I’m 28, live in the Pacific Northwest, and grew up Catholic. I’m a textbook “none” according to the Pew Religious Landscape study–but yes, I’m still a Christian. Here are a few reasons why:
5. It’s how I was raised. I’m not ashamed of my roots in the Catholic church. Even though I disagree with the Catholic church’s political stance on several important things (you can read the back and forth I had with Eve Tushnet on this very topic here), Catholicism instilled in me respect for a beautiful, very old tradition; belief in Mysteries and a sense of wonder that bread can somehow become body; faith in faith itself; and the importance of participating in organized religion. I learned how to be committed as a Catholic, and that commitment is an important part of who I am and how I live my life.
4. I believe in the tenets of Christianity. I don’t talk about my particular beliefs that much because I don’t really believe in doing that, but I like Christianity’s focus on the poor and marginalized, several things Jesus said (“Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”), verses like Matthew 25, and the fact that women were the first to see Jesus after he rose from the dead.
3. I have a church community that is supportive, active, and engaging. I go to Valley and Mountain, a Methodist community. I admire the work that its leaders do, the way that I am able to participate and lead as part of the community, and the kindness and friendship I’ve found there. Valley and Mountain doesn’t focus much on any particular theology, but it is full of people who care about the same aspects of Christianity I think are important: activism, living thoughtfully, and helping others.
2. Going to church is a concrete way to help me live the life I want to lead. Spending an hour or so each week with like-minded people who want to live the way I think I should live is one way to keep on track. It means that I will definitely build in time to center myself on the important things. Lest I get too hippy-dippy about this, it also means I have an hour each week with new friends.
1. It’s a way to carry on a tradition within my own family. I’m getting ready to have a child, and I can’t think of a better way for me to show our kid that thinking about life, spending time in a community, and helping others is important. I always thought that I would find a way to volunteer with my family each weekend (I still think it’s important to regularly volunteer!), but I worried about missing out on the spiritual aspect of religious (and regular) life. Now that I’ve found a community that values both aspects of faith–action and prayer–I feel good about bringing my future family there.
Why are you still Christian? Or why not?