4. YOUR VIEWS ON RELIGION
oh boy, I could open a can of worms here. But the opinions I am about to spout are completely my own. I am not anti anyone’s faith or beliefs. If it’s right for you, it’s right for you.
OK. Let’s go back. I was born to a Church of England mother, and a non-practicing Catholic Father. We lived with my grandparents for the first two years of my life. My parents didn’t have a car at that point, so, because there was a small church just down the road, my parents decided to have me dedicated/christened in it. It was a Baptist church. Yes folks, I’m apparently a Baptist. So, I went to Sunday School every week. I have numerous Weekly Attendance Awards to prove it in the form of some little religious story books with a sticker inside the front cover with my name oh so carefully printed on it proclaiming that I had attended “X” amount of days at church. Yay me.
What I do remember about Sunday School was the minister. Mr Cook. He wasn’t a reverend or anything like that from memory. We all called him Mr Cook, except I always called him Captain Cook. Don’t ask. I was that kind of kid. I would sit uncomfortably on the floor on the crocheted mats in my Sunday best dress. My only dress. Trying to keep my legs closed so my undies didn’t show. But being a tomboy, well you know how that probably went. Again, I was that kind of kid.
I think I stopped going to Sunday School when I was old enough to go to Church proper. I hated sitting on those hard wooden benches listening to stories of how I was going to burn in hell if I didn’t do this or that. At least that’s how my brain perceived it all. I think I was about ten.
As I got older, I became quite aware that my father had massive issues with “the bloody Catholics” as he would call them. He hated them. “Them” being an all encompassing word for the Catholic church system. I eventually learned from talking to Dad that his childhood, was quite traumatic. His mother walked out on his father, leaving 5 year old dad and his 3 year old sister behind. Grandpa ( who I really didn’t like and had never understood why but soon worked it out ) had never told them about their mother. Dad eventually found her one day working in a deli in the city. He approached her, which ended up in him being beaten by his father, and put into a Catholic boarding school, where he was regularly beaten and abused. Granted my Dad was no angel, but this whole thing about abuse in Catholic schools really sticks in my craw after hearing the stories from my dad.
So… moving on, I developed my own distrust of the Catholic Church and their practices. Later on, I questioned all religions and the whole going to church thing. I go to weddings in church, but if they’re full mass things, I sit at the back where I can fiddle on my phone. I won’t kneel or stand as I don’t feel I should. It’s not my religion, I don’t believe in it, so I don’t. Yep, I’m that kind of kid.
Don’t even ask me about funerals. I’ve been to about three. I’ve known a lot more people who have died than three, but I won’t go to funerals any more. I don’t like them. I don’t like being around people who are distraught, in shock, wailing, crying. So I don’t go.. especially if its in a church. My father didn’t have a funeral because he hated them, and he refused to have his friends say goodbye in a church or at any kind of religious service. So we had him cremated privately. And about two weeks later, we celebrated his life with a party at my house. It was great. No tears. Just a lot of photo’s, stories, and toasts to who he was. My mum and myself and my husband are all going to do the same. No church, no minister, no religious anything. Just a party where hopefully people will talk about all the stupid things I’ve done and said.
So. My kids. Here’s where it gets a bit hypocritical. I wasn’t going to have my kids christened. Why would I? But, I was part of a conversation with someone, who knew someone who’s son wanted to marry his girlfriend. She was Catholic and of course christened. He was not. The church refused to marry them (again, one more thing that makes me dislike some religions) so he had a massive fight with his parents. He went and got himself christened and then got married. His parents were not invited….
So hypocritically, I, the Baptist, and hubby, the non-practising Catholic, who did not get married in a church because hubby refused to much to his European Catholic mother’s disgust, had our boys christened in the local Uniting Church that was around the corner – sound familiar? We had them all christened at the same time. Dan was 4, Ryan was 2 1/2 and Matt was 3 months old. I figure it’s the least I could do for them, just in case later in life, they find themselves wanting to marry someone who wants to get married in a church. None of them ever attended Sunday School, even though we were asked that they attend when they were old enough by the priest at the christening. Never gonna happen. And of course as they grew up, sporting commitments meant training on Sundays, so there was never going to be time for that type of thing.
I did have little talks with them as they were growing up about religion. And funnily enough, despite my own anti-religion stand, I quite enjoy movies about religious stories! (yes, I’m quite the screwy one) So we would watch movies about Noah, and Moses and I explained what I could about who Jesus was. I’m not sure they believed any of it either. But I made the effort.
Now, in my 50’s, my feelings towards religion are still the same. I don’t really like the whole church mentality. I do feel that there is something out there waiting for us. But I don’t really call it heaven. And I do talk to The Universe sometimes when I feel I need a bit of spiritual sustenance. But I don’t think I’m talking to God as such.
So there you have my weird, convoluted feelings about religion. Don’t feel bad if you can’t understand it. Sometimes, I don’t even understand it.