I had always considered myself to be lucky, as far as relatives go. All of my grandparents, aunts, and uncles would welcome my family when we visited, which was anywhere from 1 to 5 times per year. And we (and they) would visit, despite the days drive each way. All of them were happily married to their first spouse. All of them were people whose work ethic allowed them to get by in even the worst of times. With very few exceptions, all of them viewed the rest of the family tree with equal respect.
As far as religion went, I knew that there were some Protestants, some United Church members, and some Presbyterians, but for the most part I just didn’t know. One set had left the church, when in their moment of deep sorrow following a tragic loss, their trusted god botherer blamed them when they were seeking to find out why it had happened. But there was never any debate or discussion about religion when my family were visiting or being visited.
So what changed? One set of relatives were people that my family got along with very well. I knew which side of my parents family they were part of, but when we visited them or they visited us, an outsider wouldn’t be able to tell whose in-laws they were. They were the relatives who had experienced a tragic loss, back before I was even born, and had left the church over it (although not formally). They had the option of getting a very, very expensive and needed item for their home, at a great saving, through an acquaintance who just happened to have it in their lot of illegally owned property. And those in-laws refused. My parent who was the in-law told me privately, once, “I’m very impressed that they turned that offer down. They don’t even go to church”.
What? Years and years of trust, respect, and closeness to these people, who had long ago proven themselves as honorable? Years and years of recognizing them as family? And one of my parents was still all too eager to mentally compartmentalize the morally upright and decent in-laws as immoral, based on nothing more than whether or not they chose to go to church on a regular basis? For me, that just did not compute. Nothing I knew about my parent’s character, nor about the ones whose honor was being slighted, would allow me to see a connection. That was where the crack in the dyke started. And the more I looked at it, the more holes I started to see in the reason of religion.
Where a person’s character can only be secondary to their faith, and/or their degree of faith, is where I saw the biggest fault with religion as a whole. And where flaws of logic and flaws of fact get dismissed as being secondary to a religious faith, is where religion fails against reality. I’ll take my faith of friends and family over any faith of a god.