God and religion boil down to a lack of faith, faith in yourself and faith in humanity. The test of faith is choosing to believe in yourself and other people when bad experiences make you question goodness. When this happens, it’s tempting to run away from reality through fantasy instead of embracing pain. The real message of salvation is this: believe in yourself, believe in other people. You are good enough, you can do it. Salvation comes mostly from within. Outsourcing it to a god or person will create more problems down the road. You don’t need to be forgiven by anyone, but the precondition to freedom is forgiving and accepting yourself exactly as you are, and not allowing someone else’s actions to dictate your life. Life is not a battle of good versus evil. It’s a journey of growth. There are plenty of good people who will help you along the way. We’re all in this together, there’s no winning or losing side. Ultimately, there is no separation; everything is connected. Cooperation and connection benefit everyone, even those who can’t accept it. When we lose faith, we are tempted to rely on things that do not serve us. When we lose faith, we start seeing the world as a dark place and ourselves as dark. We look to fill that void with more darkness, more judgment and separation. Coming into the light means embracing everything; that’s what it means to be fully alive.