Sample Admission Essay: Appreciating Different Ideologies

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Sample Admission Essay Prompt: I f you could change one day of your life, what would you change? Why?

I used to believe in an omnipotent and loving god. I believed that he guided me through hardships and protected me from harm. Back then, I loved that god unconditionally as I believed that he loved me. I remember aspiring to be a priest and sharing his words with everyone. I wanted to be a shepherd of his flock and lead others to acknowledge his greatness and power. I saw the world behind spectacles of wonder—seeing the majesty of god in every atom of creation. Yet, one day, I woke up questioning his existence and the lessons in his mighty book. I began to ponder the rationalizations of creation and evolution , of science and faith. I have put down the spectacles of wonder and saw the world for what it was—a random universe, free of determination and full of coincidences. While this newfound perspective allowed me to see the world for what it is, I often find myself wondering what could have been if I remained a believer.

The event of losing my faith was not a single decision that I made within a day but a long process - a process which I can't even remember how and when it began. It took a lot of time to involve online and offline research. I read through the Christian Bible and studied texts from the Islam, Buddhism , and Taoism religions. I talked to both religious and non-religious individuals. I asked our university parish for guidance and discussed my questions regarding the Christian faith and other religion. I spent months wondering about the possible existence of the supernatural and how science can support the premise. I also began doing readings and analyses of research articles that objectively explained the human condition, and in extension, refute miraculous and mysterious concepts like love and spirituality. Eventually, all the research and pondering led to the day of my conclusion that gods do not exist and religions may have had it wrong.

While some may argue that my disbelief may come from a bad religious experience, I have never encountered such an event. I went to a Christian church-sponsored university during my grade school and high school education. There, I only experienced the welcoming culture of Christian professors and educators. I never experienced stories about religious teachers giving harsh punishment to children or priests abusing their followers. Instead, I witness how a Christian university respectfully treated students with different religious beliefs. I once had an Islam classmate that enjoyed the programs and events in the school despite their pro-Christian themes. In that university, I learned the value of cross-religion social relationships and understood that an individual is more than their beliefs.

The day that I abandoned my religious beliefs was a few months before my high school graduation. After that day, I developed a behavior that made me hostile to religion. Despite the positive lessons that I have learned, I developed unhealthy behavior for an unknown reason. I began to openly question the existence of god on social media and in my close social groups. Every time I saw television reports that are describing a religious event, I would start talking about how religion is a hoax and that every word in religious texts is hokum. Even in my academic work, I tend to project my disbelief and openly state that I am an atheist. I retained this hostile behavior up until I was in my third year in college. I opposed religion for so long and harbored negative emotions towards the concept.

Looking back, I think that this behavior was my unconscious attempt to validate my newfound ideologies. As I mentioned earlier, my experience in the Christian community was positive and I had no reason to antagonize Christianity or any other religion. All I received from them were lessons about love, forgiveness, and hope. The years that I spent mocking and negating religion had no merit since I was only trying to impose my ideas on others, similar to extreme religious individuals. During that time, I rationalized those actions as “saving” people from religious delusions and “scams” of the churches. I saw myself as a citizen doing a moral obligation, but in reality, I was simply a child proving my ideas to myself.

I want to change the day that I made the decision because I influenced the lives of other people during my “atheism crusade”. I converted some of my Christian friends to nonbelievers and agnostics; I questioned the beliefs of my parents that guided them through life; I made fun of religious teachers for dedicating their lives to fictional books; I destroyed others’ hopes of seeing their loved ones again in another life; I told people that they were foolish for believing in a god and that they are no different from a child with an imaginary friend. I was a selfish individual that was focused only on his own ideas and disregarded the perspective of others. I want to change that day so I can give back the hope that I have taken away.

Moreso, I want to change that day to regain the spectacles of wonder that I have lost. To be honest, I often find myself envying religious individuals for their unique outlook on life and the universe. I want to regain those spectacles of wonder to once again perceive the universe with the eyes of an innocent child; I want to look at the stars and see angels watching over me; I want to look at the trees, mountains, oceans, and be in awe of a god’s might; I want to go to a church and feel the unconditional love of a loving god; I want to see hope despite horrible events like the pandemic; In times of great tribulation, I want to go down on my knees, pray, and never feel alone. Changing that day would grant me these pleas and I could have been a sheep in a flock instead of an outsider looking beyond the fence.

This is only an example of a reflection paper on a controversial topic.

But I know that that day is gone and my decision is set in stone. I cannot go back in time nor can I erase my memories or of others. As much as I want to believe that there is a higher power that watches over us, I know that the rules of physics and the universe may not allow such an existence. Despite my wish for the existence of gods and the afterlife, I know that they are not out there. Regardless of my hopes that there could be a grand plan, I know that the universe acts in random and indeterministic ways. Science has provided explanations for many worldly phenomena and has allowed us a better understanding of the universe. All I can do now is live with the consequences of my actions and try to be a better individual.

In spite of these regret-filled statements, I am still glad that I became a nonbeliever. While I lost religion’s spectacles of wonder, I gained a new appreciation of the universe. I look at the stars and imagine the vast empty space that humans are a part of. It humbles me to know that we are just a small part of an expanding universe and that in all the chaos and randomness, humans existed; I observe the trees, mountains, and oceans and I am in awe of the majesty that the universe can create through its indeterministic ways; I look at my friends and family, and I am thankful that I get a chance to meet them and be a part of their lives.

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