Remembering what you chose to forget
August 21, 2013 7:44 PM Subscribe
How have you gone about investigating your moments of childhood religious doubt as an adult? Interested in why I "gave up" Christianity but cannot remember my actual process of thoughts and feelings. Snowflake details inside.
posted by elephantsvanish to religion & philosophy (31 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
When I was a young kid, especially throughout elementary school, I was very enthusiastic about Christianity. Our family joined a few Presbytarian churches as we moved in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. I remember being very compelled by the life of Jesus, making ethical/moral decisions, the qualities of community and integrity, etc.
I also know that a few years later, when I was in 7th grade, I decided to give up Christianity. I literally prayed goodbye to Jesus and said I couldn't believe in him any more. I know that for a couple of years, our family had stopped being so regular at church, my dad was quickly becoming an alcoholic, and home had become a fearful environment with eggshell-covered floors. I also know that I had learned many of the standard critiques leveled against religious thought and, while I never became interested in the dogmatic side of athiesm, remember the tone of thought-voice I used in my head to say goodbye to Jesus to be very rationalistic and some kind of a "well it's impossible to continue on at this point, given X, Y, and Z."
This is really the entirety of my memory on the matter. I wish I had way more insight into what I was feeling (I know increasingly angry at my father and anxious in life) and how that related to doubt, the actual reasons I listed in my head for saying goodbye, and what about the me after that moment changed. I have spent many years since remaining widely interested in religions, developed an on-and-off relationship with a buddhist community, have attended Quaker meetings, but continue to feel like I can't "belong" or I self-selectievely opt out of really truly integrating, and feel that maybe, whatever little switch turned in me as a child could be helpful for finally joining a community and, hell, maybe rediscovering faith. I feel a sort of sadness and empathy for that young kid I was and just want to hear him rant, or wisely suggest something, but I can't quite get there.
Okay, snowflakes aside, I would love to hear your stories of childhood doubt, and any insight into the process of investigating your own story of faith, emotional development, things like that. Thank you as always, mefi.