I didn’t choose to go to Catholic school. My mother was a public school teacher and she had converted to Catholicism so we went along with her to church and then, when old enough, we trotted off to the school next to the church. This was Brooklyn, New York in the early 1950s.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk with you about. Really, what I wanted to tell you is that I began noticing something that occurred after drugs started being pushed on my generation, the baby boomers.
The things I was taught (actually the things that were “drilled” into me in religion class) were the things that were right and the things that were wrong. And the wrong things would get you in trouble with God. And he was everywhere. He could see just what you were doing at all times. So you might be able to hide stuff from your parents and your friends, but God could read your mind so even your thoughts didn’t escape inspection.
Why am I telling you this?
Because what I was being “drilled” on in Catholic school was that moral compass that we all have whether we’re Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Scientologist or any of the other many, many ways people make their way to God.
So what exactly happened in the 60s? I’ll speak for myself here. I’ll make this totally subjective. I started doing things that I knew were against the mores of the Catholic Church.
I started smoking weed a bit, I became sexually active without being married and I eventually stopped going to Mass on Sundays.
No wonder we have a lot of “spiritual but not religious” folks. Religion stopped being handed down from generation to generation.
I started being influenced by people using drugs. Some were friends and some were well-known artists whom I would listen to. I began to lose my way as my conscience was drowned out by what I personally knew were immoral choices I was making.
Fast-forward to the mid-70s and I started hearing parents say that they weren’t going to “push their religious beliefs” on their kids. They were going to let them make up their own minds.
And I think it was at that point that church attendance started to drop and MTV took over for parents and my generation began to “drift.”
Oh, and those who were religious and who did bring their kids along and didn’t “ask” if they wanted to be Jewish or Catholic, etc. might have had a hard time practicing their beliefs as the moral decay in society became more and more present—in movies, music, magazines and TV shows—and more acceptable.
Once the internet came along all bets were off as regards “drawing the line” on what was morally acceptable and what was unacceptable.
So no wonder we have a lot of “spiritual but not religious” folks. Religion stopped being handed down from generation to generation and most religions don’t promote to new members in ways that will attract young people or the “movers and shakers.”
As I watched a TV program the other day, I thought if all of the drug commercials were replaced with commercials that were well-crafted and yet told the honest-to-God truth (pun intended) about different religions and how people’s lives had been changed for the better by each—WOW!!!
Perhaps there would be happier homes and neighborhoods and a world where spirituality and religious beliefs were not only acceptable but encouraged.
And perhaps these spiritual people would remain so, but some would drift back into the church and—who knows?—the next generation might forego wars as a solution and instead choose peace.