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Questioning Religious Beliefs

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

If you were raised in a typical American family in the ‘50s and ‘60s like I was, you most likely were raised in the same religion that your parents practiced. For me, that was Catholicism. I attended the Catholic grammar school that was literally three blocks aways from my parent’s home. I walked to school every day. When I first started going to school, the entire school attended Mass every day. And it was entirely in Latin. The nuns would parade each class into the church. Thankfully, that changed after the first few years.

I also attended an all-boys Catholic high school run by the Jesuits. By the time I graduated high school, I was no longer a practicing Catholic. So, what happened? I started questioning my religious beliefs. That can be a slippery slope. Once you start questioning one, it seems that others follow. It recall that each time I asked a question, the answer would be because that is what we believe. They were not too interested in explaining why they believed it.

I am going to share a couple of my questions about religion that I had back then and I wonder if anyone else has had the same questions. I want to stay focused, so I’m only going to present one question at a time in each blog. Here is the first one. There is no particular order to them.

Q. What is sin?

Sin was a big problem for me. It started out with making my first confession which was required before making your first communion. They taught us what sin was. It was a digression against the Ten Commandments. As a seven-year-old, I wasn’t killing anyone. I wasn’t coveting my neighbor’s wife. You get the point. I felt like I was making things up in order to be forgiven. Sure, I may have said I didn’t do something that I had actually done because I didn’t want to get punished, but was that a sin against God? I may have disobeyed my mother and taken a cookie when she told me it was too close to dinner. Again, did I need to be forgiven for being a kid who was hungry? Then when I learned that we all had original sin because of Adam and Eve and we needed to be forgiven because of that, well that made no sense to me.

What if we don’t need to be forgiven because there really is no such thing as sin? Sure, there is good and evil, right and wrong, but do we really need to be forgiven for being human?

What are your thoughts?

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