(Pre-illness, written last September, unedited:)
As young child I remember going to my grandparents house and they had holy water set up to dip your finger in and make the sign of the cross. This was the same practice as with the churches that I attended. My family went to two churches, both of which were catholic churches and the same clergy held responsibility on both locations. We prayed before bed. We set up the Christmas tree with the Star on the top, we had a wood carved manger that we enjoyed setting up and later as we grew older we went to Midnight Mass. Our family went to church every Sunday and most every other catholic holiday such as Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and of course Christmas and Easter. We followed along with the sermon and sang along with the songs and participated in communion. We later had books to follow along with the sermons prayer. My brother and I went to CCD and graduated. I enjoyed this as a youth and learned much. Then I grew up and started asking myself some religious questions such as why is this in the Bible and why is that considered a sin. Late in my high school years I went to less and less church and didn't miss it. Many friends had broken families, and while different than mine, I saw no sin in how there lifestyles were. I went to college and basically gave it up entirely going to church and have ever sense. Now, I walk into a church for weddings or funerals. Major difference there.
About 15 years ago my good friend and I would always get into discussions about religion. Usually it was after several beers. Was he right or was I right? It didn't matter really at the time. I then started to ask him why he felt the way he did, and he said because that was how he was taught growing up. Sounded familiar. I used to be the same way, I felt the same way because that was how it was "supposed to be." He began to agree with me. Then I felt terrible. Who am I to "change" what someone believes. My friend and I went to the same church together as kids, although we didn't become friends until college. Did I ruin his beliefs, did I cause arguments with his own family? We continue to be great friends, but I've never talked to him about those old topics again. I really don't ever discuss religion anymore with anyone, and if I do, its with little prejudice and even less argumentative. Through it all I feel I have gained quite a bit of knowledge concerning religion. By no means am I going to be a Priest, write a book, or preach anything from what I've learned. However, I feel confident in my decision that I have made and feel safe and content with my place in God's eye. To me, God is who or what you feel you need him to be. Have I prayed to God? Of course. Do I often? Nope. But God does mean something, still to me and my family and loved ones.
My son has yet to be baptized like all the relatives in my family have. I have no intention of doing so. Some other family members have taken him to church. He likes it. This is great! It is a learning experience for him and I'm all for that. If he decides later on growing up or as an adult to do so, I'll be there in a heartbeat. My wife and I are expecting a child this Spring and I believe we feel the same way about the future baby. Growing up I had fun going to church. Later on growing up I started enjoying the historical factors of church and religion. Now it is not much at all a part of me. Too many bad things heard about members of the catholic church and corruption. I will not get into the Middle East or any other group that has wrecked havoc on this world.
I plan to never post about religion again. This is how I feel. This is what I believe. Nobody needs to feel or believe the same way, live life how you choose and may God be there how he is needed.