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Catholic Kool-Aide


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    In my return post I mentioned that I had been drinking the Catholic kool-aide. In this sense, the Kool-Aid refers to religion and not my journey out of religion, everyone knows ya’ll have cookies anyways wink.png

 

  So what preceded the drinking of said beverage and my return to the church? Hmm, let’s see, in 2012, I moved in with my now ex-boyfriend who had a drug addiction to his own meds that he failed to mention before moving in. Lack of sex, combined with low self-esteem, and loss of the relationship due to the addiction (lies, covering up, etc.) put me in a place where I sought comfort. Anything would have done I suppose but I went back to ole faithful….my security blankie for when I’m having a rough time….religion. Oh there were plenty of ways to cope, however, I ran, I moved back in with my parents who were Assembly of God and are now Baptist. In doing so, I had prayed for God to deliver me from this particular situation…and he “answered”. Never mind the fact that my dad has always said that I could move home, “There’s always a room for you Kristen,” he has said so many times in my life that I cannot begin to count them. Never mind the fact that I’ve been in previous relationships where there was some kind of mental or emotional abuse going on…I’ve been there before.

 

  Still I returned to my religion albeit in a different form than before. Sometime in either high school or my early college years, I had made the decision that there were three options for me to choose from should I ever decide to leave my Protestant upbringing, they are as follows: Atheism, Buddhism, and Catholicism (I’d done my brief stint in Buddhism). I figured this time around, I’d try Catholicism. In college, I’d spent years studying history and knew that it was the “original” form of Christianity, despite the many changes that surely took place, so I signed up for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). RCIA is a way for the Catholic Church to educate people who either want to become Catholic or were raised Catholic but walked away from their faith. It’s an initiation process that takes the better part of a year, typically beginning in the fall and ending in June or whatever day Pentecost happens to fall on. At this point, I’d read most of the published works available in the library by Scott Hahn, a few by Pope John Paul II, and some other books. A friend of mine at work had recently converted and seemed to be really happy with her decision and had no problem talking with me about religion or culture even if we both had vastly different positions. With my friend, there was no judgment, no raised eye brows, just simple discussion. Her kindness and respect for me opened the door more or less to this faith. So on I went.

 

   Some things that I learned made me respect my church for its faith. Granted, much of it is myth and tradition. Topics like homosexuality where viewed quite differently from my Protestant upbringing. Now more than ever, this is important to me, since I’ve come to realize that I’m attracted to women. The Church views homosexuality as disordered and considers those acts to be sinful but to be homosexual is not in itself a sin, therefore, the urge/require/whatever the gay and lesbian members of their Church to be celibate.  Other things that I learned involved evolution, and this one is confusing to me, they believe in evolution (or at least the scientists do) but require people to believe that Adam and Eve were the first people created and the first to sin.

 

   So while I learned some interesting things and found the church to be more “liberal” than I had expected, there were some red flags for me that I don’t quite get. One of those concerned the aforementioned evolution/creation thing. It was like, “Evolution is cool, science backs it up, but you have to believe what the Bible says regarding Adam and Eve.” I’ve always kind of questioned that, especially since it seems that all of mankind is traced back to about 10,000 individual or something. Another issue I had involved birth control. I don’t personally use birth control because it screws with the chemicals in my head and causes my bi-polar to be worse. Also what about the people that do not want children? I, for one, am one of those people. According to the Church, I shouldn’t get married because I don’t want children. They even consider men who are unable to consummate the marriage to be unmarriageable. There are many more issues than I can list and that doesn’t include the child abuse that’s going in the church.

 

   After going through the entire RCIA process where I lamented my atheism, drank the Kool-aide, went through the rites, etc, my confirmation took place on April 19/20 at Easter Vigil. It was a beautiful service-really. A bit macabre when you think about the drinking of the blood and eating of the body since Catholics do believe in transubstantiation (the material stays the same but the substance changes into Christ). Shortly after that service I got sick, probably from either the Communion cup or the sudden onset of spring (yay climate change) and missed church for about three weeks.

 

   Sunday mornings have never been so relaxing. Another day to play World of Warcraft until my eyes burned and my brain was on the floor, time to sleep in after staying up all night, catching the cheese horror shows on Discovery or LMN. During this time, I didn’t give much thought to my beliefs. I just enjoyed life. Going to church provided a sort of community although once again I was surrounded by people that I had nothing in common. At one point, I think my Sponsor wanted to give me up for Sponsorship. We were different but it worked. I think our biggest disagreement was on Planned Parenthood which provided me healthcare when I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. I guess the big question at this point is how did I get to the point where I’m agnostic again?

 

   Truth be told, I’ve no clue. Previously, my struggle revolved around an undiagnosed mental illness, dad’s accident, anger that it would happen, misunderstanding of everything that I had been taught, fear of my parents, you name it. I was angry and rightly so. Every person that I had been taught was bad as a child/teen/young adult, I met and became friends with. Lesbians, awesome! Atheists? Love ‘em. Pagans? Sweet! Liberals? You know they might be onto something. My first time having sex was pointless, I think my thought was, “This is it!?” Any guilt that I felt was indoctrinated into me. So yeah, I was angry as anyone would be who had been in my situation.

 

   This time a year or two later, not only am I not angry but I’m kind of meh about the whole religion thing. I think continuing my deconversion is a good thing, especially since I’ve bought the Brooklyn Bridge a few times. Seriously, I am gullible…not that I’m proud of that but it is what it is. My critical thinking needs to be jump started and learning how to think instead of what to think is a beautiful thing as well. This journey started off with a random viewing of a Cult of Dusty video, followed by Jaclyn Glenn, Thinking Atheist, and on and on. My evening routine after work usually involves me and my mom, we commute together, going to the gym and walking on the treadmill, at which point, I put on my ear buds and listen to a Thinking Atheist podcast, assuming that I don’t crash after eating dinner later that evening, I usually put on my head phones again and listen to either a lecture or podcast on Youtube while I play World of Warcraft. So that’s about it in a nutshell.

 

   I’m still not out either way to my parents and don’t plan on coming out either unless there’s a reason that they need to know. They’ve been through enough in the past few years that my leaving the fold again could do some major damage to our relationship. I think I’m ending this in a middle of a thought but since I wrote this while at work, it’ll have to do.  

 

   Any other ex-Catholics out there?

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I wasn't Catholic, but welcome back!

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I am ex-Catholic, but I was also a cradle Catholic, so I cannot relate to joining from another world view. All the stuff you learned in RCIA, I took for granted growing up. It was all obviously true.

My mom did convert into Catholicism, but even after more than half a century she still has the zeal of the convert. She is practically bathing in the Kool-Aid, and cannot relate to leaving the faith. (Not that she would ever be caught dead on this Web site.)

I once knew a former Protestant as she was going through RCIA and was confirmed into the Catholic Church. Then she fell in love with a divorced Catholic, and discovered the politics and hypocrisy in the church from observing the annulment process. This happened in Massachusetts, where she could easily see one of her senators buy himself an annulment. Her fiancé was denied the annulment, but they married anyway. After that, the pastor turned to ice toward her, a side of him I had never seen before. She left the RCC shortly after that. My heart broke for her.

Several years after moving out of that parish, I encountered a former parishioner on the Internet. I asked her if she was still involved with the parish, and she said she was no longer Catholic. Too much politics and hypocrisy. Damn, another one lost!

How could intelligent, good-hearted people leave the bestest church in the world when they knew it had The Truth™?

To digress, stories like these made the everlasting hell spiel very, very hard to swallow.

My parents raised all 8 of their kids in the One True Religion. Three have switched to other brands of Christianity, one has adopted a non-Christian spiritual practice, one has gone full atheist (guess who), and one is a non-practicing Catholic. Only 2 remain active Catholics. I’m quite sure that 6 of us are not going to burn in HELL forever.

I know that 6 of us leaving the church (including 1 de facto) has been hard on my mom. She is praying for me (and like all Christians, she is sure to tell me so). (Speaking of which, at least one of my non-Catholic sisters is praying for me, even as I’m sure our mother is praying for her. How does God sort all this out?) I essentially let my mom catch me outside the closet, and all I can do, while remaining true to myself, is assure her that I will keep an open mind.

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