30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 4
Discuss your views on religion.
I usually try to avoid discussing subjects like religion. People are usually passionate about topics such as this one. They are steadfast in what they believe, and it can sometimes be hard to remain civil. However, the blogging challenge gods have spoken, so it may be time for some revelations…
I grew up in a Christian family. My parents aren’t overly-religious, but they take religion seriously. Growing up, my family attended Sunday school and church every Sunday. My parents were both members of the church. My mother taught a children’s class for a while and my father still does the sound system and maintenance for the church. My brother and I participated in our classes and excelled.
It was around confirmation that I started to question the existence of God. (Those of you who aren’t familiar with Christianity, confirmation is the process of learning about the faith extensively and then becoming recognized as a member of the church.) I was about 12 years old once I started going through confirmation, and I distinctly remember asking my pastor THE question. You know, the big “If God created everything, where did God come from?” He responded with, “This is our faith. This is what we believe in.” Another kid chimed in with, “God is God… is God.” This was a satisfactory answer for a while. So, after I went through the motions, I was confirmed into the church and baptized in front of the members.
I continued to attend church because, once I had been confirmed, my family stopped going to Sunday school. Having a less personal teaching experience, I stopped thinking about religion and questioning everything altogether. Around the age of 14, I decided I was an Atheist, but I continued to attend church so my parents wouldn’t find out. I knew they would be upset, but I also didn’t want to stop attending church. I absolutely love a lot of the people who attended that church, and I liked disputing the sermon in my head. I should have been smote. I eventually started to work on Sunday mornings, so I stopped attending church then.
I found out around the age of 15 that my brother was an Atheist, too, but I never talked to him about it. Eventually, my parents discovered a college paper he had written on religion, and they confronted him about it. From then on, every time there was a family prayer at a funeral or Thanksgiving, my parents would always look to my brother to see if he was praying, too. This was not something I wanted for myself, so I continued to keep my religious views a secret.
After living comfortably in the dark for a while, my brother asked me one summer evening if I was an Atheist. It was easier than I thought to tell him the truth. He encouraged me to tell my parents about it, but I had seen the way they treated him. I know he wouldn’t have felt as alone if my parents knew about me, and he would have someone else to take some of the heat during religious conversations, but I still couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone except for my brother and a few close friends.
Things went like this for a while until one morning, my mother asked me point blank, “Are you an Atheist, too?” My heart dropped, my mind went blank, I was terrified, but I could not lie to her. I told her then what I had been hiding for years. It put a weird strain on our relationship, but we don’t usually discuss religion, and that keeps things from getting heated. I know she is upset that my brother and I don’t share her religious views, and I’d change this if I could, but is incredibly difficult to reverse a core belief. However, one thing in all of this madness is certain: Even though my mother believes I will not have an afterlife with her, if there IS an afterlife, nothing will keep me from her.
As far as I know, my brother and I are the only godless heathens in our entire extended family. Because of this though, a few of my younger relatives are more comfortable with discussing issues that are typically taboo in their parents’ conservative religion. I want my younger family members to be comfortable discussing these things with me. I want them to know that even if their parents’ religion condemns things such as homosexuality, they are not wrong.
I don’t think religion is a bad thing, and I respect religion until it labels a group of people as sinners. It is wrong to condemn homosexuals, transgender people, and anyone whose religious views do not align with one’s own. If their God is supposed to be the judge, why should they get to tell these groups what they are doing is wrong? I refuse to be a part of a religion that condones the hatred of an entire group.
I’ve been told my non-religious views are just a phase. It is normal for someone my age to question their religion. Perhaps this is true. But for now, these are my non-religious views.