I grew up in a family based on religion. Both of my parents are Catholic and believe in God. My grandmother on my dad’s side dedicated most of her life to the Catholic faith almost to the point you could say it was her work and hobby.
She would wake up 5:30am every morning with my grandfather and get ready for 7am mass. Weekly mass has been her tradition since she was a little girl.
Because of the tight family ties with the Catholic faith, there were rules I had to follow growing up. Sunday (or Saturday evening) mass attendance was a weekly requirement.
My grandmother said if I missed mass, it was a mortal sin, and I must confess this sin to the priest during confession.
As a kid, a mortal sin sounded very scary, as I did not want to upset God. What was even scarier is my father and grandmother would be furious, and there would be yelling and punishment.
Most of my life I followed the Catholic faith. I went to mass every week. I attended Sunday school, and I was even an altar boy (I was not victimized.. Ha).
The Questioning Begins
In my early 20’s, I had dated a girl who was a Seventh-day Adventist and dedicated to her faith. After visiting my dad one weekend, he began asking me how serious my relationship was.
Before giving an answer, I decided to ask why. He started going on about how my girlfriend was not Catholic, and if I was to get serious with her she would have to convert to Catholicism.
Knowing she would not want to switch religions, I questioned his logic.
I went on explaining to him that she followed her religion since birth just like we did.
Why would she have to convert to Catholicism?
Why wouldn’t I have to convert to a Seventh-day Adventist?
He went on saying that life is easier if we are both Catholic, and our religion is the right one and that’s just the way it is.
This statement is coming from a man who has an engineering degree and has a high appreciation for logic.
Not wanting to argue with him I kept quiet and accepted his irrational cop-out answer.
My dad’s answer bothered me.
I can honestly say it held some responsibility in the breakup of my girlfriend.
Without getting into the rights and wrongs of religion, I wanted to know why he gave that response.
My father grew up in a similar scenario as I. Both his parents and grandparents were religious, and he went to Catholic school. Like my grandfather, my father became an engineer.
My grandfather never went to college. He fought in World War II then learned his mechanical engineering trade after finding employment.
My dad had the advantage of not going to war. He went to college straight out of high school and graduated with an engineering degree.
He often boasted that his major was one of the hardest to get, and he looked down upon the arts, literature and the “easier sciences” such as biology.
The widespread teaching of evolution in the US occurred in the 1860’s after being published by Charles Darwin in 1959. This information directly challenges stories in The Bible.
If my father chose to ignore learning biology in college, which encompasses evolution, he learned it in grade school, right?
Because my dad went to Catholic school if they did teach aspects of evolution, they most likely emphasize religion.
The same grade school scenario occurred with my grandfather.
When my great grandparents came to America at the turn of the century, they didn’t have the option of going back to school, so they immediately found work.
It was clear to me from my grandmother that the Catholic religion was of utmost importance and was emphasized to her from her parents growing up.
Learning to believe in religion came before what was learned in school because they have been going to church when they were babies.
The notion that being Catholic is correct, and other religions are wrong was implanted into my siblings by parents and grandparents.
Essentially that baseline was so ingrained in my father that he did not bother to question it even if there was conflicting evidence around him.
When my dad said that statement, I still thought he right
My story was similar growing up. The only difference is I went to Catholic school in high school as opposed to my whole life.
I don’t remember much about my science classes growing up except for some stuff on dinosaurs and the planets in our solar system.
In high school, I only had one year of biology and can only remember labeling diagrams of lobsters and doing a frog dissection.
In college, with emphasis from my dad, I chose to get my degree in IT and ignored the “‘lesser fields of study.” I was never a great student to begin with, and most of the time didn’t care what I learned.
I had no idea who Charles Darwin was or the theory of evolution. I may have even learned it and never paid attention.
The closest thing I had to challenge the Adam and Eve story in The Bible (that I barely read or cared about at the time) was that we came from chimpanzees.
Evolution from apes sounded ridiculous, so I went with the baseline taught by my family.
It wasn’t until I decided to think for myself and read books by my free will that I understood why my dad said that.
He chose to be ignorant and stick with what he learned as a kid, and he still is.