Okay I’ve ended up with a little extra time tonight. So I’ll start from the beginning, whether I catch up to present day or not. If you know where I’ve come from, you’ll be a better judge of why I’m here now.
I grew up going to church until I was 11. It was a Presbyterian one. (USA. Apparently, there are two different Presbyterian church types, and the Roman one [I think it’s Roman] does not allow women to have their own ministry, only men can. USA type allows women’s ministries.) I always assumed my parents believed in all of it, simply because we went there every Sunday, and my siblings and I had no choice in the matter. We also attended the vacation bible school things over the summer, participated in the youth clubs that were for our respective age groups, and both my siblings, older than me, completed Confirmation. But I was too young to be confirmed before we stopped going, and it was because of me that we stopped.
Before that fateful day that I permanently halted our church attendance, I believed in Jesus and God just because I was born into that faith. I didn’t question it. I looked forward to Christmas for the presents like any other typical American child, and Jesus was just a side-note. I knew the story of Jesus, right down to the resurrection, but didn’t apply it to my life or ponder the miraculousness of it. I’d been told the story my whole life and thus was not amazed. And over time, I simply realized I didn’t even really believe in it. It sounded fake. Especially after learning Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy weren’t real. God and Jesus naturally began to fall into the same category, since I had no hard evidence of their existence besides word of mouth, which I’d learned not to rely on anymore.
I skipped Sunday school for how long?… I can’t remember now, but it was for a long time, at least in my point of view at the young age of 11. I’d hide in one of the corner stairwells (seldom-used, and therefore never encountered anyone in the staircase when I hid) with lemonade and donuts until Sunday School ended. I’d watch through the window on the emergency exit door, knowing that when I saw people walking to their cars, it was safe to come out. On the drive home, Mom would ask what we’d done in Sunday School. At this age, my brother was old enough to have made the choice to stop going, so only my sister, two years older than me, would tell what they’d done in her class. I would make up a story every time. The only fake story I remember telling is that we’d made a Noah’s ark out of a roll of newspaper or some shit. Which is a pretty cool idea. But it wasn’t true.
So anyway, one day my Sunday school teacher caught me trying to skip, and told my mom. Mom took me for a drive and asked why I’d been skipping. I finally came clean and explained that I basically didn’t believe in the religion. I had thought I’d be in trouble, but was pleasantly surprised when she totally understood.
We never went to church again.
It turns out my parents didn’t believe in it, either.
They’d met at that church as teenagers, in a day and age when anyone who’s anyone goes to church. It was just something you did, and their parents attended that church. My parents were married there, even. It was a special place due to all the nostalgia it held for our family, but once I realized that even they had not believed in it, I took to believing that everything having to do with God is fake. After all, I’d come to the conclusion all on my own, and had it confirmed when my skipping resulted in none of us attending again.
So I was church-less for about fifteen years.
I’ll continue later.