Fluctuating Religiosity in My Family

The world is always changing, but sometimes exactly how it changes surprises me.

Although my family has always been practicing Catholics who never miss a Sunday mass, growing up none of them was particularly devout or interested in religion outside of those Sunday mornings. As described in my deconversion story, I myself started to become religious around age thirteen and this devotion gradually increased for a dozen years until my deconversion at age twenty-five, but I never noticed any of them change at all during this time. Since then, however, I have observed that several of them have become more involved in their faith.

My father, who had always seemed the least interested in religion of anyone in my family, has been participating for a few years in perpetual adoration of the eucharist by spending one hour late at night each week praying in the chapel of their church and has more recently begun reading a book about church history. My older sister's change has been less marked and is not really unexpected because she and her husband have two young children. My younger sister's change, however, is the most radical. She prays often, reads devotional books, attends daily mass on occasion, consults a spiritual advisor and is currently discerning a vocation to be a nun! I find it notable, however, that she has never really sat down and read the bible. I recommended this to her because doing that is more likely to create doubts in the mind of a believer than any skeptical book, which she would flatly refuse even to consider anyway. If she decides to enter a convent, I will respect her decision, but I think it should be an informed decision.

Throughout all of these changes, I am pleased to say that certain things have remained the same. My family still respects my atheism, never treats me any differently and never raises the topic around me. I occasionally find myself voicing criticism of religion around them, to which they don't respond, but generally try to avoid doing this. They are remarkably tolerant of my opinions, but it really bothers me that the only people who really love me also probably believe that I will burn in hell forever after I die.


No comments: