ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Goodbye Dad, part four: A Theology of My Own

Updated on October 3, 2016

Moving on from childish things

My dad died in June of 2015 on the day after my wedding anniversary. I think about him every day, and I sometimes wonder what kinds of stuff we would be talking about if he were still here. I wonder what he, a lifelong Republican, would think of Donald Trump. I wonder if he would be excited about the Rams returning to Los Angeles and having a surprisingly good start. I wonder how he would have felt to see two more grandkids get married and to hold his first great-grand daughter. Sure, we might have gotten irritated with each other when it comes to politics, but once your dad is gone, you realize that those little conflicts do not matter very much. I would love the chance to get irritated with him a few more times.

My dad was not a believer in any particular religion, but my mom raised us kids to be Catholics. After my conventional Catholic upbringing of Sunday masses, catechism, and sacraments, I went off to college and became an evangelical Christian during my first year. Abandoning the religion of my youth was a difficult, guilt-laden process to go through, but I did not think that it made any sense to accept without question the religion that I happened to be born into. Eventually, however, I was able to get over the feeling that God was disappointed in me. By going straight to the Biblical source, I had come to conclusions similar to Martin Luther five hundred years ago: the Catholic Church had drifted away from the Word of God.

Just as Martin Luther opened up a can of worms when he encouraged Christians to read the Bible for themselves, I had also gone down a dangerous path. Once you allow yourself to question some of the fundamental beliefs of your youth, the tendency is to take this questioning even further. I rejected Catholicism because it conflicted with the Word of God, but what if the Bible itself was not entirely accurate? What if Jesus was just a typical human being who died 2000 years ago and the God of the Old and New Testaments does not exist? What if no God exists, and death is simply the end? So long as I was enjoying being a part of my college Christian community, I was unwilling to take my questions this far. But after college, for a variety of reasons, I was eventually able to consider the possibility that Christianity itself was not the ultimate truth. The path that I had set out on when I took my first steps away from Catholicism had led me to this point, and today, as a member of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation, I am a part of the first religious community that I truly chose and where I feel like I belong.

There are always lingering doubts of course. What if I am wrong and the Christians or the members of some other religious group are right? What will happen in the next life if I have chosen the incorrect theology? Have I allowed myself to be led astray as so many Christians would claim? Even now, decades since I have considered myself a Christian, I still have the lingering sense that a single God is watching me and is disappointed when I behave badly. It can be very difficult, and may be downright impossible, to shake off completely the worldview that we absorbed as kids.

This brings me back to my dad. His health had been deteriorating for a few months, and we knew that he probably did not have much time left. When I went to visit that day, it was clear by the early afternoon that this was going to be his last day. My mom, sister, and I were in the room with him as he took his last breaths. But among the many thoughts and emotions swirling through my head at that moment, I was not worried at all about where he was going – if he was going anywhere – in the next life. At that moment, it was clear that I no longer thought like a Christian, and more importantly, I no longer felt like one either.

Many of my reasons for rejecting Christianity are intellectual. Some of its core beliefs seem irrational, and the Bible is filled with strange stories, odd statements, and blatant contradictions. But my objections are also deeply emotional. It just doesn’t feel right, and the evangelical Christian conception of the afterlife is one of its most offensive and ridiculous pieces of theology. Now if some people disagree with me, fine. Maybe the idea of eternal, divine punishment makes perfect sense and provides some degree of comfort for them. Maybe Christians like the idea that they will be rewarded someday for their devotion to Christ and all of those non-believers (without the same moral restrictions) will be proven wrong in the end.

They can also go ahead thinking that my dad, upon his death, got a quick ticket to eternal torment for the sin of choosing the incorrect worldview. But I am glad that I was eventually able to move on from that black and white, simplistic, childish nonsense. And if you are a Christian who someday finds yourself at the bed side of a dying, non-believing loved one, you might be asking yourself it you really believe that nonsense too.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)