What are your spiritual/religious beliefs? And why do you believe?

The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,738Registered Users
I'm curious to hear everyone's spiritual/religious beliefs and why you believe what you believe. Meaning do you just accept what your family taught you? Did you do a lot of reading and/or soul searching? Or some other path?If you could elaborate on the very basics of your beliefs too, that'd be cool.

Let's PLEASE try to keep this civil. Some will accuse me of trying to stir the pot, but Im really asking the question because Im questioning my own beliefs right now. (Go ahead and
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    Let's PLEASE try to keep this civil. Some will accuse me of trying to stir the pot, but Im really asking the question because Im questioning my own beliefs right now. (Go ahead and

    Yes, let's keep it civil and be respectful of other's beliefs.

    The second this thread starts to go downhill, it will be locked.
  • missbanjomissbanjo Posts: 3,088Registered Users
    I'm curious to hear everyone's spiritual/religious beliefs and why you believe what you believe. Meaning do you just accept what your family taught you?

    No. I was raised Catholic, my whole family is still Catholic. Both my mom & dad were raised Catholic and stayed that way. My paternal grandmother was LDS but never observed in my lifetime. I think she just let grandpa have his way with their family. Catholicism never sat well with me or felt right I guess you'd say. I did everything a good Catholic girl is supposed up to the point of confirmation, that didn't happen. My mom had died, my dad didn't really care all that much and I cared less so I just stopped going to the preparation sessions.

    Did you do a lot of reading and/or soul searching? Or some other path?If you could elaborate on the very basics of your beliefs too, that'd be cool.

    After I left home I didn't really think about religion. When I was 25 and still at Fairchild AFB I became friends with a woman who attended mass with her mom and I went a couple of times but it was the same, meh. It was different as well though from the mass I grew up with because it was on a military base or different part of the country, IDK.
    I got curious about other religions and started researching. I discovered Wicca but it was too light and fluffy for me. I've always been grounded more than Wicca could give me and was an entirely too serious child for even my parents to understand me. I'd always been interested in hearing more about Greek/Roman gods while growing up but in school you don't learn crap on the subject really. After that I found out that there are lots and lots of flavors of Paganism and I call myself an eclectic Pagan now.

    I'm more in tune with the earth and seasons, the energy of the land than I ever was. I've always kind of felt the native americans had it more right than any other polytheistic religion except maybe the druids.

    I'd say it's animism and polytheism mixed together. I don't think I've ever believed in one god. It just doesn't make sense to me and it seems to me more like the one god of monotheistic religions was a bit greedy wanting all that attention to itself so decided to start their own religion(s).
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  • B-Nessa11B-Nessa11 Posts: 1,050Registered Users
    Im a Christian. My family didn't teach me anything but I just picked up a Bible one day when I was little. I used to be depressed and reading the Bible made me feel better. I always believed in God but I didn't start going to church until I was about 18. I liked the message. I like that it's about love and doing right by people.
    I believe that those who do good things in life will prosper. I believe that in the "end", whenever that is going to be God will be the merciful being I believe he is. I don't believe in the notion that if u don't automatically believe in the Christian/Catholic God that u will be damned lol. When ppl r judged I think everyone will be given a chance to make that final decision before whatever god we face.

    Um, what else....I use the bible for guidance when I have issues and it always helps. I go to church sometimes. I give God some glory everyday.

    Also, (this is just something I think, not connected with anyone's beliefs here or judging anyone
    ) I think it's better to believe and worship something that in the end just wants to see u do good and love you, and promises u happiness. I could never understand the devil worshiping ppl who say Satan is better #shrug. What will Satan do for u when the crap hits the fan? (And by devil worshipers I mean the ones who actually say they worship him,not the "anything that isn't God is the devil" thing) lol hope that makes sense.
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  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
    I was raised an Episcopalian. I'm grateful that it was a pretty mellow congregation. I loved the pomp and circumstance, the wine, the stained glass, the massive pipe organ, the incense at certain times of year, the marble floors at the altar,breakfast after church, etc.

    But, as young as elementary school, I had religious/theological based doubts. I didn't like the idea that it was stated or implied that Christianity was the only valid religion. I thought that eternal damnation for 6-10 decades of sinful behavior was illogical. I though God was like Santa Claus - making a list and checking it twice.

    I didn't like that a female priest was booted because her daughter had two kids from two Black baby daddies.

    I didn't like the uptight old ladies who saw sin everywhere.

    I hated the implication or direct statements that women were inherently inferior to men, and all the lame excuses used for justification.

    As a young adult, I just didn't bother with anything for awhile.

    I found the Unitarian Universalist denomination when I was living in DC. It is a good fit for me.

    I'm not a strict Unitarian in that I am fine with polytheism. I just feel that all Gods and Goddesses are different faces of the same being.

    But, I am a big Universalist. I don't believe in heaven and hell as I was taught. I believe that we all came from the same place, and that we all go back to the same place.

    I like that UU congregations will essentially let you define your own theology. There are even classes for it. Politically liberal Atheists can be found at a UU Church because some enjoy the camaraderie. I like that they focus on social equality and justice issues and don't put women in a subservient position. I liked that the marginalized were welcome and given an equal voice.

    But, my favorite part is where one is trusted enough to hammer out your own theology. The power structure of most groups is tied to keeping everyone on the same page, and that bothers me.

    I don't participate often now because my work schedule isn't Sunday morning friendly.

    I still attend Episcopal Christmas Eve services. Sometimes with my parents, and sometimes at a liberal, yet old-school fancy pomp and circumstance church that is near where BF lives. A nostalgic part of me enjoys the trappings, sometimes.
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  • redheadfullofcurlsredheadfullofcurls Posts: 409Registered Users
    I'm an atheist.. I copied this from a website but it best describes how I feel.

    "An atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An atheist accepts that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth – for all men together to enjoy. An atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer, but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it. An atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help lead to a life of fulfillment."

    My mother is a Christian and my dad is an atheist (former Catholic raised in a strict Catholic family)
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  • HropkeyHropkey Posts: 572Registered Users
    I'm Jewish, somewhere between Reform and Conservative.I believe in a lot of the Reform precedents- ie patrilineal descent is still valid as long as you self-identify as Jewish and halakha, or Jewish law, is not binding and can be changed- but I much prefer Conservative services and attitudes as they tend to be more traditional and much more actual learning about the religion. I was raised Jewish in a Reform congregation, but did a lot of self-searching and research to find my own identity in regards to it. The thing about Judaism is that it's not only a religion, it's a culture, so it encompasses so much more to me than just the handful of holidays. I'm considering going to cantorial school after college. (A cantor is a member of the Jewish clergy.)

    I think my religion is incredibly beautiful for so many reasons. It's a place built around arguing and disagreeing opinions- the old adage of "two Jews, three opinions" really is true. I love that the word Israel means "to struggle with G-d" and that is what the entire religion is based around. In fact that's what the entire Talmud is, thousands of pages of people arguing, and it's incredible and beautiful and I get so much from always learning that there is going to be a different side to every argument. I love learning all the small, interesting facts about my faith. I remember being moved to tears by the Book of Ruth when I read it on a whim. I love the acceptance and that even people who self identify as atheist are still a welcomed part of the Jewish landscape. I love that we have such a resilient, strong culture despite going through so much in our history and today. It's always been such a big part of my life, especially since I come from a family of Soviet Jews who came to the US to be free from discrimination.

    Also, one thing that I found really amazing was a Jewish teaching on atheism I read a while back. A man asks how an atheist can have morality of he has no G-d leading him. His rabbi answers that in fact atheists are the most righteous of us all; they do good things not out of service to G-d but out of their own goodness. When somebody asks you to help them, then, we should all be atheists for a moment, thinking not "I hope that G-d helps them" but rather "What can I do to help them?"

    It's things like this that makes me love my religion so much.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    I was raised christian. I doubted the existance of a god from a very young age. I remember being taught in Sunday school as a 4-5 year old that god watched us every minute of every day. I took no comfort from that. In fact, I was terribly discomforted by it. I remember thinking that I did not want to be a part of a god who watched little girls pooping, or naked in the bathtub. I was forced to attend services until I was about 12. Then I was FREE, and sort of just went about my business for a lot of years.

    When I was in my mid-20's, and in a terrible marriage, I got involved with a couple who were born-again christians. They tried VERY hard to bring me into their cult. I was vulnerable, and did try to belong for a while. I even went through the motions of accepting-jesus-christ-as-my-personal-savior. I think I even spoke in tongues one time. I wanted to believe. Very badly. But I didn't. I happened to arrive late for service one Sunday, so I stayed for the next service. It was startling to me to watch the very same people who fell down in the power of christ do it in BOTH, um, I mean services. I slowly fell away from that couple, but did continue to explore various sects for a couple years. I thought I was supposed to be religious to be a good person. I had a lot of guilt. It took me years of my life...wasted figure it all out.

    Then I realized I didn't have to be religiouis. I could be truly free and be non-theist. I really could. It was an epiphany to me. at last, free at last, thank god almighty, I was FREE AT LAST! ;)

    I've been FREE ever since.

    When I had kids, I thought about bringing them up with religion, even if I had to fake it for myself, because that's what a large part of society thinks is the right thing to do. But, then I decided to give my kids the GIFT of freedom from the beginning, so they would never need to free themselves later. When I see the freedom they feel, I know I made the right decision. They are good people. They are contributing members of society and they have good morals. They are merely free of the longest running scam in human history. :)
  • claudine19claudine19 Posts: 4,486Registered Users

    Jewish father; Baptist mother; I wound up most comfortable at an Episcopalian church led by a gay priest. Ours must be "lower" (if that's the right term) than RCC's, since we never have incense.

    I like the community, and I love singing with other people. I mostly attend only on major holidays. However, and I think this is where the uncertainty comes in, when something very serious or bad happens, that's where I go to face my feelings and ask for spiritual or practical help from "whatever."

    Needless to say, I very often pray for the welfare of animals, being fellow creatures of the world.
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  • B-Nessa11B-Nessa11 Posts: 1,050Registered Users
    This thread is so interesting. Glad nobody has highjacked it!
    It's so interesting how people who are forced into the church end up strongly rejecting it later. I don't think religion should be "Forced". I think it should be used to instil good values and how to treat others. At the end of the day. That's what's important :)

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  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,970Registered Users Curl Novice
    I believe that if there is a God he/she/it wants us to love each other and put us on earth to help each other.

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    And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest!
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  • gardencurlsgardencurls Posts: 573Registered Users
    Hropkey wrote: »
    Also, one thing that I found really amazing was a Jewish teaching on atheism I read a while back. A man asks how an atheist can have morality of he has no G-d leading him. His rabbi answers that in fact atheists are the most righteous of us all; they do good things not out of service to G-d but out of their own goodness. When somebody asks you to help them, then, we should all be atheists for a moment, thinking not "I hope that G-d helps them" but rather "What can I do to help them?"

    It's things like this that makes me love my religion so much.

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  • happyhair20happyhair20 Posts: 31Registered Users
    I am a Christian and for me it's more of a spiritual connection than a religious one. Sometimes there are things that I don't understand but I think that God works in such mysterious ways that we can't understand a lot of the things that happen in life. I will tell you this though, things have happened which have made me believe in Him and not doubt his existence. When my father passed away, I was obviously very upset and sad. He was already dead and I hugged him and kissed his cheek and I kid you not that I heard a kiss back in my ear. I was taken aback and I realized it was God sharing my dad's spirit with me.
  • claudine19claudine19 Posts: 4,486Registered Users
    I have never, ever had an experience like that, and yet I know that the people who have swear by such occurrences. ^
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  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I believe in God. I believe he is an all knowing, all powerful, omnipotent being, but I do not believe such a powerful entity is involved in the average persons daily life. The comments like 'God will protect you' 'God is watching you' etc, seem ridiculous to me. I don't think he's involved in what the average person does daily. I don't think something is 'in Gods hands'. Decisions are in your hands. You are responsible for making decisions. I don't think he really cares if you're gay, have premarital sex, get drunk, etc. I think He, as a being, is far beyond that.

    I believe that God is too far a being from humans so that He really doesn't understand us, just as we don't have the ability to understand Him. I believe Jesus was sent to bridge the gap between God and humans. He was sent to be the voice, to be the one to understand. He was to tell us what was expected of us, and to live life to show God what we were up against.

    I believe some things written in the Bible may be true, and some may be sort of fables, teaching people right from wrong, consequences and such.

    I believe that God is powerful and angry and vengeful. I do not believe he is the kind, patient, understanding God Christianity depicts.

    God is a higher power, a stronger feeling of spirituality. You don't pray to get something given to you, you pray for that voice inside you to give you clarity. Whether you're talking to an inner self, a God, the Earth, whoever, it is the same being. It doesn't matter what you call it. But its the belief in something to help you walk through.

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  • happyhair20happyhair20 Posts: 31Registered Users
    It was a beautiful moment and one I will never forget. I heard it soo very clearly. It really has made me understand and believe ever-the-more in the spirit and the soul and this is the way that Jesus/God can reach us/talk to us/affect us. I have family members who have some amazing stories in regards to Jesus. I cannot doubt that He is real and He really is the epitomy of love even when my life is disappointing or when things have not gone my way.
  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 19,251Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    My dad is Catholic, my mom Methodist. They are not religious and I've never known them to go to church. My grandmother and aunts were the typical Italian ladies who went to church every day. There was no question that my cousins, sisters, and I would all be full fledged Catholics. We all had our baptisms, First Holy Communions, and Confirmations in the Catholic church.

    My older sister is still Catholic, my younger sister is Jewish.
    I've been an atheist since my late teens. It just seems logical to me that we are born and we die and that's that. My gods are Mother Nature and Father Time.

    I see no reason why non-believers wouldn't know right from wrong or why they wouldn't have a moral compass.

    I still love studying religions, love churches, church icons, church music, and the rituals of religion. It just doesn't have any spiritual meaning to me.
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  • dee-naturedee-nature Posts: 630Registered Users
    I am a christian because its about relationship not condemnation

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  • SunshineGrrlSunshineGrrl Posts: 3,823Registered Users
    I was raised LDS, my dad was raised Unitarian, my mom was raised LDS, also. My dad initially started learning about the LDS church to please my mom's parents, then he had his own belief in the religion.

    While I believe in the basics of the LDS church, there are just too many things I can't get in board with. The hypocrits that are plentiful, the church's aggressive lobbying to keep marriage defined as a man and woman (I think it's fine to believe that, I just don't think we should force our belief's on a whole state or's not my job to tell someone who they can love and marry. And honestly, if the situation was reversed, everybody would be crying foul). I have a hard time with the levels of heaven they teach. So if I don't follow alllll the rules, then I won't achieve the highest level of heaven and/or get to be with family members and friends who DID reach that level of heaven. Dude, if what I did is so heinous that I can't be around family members in a I really want to be part of that? Not so much. I think Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are a lot more compassionate and understanding than to say "Too bad, so sad" and that I didn't do everything is supposed to and I'm hosed. I can't get on board with a vengeful God.

    I do believe in the Bible and love to read it. I even enjoy reading the Book of Mormon. I just think our religion (I will still identify as LDS as I don't disbelieve the gospel, I just don't believe in what people are turning it into) has strayed far afield of what it was originally meant to be. The spirit of the religion I like, the interpretation and sullying of the true religious premise, I don't like.

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  • sleepymekosleepymeko Posts: 1,002Registered Users
    Meaning do you just accept what your family taught you?
    No, I am an atheist and they're seventh day adventists.
    Did you do a lot of reading and/or soul searching?
    Yes and I still do.
    Or some other path?If you could elaborate on the very basics of your beliefs too, that'd be cool.

    I believe in evolution and natural selection. I do not know or care how the universe came to be. I believe that we will never know and I am absolutely fine with that. I am aware that one day I would be dead. I am not afraid of that either, but I am afraid of how I'll get to that point. I hope it's peaceful.

    My goal in life is to be happy. I surround myself with positive people and try to live my life the way that I want it to be. And I'm all about accomplishing goals. I do not think about the beginning of time or the end of it, because I do believe time is never ending and there perhaps never was a beginning and probably never will be an end. The universe works in a circle and so does everything else. I am a combination of everything that was and when I pass on, the energy that I had will live for an eternity.

    As for Christianity, what I was raised in... I feel quite indifferent towards it. I don't care for it, but it doesn't bother me as long as people mind their damn business and stop trying to impose their views on other people. I do not think a bearded dude lives in the clouds so no, I do not want to pray before class and I find it disrespectful how many Christians disregard other religions or people without faith. And the outcry of being "oppressed"; Christians make up close to 70% of this country, they are not being oppressed.

    I arrived at my atheism because of research. That's it. And I questioned things, because I always have. None of it ever made sense to me.

    I can say, my life has been better without religion. I take full responsibility for my actions, I'm proactive because this is my only chance of life and I don't sit home at night wondering if I've been naughty or if I'm going to hell. Such things do not live within me and my life has been carefree and stressfree since my atheism.
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  • DedachanDedachan Posts: 1,644Registered Users
    I'm atheist. My mother is roman catholic but believes in a bit of everythign (feng shui, rosicrucianism, spiritism/kardecism, you name it) and my father believes in a higher power, but other than that, his attitude is of an agnostic.

    I never got my first communion because we moved to Beijing when I was 9. By the time we moved to a different location, I was old enough to speak out and say it wasn't something I wanted. Even though my family was never strict about it, looking back, religion always brought out feelings of guilt. Another part of it was that the whole thing simply bored me to no end.

    In my early teens I was already uncomfortable calling myself catholic. I thought if there was a God, and if he was all-knowing and all-loving, all he needed was for me to be ethical. I traveled and became friends with people from different cultures. Surely they didn't deserve eternal damnation? It showed me that the Christian faith was just one among others. That and just paying attention to history, science and philosphy classes in high school was an eye opener...learning about the Church's role in history, that it was a power-driven institution, and understanding the difference between evidence-based knowledge and dogma, evolution etc. Agnostic seemed like the best term to describe me.

    Atheism was a foreign, radical concept up until I actually came into contact with atheists, listened to them, realized they were very much like me, only with better arguments. I initially thought I was an agnostic leaning on atheism. Then I realized the distinction had become a matter of semantics. You cannot disprove a negative. To call myself agnostic, at that point, seemed like a feeble attempt to not sound abrasive, which I knew in my mind was completely silly.

    It wasn't about some major breakthrough or me looking for answers, just a gradual process of me thinking things out for myself. I am certainly not disillusioned or bitter. I think the world as it is is much more fascinating than anything written on any holly book.

    There are times when I want something so badly that I understand the instinct of wanting to pray to a higher power. It would be great if there was a benevolent being watching out over me and ready to grant me my wishes. But I also think how very like a fairy tale that sounds. Dealing with loss and frustration is a part of life and a part of growing up.
  • riotkittyriotkitty Posts: 1,307Registered Users
    I was raised Catholic but I'm now agnostic leaning more towards atheist. I don't like to say I'm an atheist because I don't want to make any declaration of religious beliefs, even a non-declaration. I respect those that do. I'm tolerant of religious people as long as they keep their beliefs out of legislation and politics.

    I rejected Catholism when I was about 15-16 and never got my Confirmation. As a feminist, I just couldn't stay a Catholic.

    My mom is a Catholic who has tried out various liberal-leaning Christian religions (Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, and even Unitiarian which is not Christian but accepts Christian member) but she returns to Catholism because its what she was raised with and also for cultural reasons. Most religious Hispanics are Catholic.

    She still believes deep down I'm Catholic, too.I live 6 hours from her and we just don't talk about it. I'll go to church with her on holidays out of love and respect for her. I have a soft spot for it until I actually am in a church and then I'm just bored and annoyed. I do like the Hispanic cultural aspect of it, like the churches in Northern NM.

    My dad was also raised Catholic but is now an atheist who like me and my brother, will still go to Catholic masses for holidays and family events. Like me, he sees Catholicism as part of his culture, but not his belief system.
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  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I was raised culturally Jewish. We did not belong to a Temple when I was young, did not really observe any Jewish traditions (other than the food) and as far as the spirituality/theology, my parents did not really discuss it with me.

    We just joined a Reform temple and we celebrate Jewish holidays. I consider myself culturally Jewish but spiritually agnostic. I do not believe in an anthropomorphic deity, I do not believe that humans were made in God's image or that if God exists he/she cares what we eat or how we pray or who we have sex with in which position. If there is anything like a deity then it would have to be synonymous with the laws of physics and mathematics, as vast and complex and incomprehensible as the whole universe.
    I believe that morality and ethics comes from people, from our nature as a highly social animal.
    I studied quite a bit about the different religions of the world in high school and college, especially in my Art History classes and really enjoyed it. I believe that the Bible and the holy books of the other religions were all written by people, and influenced by the times the people lived in and the prejudices they held. There is a lot of value in various scriptures, but they are not literal truth and there is also a lot of inconsistency and rubbish and bad stuff in there too.
    I enjoy the cultural parts of Judaism, I practice to the extent that I do (and want to pass it down to my children) because I think it is neat that these cultural things have been passed down for hundreds and thousands of years. I also do it because I lost a lot of family in the Holocaust. So many people all through History have been trying to get the Jews to go away or convert or die, so I persist to spite them.
    I also enjoy and appreciate the cultural aspects of other religions (esp the arts and the music). I do think all religions have in common this sense of wonder and awe at the magnitude and magnificense of the world. I can appreciate it and feel that even as a non-believer.
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    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • anonymous_22139anonymous_22139 Posts: 659Registered Users
    I was raised Mormon until my mid 20's when I discovered the truths about its history that had been hidden from me. I eschewed all Christianity and was agnostic for over 20 years, yet I dabbled in a series of new age beliefs and spirituality including wicca, and astrology, and had interests in Buddhism,Sufism, Zoroastrianism and other eastern disciplines . I am now non-denominational Christian for the last 12 years.

    I never expected to find God again after 40 barren years, but I did. It is a more personal story than I care to share in this format.
  • StarmieStarmie Posts: 6,682Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'd say I was a non-believer. My mum and dad were non-practising C of E and Catholics respectively and we never had any religious upbringing of any sort (though we did go the the local C of E school rather than Catholic). I attended church, bible study and such like for a few years as a teenager with my friend (who was made by her non-church going parents to attend until she was confirmed) but I just couldn't believe any of it. There was no feeling of anything spiritual at all for me and that has never changed. My children have been brought up in a non-religious household, they can make their own minds up.
    3b in South Australia.
  • B-wavyB-wavy Posts: 1,733Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I was raised in a Roman Catholic family. My earliest memories (4/5 years old) are of me sitting on the floor of my room outwardly playing with my dolls, but inside I was having extremely interesting “conversations” with what I can best describe as spiritual advisors or guides of some sort. I never had a name for them, they were just always there as far back as I can remember. I did not hear voices – this was more like thoughts transferring between me and them. They neither felt male or female, young or old, but I knew I could ask them anything no matter how trivial or important, and they would answer. Although I liked certain things about going to church – the stained glass, the incense, the music – it never felt right to me from my earliest memories. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to go through someone else (the priest) to get to God when I could just talk directly to him myself although I didn’t think of God as a him or her – IT was a “them”.

    As I grew older, I began to dislike going to church for many other reasons. I stopped attending as soon as I left my parents’ home. I talked to my friends about their various religions and even attended a couple of their services but quickly abandoned that. It became clear to me that there were more similarities than differences, that organized religions had the same issues for ME. I needed to do my own thing. Still, I felt like I was searching for something. I read a lot, and at the time was reading biographies and memoirs. I was always interested in how others coped with life’s difficulties. One day I stopped in a new bookstore and found it was focused on New Age and metaphysics. I began spending a lot of time there and doing a lot of reading and attending a lot of classes and group events.

    Ultimately, I learned a lot there but interestingly had a lot of the same issues as I did with the organized religions! I guess any time you get a group of people together, you’re always going to get someone who wants to be in charge and have a certain amount of control and say so over what everyone else is doing and thinking and believing. No thank you, that is not for me. My beliefs are continually evolving. I know from my early childhood experiences that there is some sort of higher power, but I do not believe it is the man in the sky. It wasn’t until I took a class in meditation at the metaphysical bookstore, that I realized that’s pretty much what I’d been doing when I was 4 or 5 years old – only then I did it so easily and effortlessly! It’s harder as an adult to quiet the mind and just listen, but it can be done.

    I don’t know if there’s a label that fits my beliefs, but I don’t need one. I believe there is some sort of higher power, but I don’t need to define it. I believe there is “something” else after this life, but again, I don’t know exactly what it is and don’t feel a need to know. I know that I feel closest to this higher power when I’m out in nature (and among animals especially) and that it is not harsh and angry but that it is all about love and kindness and caring.
  • sus811sus811 Posts: 98Registered Users
    This is a difficult question to answer for me. I was born and raised Catholic until I was confirmed and then my Mom said she did her part as a Catholic parent (taking me through the sacraments) and from there she would let us choose. My dad never attended church. He considers himself a Christian, but despises church (he's bitter toward a lot of Christians due to the gossip, judging, and guilt he has experienced from his visits in the past). I joined a Methodist youth group in high school and I loved it. I went with a friend and met lots of other friends and truly loved going, but only to youth group. When I wen to services, I was bored silly unless my youth group friends went and we would pass notes. As an adult, I went to a Catholic Church again in college but only because my roommate did and I wanted to sing in their choir. Then, my next church was a Church of Christ. Whoa!! A bit of of my comfort zone at that point!! Hands raised, whooping and hollering and tongues. Again, I only went because a friend did and I wanted to sing!! Hahahaha see a trend?!?!

    My most recent stop was at a non-denominational church. Again I began you with a friend. I joined a small group which consisted of a bunch of college kids meeting at someone's house once a week, doing a quick bible study, singing (contemporary Christian music with an acoustic guitar), and just hanging out. How could you hate that?!?! :-) I moved away from the area right around the time I was feeling burnt out on the church going thing. I realized I went through the steps, but the only real reason for going was he music!! When I moved away, I lost touch with 99% of the people and wasn't to my own vices lol at that time, I began goin to school and I took 2 religion courses for my electives and I saw validity in each religion in those courses (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and other smaller ones I don't remember!!). I also learned about the definition of atheism and agnosticism. It was then that I realized I was agnostic. I cannot say for certain that there is a God, but I cannot say for certain that there is not. I respect those that follow an organized religion and I respect those that do not. That is to say, as long as they are respectful to others.

    I know many people that dislike all Christians or all Muslims or all atheists because if the actions of a few. As someone studying to be a mental health counselor, I tend to step up and advocate for anyone's beliefs and give them the benefit if the doubt. My bf considers himself agnostic also, but he will quickly judge and bash Christians and Muslims. He's one I advocate to the most. I say "if you have family or friends or coworkers that judge, gossip, and lay guilt on you, that isn't fair to judge an entire religion based on so few. There are millions of Christians/Muslims/enter religious population here that follow the peace and loving ideals as intended by the religion".

    I am very glad that this thread has remained respectful. It is very interesting to read about everyone's experiences with religion and spirituality. I still see the validity in all religions. I like Yoga, Astrology, Nature, and still he goosebumps when I get to win contemporary Christian music along with an acoustic guitar. I also believe in ghosts/spirits. I'm a regular old hodgepodge and I wouldn't have it any other way :-D
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    I am a rarely-practicing Roman Catholic. I was raised Catholic and Buddhist. I don't believe in the Trinity ie. the divinity of Jesus Christ in the way that most Christians do, but I believe in God. I believe that all religions have valid teachings and religion is just man's way of getting to know God and all that is bigger than us. I think religion is so beautiful.

    I take great comfort in a lot of Catholic trappings; however, I don't think I can ever be a member of a Catholic church again. I went a few months ago and the priest read a letter from the Bishop asking us to pray for the sanctity of marriage. That was the last time I went. I still read the Bible occasionally or Buddhist texts. I pray once in a while.

    I've thought about joining a United Church of Christ congregation. Now that I have my Sundays back, I probably will.
  • NejNej Posts: 2,444Registered Users
    I was raised as a reform Jew and the culture is a big part of me. I have a lot of respect for Judaism and self- identify as a Jew.

    Spiritually I don't identify as anything. If I had to pick I would say Secular/Agnostic Humanist. I feel that there is something bigger than us all but I don't claim to know what it is or let it guide the morality of my life. I believe in being good and doing the right thing for it's own sake, and that critical thinking and the search for truth is the most important thing we can do for ourselves.