by Ashley Chilek
I grew up in a very conservative, very Catholic household. My family’s core values were instilled in me at a very young age, especially those that flowed from Catholic doctrine. I’m not a cradle Catholic, someone who was born into a Catholic family; my mom converted to Catholicism when I was eight, so I remember some of the changes that happened in my life. Something my mom always emphasized was to seek truth and to deeply understand apologetics. I shouldn’t take something at face value because someone told me to. Even when my mom was converting to Catholicism (granted, I did not have much say at eight-years-old), she wanted me to understand why we were learning the things we were.
This transferred into all knowledge. I love learning things. I love academics. I love right and wrong answers, and knowing not only that they are right or wrong but why they are right or wrong. When it came to the pro-life argument, I didn’t leave it up to theology. My religious beliefs aren’t universal. But after understanding why those beliefs are held in my religion, I sought after universality. Science transcends and brings together those who subscribe to different religions (and those who do not subscribe to any religion at all!). I never back up anything I believe with “the Bible says so.” Science is the means to explain beyond religion. You don’t need religious philosophy to talk about morality. Human value exists beyond religious differences.
I was lucky to grow up in a household that encouraged critical thinking, that encouraged chasing after truth, even if it were unpopular, and to stand up for what I believe in, even if my opinion is disliked.
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