My views on religion have shifted over the past decade or so. Growing up, I was raised in a pretty fundamentalist church, that my Mom and Dad are still members of. I remember, as a small child, really enjoying Sunday school. I’m a huge geek, and any opportunity to learn something historical is a huge win for me. So, for the first 10 years or so of my life, I really enjoyed church. As I started into my teens, I started having questions on what I was learning. Some of the stuff seemed a bit off, and many of the teachings of our church weren’t the “love everyone” idea that seemed to be the foundation of Christianity. By the time I was 15 or so, I was getting constant pressure from my mom to get baptized, but things felt off for me in the church. I started backing away from it, and by that point the church was preaching more of a “shunning” attitude, and I felt it was time to leave. Not just the church, but organized religion altogether.
That lasted quite a few years…until we moved to the Netherlands. For awhile, I had felt like there was something missing in my life. I knew, instinctively, that it was church and a relationship with God. In the NL, I met my dear friend, T, who is devoutly Catholic. She’s the type of person that doesn’t mind if you’re Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, whatever. If you’re a good person, then you’re good in her book. She was my first friend in the NL…and is still one of my best. She taught me a lot about the Catholic faith, and it was so interesting that I learned as much as I could. I visited a few Catholic churches (as well as other denominations within the Christian faith) to see where I fit on the most. I won’t lie…I went church shopping. I encourage everyone to do it if they’re confused about their faith or are looking for something.
When we moved home, I decided that I wanted to check out our local parish to see if it was a good fit. From the first moment I walked in, I felt such complete peace. It truly was a “homecoming” moment, which sounds so incredibly cheesy. It was like these people were my long-lost family, and I fit right in! I started attending the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and was later baptized into the faith over the Easter holiday.
All of this for my thoughts on religion. Honestly, it’s a personal choice. If it works for you, then go for it. I think people have an inherent relationship with God, but if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. I care more about whether a person is a “good person” than I care who that person worships. It’s a common middle ground for me, to discuss religion with people, but if they’re not religious it’s not like we won’t have a million other things we can talk about. If people want to ask me questions about my faith, I’m happy to answer, but I don’t consider it my job to convert you to the masses. Bottom line…it works for some, not for others.
So, there you have it. My thoughts on religion. If you have any questions on why I made the decision to convert, then I’m happy to answer them!