Thou shall not kill. Kill a verb: to deprive of life: cause the death of or to slaughter. I have never so much as had a thought of committing such a heinous act. I am someone who feels remorse squishing little bugs. However, as I sat in my 8th grade CCD class, my teacher explained that violations of this commandment include anything from tattoos to ear piercing. This put me in a very odd predicament, seeing as I had pierced ears; it appeared I was destined to visit Hell. I almost burst into a fit of laughter at this rather absurd idea. How could anybody possibly believe in such stringent rules, how could my parents make me listen to these awful teachings? I did not really have a choice, I was born Catholic, raised Catholic, and would certainly die Catholic, or would I? I knew this was one thing in my life that I should have control over. I believe in the freedom to choose religion.
As children we are taught to listen to our parents and obey their rules. I have always been a good kid, following the rules and doing what I am told, even if that meant attending CCD classes every Sunday from kindergarten through eighth grade. However, as I child I was encouraged to ask questions. I was always questioning my faith, asking my parents why we are catholic and not any other religion, or how do we know this is how we are supposed to live? I would sit in CCD class creating scientific counter arguments for all the things my teachers would preach. I just knew that Catholicism was not right for me, but every time I would tell my parents, they would tell me that it did not matter, I did not have a choice. I was stuck going to church and practicing beliefs that I did not believe. I stopped taking communion at church and reciting prayers, much to my parent’s dismay.
I knew I was not Catholic, but what was I? How do I know what religion embodies my beliefs? I searched the Internet for information on alternate religions, and even consulted belief-o-matic.com, which generates a religion match based on a belief questionnaire. But, how could the Internet really capture my beliefs. One day I described my beliefs to a friend and that is when I finally had a label. Now I had to break the news to my parents. It was a true test of family bonds, when I told them that I would no longer be attending church and that I have my own ideas.
Today I am proud to label myself as agnostic; though my parents may never fully agree with my decision I know it is the right one for me. Each person deserves the right to make this decision without persecution or question. My plight may not seem as significant as the pilgrims fleeing England to escape persecution or the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, but we all have our personal struggles. Everyone has their own personal beliefs and should be encouraged to explore them freely.
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