My Exploration into Religious Beliefs

Recently, I’ve developed an interest in religion. I identify as an Atheist; however, technically I’m Catholic, my upbringing and still, a large majority of my family life is, and probably will always be, Catholic. You could say I’m an Atheist-Catholic, I don’t believe in religion BUT I still take part in some of the holidays and will attend mass for funerals, Christmas, weddings, christenings, etc… My mom is a religious woman. She will go to mass every weekend and will often go pray when things aren’t going right in life and her faith has definitely helped her through many tough times. However, It often frustrates me when her faith merges together with her opinions, predominantly her view that children being brought up without religion have “no guidance” and therefore, religion in school is necessary. In Ireland, the Catholic Church has played a major role in society and Irish laws. Up until recently, all primary schools had Catholicism at the forefront of its education with prayers being said in the morning, before and after lunch breaks, and in the evenings. I attended an extremely small primary school, with only twenty-two students in the entire school divided into two classrooms, one for seniors and one for juniors. Every single child was Catholic and I honestly don’t think I knew any other religion existed until I moved onto second level education. Thankfully, my secondary school was not strictly Catholic and although, we still had to attend one religion class every week, it was a broader teaching including various other religions.

In secondary school, I was introduced to various other forms of Christianity that were all, somewhat, the same but they were definitely not the same either. I also became aware of various other groups of religions and I somewhat came to the realisation that if there are multiple religions then which one is the right one? I decided after much consideration at the age of eighteen, that religion didn’t completely make sense to me and I knew I didn’t really believe in it. Primarily, I don’t particularly like the pyramid aspect of religion; how every generation recruits their own children and teaches them to believe one thing without allowing them to consider the many, many other options. Additionally, I absolutely hate when people discriminate against other religions. Basically, from what I can gather, there are good and bad people in every single faith (and people without faith), religion doesn’t create good/bad people, there are an abundance of circumstances that would do that so blaming a whole religion for the actions of a number of people is ridiculous. In Ireland, some priests within the Catholic Church used to sexually assault young children in the past, they used to send young mothers to Mother & Baby homes if they got pregnant outside marriage to have their children sent away to be adopted days after being born; however, you can’t blame the whole Catholic religion for these actions.

Over the last few months, I’ve been exploring various types of religions, as I feel I’ve only been exposed to Christian beliefs. While I do see the benefits of having faith and there is so much good that can be taken from religious teachings, I also believe that you can take the good traits from multiple religions without having faith in one religion. I’ve been enjoying the process of researching the history and beliefs of these religions and considering the aspects I like. I never realised that Christianity derived from Judaism, being a member of Abrahamic religions, and found it interesting that this was never taught to us in school. I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone of Jewish faith, so I’m finding this sector particularly interesting at the moment as it’s entirely new to me. I also, personally, like some of the ideas of old pagan beliefs and the significance of spirituality and nature. While I don’t believe in religion, I think there’s so much you can learn from them. My main aim, is that when I do have children that I’ll be able to teach them valuable aspects from all religions and to be considerate of those religions but ultimately, bring them up without a set religion. If they feel specifically drawn to one religion then it will be their own decision to join that religion as they grow older.

My opinions and knowledge on this topic is growing daily, I’m currently waiting on a book from the library which will probably make my mind explode even more!!! Please do feel free to share your religious beliefs (or lack of) with me and educate me, I love learning about multiple faiths and their role in people’s lives 🙂

 

 

Featured Image retrieved from: https://weheartit.com/entry/325810511
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13 thoughts on “My Exploration into Religious Beliefs

  1. Hello! I found your blog post through the #Jewish tag. I love your commitment to allow future children the right to decide what THEY want to believe. I’m Jewish through a conversion three years ago. I was raised Christian and later converted to Catholicism after I married a Catholic. He’s now in the process of converting to Judaism, too.

    Good luck on your exploration of religion. It’s always been a fascinating subject to me and I still study it regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, there’s so much to learn I don’t think I’ll ever able to explore it all but I’m enjoying every minute of it!! ☺️ I really love reading about Judaism at the moment as I had completely zero knowledge on it prior!! It has a really rich history which I’m loving 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

      There’s a wonderful book named ‘Religion for Atheists’ by Alain de Botton, if you’re interested in reading more on this topic. It focuses on how religion has important things to teach the world and how atheists/agnostics should use some of their religious teachings to live. It’s a great book, definitely opened my eyes to a lot of what I mentioned above.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. A good post. I identify as an Atheist-Catholic as well, and have for a few years now. I agree with your thoughts as well on the pyramid aspect of religion, and thank you for the book recommendation on Religion for Atheists. I am definitely going to check this out with my library and see if I can reserve a digital copy. After all, if you can’t trust the recommendations of a librarian on a good book, who can you trust?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We line up on a lot of points. I’m half-Irish from a Catholic family. I wasn’t exposed to much religion as a child, though. I’ve had minor experiences with various religions throughout my life. I’ve never believed any of it. I started studying religions last year. I see a lot of good and bad aspects of all the religions I’ve encountered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s what I like about being an atheist, being able to have that outside view of all religions and deciding what I want to take from each of them (if anything at all). Thanks for reading, it’s lovely to hear from someone with a somewhat similar background 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m an atheist as well. I live in the Philippines, where being an atheist is equated with being a devil-worshiper. My family asks me to attend Mass with them, but I respectfully refuse, since I don’t see how it will add value to my life.
    I admit, I can be harsh on religion, especially when they impinge on human rights (i.e. women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights). Their interference here runs so deep that there’s even a religion that demands bloc voting of their congregation.
    However, I concede that religion in and of itself is not necessarily bad. Like you said, there are bad people in all faiths *and* of no faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear this, Ireland used to be a lot stricter with religion and the state and church very much worked hand in hand… thankfully, we are moving away from this in recent years and becoming a more modern, accepting country! I too can be very harsh on religion likewise because of its stance on human rights issues; however, I’m trying to take the good points from religious teachings and learn from them too while very much still not conforming to one religion! 🙂 Lovely to hear of your opinions on this topic, I have some friends from the Philippines and have heard of it being a very religious country!!

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  5. Good luck, Rachel. I was raised Catholic but have for the past 26 years, since meeting The Boss, attended Baptist churches because that’s where she’s comfortable. But the study of world religions and religious history has been one of my main hobbies for decades now. After a long and difficult struggle, I finally relinquished my religious beliefs and am now agnostic. Letting go of my belief in the supernatural has been extremely liberating.

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