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8/26/05                                                                                       View Comments

Having a baby changed my beliefs

sent in by Cecilia

I stopped practicing Catholicism in my teens because a lot of the teachings just didn't make sense, especially the whole thing of Jesus having to die for our sins. If God is all powerful couldn't he just forgive us without demanding a blood sacrifice.

I always planned however to raise my children in the church because I thought it would be good for them to have a belief system. Then five months ago my daughter was born. I immediately decided that there was no way I was going to raise this precious girl with the kind of guilt and fear I was raised with.

Even when I was only seven or eight years old I lived in constant fear of burning in Hell. Everytime I said a bad word or disobeyed my parents I imagined my soul getting blacker and worried if I died before I got to monthly confession I was doomed. When my beloved grandfather died I feared he may not have been good enough to make it to Heaven.

I have concluded that raising children with religion just isn't healthy psychologically. I will teach my daughter values but I want to teach her to do good not as a means to get to Heaven or stay out of Hell but because that it what is right. I committed "sins" growing up despite my intense fear of Hell. It just doesn't work as a deterrent, which is why so many religious kids are so badly behaved.

Making mistakes is a normal part of life and a normal part of growing up. Adding religious guilt and fear of Hell just makes growing up even harder for kids. And it doesn't stop them from making mistakes.

I don't steal, cheat on my husband, bully or gossip. I give money to charity and do volunteer work. My lack of religion hasn't made me a bad person, so I have no concerns about my child in that regard. I don't need a book like the Bible, that is full of violence and sexual immorality, to teach me right from wrong. Only weakminded people need to be taught right from wrong. The rest of us are capable of figuring it out for ourselves.

Plus, with the sex abuse scandal in the church, I really don't want my child around priests.

How old were you when you became a christian? Baby
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 16
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Catholic
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Believe in God but not organized religion
Why did you become a christian? Born into it
Why did you de-convert? I questioned my beliefs