Religion to me is a lot like politics. People are going to believe what they want to believe and there isn’t much you can do to sway their opinions otherwise. I find it surprising when I meet people who feel the need to be over-the-top religious. I’ve always felt if you’re true to yourself then things should come naturally. You don’t need to share your bible journaling on social media every time you do it or preach about being #blessed 24/7.
I feel that regardless of age, people can change their personal beliefs about religion. I know that when I was a little girl, both of my parents told me that I would ride my bicycle singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs. My mother didn’t have a religious bone in her body but would attend church somewhat regularly with my father and I (who became a Christian at the ripe age of 50, shortly after I was born) on Sundays. This was until they split at the end of 1992 when I was 8.
For little kids, there’s just something about learning about religion from those that truly believe with that blind faith. It’s the type of faith that hasn’t been jaded and mistrusted that helps a tiny person to believe that all is good in the world. I didn’t have a conventional upbringing, I had a rough early adulthood (much to my own demise), and marriage and motherhood haven’t always been easy for me with the hardships that I’ve faced. Not to mention that I buried both my parents by the time that I was 30 years old, which although is a natural chapter in life, still weighs you down and overwhelms you with emotions.
When I meet people and the topic of religion ever does come up, I do my best to completely avoid the situation. I don’t want to have to explain to someone why I don’t believe, and I most certainly don’t want someone to make me feel bad or that I’m simply “missing out” for not believing. I don’t want to hear that there’s a book I “have to read” or that they will “pray for me” to change. Everyone needs something in life, and all religion has done for me is to make me question it to the point at which it makes me feel torn up inside. And to be completely honest, I feel much more at peace not dealing with that in my life.
I feel that to teach your kids to be good people, not taking your children to church every Sunday will not permanently damage them. I baptized all three of my children, mostly as a favor to my husband’s side of the family–as well as mine–because I knew that it meant something to them and that would make for a nice memory and celebration. I chose to send my two oldest children to a private religious preschool for one year because I wanted them to learn about God and the Bible and the things that I learned before I was old enough to make decisions on my own and choose what I wanted to believe.
Never will I shame someone for not taking their kids to church, or for not praying as a family or practicing religion. It’s not fair for me to be judged, especially since I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible that judging another person is wrong, anyway.
For myself, the door to religion has been closed. It’s not locked, but it’s closed for right now. Perhaps one day it will open again, but if for some reason it doesn’t, my life will still be complete.