It’s 12 months ago that I stopped attending church services every Sunday. And its 6 months since I officially terminated my church membership. It has been an interesting year; even though in the summer of 2019 I could not believe in the God of the bible I hadn’t realised how much of my life and decision making was influenced by religion.
Day after day I see more clearly how religion has impacted my life and still impacts the life of my family whom all still believe.
Leaving religion behind wasn’t easy. I had to think about my moral framework, what can I base my morals on? Is anything good, is any action worth while? And more ‘normal’ questions like what are my goals in life, and why? Religion gives you an easy way out, a sheltered life without having to face tough questions. But I have learned that the easy way out has a dark side. Something I had blamed my parents for, but I should and do blame my church.
Unsurprisingly i’m fascinated by almost all facts and love asking questions. Knowing how something works, and why it does so in a particular way has always fascinated me. But asking questions wasn’t encouraged by my local church and community, asking questions is dangerous. You should just believe, stay away from anything non religious; that’s the devil louring you away from god. We had no TV and weren’t allowed to watch movies, so the only information you receive is meticulously curated by the religious school or church. Yes it was that intense, my religious upbringing wasn’t all fun and love Jesus, to the contrary.
I’m a reasonably intelligent person, but growing up I did quite poorly in school until the age of 17/18. Looking back I can easily tell you why; almost everything I’m interested in know wasn’t thought at school, church or home. My inquisitive nature has been suppressed quit well. When I think back about my time in elementary school one memory stands out clearly: nature films. About once every 1-2 months we would watch a film about nature or a particular animal. The setting of the movie was a museum like building with white walls, floors and ceilings. In the walls where windows which displayed a scene from nature, the camera would zoom through the halls of this building and dive through a window into that particular story.
I always loved those afternoons, I felt an indescribable feeling of wonder while and after watching those movies. The movie was narrated by a Dutch person mentioning how long ago a particular scene unfolded itself, and the teacher always corrected te narrator. Because the scientific explanation didn’t suit with the creationist view. Although I felt this immense sense of wonder, and note this was not admiration for god, the thought that evolution by natural selection could be true never crossed my mind once. Never.
If my religious upbringing could do this to me, a person that is sceptical by nature, how would people that had been exposed to this nonsense for decades be effected? Well, that’s wat resent the church for most.
I have rediscovered my interested in almost anything nature/science related and love reading and discovering everything I can find. But not everyone has my analytical nature and disregard for conventions and social pressure. I don’t want to think about what I could have done if had been raised by secular parents because that makes me just sad.
My parents aren’t that lucky, they still believe in the religious teachings. And on first thought that’s fine, im not on a crusade to rid the world of all religions. But I want to everything to think for themselves, no matter who you are. And that is something my parents never have learned and seem incapable of now.
I mentioned that I never thought twice about evolution, I just knew it couldn’t be true as a child. My parents are like this, and they are approaching 50. They can’t seriously consider anything that contradict their religious teachings. They can’t even explain why they hold some religious believes, but at the same time are utterly convinced that is true and are shocked to tears that I don’t feel the same. They have never been thought to ask for the evidence, they have never been taught to ask why.
And that is what I resent the church for. They have made it hard to talk with my parents about serious topic (even non religious ones) because they can’t reason. And that’s not their fault, it’s the fault of the system that made them that way. They never new better, they don’t know the joy of knowing – that has been stolen from them.
Clergyman are different, it is their job and responsibility to look out for their community. They fail spectacularly at that. Looking back at times I did ask questions of the clergy during bible study I have to conclude that their answers where anything but honest. Answers that where logically flawed, answers designed to stop you asking more questions. But I didn’t realise that back then.
I feel sorry for my parents and hope they can free themselves of this system. I blame the clergy for designing and acting in this deliberately evil system.