Excerpt

Introduction

Do you believe in God? Most people do, but in the not-too- distant future, possibly you, maybe your kids, and probably your grandkids, won’t—nonbelief is rising.

Like most of you, I was raised with religion and God. I was baptized Catholic, confirmed, and graduated from parochial high school.

My Mom and Dad were devout, raised us in the Catholic faith, and expected us to go to church, be respectful, and care for others. (In those days, Moms were the backbone of the church.)

I attended Mass and Sunday school every week (along with Confession on Saturdays), received plenary indulgences for attending First Friday Masses, went to many Christmas Eve midnight Masses (followed by wonderful buffets at friends’ houses), and didn’t eat meat on Fridays. (What I wouldn’t give now for my Mom’s baked macaroni, fish cakes, and fish chowder.) In her last years, my Mom spent much time in a nursing home due to dementia and Parkinson’s and at the end felt that her faith and her God had abandoned her—very sad. (On the other hand, my brother tells me that some churches in Florida are quite wealthy, fueled by the elderly eager to donate their money as the end draws near and Heaven hopefully awaits.)

As I grew older, questions and doubts emerged. I didn’t go to Mass and ate meat on Fridays. I let things stew in my mind, processing subconsciously, altering ideas, opinions, and beliefs with little active thought. Gradually, I began my investigation of God and religion.

As children, we’re taught to believe the teacher, politician, police officer, coach, priest, and Church. As we mature, we begin to examine and question—it’s part of growing up, part of human nature. We question, we analyze, we investigate, we read, we discuss. To not do so would be negligent to ourselves and society. How else could we come to a reckoning about God and religion?

So if you’ve ever wondered, if you’ve ever been curious about God and religion, join me on this search. Let’s see what we discover.

No matter the outcome, we’ll be better off for the search, since it will let us confirm or deny the indoctrination we received as children; we’ll be empowered.

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