“You’re going to Hell.”

It seems everyone has at least one horror story from attending Catholic school. One of mine (I have many) comes from my 5th grade religion class.

Every religion class seemed repetitive to me. It seemed like we were reading the same Bible passages, taking the same quizzes (hint: usually the answer is “God” or “love”), and discussing the same concepts over and over again. We all went to church (we were forced to) and our parents or grandparents or highly religious aunt would tell us the same things over and over again.

“If you’re sorry for your sins, God will forgive them.” Yes, God may forgive you, but to everyone else, sorry means nothing.

“Go to Church every Sunday.” Seriously I used to think He was watching over me with his arms crossed shaking his head if I was home sick, so I would arm myself with tissues on the way to church and try not to let my coughs echo.

Blah, blah, blah. It was always the same thing and I was sick of hearing it. I knew all that stuff and I wanted to learn more. I had a few religion teachers who were more down-to-earth and talked about other concepts with us (finally): Mrs. C and Mr. S, but until I had them, I had to endure the wrath of my elementary school teachers (many of whom did not even practice Catholicism).

In this particular class, I raised a question: “What if a person believes in Heaven, but not in Hell?” aka What if you believe a part of a religion, but not all of it? 

My teacher took a hard look at me, but quickly responded, “then you go to Hell” just like that.

Yes, a fully grown woman told 10yo me that I (or whoever that would be – come on, “asking for a friend?”) was going to Hell for believing in one part of a religion and not another. She did not open discussion. She did not bring in examples for her response. She just said that and moved on with the lecture.

Her response didn’t startle me or bring my inner monologue even further down the Catholic spiral of guilt. I wanted to laugh. My God would never deny questioning a religion mostly developed by mere mortals. I remember kinda smiling to myself and making a mental note that I shouldn’t fully trust my teachers. They are not omnipotent, they are not infallible, they are not anything like a “god.”


I no longer practice Catholicism, but that’s not my point here.

What if I didn’t laugh it off? What if I truly believed that questioning the status quo, the definition of a thing – religion or something – made me a bad person? It’s so dangerous to tell little kids stuff like that. What if that very moment changed my whole life forever?

I’ve noticed that many people tend to stick with the first thing they’re told about something and they don’t tend to question it. They tend to accept it and move on, not just with religion, but with other things, like on the news. Like, let’s say, Fox News. The reporters on Fox News are so biased and so manipulative it’s no wonder people believe all this crazy bogus crap. They’re like my fifth grade religion teacher all over again.

I may have some pretty wild opinions contrary to the status quo (I mean, you guys read my blog), but I stand by my research, experience, and multiple opinions I’ve gathered before I ride forward into the ocean on a large boat raising a flag with the words “I believe in magnesium supplements” on it. What’s scarier is if I never sought a second opinion, or a third.

I know plenty of people who trust my knowledge on a subject because they know I’ve researched it like crazy and I tend to know what I’m talking about. Others blindly listen to what I say (please don’t do that) and still others continue to question me. Sometimes I get annoyed by those people because I tend to get the same questions over and over and I feel like a broken record, but in reality, I’m truly grateful. They give me the opportunity to yet again question myself and delve further into whatever it is that is truth.


Check yourself before you wreck yourself

People may have been spreading fake news, but they’ve been doing it for years with old wives tales. . . or the rumor that you swallow eight spiders in your sleep during your lifetime. Did you know that was a lie spread on the Internet to see how fast it would spread and how many people would believe it?

As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I am not an expert on anything and after talking to my PharmD acquaintances about my experiences with antibiotics, I found out that even a PhD is not an expert in their field. There is so much to learn and so much we haven’t figured out yet in every subject that it is naïve to pretend we have. Just because we’re at a peak in a specific field does not mean there aren’t any more mountains to climb.

The English language, for example, is constantly changing. Now we have Mx. instead of Mr. and Mrs. in order to greet a non-binary person. “Selfie” is a word in the English dictionary. I want “faceboasting” to be in there (bragging on social media about your accomplishments), but at least that’s on Urban Dictionary so far.

Medicine, for another example, used to include treating tuberculosis by drilling holes into people’s heads and keeping them in these asylum-like hospitals in the middle of nowhere. Now, thank god, we have antibiotics. Sadly, we may not have them sometime soon, but at least we did for a little while.

We are constantly growing and changing as a species, as a world. It is the very nature of things. So let’s all get off our high horses and stop pretending we know everything. Everything we know may be totally different from what truly is. Only time (more growing and changing) will tell.


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Photo Credit: Mass Insight

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