I Needed To Leave the Church to Be Called Back 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

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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?

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

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

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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By Using God To Justify Hate, Christians Are Giving Christianity A Bad Name

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

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I grew up in Alabama, so it's no surprise that I grew up in church. I was saved, or baptized, at a young age. I grew up going to church camp, going on mission trips and participating in church activities, such as Thanksgiving lunches and Christmas plays.

As I grew up, I became interested in politics. I began watching public officials, most of whom claim they are Christians, build their platforms by turning down the rights of those in the LGBTQ community, helping the rich get richer, saying Christianity is the only correct religion and wanting to take away healthcare from those who cannot afford it.

The more I noticed these public officials saying things like this, the more I noticed that people who went to church agreed with them. This upset me.

What I was taught about Christianity was that God accepts everyone — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, social status or economic status. He accepts all.

What I was hearing from churchgoers and those who claimed to be Christians was the exact opposite.

I faced an internal conflict, deciding whether or not I wanted to go to church anymore, much less be a Christian. I didn't want to be labeled as someone who does not accept people for who they are. That's not the person I am.

I didn't want people to think that, if they're in the LGBTQ community, I thought they were going to Hell. I didn't want people to think that, if someone was poor, I thought they did something in life to cause that. I didn't want those of other faiths to think their religion was not valid. I didn't want people who were physically or mentally sick to think I didn't want them to receive help.

So for the past few years, whenever someone asked me if I believed in God, I told them yes, but that I didn't believe in organized religion.

It may come as a shock to some Southerners when I say you don't have to actively be in a church to believe in God. My dad always taught me that you have to sometimes separate God from church. I never fully understood what that meant until I was in that situation.

According to pewforum.org, 66 percent of college graduates surveyed consider themselves Christians, and 25 percent said they do not have a religious affiliation.

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I believe that in church, you can be taught to love someone no matter who they are and what their situation is. I believe that you can hold your own political morals.

What I don't believe in is using God's name to justify hate toward a certain group of people. And that, in my opinion, is what is giving Christianity a bad name.

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