It’s time I share something with you: I’m not a religious person.
Before you hit the unfollow button, hear me out please.
I grew up in a small town in Michigan and my mother sent us to the Baptist Church there. I think she wanted us to have a foundation of God and church and religion.
We didn’t go often, and I sure don’t remember seeing my dad in church, but we had an understanding of God and Jesus and the bible. After Mom died, none of us went back to the Baptist Church though.
I did start to wonder about other churches in town and decided to go check them out. It took me a while, because I wasn’t going every Sunday, but I managed to listen to priests and ministers and fathers and clergymen and reverends and so on.
I discovered two things about churches back then: They were all men preaching, and they pretty much all said the same thing. Which made me wonder why there were so many different denominations of Christianity.
I kept going to church but mainly out of fear. I even raised my hand in one of those churches and accepted the lord into my heart. I’m pretty sure I did that as a “just in case” kind of thing but I also wanted to be like everyone else.
I have to wonder if other people feel the same way. After all, we want to be accepted and liked, and if you don’t believe the same as those around you do, it can be very uncomfortable.
As soon as you post something on social media that someone else doesn’t agree with or like, it’s a feeding frenzy of vitriol that scares the crap out of most of us. I even had a nephew not only unfriend me on facebook, but also block me, just because we have different political opinions.
So I kept quiet about my non-belief, until a few years ago. It wasn’t easy coming out as an atheist. I was afraid of people’s reaction and I had more than one tell me we couldn’t be friends any longer.
I hope that is not the case now. My hope is we can still be friends. Just as our political beliefs can be different, so too can our religious beliefs.
My friend Sarah has been an example of this. She has taught me that despite our differences, we also have similarities, and a connection, which I cherish.
And so has Estelle, and Linda, and Trudy, and Jon, and Lisa, and Tara, and John K….and on and on.
Maybe our differences are what keep us strong?