ChurchMy dad almost became a seminarian.

Around the same time he met my mom, he was seriously considering becoming a priest. He reconsidered, and, well, the rest is history.

I was raised in a Catholic home. I was an altar boy. I went to Catholic elementary and high school. My mom and dad were active in our church growing up. But somewhere in my mid/late teens they stopped forcing me to go.

I would feign being asleep as the time to leave for mass drew closer, and eventually they would just leave without me.

Mommyfriend crafted a great post about her return to church with her kids last week, and you should really read it.

This quote stands out:

“I’d never sit behind my computer and tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be doing for their families. All I can do is share what I’m doing for mine, and church is now one of those things.”

I’m about to go fire and brimstone about why I don’t go to church. Many of you will not agree. I’m not telling you how to live your life, I’m telling you the reasons I use to explain how I live mine. Your mileage may vary, but my kids have never been to church and I don’t plan on taking them. Ever.

I stopped going to church before I stopped believing in god. It was around the time my best friend told me he was gay. We had both attended the same Catholic high school, and I just couldn’t support an organization that openly challenged his rights as a person. There is so much moral fine print in church when it comes to equality, that I just couldn’t give it an hour of my week.

I’ve only accepted my atheism in the past 5 years. People like Christopher Hitchens (oh the irony of having Christ in his name), and Ricky Gervais best summing up how I feel about the existence of a higher power.

As I’ve grown into an adult and now parent, I’ve come to the conclusion there is no god. Personal spirituality is what matters. If you want to love everyone, be charitable, and do good in the world, you don’t need to believe in unicorns, or saviors, or mythical omniscience to do it. You just do it.

I appreciate that churches do create community, and are a place for people to gather together and socialize and make friends, and that is all wonderful. It’s when they start talking of religion that things go sideways and create problems. The preaching of hate and intolerance. The discounting of science. The general backwardsness that takes allegorical stories and makes them historically relevant documents.

If religion is so wonderful, why does it make so many people hate other people because the holy figurine on their mantle is different? I’m sure many of you are hating me right now because I’m telling you the existence of god is about as real as the existence of unicorns, bigfoot, and elves.

To be frank, religion comes from an era of ignorance. People didn’t know how the seasons changed, or how weather patterns evolved. They invented the existence of higher powers as the ultimate explainer as to why it got cold in the winter, eclipses made the world disappear, or why volcanoes exploded.

The world is explainable, I will explain it to my sons without the pretense of fables.

My sons will find community from their community. We will be active in their school, in their sports, in their arts. They will meet friends, and understand different cultures by being open and active to new things. We will travel.

They will learn about charity from their family.

They will learn spirituality from within themselves. The only moral compass that matters is the one in your head. I will teach my kids right from wrong, and I will teach them to choose love over hate.

So, remind me … why is it you think should I take them to church again?


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