My intention with this post is not to offend anyone in anyway, but to share something I found personally to be quite interesting.
Now I’ve been raised from birth in a Roman Catholic, Australian family. I was baptised shortly after my birth, and at the age of 7/8 I completed the rites of Confirmation, Reconciliation and Holy Communion and attended a Catholic school for the first six grades. Until sixth grade, I don’t even remember knowing that there were many other religions. I knew of a few, but it was never important to know more. I hit the seventh grade and began attending a selective high school where religions, and indeed peoples opinions of religion were very diverse and to me, quite unexpected.
I’d always just assumed that people were either Catholic or Christian and that was that. The idea that there were some people (quite a large number) who don’t believe in a God at all was unfathomable to me.
Over time, due to general exposure, and friends with multiply opposing view, I have come to accept and understand various religions and beliefs. A persons belief or lack of in a God/Gods is neither here nor there in the basis of a friendship, and I am genuinely intrigued when people offer up their opinions.
When I was in Year 11, I was first hit with depression, and in that time, my faith struggled substantially. Honestly, I don’t think it’s ever recovered from the point it hit then. I had some largely influential figures in my life at that time at the Anglican Youth Group I attended and all I wanted was to fit in with them completely, at the expense of my relationship with my parents at that point in time. But also at that time, I truly doubted the existence of the God everyone was preaching about. I couldn’t fathom that a God existed that would send his son to die for us and our sins, and yet still allow such evils in the world. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) comprehend to me, that a God that could create a world of such beautiful, could create such horrors within it; that he could create animals whose sole purpose is to destroy things, that he could create the human condition in such a way that it allows us to be capable of true cruelty. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
I came across this article today in which Gay Byrne interviews Stephen Fry, and asks him what he would say to God if he was to meet him at the gates of Heaven. Fry’s answer was incredible and encompassed many of the things that I, myself question.
It hasn’t answered anything for me. It hasn’t helped me discover what I do believe in. It hasn’t changed the level of discomfort I feel regarding entering a church. It’s just made me think about it again.