Changing religions is not something I took lightly. To be honest, it took over a decade, I just didn’t realize it.
I grew up Irish Catholic, which, until I was a teenager, I didn’t realize was the same as Roman Catholic. Being Irish and Catholic is a cultural identity. You celebrated baptisms, 1st Communions, and death. You went to CCD (catechism) every week. When we visited ‘back home’, there were pictures of the current Pope, JFK, and Jesus up in houses of every single family we visited for the cuppa tea.
At CCD, I would get in trouble because I always would ask Why? The answers were usually “because it is” and “you just have to have faith” were the ones I remember. But I had more questions and the answers never satisfied me.
Years later in college, I took some anthropology classes and I was learning about the Mayan religion. In the Popol Vuh, they tell the story of creation. It took four times to get it right, with the last time the Mayan people were created from maize.
I found this fascinating. What a great story! But what heathens, right? The Bible teaches us we were created by God. During the semester break, I began to question that ‘fact’. Every civilization has a creation story. I had read some Greek and Roman myths in high school. But the Greeks and Romans believed what we now call myths as fact. The Popol Vuh was fact for ancient Mayans. What if the Bible was christian myths? What if there is no God? What if everything I was brought up to believe was a lie?
My head began to spin. I don’t think I slept for a couple of days with all these questions (and soo many more) in my head.
It terrified me to think that there wasn’t a God. Would God be mad at me for questioning their existence? I didn’t have answers and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this. My family had stopped going to church years before. I felt silly feeling overwhelmed with these questions.
Finally, I had a start of an answer. I believe in God. I think God likes when you question if it exists. I don’t call God a him. I sometimes refer to it as a her. But mostly, I don’t think of God as male or female. God to me is non binary. And really, does it matter if God has a sexual identity? (ooh, this is another good topic to have some other time)
I believe in Mother Mary, not the Virgin Mary. Historically, she has roots from Mother Earth and fertility goddesses anyway, so I do think of her (and pray to her) as a maternal guidance figure.
I still identified myself as Catholic for over a decade after those sleepless nights. I really didn’t know there were other liberal religions that would allow me to encourage my spiritual growth.
This is part of my story of how I am exploring my spiritual path. I do not speak for anyone else. This is my truth. I respect yours. Please respect mine as well.