Religious Hodge Podge

I was baptized at a young age (I think 1 year old.) and was raised a Catholic all my life. I went to a Catholic school until I reached university. That’s how it is here. Schools are mostly run by Catholic priests and nuns unless you attended the non-denominational international schools.  Even when we moved to Canada, I still studied at a Catholic all-girls school. That pretty much showed you my religious upbringing.

Both my parents are baptized Catholics, the non-practicing kind.  Both are second-generation so they’re still pretty much traditional in many ways. My dad goes to the temple on required occasions. My mom goes to the Buddhist temples with my grandma. We then went with parents to the  Buddhist temples during Chinese New Year, festivals, on ancestral birth/death anniversaries, and pretty much when she wanted us to.  We had a Buddhist altar in our house. I didn’t find anything off with this practice and figured it was better praying to two Gods instead of one. Good to have all bases covered.

As a child, you accept whatever is taught to you. Back then, children aren’t as precocious as they are now. You just listen, remember and repeat. Easy peasy.  Even though we would go to Buddhist temples with my parents, my mom would still push us to attend Mass every Sunday. Sometimes, you feel like it’s such an effort to go to Church every Sunday. We would look for a Catholic Church while out on trips to make sure we don’t miss Sunday Mass. When traveling to Asian countries, we would also look for temples to drop by and pray.

I was like that till I started working. By then, we weren’t “required” to go to Church every Sunday anymore. I ended up going at most three times a year: Christmas, New Year and Easter.  It turned out that I accompanied my mom more frequently to temples than going to church. I would joke that I was a non-practicing Catholic and a practicing non-Buddhist.

It was only till I reached my late twenties that I started to think for myself more regarding my faith and process how faith and religion affected my daily life. Some may consider what I’ve concluded for myself blasphemous but to each his own. I have reconciled these two religions as a definitive part of my life. In my mind, there is only one God and each culture has interpreted and unified these beliefs and practices to unite their own cohesive community. My definition comes across quite sociological by nature.  The main purpose of religion in my  life is to guide me to live my life accordingly. Religion serves as moral motivation so that people are moved to goodness.  Following this rationale, I’m able to accept that there are other religions out there and that my God is the same as everyone else’s’.

It was only in the last year or so that I have picked up on where I left off when I was younger and became a “more” practicing Catholic. I still go to Buddhist temples whenever mother tells me to.  I’m actually thankful to my mom for “forcing” us to go to Mass every Sunday when we were younger.  I didn’t appreciate it as much then but now I know she tried to instill faith/religion/belief (whatever you want to call it) as a habit or basis for us.  Like a moral compass.  She did so in order for faith and religion to be a foundation of our lives.

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