Faith, at least religious faith, doesn’t play any part in my life. Even though I was raised Catholic and went to church every Sunday, I had a problem with some of the teachings and the hypocrisy of the church’s teachings. There were two significant moments in my religious upbringing that turned me away from the church.
I went to a Catholic school from 3rd to 6th grade. Part of the Catholic curriculum is, of course, a religion class. My 4th grade religion teacher once told me that to ever miss Sunday mass is a mortal sin. Me, being a thinker and someone who routinely questions authority, obviously had some questions about this statement.
“So, what if our car is broken down and we can’t get to church?” I innocently asked. To this day, I still think this is a valid response to this teacher’s inane statement. She, however, simply shrugged her shoulders.
“What if I’m sick and can’t make it to church?” I inquired curiously. Again, she had no answer. She simply reiterated her statement that missing church, for any reason, is a mortal sin.
Sorry, but if you want me to believe that God is benevolent and forgiving, you can’t sit there and tell me he’ll subject me to eternal damnation if circumstances beyond my control prevent me from attending Sunday mass. The inherent contradiction in your teachings is ludicrous, 4th grade religion teacher whose name I cannot recall.
Three years later, when I was in 7th grade, I was enrolled in a public school, but attending religion classes provided by our church. The teacher of this class told me, and every other child in this class, that the story of Adam and Eve was “made up” because “no one really knows how God created man.”
So, on one hand I’m being told to have faith in the Bible and that every part of the Bible is true and on the other I’m being told that parts of the Bible are made up because there are some things we can’t explain.
Once I grew older I began to see other contradictory actions committed by the church which drove me further away. Specifically, their treatment of gays (love thy neighbor, unless he or she is gay) and those who believe differently than they do.
I’m not an atheist, per se, but I guess it’s more accurate to call me confused. I’m not sure if God exists or not. I guess that makes me agnostic. You’ll never truly know the truth until you’re dead.
I do have faith, however. My faith is that all things happen for a reason. This may or may not be true, but that’s what I believe. That belief is what gets me through hard times. It helps me to look for the silver lining when things seem their bleakest. It helps me persevere. It keeps me going. A “when one door closes another door opens” mentality. That belief has served me well up to this point in my life, and so I’ll continue believing that way. For instance, when my wife left I could have just pouted in front of that closed door and wallowed in a “woe is me” mentality. And I did for a week or two. But then I opened another door. A door that opened me up to new possibilities. A door which led to a new me. A door to (to steal from Mikalee Byerman) Me 2.0. A new version of me. The sequel. Part Deux.
That faith, that belief, got me to where I am today. It keeps despair at bay when I’m down. It keeps water from my lungs when I’m drowning. It’s a helping hand to pull me up after I’ve been knocked down. It may not be a conventional faith, but it works for me and that’s all that matters.
What about you, probably bored reader. Do you have faith? If so, what do you believe in?