Monday, May 15, 2006

Religion

Growing up I was raised as an Episcopalian, although my family was very "WASP". You knew you were loved, but there was not much affection in my house. We were emotionally removed from each other. My family went to church regularly until I was in 2nd grade, then we went for the important holidays, that is until we moved the summer before 5th grade. They we stopped going all together, although mom would occasionally take we three siblings to a Baptist church or synagogue or Pentecostal church, etc. so we could be exposed to all religions and so we could make our own "choice" when we grew older.

Around this same time, several close relatives passed away (2 grandparents and an aunt). I remember being distraught over the death of my aunt, distant over the death of one grandparent, and altogether emotionally removed when the third died. I think it is at this point in my life when I decided to no longer believe in God.

I remember sitting in the church during my grandfather's wake, listening to the priest mangle his nickname and screw-up the children's' names and relations. I looked around, saw the packed church, and started to laugh. I don't why, but absurdity of the moment just struck me. All the people gathered had not been close in my grandfather's life (as far as I knew), they didn't know me from Eve, yet they were crying as though they actually missed him. To my young mind, this was wrong.

We moved shortly after that and my family went through a readjustment period that was not good. Again, where was the "almighty support" that I needed? There was none. I grew older and chose archaeology as my profession. The scientific, rational world became my choice of reality. In my hands, I held objects that were older than anything in the bible, and could scientifically be proven so. In my young 20's, I found religion laughable. Only unsophisticated folks believed in God (remember, I know everything at this point in my life, or at least I think so). I couldn't understand how some of my friends could go to church regularly, especially with the way they lived their lives. They were hypocrite. I tried going, but felt oddly out of place, like everyone could see I was "faking it".

In my late 20's; far from home in a different country, with husband away defending our country, I envied those around me who had their religion. I wanted to be able to place my faith in a superior being who would make everything alright, or at least have a purpose for the hurt and sorrow that was around us. Again, I couldn't believe in God. I wished I could, but I just couldn't.

Now in my thirties, I still desire a belief. I have a son who is being raised a "heathen" (my mother's words). I know the value of a religious education, it is ingrained in our culture (Easter, Christmas, words like crucified, etc.), and yet I do not believe. With what my dad just went through, I would love to have had a faith to fall back on for support. But I don't. My question to you: "How can you make an unbeliever believe?"

1 comment:

wally said...

Your religious history is similar to mine. I was raised going to church but tossed it all away at about age 20. But, I found God at 27. I don't want to preach, and I wouldn't try to foist denominational dogma on anyone. But I can say that life is different now. It's not religion it's a relationship with the Creator.