Agnostic Humanist In The South

Good Friday

I drive by a Catholic church on the way home several nights a week. Like – if I need to stop by Super Target for something (like last night? We needed orange juice) or if traffic on the main highway is reportedly backed up. It just so happens that I have taken that route home almost EVERY night this week, and if you’re a Catholic, you’ll know what I saw. A packed parking lot. Almost every night.

It’s funny, it has been SO long since I’ve been a practicing Catholic that I had to stop and ask myself why the church was so crowded. Catholics don’t go to church on Thursdays. Then I remembered, Ahhh…it’s Holy Week. I know at least one or all of the days this week are what Catholics call “Holy Days of Obligation” – meaning, you kinda have to go to mass (or at least receive communion) in the eyes of the church. It’s funny that I can’t remember for sure which days are and are not. I’m fairly certain today is one…being Good Friday and all. But, I’m really not positive.

It’s a weird thing for me to think about, sometimes. My lack of religion. I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I was a Eucharistic minister, I was a leader at the Catholic retreats in high school, I went to Catholic youth conferences in Louisville and in Indianapolis. I was BEYOND an active practicing Catholic. It was my life on many levels.

I don’t think about it much anymore, I’ll be honest, but there was a little pang of loss when I drove past the full church. I don’t miss the religion, so to speak, but I miss what I felt about the religion. I quit the church long ago because I no longer felt those things, but I do miss the peace that the blind faith gave me while I was growing up. It was something that I needed and I’m not sure I would have survived the teen years without it.

I do NOT, however, miss the plaid wool skirts.

15 thoughts on “Good Friday”

  1. I know exactly what you mean…religion used to be a huge part of my life, but I just can’t believe anymore.. And I tried to believe for a very long time because I miss that sense of sureness. If I had a choice, I’d choose to believe, as much as I think religion is a crock of shit, because it’s just easier and happier to think we know what’s going to happen to us, and to think that there’s someone looking out for us. I miss that, but there’s just nothing I can do to bring it back. Sucks, no?

  2. If I were to join a religion, it would definitely be Catholicism. Why? Rituals, pomp, circumstance, all the rich history, beautiful religious art, saints, etc. etc. I swear, I wish someone would invent a religion just like Catholicism but without the pesky belief requirements.

    Also, to quote those famous theologians the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Catholic school girls rule!

  3. The sense of loss is exactly what I felt as I traveled home for a funeral a few weeks ago and was inundated with the Baptist “stuff” after being a hard-core Mormon for several years. I am still religious and I still go to church—but it was different. Because I grew up Baptist, that will always be “home” to me, even if I don’t believe all of it.

  4. I found that same sense of “peace” this morning. Driving in my car, down the road, trees were in bloom, birds were singing, the sun was shining, and my radio was turned up. It was “glorious” in every way. I have a feeling that’s what many people feel with religion. So, I think…It is still possible to feel that same sense of “everything’s fine” as people with religion feel.

  5. It’s funny, because I’ve had both highs and lows as a Catholic. What’s comforting is the feeling that I get when I go back. It’s like I never left.

  6. It’s kind of funny that you’d write “I miss the peace that the blind faith gave me while I was growing up”. I was thinking recently about how I feel relieved from the angst that blind faith gave me while growing up.

    I have the same background as Dooce. I gave it up much later in life (like six years ago or so). I was full of fear because I wasn’t ‘perfect’ and thought I was doomed.

    My dad has accused me of giving up their religion so I won’t feel guilty about sinning anymore.

    I suppose he might have a point about enjoying that aspect of it, (Yahoo! I can freely enjoy coffee!) but that’s just a side benefit. I gave it up because, like you, I didn’t feel it. 🙂

    Happy Easter though!

  7. I remember the comfort that feeling someone was watching over me gave me when I was very young. I even carried around a St. Christopher medal because I thought it protected me. Then I turned 8 and realized that there was no one there. I get the feeling now from being outside on a beautiful day or having fun with my family. I have no need for religion in my life. I do sometimes feel jealous about the sense of community that it seems religious people have. We atheists don’t tend to group together the same way.

  8. Beautifully written zoot. You put my thoughts into words. Now if only you could call my mother and tell her this is how I feel – maybe she would understand my views a little better We are Methodist so we have very few “strict” beliefs but I do disagree with several doctrines and most days we agree to disagree – mostly about all sins are equal – which is a load of crap – IMHO.

  9. I was raised a Lutheran but long ago stopped going to church. However, I now live half a block away from a Lutheran church which is very progressive, does excellent social outreach, and has a very cool pastor, so I support a lot of their activities.

    But I was just commenting to my husband that what I miss the most about church are some of the traditional seasonal hymns sung with pipe organ and choir. I’ve been walking around singing “Jesus Christ Has Risen Today” for the past week!

  10. Especially now with all this religious right crapola, I consider myself spiritual, not religious. I grew up going to church (Methodist) and my husband, daughter and I used to go, but we quit years ago. Sometimes I miss being in church. Being Methodist in my neck of the woods is kind of taboo though. According to most folks around here, Souhern Baptist is the only way to go. Well, ’nuff said about that.

  11. I did the 12 years of Catholic school too and have not been to church in over five years. And I only went a few times then because I was dating a guy who was all into going to mass.

    People keep pestering us about how we’re going to raise the baby — gasp — without religion?!

    This week was tricky for us. Husband’s family is Jewish AND Catholic (fun). Mine is Catholic, but not practicing. His mom came over to the baby with a yamaka at Passover dinner and I almost had a heartattack. He’s not wearing a cross on a chain, and he certainly ain’t wearing a yamaka on his head.

    I love these family religious holidays!

  12. I feel the same way you do. I thought I’d always be Catholic. Now, I don’t have disrespect for the religion itself, but actions taken by the organization make it impossible for me ever to be Catholic again (keeping pedophile priests in positions where they could abuse and then covering it up, harassing victims of said abuse, and of course the high-ranking church official telling people if they voted democrat it was a moral sin and they couldn’t take communion).

    I miss the beauty of its rituals. But absolute power corrupts absolutely. Now I see this in so many major religions, and I can never be a part of that. My faith is a private thing now, because I don’t trust faith organizations. Kinda sad.

  13. The skirts were great! I never had to wash it! Sick inst it. I am not a fan of organized religion. I do however have faith. There is somthing more powerfull than I. Whether it be the energy as a whole or energy in the form of life in the form of love. I believe the the universe is alive and we are alive in it, moveing and effecting everything. This is were I keep my faith. If I live everyday to my best, I can only have faith that it is affecting all life for the better. If I dont, what the hell becomes the point.

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