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The Moral Compass Issue

What I Learned in Catholic School

In grade school the kids in my religion class asked questions like, "How is Jesus God if God is God?" and "How is God Jesus's dad if Joseph is Jesus's dad?"
Κείμενο Kara Crabb
09 Δεκέμβριος 2011, 5:00am

In grade school the kids in my religion class asked questions like, “How is Jesus God if God is God?” and “How is God Jesus’s dad if Joseph is Jesus’s dad?” At which point the teachers would smile and tell us not to worry about it. If they were honest, they’d admit that logical explanations would never be forthcoming.

In my earliest years, I understood Catholicism to be about accepting an odd cross-section of dogmatic beliefs rather than examining spirituality. I distinctly remember trying to wrap my head around the concept of “faith,” and this is probably because kids have nothing but faith; they’ll believe just about anything. It’s when you grow into an adult that you begin to wonder if everything you’ve ever known is bullshit. You can exacerbate this inner turmoil by reviewing religious drawings you made as a child, which I’ve done here so you don’t have to go through the psychological misery of doing it yourself.


Studying this little booklet, The Glorious Mysteries, I learned there were magical people named Jesus and Mary who died but didn’t really die, but went on to live forever. After all that nonsense, Mary was “crowned as our queen.” Whatever you say! Also, I’m not sure why, but in this book the Holy Ghost decided to take the form of a duck.

LESSON #2 – FUCK DAD (Age 6)

This masterpiece is a reference to Romans 8:15, if that means anything to you. Apparently there’s a passionate debate about whether Abba was actually the Aramaic word for Daddy, or if the Apostle Paul (the author of the epistle) was a really early fan of the grooviest Swedish pop juggernauts the world has ever known. Regardless, my drawing makes perfect sense if you think about it: God, Father, Daddy, Abba. I must have thought they were all synonymous, because my six-year-old-self version of “God” totally resembles my own father. (Note that he is wearing nothing but socks and a pair of white boxer-briefs.) There’s something weird about worshipping a dead, naked, grown-ass man with a beard, but also sort of… hot?


This year my “Easter lesson” largely focused on the crucifixion of Jesus. I guess the pastor or whoever set the curriculum for the dioceses figured we were old enough to learn about death and sin. We were told that: (1) We lie all of the time, because (2) It’s impossible to be truthful like God, so (3) We are all sinners, and (4) Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins, thus we should be thankful to him. Looking back, it sounds like a bum-fucking-deal all around. Yet I still agree with the belief that every human being on this planet is a turd with a face.

LESSON #4 – GET AIDS (Age 8)

My sexual education took place in religion class, which meant I was most likely taught about the birds and bees by a befrocked deviant who dreamt of worming his fingers up little boys’ asses, or a nun with a stapled-shut vagina. I can’t remember which. Anyhoo, every year we had to read a textbook called Fully Alive, the cover of which featured happy married couples looking like they’d never rubbed their moist genitals together in their lives. In my last year of grade school, I remember reading a part of the book that specifically explained why God forbade condoms and the pill: because killing sperm was like killing babies—a pre-abortion, if you will. And, duh, abortion is equivalent to genocide, so anyone who used birth control was basically a murderer.


Every day we were reminded that Heaven rules and sinning drools. Using inductive reasoning, one could conclude that because we are all sinners, and just about everything we do is some sort of manifestation of evil, the afterlife must be totally, without a doubt, fucking amazing. Therefore death is the best thing anyone could ever hope for, so you might as well get it over with. That’s why I drew St. Joan of Arc—a cool lady who didn’t give a fuck about dying but did care a whole lot about G-O-D.