6. My departure from religion -------------------------------------------------- Previous - Next - Contents
As a baby I was babtised in a Lutheran Church, but to the best of my
knowledge I never entered a Lutheran church after that event again. Not for
any religious reason mind you. There simply were not that many of them in
I also had for a year or two private Bible tuition by the local
Minister, van Voorst Vaders. I and two others would visit his home
once a fortnight, and in his study discuss with the Minister various Bible
issues. I quite enjoyed these and got on very well with van Voorst Vaders.
During these couple of years I was also rostered to do the collecting at
Church services on Sundays once a fortnight. I enjoyed these services too,
not so much the sermons as the singing together with the whole
During my teens and twenties I continued to believe in a God, but not connected with any of the established religions. I recognised then already the enormous discrepancy between these naive short sighted human focused religions on the one hand and the real world (nature, the universe) on the other. The two were in my opinion totally incompatible.
In our twenties Antien and I both believed in a God, so we thought it would be appropriate to get married in a church. I rang van Voorst Vaders and he joined us one afternoon for tea. We had an amicable discussion, but the bottom line was that we had to promise to live our lives according to the rules of the Church (the Dutch Hervormede Kerk, a very liberal one). Fair enough, but we did not want to do that. So the Church wedding was off and we were married by a Municipal clerk. Van Voorst Vaders came however to our wedding reception and wished us both well with his usual big and happy smile.
A year later, you guessed it, we thought it would be
a good idea to get our baby daughter Babette baptised. We felt that
although we did not agree to the Church's doctrines, our daughter should
not suffer as a consequence of that. So I once again invited van Voorst
Vaders to Martinshof where we had a most pleasant afternoon tea
Van Voorst Vaders, I am certain, respected our two decisions. Most people would, and did say "yes" to whatever was required to get married in Church and have their children baptised. We did not, because we took our belief most seriously. Van Voorst Vaders valued us very highly because of that. These things one should never ever skimp on. It is in my view cheating on one's own life.
I met van Voorst Vaders once more in 1981. My sister Wivica had
invited him to say a few words of remembrance and farewell at my father's
funeral, and he did. It was wonderful to see each other again after so many
years. Two true believers (in our own way), but at opposite sides of an artificial "man made"
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner