leaving catholicism and returning to it

I Needed To Leave the Church to Be Called Back to It

"I was raised Catholic, so I'm an atheist now" -John Mulaney

Aly Cook
Aly Cook
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If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "Well, I was raised Catholic, so I'm an atheist now," I could probably pay off my student loans. If I had a dollar for every time I said it I wouldn't be eating PB&J; for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I was raised Catholic and like many other millenial Catholics, once I left for college I also left my religion. Catholicism became so synonymous to me with hatred, bigotry, and homophobia that I couldn't take it anymore. The love I held in my heart for people of all types of lifestyles was larger than my love for God.

As the world quickly changes, the Christian church has been slow to change with it. We use the bible to justify our politics. We use the scripture to judge others. We falsely believe that having a relationship with God makes us an expert on how others should look, feel, and act.

I have always had a relationship with God but not always with the Church. But the problem wasn't the Church, but the people that were within it. Never once during mass did I ever hear a homily or scripture about judging people for who they love or the color of their skin. We have always been taught the opposite.

I began to avoid God because I wanted to avoid my parents and their friends who spouted racist and homophobic thoughts out of ignorance. It was easier for me to remove myself than to try to argue with them about judging others. I stopped going to church and discussing my feelings with them because I would only be told I was wrong.

I couldn't continue calling myself a Catholic because I had begun to believe that being Catholic meant that we had to reject people who weren't like us. AKA white, straight people.

The farther away I moved from my hometown the closer I got with God and being Catholic. I was able to find different resources and hear different voices about what it means to be Christian. I learned that above all else, God tells us to love and respect our neighbors. We are born perfect because God created humanity in his own image.

I had always felt this in my heart but I was alienated by ignorance and politics that truly weren't in line with God's word.

I had to mend my relationship with Him before I could try to mend my relationships with everyone else. I still struggle with dealing with conflicts caused by differences in my beliefs with other Catholics. I hope by reading this, these people will understand why it was easier for me to shut down rather than explaining how I felt.

Many Millenials have left the church for the same reasons I did, but our passion to make our world a better place couldn't be more in line with God's word. Jesus broke bread with lepers and sex workers, so why can't us Catholics learn to love people who live differently than us?

Cover Image Credit:

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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You Are Loved

I am Christian, and I love you!

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To my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ+ community: I love you. I love you for your bravery, your persistence, your care for others, and most importantly your love. You have faced so much hate your entire life for the simple action of loving and you have responded to that hate with even more love. You have organized rallies, raised money, started social media movements, and stood up for yourselves with dignity, respect, and pride. You ultimately changed the law and are finally able to get married in the eyes of the law.

You are beautifully and wonderfully you. I am so proud of you.

Look, I believe in the Christian bible and the Christian God and I believe He loves EVERYONE! I cannot deny the fact that the bible notes being homosexual as a sin nor can I deny that getting a tattoo, eating pork on Fridays, cursing, sex before marriage, and divorce are sins! Everyone sins daily. To think that the idea of love can be sinful is absolutely disgusting. We are not the judge on earth. My bible tells me I am here to love others and show them the love and light and Christ, not judge them.

We are supposed to have a separation of church and state.

Ignoring all religious beliefs, it is important to remember how separate church and state are meant to be. Any laws that are founded on Christian values that attack or restrict another group or culture should be banished! While the legislative fight was won, the social fight still presses on, with personal and group biases putting down those members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It breaks my hearts to see such hateful Christians.

I know many Christians who are extremely hateful toward the LGBTQ+ community, but I also know many Christians who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. The way I was taught with my religion was to love everyone endlessly. Nowhere does it say in the bible to hate the sinner; you can only hate the sin. If you hate the sin, fine; that does not give you the right to take away someone else's quality of life. It does not give you the right to show hatred—which is a sin in itself!

Keep fighting.

I know it can seem overwhelming, but always remember there are people who are not members of your community that are supporting you and loving you. I will always stand with you.

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