Updated: Jul 26, 2021
I grew up in the Methodist church. From 3rd grade to 9th grade, I was the proverbial good girl: I went to Sunday School, sat through services no matter how boring they were, went through Confirmation, and learned the words and motions of most of the rituals and prayers... never asking questions, always taking everything at face value as it was given to me. At the time, I thought that was what I had to do and believe for certain family members to like me. It also did not help that Christianity seemed like the only acceptable path of belief, because that was the only visible religion I saw growing up.
Then high school came around, and I started asking questions. When I finally voiced those little uncertainties and apprehensions, it felt like the only answers I ever got boiled down to “because that’s how it is” or some religious language heavy response that went way over my head. That did not help teenage me come to any good view or understanding of religion. Add to that a lot of little instances within the church itself becoming an avalanche of issues... I was done with it all.
Yeah... that was pretty much my mentality.
Today, I am still hesitant around anything affiliated with a church or religion. I am technically not a member of any congregation, and I cringe at anything that starts to get too “preachy” or overly “religious.” In my eyes, the quickest way someone can lose any credibility is to suddenly start spouting bible verses with no context or other backing. Or picking and choosing rules from it.
I cannot be the only one who feels this way. According to Pew Research, the percentage of US adults who identify with a particular religion, or attend church regularly is rapidly declining. When I step back and look at what churches are telling people, I cannot help but want to yell “no shit!” Is this decline due to questions not being answered, or being answered unsatisfactorily? Is it because hypocrisy in the church is coming to light more and more? Or is it because people are just tired of seeing religious people slather their own religion on everything while claiming religious persecution or appropriation all over a stupid red, disposable cup?
Maybe in this divided society, where belief in the church is declining, it is time to ask those tough questions. Maybe it is time to dig down into the nitty-gritty of why people do not want to go to church, or associate with a religion. Now, I know I might not be able to solve or highlight all the inconsistencies and worries in regard to religion. However, if my questions can help even one person out there figure out their own worries or where they stand in regards to religion, whatever side that may be, then I would consider all of this a success.
Every other week, we’ll bring out an overlooked part of religion or an unasked/ unanswered question in hopes of understanding, or at least finding a middle ground. And since I cannot stand overly preachy people or works, you know I will not be pulling out handfuls of bible verses and just throwing them out as if they alone can change anything.
And if this is the proverbial “biting the apple,” well... that is a whole other beast to unpack on its own.
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