Sunday, May 22, 2005

Communion Day

Today, my younger daughter Tess went through first communion at the local Catholic Church. I didn't go. As a matter of fact, I got up and drove sixty miles to Lexington, KY. So, why did I do that? First, I'm an atheist and view my attending any church as a kind of desecration. But I also view Christianity as a very bizarre and implausible religion that only seems plausible to those who have been socialized into it from early childhood. In the local Catholic Church, they start kids in Sunday Schools (CCD) from an extremely early age and do their best to bind people to Catholicism by making the Catholic Church a big part of family life. More than anything else, the cycle of life is defined for Catholics by baptism, first communion, confirmation, weddings, and funerals. Catholics mark time by these events and by the passage of the Fathers Ed, Steve, Bill, and Jay. By the time children actually start thinking about their theological beliefs, the Catholic Church has so engrained itself into their family lives that rejecting Catholicism becomes tantamount to rejecting their family. In my wife's Irish Catholicism, rejecting Catholicism also becomes a way of rejecting Irish ethicity. So, I didn't go to Tess' first communion because I didn't want it to be a "family event." It's a small gesture, but the only way I can think of to fight the socializing power of Christianity in my family.


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