This will probably anger people, but so have other posts on my blog, so here goes nothing.
I was raised Catholic. I attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through my Senior year of High School. I went to church. I prayed. I even attended World Youth Day in 2000 in Rome.
And then my beliefs pretty much went to hell.
In being honest about who I am with those closest to me, I lost "friends" - they couldn't handle my honesty. They said I was a sinner, and therefore we could not be friends. They insisted I must change my ways, else I go to hell and bring everyone down with me. They did so under the guise of caring, loving Catholics who only wanted the best for me.
Then I admitted I was questioning my faith. This brought further backlash, further inner turmoil, further alienation from those I'd known since early childhood. I wondered how this would be possible if I were a God-loving woman. I wondered if this were considered some sort of testing by my God.
And then, I stopped it all. I stopped praying, I stopped believing, I stopped going to church, and I stopped spending time with those who were, at one point in time, the most important friends I had. And I felt free. I felt unencumbered by my fears, unfettered by those Commandments which had held me back for decades. I admit, I went a little nuts. I overindulged. I let myself experience many of the things I couldn't under the laws of the Church. And I was happy.
I'm just relieved I was able to do much of this without the denizens of the Internet reading about my journey...because I doubt I'd have been able to take it as well as this lady.
I know I'm tossing my 2-3 readers into the middle of this mess, so here's a quick recap. A bloggess called Mrs. G, who created The Women's Colony and who regularly contributed to The Pioneer Woman's Homeschooling section wrote a recent post regarding how she introduced religion into her children's lives. It's well written, and I certainly appreciated her approach (and seriously, go read the post her daughter wrote). She neither force fed them nor taught them nothing, giving them ample opportunity to choose whatever path they wanted to follow. I respect this.
Many of the readers of The Pioneer Woman, however, did not. Cue massive amounts of negative comments, emails, and even two phone calls to Mrs. G's home. People were angry...for silly reasons, in my opinion. The worst of it is how so many of them were claiming to be devout Christians, yet they were insulting everything about her; from her appearance to her method of raising her kids, they made a point to bring her down. I repeat: they called her at home to harass her. Who DOES that?
If anything, this has reaffirmed my aversion to organized religion. If one cannot worship in their own way (as laid out in the Bible), why bother worshiping in community at all? Furthermore, why are people so incapable of actually following the rules of their chosen religion? The most basic undercurrent of all Christian religions is one of love, not hatred for those who aren't like "us." No wonder Christians have such a bad reputation. Their loudest and most obnoxious (and seemingly least-devout) members* can't even follow the rules they preach.
I think what angers me the most about all of this - including the comments on The Pioneer Woman - is the lack of tolerance. There are MANY religions out there, and not every one is a fit for every person. Why can't people understand this? Why must there be so much ridiculous fighting over something so personal?
Why can't we let each other find the best path for ourselves, and applaud each other once we've found the belief structure that fits best?
*Let it be known that I'm fully aware not all Christians are like this. I wouldn't even say the majority behave this way...the vocal minority, however, seems to overshadow those who are following their faith as devoutly as they can. In this context, I'm referring to televangelists, snooping gossips who enjoy causing drama, and other similarly-aligned ne'er-do-wells.