Let me start by saying that I was raised a Lutheran, and I converted to Catholic in college. I have always had questions that I felt never got answered with relation to the Bible and God. I am a very literal and analytical person, so a lot of things that the Bible says just don’t make sense to me. I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with me, which is fine. That’s our right as Americans and as humans: free speech and free will.
I don’t necessarily believe in any one religion over another, however, my husband and I have recently gravitated toward Buddhism and the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Last summer, we both took a quiz on www.beliefnet.com, which initiated a dialogue about religion. I encourage everyone to take this quiz, not only for fun, but also to see what it is that you REALLY believe. It forces you to answer questions that are sometimes taboo and uncomfortable, but they’re really important ones. I can’t say that it gave me a concrete answer as to what religion I should belong, but it certainly opened my eyes to what I am NOT.
This, of course, became a great source of controversy in our family recently, as we had a beautiful baby girl who we chose not to baptize into the Christian faith. My husband’s mother threw a HUGE fit and demanded that we baptize Hayden for HER (his mom) just in case. This was so confusing to me on so many levels. Why would we stand up in front of hundreds of people and LIE and say that we would choose to raise our daughter in a way that we absolutely will not? Isn’t that worse than not baptizing her in the first place? We’re taught NOT to lie. Just because I choose not to believe in God does not mean that I don’t have morals. Not only this, but I don’t believe that any god would send an innocent child to a horrible place (whether Hell or Purgatory) just because she was not baptized. The whole premise of Hell is that it’s a place for people who have sinned and have not repented. I don’t believe that we are BORN sinners. I don’t believe that it is possible for a baby to commit a sin.
When I told my father that I was no longer Christian and did not plan on raising my daughter as such, he bought me a housewarming gift: a cross with a prayer on it to hang on the wall in my house. My husband’s mom screamed for hours on end and kept saying that he’s wrong and that he’ll be sorry. His dad decided to change the subject to something more comfortable and appropriate (in his eyes). My point: we had barely any support or encouragement in our new direction. You’d think that we called our family to say (and please, do NOT take offense to this if you are gay/lesbian), “Mom, Dad, I’m gay.” It’s such a taboo thing, and there is just as much discrimination involved in “coming out” of the Christian closet. And it’s ridiculously unfair.
As a country, we preach about freedom and yet, there is so much discrimination all around us. We don’t allow for religious freedom in America, really. It says “In God We Trust” on all of our currency, for goodness sakes! The Pledge of Allegiance that we recited every single day in school says that we believe in one nation under God. Even the Girl Scout Promise talks about believing in God. Does that mean because I’m not raising my daughter in the Church that she cannot be a Girl Scout? I hope not, because I want a guaranteed source of Girl Scout Cookies!
Now, I’m not saying that I’m an Atheist or a devil-worshiper. I believe in a higher purpose, a higher calling. I believe in a life before and after this one. I believe in being the best person I can and respecting my neighbors. However, I don’t believe in the “man in the sky.” (for those who have seen “The Invention of Lying)
I challenge each of you to take the religion quiz at www.beliefnet.com, if for no other reason but to reaffirm your choice of faith! Start a dialogue, and let’s practice acceptance, folks. And hey, they don’t call me TheXile for nothin’