Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Life Stories - Harry H. 2
Harry H. - I think it has been that I'm not good enough, that I am defective in some way, that I am inadequate and will come up short. My biggest fear is shame.
David Markham - Where does that come from?
Harry H. - Probably from my father. I was always afraid of him. He would call me and my brother names and sometimes he would get angry and hit us. He and my mother would fight and I would feel very scared. As a small boy I avoided him and was always on guard around him because I didn't want to upset him. I was never sure about what might set him off.
David Markham - Has your faith helped?
Harry H. - Well sort of, but in many ways it made my sense of inferiority even worse. I was afraid of committing mortal sin and going to hell. I was raised Catholic and so when I was 7 I made my first confession and had to tell the priest all the things I did wrong and that I had done bad things. It was a relief to get absolution and feel at least for a while, until I inevitably sinned again, that I was all right and that God could love me at least a little bit and wouldn't send me to hell.
David Markham - It seems that a lot of people were raised with the idea of a vengeful God who would send people to hell for any number of reasons for all eternity.
Harry H. - That's right and when I became an adult, not until my late 30s I think did I realize that a loving God would not send any one to hell for all eternity. On my own I slowly became a universalist before I even new that there was a religion called Universalism. When I realized this it made so much sense to me and my fears subsided about my sinful nature or anyone else's for that matter.
David Markham - So it sounds like you came by your universalistic beliefs on your own without any special introduction or teaching.
Harry H. - That's right. It just logically made sense to me. I wondered why religion put the fear of god into people and then I realized it was the way that the religious people like the priests and nuns had control and power over people. They scared people with this boggy man theology. I certainly worked on me for years. I started to loose my belief in the God of my youth and young adulthood. It didn't make sense to me any more. I didn't come to Unitarian Univesalism though until my middle 50s. I had just fallen away from Catholicism and probably would have called myself an agnostic or a humanist if anyone had asked me.
David Markham - So what brought you to Unitarian Universalism?
This is section #2 of the Life Stories interview with Harry H.