I have mentioned a number of times that I was raised in a fairly religious home. Basically the story I was told when I was a kid goes something like this. My parents met a a time when they were both kind of a mess, and they decided to get clean together, as a part of that effort they started attending church regularly. And so when I was born I went to church regularly, Now I know my parents love me and they have always tried to do what they believe was in my best interest. But this is one of the biggest problems with religion in general. You a made to believe that everyone’s religion is there on decision, but the reality is that for most people it is their parents decision. By the time you are old enough to make any sort of decision on the matter you have already spent fifteen or more years learning that this stuff is not only fact, but is the truth.
Now when It came to the realm of practical matters my parents, probably due to their less than ideal lives prior to religion, did not do me the disservice of denying me access to knowledge of the real world, they encouraged my curiosity and wanted me to learn about whatever I could, math and science especially. So when push came to shove I had the tools available to me that are required to make big life decisions. In my onion it is only the extremely delusional or extremely lucky that think that prayer and faith are the only things that you need to get by in the world.
That being said, I wish that I wouldn’t have spent so much of my life under the influence of religious morals. The biggest detriment was to my interest in pursuing science. For a long time I thought that evolution was a hoax and that the world was Seven thousand years old, and spent many an evening “Hypothesizing” about what could explain the presence of fossils and how talking about how evolution was “ just a theory’ I even wrote a petulant essay to my history professor telling him he had no right to cover evolution in a history class since it was “pre-historic, and by definition could not be covered by history”. And while that argument still seems pithy to me now, I realize that he was simply trying to make sure that we all understood the way it all connected. It’s these kinds of experiences that I regret the most.
I remember memorizing the books of the bible, the fruits of the spirit, loads of verses and bible stories. Even though I was being raised to believe that these things were true, I do recall a vague sense that it didn’t all add up. After all we reading the bible as though it were the word of god, because it says it is the word of god, and we believe it tells the truth because it says it does. Now, I know that there are whole fields of study devoted to the study and verifying of biblical events, and it’s great to know that the people of that time really existed, but I don’t think that was ever the point that people found hard to swallow. Anyways I always had a problem with the entire line of logic, the bible is infallible because the bible says it is? Go figure.
There was one bullet I dodged in the form of Stacee, my first girlfriend, who if I had not been set on saving myself for marriage at the time, I almost certainly would have slept with, and she slept with a lot of guys, a number of which I knew, and while we were dating…so there is that. Also having been raised in the church, I have done my fair share of reading the bible, and while I don’t have any of the passages memorized anymore, I am more capable of refuting Christian nonsense.
Really I think that the biggest problem with religion in general is that its too easy. They just come out and say, yes we have all the answers and here they are, but please, have some respect and don’t question it any of it especially the contradictions, God is good and he wouldn’t lead you astray. I mean the only reason you swallow it at all is because you a being drilled on it every week by your parents who you trust, with little choice in the matter, with you life. And you only stick with it if you never face a situation that lets you see the gaps in logic, whether that s because you have an underdeveloped sense of logic or because you have an unusually safe and happy life where you aren’t faced with such dilemmas to begin with.
My problems with religion, and the Christian church specifically aside, I turned out pretty well-rounded, and with a good head on my shoulders, and there is argument that some of my character today is due to my childhood in the church. But I think that I would probably still have turned out to be the good man I am today without religion to hold my hand.
And that’s my take on growing up in the church.