I can’t recall as a child being raised specifically as a Christian. My father was in the military and we lived on military bases wherever we were stationed. When I was small, my mother would take my sister and I to services on Sunday mornings, but they were generic protestant services. We were never forced to go, but any 5 or 6 year old, in those days, wouldn’t object.
My father never attended services that I am aware of. Of course, his job in the service had him working 12 hour shifts (this was during the troop buildup in Vietnam), and I always thought it was due to that he never attended. We never prayed before dinner and even though there were bibles in the home, I never witnessed anyone reading one; especially my parents.
I recall that when I was 12, I didn’t want to go to church. My father had just come home from one of those long night shifts and was eating breakfast. My mother didn’t make a scene but after she and my sister left for church, sitting at the kitchen table, my father asked my why I didn’t want to go to church.
I told him that nothing there made any sense to me. He looked at me for a few seconds, without any noticeable expression and just said, Okay.
My father served in WWII, Korea, and a little after that conversation, Vietnam. He was raised a Christian, forced to attend church every week. My mother, on the other hand, was never forced to believe. Her parents were Italian, her father a Catholic and her mother Jewish (figure that family dynamic out).
Why am I telling this story? It comes from thoughts I’ve had, based on comments from a recent post. How many people that identify as “Christian” are believers? I tend to think that there are a lot of people, when asked, automatically defer to their family history. It doesn’t actually say anything about the family (as it didn’t in my family) or about the belief system itself.
It’s an easy reply to a question and will generally not be controversial. Think about it. How many people do you know that claim Christianity actually go to church, or read the bible, or pray everyday? Yet when asked, they respond as Christian.
I know that during the time I was questioning my faith, before I concluded that none of what I was hearing or reading was true, I often responded the same to that very question.
It’s strange to me that these same people choose to identify as something they do not believe in or practice. I understand as I wrote in that previous post, some may believe there would be consequences with family, friends, and even with colleagues at work.
It’s dishonest, in my opinion, to claim to be a Christian, or any other religious belief, when no belief exists.
The day I knew I was free of all of this superstition was when I concluded I was actually an atheist. None of the religious nonsense I had been taught in my life would have any hold on me any longer.
Although it wasn’t easy at first, it became easier for me to tell people I am an atheist. I realized I actually didn’t care what they thought about me. I no longer feared being an outcast.
I was finally able to become who I truly am. I have no regrets. I would like to see more people come out of the closet and declare the same.
Maybe we’ll start seeing more in the future. People that value reason over superstition.