Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 6 August 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

High school essay contest: Honorable mentions

Run life’s marathon with no blindfold

Six college-bound high school seniors were awarded $250 (thanks to kind benefactors who increased the prize this year), for their “honorable mention” essays. Students were asked to write about “the harm of religion” or “the harm of religion to women.” A sixth winner will appear in September.

In my freshman year of high school, I worshiped Lord Krishna. Since I was obese and extremely insecure about it, I did the only logical thing that a child born into a Hindu family would do — I prayed to Krishna to help me lose weight and gain confidence.

Months later, when I saw no positive changes, I grew angry, wondering why my God was helping everyone be happy except me. Why was I the only one to suffer God’s wrath? It was time, I decided, to prove to God that I didn’t need His help and that I was capable of accomplishing these tasks on my own.

One year later, I achieved my goals through hard work and determination and came to a life-changing conclusion: God does not exist, and religion is illusory and misleading.

People pray to god and follow certain religions as if they are blindfolded while running the marathon of life. I asked two of my school peers why they believe in god (I’ll call them Jane and John Doe because they wanted anonymity).

John, a Christian, said: “I was raised to believe in God, so I never really questioned it, but I do think God exists because he’s done a lot for me.” He couldn’t say what God specifically had done for him, however. John is a prime example of an empty vessel, filled with ideas and believing them without question.

Jane said she has faith in Hinduism because “It’s nice to have something to believe in.” Asked why she couldn’t just believe in herself, she claimed that god was the one that had always done everything for her. Jane has delved so deep into the abyss of religion that she has completely given up on depending on herself. She prays every day in hopes of seeing some changes in her life, but as the days pass, her frustrations only grow. (She refused to answer when I asked her a week later if God had listened to her yet.)

God is not real. It’s time for the world to understand that we, as individuals, determine our lives, not some higher being. It’s time to understand that we have the power to grow through our hard work. It’s time to break free of that blindfold and start running that marathon with eyes wide open.

Khyati Dalal was born in India and came with her family to the U.S. when she was 6. She graduated from Cupertino [Calif.] High School and is enrolled at San Diego State University. She will major in English with an emphasis in creative writing and hopes to attend law school.

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