life. Who am I? And why am I here?

When I tackled these questions, I thought that the answers would come from my faith, the Bible, or the wise elders of my church. However I found their answers both unreasonable and unsatisfying-only leading to more questions. It also lead me to find the flaws and downfalls of religion that I did not wish to expose intentionally; I did not understand the necessity of symbolic rituals such as Communion-my heart no longer vibrated to the iron strings of religion.

And so I began a long, lonely intellectual and spiritual journey of trying to answer my own questions about life and religion. I often lay on my bed and lost myself within my own mind. I held a court. I was the judge, the jury, the defendant, the plaintiff, and the attorney. Each side presented its questions.

What happens to those people who lead good lives but never have the opportunity to meet Christ?
How does science explain the creation of the universe?


The side that provided the most concrete evidence and logic would be the winner. It would gain the privilege of guiding my life philosophy.

Seemingly overnight to outsiders, I transformed from a faithful follower of God to a firm nonbeliever. But I kept attending church because I didn't want to disappoint my mom or my friends at church. I felt hypocritical and suppressed-- pretending to be the same devout follower was extremely difficult. But I knew I had to admit my true identity to the world. But I did not know the consequences of my five words: "I don't believe in God".

When I announced those words to the people around me, some offered kind words of persuasion, but many turned to me with offensive and aggressive rhetoric.

They told me that I was ignorant.
They told me I wasn't trying hard enough.
They told me I was wrong and that scientific theories were based on flawed reasoning.
They frustrated me.

When I tried to inform them of my position, they misunderstood me as being someone who would lead them astray from faith. They stubbornly attached themselves to the Bible which led to the supposedly "open-minded" debates to be dead-ended. It took a while, but I persevered and I stayed true to my belief (or rather a non-belief). I came to accept the differences and the "leap of faith" that I could not take.

And three years later, I am very much the same person. My curious and investigative nature is what draws me to every facet of learning about the world. But I have never been more confident in my ability to present and stand up for my own beliefs. Although at times I have my doubts, I am glad that I did not settle for what was easy. I have learned to trust in myself-to not be afraid to jump out of the ocean of consistency and conformity. I have learned that being misunderstood is not necessarily a bad thing-after all, as to be great is to be misunderstood.

But even in the 21st century, an age of great tolerance and understanding, there is an unmistakable stigma associated with atheism. Many people expect atheists to be arrogant or immoral, or both. Many times I have been told, "You would have no morals without God. You would go murder and rape people." But none of these things are true. After being attacked for my lack of belief in a god, I found out how important it is live in a country where I could choose my beliefs. I learned how important it is to be tolerant of everyone, no matter what their faith is.

I realize that science and religion will constantly be against each other, and although I am a supporter of science, I will always be tolerant of different faiths. I believe I have earned the respect of my Christian friends and family because I have held my morals to the highest standards. I want to show the world that atheists are people just like those who are religious-- trying to live their lives to the fullest and making small changes to the world on the way.

Seventeen years old, and I wonder, am I just another Korean man?

Word count: 941
mikeehnow 3 / 30  
Dec 25, 2010   #2
Well, this was a really well written essay. I found that I could connect to it very easily, and I think the only problem is ending with a question. Sure, it might be good when you're writing a short story or something, but I think that in essays ending it completely is the best way to state a point.
yenna 9 / 23  
Dec 26, 2010   #3
oh HAY i'm half korean

ahhh daebak. So like I edited your essay and everything and guess what? the page refreshed itself. yayyyyy.

So I PROMISE i'll re-edit it tomorrow :3

buuuuuut! I really like how you wrote your essay on tackling a social norm/korean norm. It shows your personality.
I like the question at the end. You have questions earlier on in your essay and it shows your curious nature. I would just change the last question to something else that goes better with your whole essay.

Don't start sentances with but or and...
watch out for commas: you have to much.

AND! if you still want me to I'll edit it tomorrow morning... I live in arizona and it's like midnight right now hehe

anyways overall I reallyyyyy like it! good luck ^^~
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 5, 2011   #4
It would gain the privilege of guiding my life philosophy.

Awesome, when I get to this part I am reflecting on how thoughtful and meaningful this is...

I realize that science and religion will constantly be against each other----Depends on your definition of religion. Some religion values empiricism.

This is a high quality essay, very good stuff.

I feel that you had trouble getting started, and once you got going it became great. I kind of want to kill these first few sentences:

I thought I was a pretty well-off man. Fourteen years old, I had the latest video games, the facade of financial security, transportation ... Korean church, where I took an active role and participated in many community events. And if you start with the sentence that comes next, it will be great!! Sometimes you have to trim the intro.

:-)


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