A letter about religion

A few months ago, Jared over at Lick the Fridge called out to his readers and asked them to provide him with inspiration in the form of letters – letters about pretty much anything. So far, it’s been pretty awesome and I’ve enjoyed reading letters from and to all of these people. I’ve also enjoyed participating in the letter-writing project. Below is the first letter I wrote to Jared.

An Overdue Conversation About Religion

Dear Jared,

A few months ago, you wrote a post about religion and I wrote a post about religion. Totally unrelated. We chatted briefly and told each other that we would take some time to discuss the topic more thoroughly, but that never happened. It’s not all that surprising really. We’re grown-ups with kids and jobs and responsibilities and stuff. So I’m taking this letter-writing project as an opportunity for us to have that discussion. Here goes.

I connected to your dad seeking out religion as he was dying. I sought out religion after my mom died. I needed things to make sense. I needed to believe she was “in a better place”. So I think I can at least a little bit understand your dad’s motivation.

I think it started with my mom’s baptism. My mom was never overly religious. We believed in God and in Jesus and I watched bible-centric cartoons on TV sometimes and I asked God to bless my family before bed every night, but we didn’t do church and there was no crucifix hanging in my house. She was raised Baptist, but by the time she would have been baptized, they stopped going to church. I’ve never been told why.

So at 33 years old when she was dying from cancer, my mom decided that she wanted to be baptized. The hospital chaplain came to our house and performed a very beautiful ceremony where she baptized both my mom and my aunt. It wasn’t down-your-throat religion. It was a peaceful, loving, and spiritual ritual. And less than two months later, I thought finding more of that would help me make sense of why I was 16 and motherless.

Instead, I found a handful of truly beautiful and spiritual people among an ocean of hypocrisy, lies, condemnation, and judgment. And none of it made a lick of sense to me. And the less religious people made sense to me, the less religion made sense to me.

I remember going through a phase in college when I deeply researched mythology from a variety of cultures. Parallels between those mythologies and the bible stories I read and watched as a child were just overwhelming. And I began to see Christianity as a newer mythology.

I still believe in something, even if I’m not 100% certain of what that something is. I find beauty and power and love in the world around me and the energy that comes from that is my Higher Power. Sometimes I put labels on myself – Pagan, Agnostic, Unitarian Universalist . . . on occasions, Witch – but mostly, I’m just trying to live a decent life regardless of arbitrary labels, mine or others’.

~Dayle

Read Jared’s response: The Beginning of the Discussion on Religion, Not the End

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Karen on May 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

    “trying to live a decent life” is everything important

    Reply

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