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Common Application: How I Came to Leave the Church through Confirmation Classes

JoeyCamposinos 1 / 1  
Jan 1, 2014   #1
I can honestly say I found my Confirmation classes to be thought-provoking. However, I cannot say those thoughts were always related to Confirmation. To be honest, there were few alternatives beyond duly and dully 'listening' to the instructor's four-week, crash-course recitations-recitations sounding eerily similar to my last five years of religion classes. The rhythmic monotony of the instructor's voice felt as if it drew thoughts out of me to fill the vacuous absence of stimulation in the room. With each thought to come into my mind, I was a little less mindless with boredom, yet I still felt as if every thought was being processed and discarded far too quickly. Grasping for any last tendrils of intrigue to occupy my mind, I ironically came to the thought of becoming a member of the church, the very reason I was there.

And so my thoughts turned to Confirmation; I was surprised to find I actually felt a little nervous about being confirmed as a member of the church. It started with the obvious question and a simple answer, "Why am I doing this?" "Well, I am Catholic." But then I asked the harder question, "What is being Catholic for me?" and found I could only answer with "What religion has been to me."

At this point, I asked myself the same question I had asked myself many times: "Is there really a God to call blasphemy an unforgiveable sin or do I fear nothing?" but then I added, somewhat more boldly, "Dare I fear nothing?" I felt the challenge stir something inside of me. I felt the slightest whisper of a "yes" struggle past my lips.

In this moment I realized, personally, whatever I had before, it had not been faith. I do not pretend to know the faiths others may hold, but the unique beliefs I held for so long had been based on little more than my existential fear. Always in the center of this realization was the knowledge my faith hadn't really been faith. And yet this was how I was expected to enter adulthood, through the same process I could no longer rightfully pursue.

At first the hardest part was simply being bold and decisive enough to decide who I was for everyone else. To truly accept myself, I felt I had to test myself to be sure I cared more about what I thought of myself than what anyone else might. This was far from the hardest part, though. The truly difficult part was fighting the urge to make too radical a shift. What challenged me most was having to build up the momentum for change and then stop it at a middleground between theism and atheism. I needed to make a change, but I also needed to keep my head. I have since come to call myself an agnostic.

In coming to this, I've had to choose to live life to my own needs rather than the wishes of others. Living for myself in this way has answered many questions. I never quite understood what people meant by the aphorism, "Be yourself." I grasped the concept, but I never felt entirely comfortable with the phrase; how could they expect you to be someone else? I feel I understand now. The answer is the same question I had before, now made rhetorical: How could they expect you to be anyone else? And how could I expect it of myself?

I have found 'being myself' means living by the standards I hold over those of other people. These people may even be your own family and it's been hard, but by sticking with such a major life decision and my moderate approach to the choice, I earned the acceptance of my parents. I have finally become an adult in the eyes of my family and I feel more happy and open than I can remember.

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