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My journey from Catholicism

By Flashfan12 ~

It truly is sad how religion is practically forced down Children's throats these days, something I can personally attest to.

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning
St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was younger, I grew up in a Catholic environment- my father, sister and mother were all Catholics, my grandparents were all heavily devoted, and my cousins, though not as dedicated, went through the essential traditions as well. I was sent to a church school as a child, which teaches us 'Religion' lessons once a day and holds optional masses every day before school. Apart from that, it forces us to go to a mandatory school mass every month, on the first Friday. I would also be forced to go to Catechism twice a week, in order to be able to do my Holy Communion and Confirmation.

As a child, I never did find anything 'wrong' with this, though I loathed having to go through all this- I personally found everything on that list incredibly boring, monotonous, and I would spend my time at church counting the 'stars' on the ceiling as opposed to actually paying attention. Apart from that, I never truly understood what all the nuns at my school said about a 'connection with god'- I would pray for hours on end as a child, just begging to find something, anything, that could help me find this 'feeling' that my teachers talked about, and be able to fit in as opposed to feeling completely empty and depressed inside.

Ironically, it was my Catholic mother who helped me rebel against the system.

See, she works full time, as does my father, but seeing as she has her own company, it becomes rather hard for her to keep up with the workload in addition to housework. Because of this, she never did have time to go to Sunday Mass, not even on days like Easter or Midnight Mass on Christmas because she would either be too busy or too tired to do so, which is understandable.

But while understandable, it had inspired the so-called 'rebellious streak' in me. I would think that, if she didn't have to suffer through the religious bull crap, the why should I?

And so, at around 8, my fleeing from Catholics had begun, although not for the reason most of you tend to do it, from what little I've seen on this site. I would constantly lie to my parents, saying I had gone to church in school on Friday so I didn't need to go to church on Sundays, which doesn't really work because the only substitute for Sunday mass is Saturday night but I was stubborn enough that they would let it slide. Granted, I couldn't do this every week and I still would had to go to church twice a month, one of them I couldn't bail on unless I was sick seeing as it was in school, but it was still better than the alternative.

I think it also helped that I'm kind of an introvert. See, I live in a small town in a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. To give you an idea, my country is about... 300 km squared. And it's divided into MANY towns and cities, each about 2.5 km squared. And each town has it's own church, sometimes more than one, so most of my town's citizens tended to go to the same church. Most children living in my town tended to go to the same public school, so when I went to Catechism, I would be the outlier. Although I struck up a semi-friendship with the girl who was baptised at the same time as I was, it wasn't particularly strong and she had stronger ties with the other children, so I would often be left alone by the kids there, despite it LITERALLY being the place where they preached unity, kindness and friendship, and how you should see God in everyone and "What Would Jesus Do?"

It was horrible, and it made me especially loathe going to the otherwise-fun lessons. Looking back, I am happy I was treated as I was, because if I had particularly happy memories there, then I am almost certain that I wouldn't have stopped being Catholic.

So, with my Confirmation under my belt and finally coming to an agreement with my father that absolved me from going to church, much to his displeasure, I was all set to put it all behind me and forget what amounted to years of my life being wasted just to achieve the social norm.

I still have to go to my church school, however, seeing as it covered both middle and elementary school. I was, and still am, being washed by Catholic nonsense each and every weekday. But I didn't think anything of it, until one particular religion lesson when we had to 'reflect on our connection to God'.

That's when it hit me. I had no connection to God- I never did, not even when I was younger and would obediently repeat prayer after another with my grandmother. I was only mimicking in the way children prayed, not truly understanding the very words coming out of my mouth. Nothing I had could have been attributed to anything aside from a placebo effect, and I didn't even feel that since I was starting to doubt myself, and my friends certainly didn't look like they were suddenly enlightened or happier or whatever nonsense my teachers were trying to convince us of.

I suddenly lost a huge chunk of my faith in that one lesson. I started to doubt the teachings for the first time, something beyond pure annoyance at the monotony of them. So, with my faith shaken, I took to my favourite school subject- Science.

See, I'm kind of a science nerd at school- I'm in love with the complexities of the universe and figuring out how things work. I started looking into scientific theories about how the universe works, the Big Bang, string theory, even if I had to ask my father to explain most of it in more basic terms, seeing as I was twelve at the time, and I hadn't even started taking Physics at school yet.

I would spend hours on end talking about physics with my father, not once hinting to what inspired me to try and find as many answers as I could, thinking that it might have lead to a serious discussion about my faith with my grandmother calling to knock some sense into me. I didn't want to lose whatever ground I'd gained with such a setback, not at least until I figured out where I'd stood on the controversy of religion.

Not satisfied with the uncertain theories on the creation of the universe, I started reading the source material on my religion itself- the bible. For the first time in my life, I started an examination, one without instruction on specific paragraphs or verses to read, and what I'd read shocked me. Starting with the Old Testament, with a more developed mine I was horrified at the actions of the old testament God, he who would punish an entire populace for the actions of one tyrant, one dictator. It sounded nothing like the God they told me about in my childhood, one who supposedly loved each and every one of us, and who would guide us to heaven should we be good, faithful Catholics.

Clearly, it had seemed that either this was a different God, or that someone had distorted the religion so completely that it turned a racist, petty, unjust, unforgiving, bloodthirsty, sadistic, vindictive being that made characters like Hitler seem tame in comparison, to a being of light and goodness.

I also fell back on my teachings in the way of science, and realized that if the tale of Adam and Eve, one which had been thought of as truth for centuries, was pure fiction, what other stories could have been made up as well? With this in mind, I began to doubt anything with a supernatural element in the bible- the miraculous healing, the acts of bringing the dead back to life- it was all dubious. I started researching, and realized that the roman census that had caused Mary and Joseph to travel before Jesus was born had in fact never happened. If the very birth of Jesus was false, then all that came with it must have been as well. The guiding star, the three kings, it was all fictional to me at that point.

Distressed, I made the best decision of my life- I looked to the internet, and stumbled upon this site.

What I saw shocked me- I fell upon an article which so beautifully described the questions that plagued me, and addressed the author's thoughts on the subject matter itself. It provided substantial evidence on the dubious existence of God, and I found myself converting to Atheism, or at the very least Agnosticism, but I certainly wasn't a Catholic anymore.

I kept this to myself for a while- I go to a Church school in a Catholic country, with heavily religious grandparents, after all. I only shared it with my parents, something which my mother seemed accepting of. My father too, though a bit less enthusiastic about my conversion. I also shared it with a friend I trusted who had also been having doubts, and she seemed to agree with me completely on the points I brought up, so I had someone else to confide in during my conversion, and the same went for her.

And... that's about everything. My entire life story regarding religion. I still have my doubts and times of uncertainty, but on the whole I believe I made the right choice. I hope that this article may have helped other teenagers who are going through the same problems I'm facing, or anyone really, and this is where I leave you. Goodbye, and good luck!

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