This I Believe

Amy - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

I believe in questioning. No, I’m not a rebel (except maybe inwardly). I simply think that questioning is a terrific thing to do. I first discovered this after I completed six years of religious education. Every Sunday morning, I’d wake up early so I could go listen to the teachers telling us about being Catholic, and also how to be a good Catholic, I suppose. I detested it; it bored me completely and I viewed it as the universe’s way to deprive me of sleep and free time. And the way these teachers taught Catholicism made it seem like what they were telling us was true and everything else was false. I can see now that this was precisely what they were going for. During religious education, I ate this information up like a kitten laps up cream. I simply sat there accepting everything they said as the truth. “It’s a sin if you don’t go to church every Sunday.” “You’re sinning again if you don’t attend church on every holy day of obligation.” “Everyone is born with original sin.” “Everybody sins, and the only way to again gain favor in God’s eyes is to go to confession and be absolved of these sins.” “Confirmation will change your life forever and you will never feel the same again.” Then religious education ended. When I was freed from its clutches, I suddenly was no longer made to accept these teachings as absolute truth. To me, they no longer made any sense whatsoever. I’d accepted them when I was younger; we all had. Now that I was a little older, I started asking questions. “Doesn’t God love everyone unconditionally; won’t he still love people even if they miss an occasional Sunday mass?” “You’re telling me that BABIES are born with original sin? What could they possibly have done?” “Why exactly do I have to go to confession to get me sins absolved?” “I’m not feeling any different after Confirmation…WHAT WAS THE POINT?” This was the first time I started questioning. I realized that if someone is telling me things and I simply sit there and accept them, I am not thinking for myself. It’s then that my beliefs are no longer mine. They are someone else’s. Only by questioning can I distinguish between what I truly believe and what others have drummed into my brain. And sometimes I decide I believe what someone else has told me. But more often than not, I disagree. Questioning forces me to think for myself and be my own person. Now I am actually thankful for all those Sunday mornings where I had to wake up early, because although religious education taught me the opposite of what it was supposed to, it definitely taught me something. To this day I still believe very strongly in questioning.