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My Religious Background

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When I get into discussions with the strongly devout I'm invariably accused of choosing to not believe in the Bible.  They attribute it to fear, or hate, or a traumatic episode in my life.  They refuse to accept just how little I actually care about their religion.  During my formative years I essentially ignored it.

My religious background is that I basically have none. My parents grew up in fairly religious households, and when they got married they were kind of tired of it. They had agreed to each other that they'd take us kids (I have one brother) to church and let us decide for ourselves. But when Sunday mornings rolled around they never worked up the initiative to do it.

They never spoke badly of religion. They just didn't speak about it, that I recall. It wasn't taboo. It simply never came up in conversation. It was simply beneath noticing.

I remember going to a Catholic church once with one of my friends when I was in fifth grade, when I slept over one Sat night. It being Catholic, I was clueless about everything that was going on. Pretty much just bored. I think I went to church with my grandparents on my dad's side a few times when I was really young. I vaguely remember the hymn books. They were very devout Baptist.

My grandmother on my mom's side believes in God, but doesn't attend church. My dad's current wife is pretty devout, and a lot of their friends make church central to their lives. I haven't discussed it with him, but he might be falling back under their sway. I only recently discussed all this with my mom, which is how I learned about their intention to take us to church. She considers herself an atheist, and considers religions just myths. She used that word specifically in conversation once.

I was a blank slate when I was in Boy Sprouts and when I went to YMCA summer camps. And all the religious stuff in both those settings just whooshed right by, and I never really thought twice about it. I used to watch the claymation show Davey and Goliath as a kid, and literally didn't notice that it was so strongly religious. To me, the little mini-sermons at the end had no more impact than the morals at the end of nursery rhymes. I was actually in my teens before it sunk in that Easter was a religious holiday. I simply never made the connection.

So. There was no trauma. No fear. No antipathy. Religion was simply so unimportant to me that I barely noticed it. I didn't care what people believed.

Except that I thought it was all pretty silly.

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Last modified: May 19, 2006
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