A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe.
I think the above definition is safe enough to use in general conversation. For the record, I’m Catholic, a convert to the faith many years ago, with no regrets. I’m not the best Catholic, I don’t go to Mass every Sunday, I don’t pray the Rosary (although I know the practice is good medicine for the spirit), and there are many things I questioned during the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program when I attended. There was never a time when my questions were seen as silly (“Do y’all really worship Mary?”) or dumb (“Why do y’all call the pastor ‘father’ when he’s not your father?”).
It may seem odd that someone like me who was at some time or other a Pentecostal-Southern Baptist-Cumberland Presbyterian-Worldwide Church of God God fearing man decided to become Catholic. Or is it? I’ll admit to being influenced some by my present wife who is a cradle-Catholic (Catholic from birth), and I had reservations about making the switch, but my Mom, who is now at peace with her Lord in Heaven, told me that if I felt good about converting, it was probably okay, “God knows your heart anyway,” she said.
I don’t think it’s odd to “search narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe.” To that end I discovered Catholicism to be the religion I needed. Being Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, or any other religious denomination shouldn’t prevent you from continuing that search. It’s a necessary part of why we are here I think.
Someone once told me that God isn’t pleased with my “hillbilly pseudo intellectual liberal ‘Christianity.'” That someone didn’t stick around long enough for me to ask them about their direct line of communication with the Lord. When the time comes for us to fess up to all we’ve done I hope that we’ll have a chance to ask God a few questions. I’d like to know what He thinks about my “hillbilly pseudo intellectual liberal Christianity.”