Raised religious

People react in remarkably different ways to the experience of being raised religious.

Some people reject it fiercely. They have a bad experience, of one sort or another, and learn to despise it, and sometimes all religion, often without much nuance.

Some come to embrace the religion they were raised in fiercely, with a similar lack of nuance. This is, in a way, the lifeblood of any faith that hopes to survive down through generations.

Some reject religion tentatively and with a bad conscience, not feeling firmly that it is wrong but also not feeling strongly that they should centre their life around it, for one reason or another. I have a sense that people like this often remain open to other quasi-religious things, being more credulous and manipulable than other people because of a hunger for transcendence and special knowledge and ingroup solidarity.

I think that for my part, at this point in my life I try to embrace and, so to speak, reject, simultaneously, keeping the faith and enjoying my participation in it, but at the same time not assuming my interpretation of it is uniquely right, or even right at all.

I seek to take that posture mainly because I believe it aligns with the truth – the truth about the unknowability of the divine and about the inestimable depths of meaning in divine revelation, on the one hand, and about my own limitations and the many relevant texts or discussions that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to study with any care. Any other posture would be me trying to convince myself that I know more than I do and perhaps more than I even can.

And while this isn’t the primary reason, I am also glad to take this posture because it feels like the healthiest and hardiest one to take. Fundamentalism on the one side, and combative irreligiosity on the other, both seem to come packaged up with fear and insecurity, an ugly self-assertiveness that can’t bear to think of being wrong, where self-respect and defensibility of a belief are tied together in a way that is unnecessary, and unnecessarily harmful. The way of strength and merriment, I am convinced, is something closer to the way I have found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *