I grew up in a loosely Catholic family, meaning that my parents were baptized in the Catholic Church but neither were devout. We attended Christmas mass, Easter mass and Sunday mass sporadically but as a family, we never became regular patrons at any church. Much to the aghast of my late pious grandfather, who was a deacon at one point in his life, my sisters and I were never baptized.
As a child, I always questioned the Catholic Church. There just seemed to be so many rules that did not make sense to me and the answers I received, did not alleviate my uneasiness with the religion. I did not understand why I had to refrain from eating meat on Fridays for Lent. I did not get why confessing my sins to a priest would make my life better. I did not know why going to church every Sunday was required to save my soul.
My mom told me that since she grew up being forced to go to church all the time, she rebelled when she became an adult and chose not to go anymore. She would see people go to mass every Sunday and confess their sins to the priest but then continue on doing the exact same dirty deeds the next week. The religious hypocrisy spurned her from becoming a devout Catholic.
My dad always taught me that God lives in your heart and that you did not have to go to any church or temple to worship Him.
My first year in college, I took a class called “Religions of the World.” I learned about Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Taoism, Muslim, and a few other religions. I came to appreciate the differences among all religions. Towards the end of the semester, one of my classmates said something quite profound. He said, “All these religions we have been studying seem to be just different paths that lead to the same goal.”
When the Catholic Church molestation scandal broke, I fell completely out of the faith. An institution that protected priests instead of innocent children was one that I had no desire to be a part of. I was starting my journalism career at the time and covering stories after stories about the abuse that was condoned within the Catholic Church, really turned me away from the religion.
Janeane Garofalo once said, “It doesn’t matter what religion it is. The woman always has to take a backseat to the man.” I think it’s quite true. Some to a greater extent than others.
I am not bashing on any religion. Everyone has a right to believe in whomever and whatever they choose. I find it odd how religious wars are still raging on after all this time. Throughout history, we’ve had religious wars but what is the point of it all? In the end, who really wins in a war? There may be a small percentage of those who benefit, but largely everyone suffers in times of war. My God is not better than your God. You don’t have to believe in a Higher Being the way I do. But even here in America, you still see people trying to cram their religion down others’ throats. You don’t have to go to the Middle East to see that.
I see political candidates like Michelle Bauchmann and Sarah Palin and I think they are just nutcases. But the frightening reality is that they have a big following. People in America are like lemmings. They just follow the masses and they don’t think for themselves. I worked in general news for 8 years before I got fed up with dealing with the mass public because the mass is dumb. I’ve given up hope on the mass.