Every person has the right to their own beliefs. Whether their government respects that right or not, there is an innate entitlement we are each born with to discover the world for ourselves. I was raised a lazy Christian by a reformed Catholic Father and a Mother who couldn't see past her physical pain into the eyes of God. I went through all the typical religious phases along with the rest of my generation. I was a born-again Christian for a long period of time, and suspect the social inclusion of a well developed "Teen Scene" overshadowed my spiritual needs at that age. I slowly left the church when I realized I felt closer to God during personal prayer then while in the church.
Around the age of 20 I finally built up the courage to face the threats I had been controlled by my entire life. I was able to say I do not believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, nor do I believe he ever claimed to do so. I believe the church his Disciples created abused the power which Christ's name brought their organization, and built a book of lies to manipulate people while taxing them by tithes. The same church grew into a monstrous organization responsible for unspeakable horror over the years. As my mind unwillingly formed this opinion I begged God in prayer to take my doubt. I did not want to believe the answers my rational mind was creating. Through prayer my convictions only became stronger.
I have come to worship in the context of these personal beliefs... We all exist as matter interconnected on a grid of energy. The grid itself is God and was created by God. There is 1 Creator, a male/female bipolar entity from which all we see has come from, and which is in each of us as a soul. Our thoughts are manifest on the grid as energy which is why prayer is a natural means of spiritual communication. There is no Devil or Hell, these are man-made concepts created to frighten people into submission. All things in the world seen as evil are actually a part of nature, because there can be no happiness without suffering, or light without dark. We are God's children, and she wants us to enjoy all she has created for us. We are bound only by Karma, and it is natural for us to want to please God by acts of kindness and love. Being that almost every major religion has generated the same list of commandements without deferring to the other, we can assume there are basic laws of decency God expects from us. Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, and other spiritual prophets who shared beautiful messages with us as a way to worship God efficiently are each like light bulbs on the grid which we are naturally attracted to. You can follow any of these paths, or none, regardless you are a child of God, and you are loved.
I identify as Pagan, because it enables me to worship our Creator as both male and female, while respecting Nature, and utilizing it's gifts as tools in prayer. I keep an altar on which I can leave small symbolic gifts in respect to God. I follow the Wheel of the Year along with it's ancient holidays. These holidays worship both the male and female aspects of God. I refer to God as Goddess most of the time if only to differenciate that I am not referring to the Christian God. My religious symbol is the pentacle with the top apex which represents spirituality always pointing up respectfully. I follow this path because it speaks to me, and still respect all other paths as the choice of its followers.