Being Agnostic In A Catholic School

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Yep, you read the title right, I am an agnostic student attending a primarily Catholic school. I know what you’re thinking—a non-believer in that setting must feel pretty darn left out, right? Well, you’re not wrong.

Being agnostic in a place like this has its ups and downs. The pros? I have a different perspective on things… I retain my individuality, I don’t have to give anything up for lent, and I can eat meat on Fridays (plus, watch my friends suffer without it, even if it’s just for a day).

The cons? Everyone assumes that what happened in the Bible was fact, teachers have been ever-so-subtly trying to get students to convert, and I’m forced to take a religion class… all four years.

This nice little nun lady teaches my religion classes, and while outside of the classroom she is sweet and witty, in the classroom she approaches the subject of biblical history as though the Bible came straight from the beginning of time—written in English, and true word-for-word.

She brings up a lot of controversial topics, and I have been tempted multiple times to debate them with her, but I hold my tongue. Why? Well, the whole nun thing has something to do with it. She’s devoted her life to her religion, and I need to respect that. However, some of the stuff she says can be downright insulting.

For example, she once claimed that all human compassion and kindness came from the Holy Spirit itself. If you didn’t accept God into your heart then there was no way you could have empathy for other human beings, which is something that really struck me. She brought this point up when talking about Mother Teresa, how she wouldn’t have done the things that she did if she wasn’t a part of the Catholic Church. She believed that being a nun had everything to do with Mother Teresa’s compassion, nothing about her personality or empathy. Basically, I see that as a big F-you to every non-Catholic out there.

So, as you can see, being agnostic in a Catholic setting can get pretty tiring, with the disapprovals, attempts at conversion and so forth. But, I power through it because the school isn’t all bad. There are some teachers who actually encourage diversity in religion and those are the teachers who keep me going.

In the end, it’s okay to go against the grain and believe what you choose to believe. You’ll find you might actually have more supporters than you think.

Photo Credit: Flickr (MissMossie2003)

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