This week we asked Entropy contributors about the place of religion in their childhoods. What religion did you grow up in? How do you feel about that religion now? Were your parents/grandparents religious?
1.Roman Catholic. 2. ????. 3. Yes, grandparents very. Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus, etc. Parents not so much, they shared other faiths with us throughout childhood, but they did make Catholic rituals, sacraments, etc. a big part of our lives.
Irish Catholic on my mom’s side, so 12 years of Catholic school. Latin, but only for religious use. My father was casually Lutheran, and summers, when I stayed with his side of the family, I got to go to their church. Cool architecture, groovy guitar mass, long-haired minister—it pretty much was “Hair” without the nudity or the acid. The sermons were based on generosity, rather than fear and punishment. I never felt Catholicism wanted me. Seeing people I cared for turned away from their faith simply because of who they are is just not something I’ll let pass. When I moved to New Mexico, I saw Catholicism practiced in a more humane way. It seems ecumenical rather than exclusionary, and everyone was welcome. Also: much better art in the churches and ghosts are allowed. I think if I had been raised in this version, it might have stuck.
My maternal grandmother left the Catholic Church when my mother was young so both my parents were atheists by the time I was born. I was raised an atheist along with my sister and both of us got into Wicca and witchcraft later on. I remember how shocked my next door neighbor was when at 5 he found out I didn’t believe in God. I still feel like atheism is the most logical rational world-view as we have no proof of any of this hocus-pocus mysticism. I practice witchcraft and believe in aliens/archtypes/pagan deities, ancestral ghosts & tarot as all of that entertains me and enriches my life but clearly there is no rational proof of any of it. I think religion is a very personal choice and each individual has the right to choose whatever faith they want.
1. Unitarian Universalist (sort of) 2. I’m mostly indifferent to it; it was fine and I liked Animal Blessing Day because we got to bring our pets into church; where we went, there wasn’t any requisite doctrine, which is nice, but also makes it very vague as a belief system, and aside from being in favor of general benevolence and compassion, I couldn’t really tell you what UUs believe 3. My parents are vocally not religious but my mom wanted us to have some kind of spiritual-ish instruction, hence the UU thing
Lillian Ann Slugocki
I grew up Polish Catholic. I loved the whole mystery as a child, the mass said in Latin, the incense, the Stations of the Cross. On Good Friday, the mirrors were covered, no TV or music, on Holy Saturday we took hard boiled eggs, rye bread, butter and salt, to be blessed, and ate this on Easter morning before mass. However– as I got older, the hypocrisy revealed itself, first when my mother, a scandalized divorced woman, couldn’t take Communion, and of course the list grew, and I now I pretty much despise almost of all its doctrine, although sections of the Old Testament are still beautiful, eg Songs of Solomon.
My eight siblings and I were raised fundamentalist Christian (a.k.a. Bible-believing Christian). I feel that very few people are capable of both believing in Jesus and genuinely espousing His teachings — I know only one person who truly does this, and she’s extraordinary. I no longer miss having faith, because I have found such satisfaction and joy in study, in questioning, in honest conversation and deep thought. I also feel a strange sense of peace in the face of death, unknowing, and uncertainty. Having the answers isn’t the point. Rather, it’s confidently inquiring, caring deeply, and intentionally seeking peace in all corners that have become the points of my existence.
Roman catholic from the Italian side of the family. Right now I feel deep dread and sadness about the world so all the rest is somewhere in that toxic fog inside. Grandma Napolitano was very religious while the others were all agnostic.
technically we were Catholic. culturally, but strangely. so many little differences. mom was from a tiny cobblestoned colonial town with a three hundred year old cathedral. fully did all the sacraments, Latin mass, knew all the prayers in Spanish by heart. had to kiss “el señor cura’s” ring. this was before Vatican 2 council, so could not step onto the altar and had to cover her head. head covering was a social custom in her town, a secondary recipient of colonial era Arabic/Muslim customs brought on the ships by the newly re-christianized Spanish throne. the town fully engaged in superstitious ritual. reportedly, the relic in the church (a piece of bone of some martyr) was encased in a visiting statue of the Christ. the statue is called “el dulce nombre de Jesus.” when they tried to move it (out of the town) it became heavy as lead and the team of horses couldn’t move it. also, the statue of the pilgrim child El Santo Niño de Atocha, was believed to get out of his niche and walk the town. his shoes always got worn out. during drought years they would take a procession out and the whole town would swoon and hum with prayer on the hot field. and my mother swears that in a clear blue sky, clouds would gather and rain would pour. errant spirits, ghosts, all real. possession, reincarnation. all real. mom practices devotion to Guadalupe, but is resentful of the control the church had on the minds of the people in small towns, and the lives of women in particular. knowingly or unknowingly, she has passed on many magical observances and rituals that some say are inconsistent with the teachings of the church. another time I will tell you how when my father was in the intensive care unit after a stroke, she unearthed a candle she stole from her mother Maura’s death wake and instructed my younger sister to lead us in a prayer cycle to save his life. and then I will tell of my dad’s Wiley youth in a frontier without a parish and my own childhood.