Is religion the answer?

Is religion the answer? If religion works for you, that’s great. It is a powerful instrument of belonging. But if it doesn’t, that’s ok too. Religion is a personal decision that shouldn’t be rushed for the sake of belonging because there is a price to pay.

No rush
There are definite benefits from being part of an established group (fellowship, friends, activities), but there are no bonus points or penalties for when you join. It can be an important decision, so take your time. Generally, rush decisions lead to regret. TCKs are typically on a different timeline from most people, so it’s logical that it might take them longer to decide which religion (if any) is right for them. Besides, these religions have been around for thousands of years, so they won’t disappear any time soon.

Price of belonging
Religion is not like any old club; there is a price to be paid. When you commit to a religion, you are (ostensibly) subscribing to an established world view, a system of beliefs that you will use to guide your life. Some religions are exclusive, requiring you to forsake all others. You are never ‘trapped’ though since you can switch religions any time.

How seriously you take this commitment depends on your personality and values, but remember that you get what you pay for pay for (or you reap what you sow, if you prefer). The more committed you are to something, the more meaningful it is to you.

‘None’ is better than faking

There are many reasons why some people might have difficulty accepting religion, which I have written about elsewhere. Having no particular religious affiliation is infinitely better than faking – ie. feeling uneasy but staying anyway just to belong. When it comes to faking, it only matters what you feel. If you feel fake, you’re going to feel uneasy no matter what anyone else says. Religion is one way to experience spirituality, but it is not the only way. You can be spiritual but not religious.

Religion can be a great instrument of belonging, but it often comes with terms and conditions which some TCKS may not be comfortable with. No one should feel pressured (or pressure himself) to join for the sake of belonging. Take your time; find what works for you.

2 thoughts on “Is religion the answer?

    1. Third Culture Kid – a person of one culture who grows up in another and later returns to her culture of origin and often has trouble readjusting. Examples – children of expatriates, diplomat kids, “military brats”. Wikipedia has more information on this if you are interested


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