Question: Dear Luise: I am trying very hard to get past a religious upbringing that kept me in fear during my formative years. You’d think, now that I’m a grandmother, that I would have found something else more supportive, but I haven’t. The fear has lessened but there is no joy in what I am apparently retaining. I’m stuck in the black and white, right and wrong of my childhood. The people who taught me are all long gone. I stopped going to church ages ago, yet it continues to haunt me. How can I get free of what I don’t want to keep? Why is it still so strong, after all of these years? Sincerely, Mary
Answer: Dear Mary: Many thanks for bringing such an interesting question to light. I wonder if you haven’t actually asked it for a lot of people. Your parents did one heck of a job, didn’t they? Perhaps it goes back farther than that, in your family history. Please get, if you haven’t already, that they probably thought such a foundation would serve you. They wanted to protect you from doubt and error, and fear seemed a dandy way to implement that. Now, as a fully mature adult you still are caught in the web.
You have come a long way, already, Mary. You are thinking for yourself and questioning what would work best for you. You have pulled away and you are wondering why you still feel trapped. Is there a college close to you? If so, why not enroll in a course on comparative religions? Or take one on-line or get some good books on the subject. It sounds like you are ready to expand a bit and see what the rest of the world has been doing, while you were fenced in. If you decide to do that, notice, as you read about the many varieties of Christians, and also about Hindus, Buddhists and the other major faiths…that in each one there is the premise that “this is the way”. In every doctrine that you investigate, parents down through the ages have taught their offspring that they must embrace what the parents found to be a working philosophy. I think this process might give you some distance from your conditioning and offer you some freedom. Wait and see, lightning won’t strike! Blessings, Luise