Have Your Religious Views Changed?

  • CallusedSilk

    CallusedSilk (100)

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    All right, I didn't see this anywhere, but I am curious about this. I know we've got a thread about whether your religious views are different than friends/family. We even have a thread about religious secrets.

    What I'm curious to see is how your views on religion have changed throughout your lifetime thus far? Or if they have at all, actually. Have you always been part of the same religion/lack of religion that you are now? Are you the same religion/lack of religion as before, but with different aspects in it (i.e. used to not believe in gay marriage, but now do, etc.)?
    June 6th, 2014 at 11:35pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    We didn't start going to church until I was twelve. I was raised to think homosexuality, Harry Potter, and abortion were sins. I was raised to think Atheists go to hell even if they are good people. None of this sat well with me

    I am pro-choice, pro equality, and I love HP. I do not believe a loving God would punish people over something as petty as belief. I also believe God is conscious energy, not a big white dude in the sky. I believe earth is Hell. I consider myself a New Age progressive Christian. Many people do not consider me Christian at all, but their opinions don't really matter.
    June 7th, 2014 at 08:18pm
  • rivers in the dust

    rivers in the dust (660)

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    I am agnostic. I don't condemn anyone for their opinion, and for the most part, I am not condemned for mine. I was raised Christian, my mum is an ordained minister, and I grew to love God - but as I aged I began to see that the things people credit God with are just human things after all, such as medical miracles, they are just that.

    I don't not believe, of course; agnostic means that I will accept the truth when it comes, and nothing before.
    June 8th, 2014 at 07:09am
  • LadyOfFlame

    LadyOfFlame (150)

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    I was raised Christian, and since all the schools in my area are Catholic, I must go to a Catholic school.
    However, my views are very different than that of my friends. I do not believe in the Bible. I think that the Bible was when men were trying to find out what created the world and added their own prejudices into it.
    When it comes to spirits and the afterlife? Well, I would like to think that it exists, as I do believe that we were put on this Earth for a purpose.
    June 8th, 2014 at 02:20pm
  • based

    based (200)

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    Everyone in my family is a Christian (except for my dad, but he was when he was younger) and so I was raised as one. I went to church and acted like I believed in god, and my mom and I prayed every night. I felt something special when I would pray, or when I'd hear an especially good song, or meet an especially special person... but aside from that, the whole thing didn't interest me. I've always been very interested in human history and matters of the universe. Why we've come to live the way that we do, why cultures are the way they are, psychology, etc. I'm a very contemplative person. I perpetually see the big picture. But for some reason, the whole religion thing didn't interest me much. I went on calling myself a Christian until I was about 14. That's when I became "agnostic." I was very spiritual and that whole thing, but again I didn't think about it much. The way I see it, any theory of why the universe came to be is just as ridiculous, sane, logical and illogical as the next. The Bible seems to me as reasonable as the Scientologists' beliefs that we're all ghosts of dead aliens that were sent here by a space god or whatever. They're all just made up theories that people have developed over the years. There's no proof that any of it is any more real than the next, just because one has been more normalized to some of us than the other. So anyway, I went on vaguely being a "spiritual agnostic" which so many people seem to call themselves. I sort of had these far off notions that it was all bullshit, but I didn't know what else to believe. Until, a few months ago, I decided to watch an Ayn Rand interview on a whim and she put all those notions right into perspective. I realized that if you logically think of any of this shit, there's literally no proof of it and no reason to believe any of it. You can say "there's no way of not knowing" either, but there's no way of knowing that there's no bigfoot either, is there? There's no way of knowing that there's an invisible alien hovering right outside your window. So if you're willing to believe anything that has no proof of it's nonexistence, how will you have any idea of what you really believe? And I think that's the main problem. It's important to know exactly what you believe and to have logical roots for those things in order to be a grounded, efficient human being. So now I'm what you'd call an atheist. I still pray because it makes me feel better (except I pray to someone that I have actual proof of existing - Marc Bolan - because he's like an angel to me), and I still get those special feelings when I meet special people or hear certain things; but I don't chalk it up to god. There's still a lot we haven't found out about the human brain, but I think it's more likely something to do with that than Jesus Christ. I find it more fulfilling and enjoyable to live every day believing that the human mind is powerful enough to be responsible for all these phenomenons and for everything that we have instead of some sort of god. I understand that some people find it more special to believe that there is some sort of spiritual realm or something, but I don't. I think if people would stop believing in god and would take THIS life and their presence on THIS earth more seriously instead of just believing that if they don't commit too many sins they'll be in heaven in a few years, this planet would be a lot better.
    June 20th, 2014 at 12:17pm
  • The Real Mitt Romney

    The Real Mitt Romney (250)

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    I grew up Christian. I went to Bible school every Sunday but they most definitely forced me bc I was 6 when it started + they bribed me bc we had cookouts after we were done praying + all the kids there played manhunt. When I was 11 I said I was atheist, when I was 12 I was Christian again for about 6 months before I stopped letting my mom force me to believe in something I never have and never will. Half way through my 12th year until I was about 14 I wasn't anything. I wasn't atheist so I don't know what exactly I was going for at that age?? When I was 15 I decided I would look into religion + belief systems. I view myself as somewhat of a Buddhist. I don't think I will ever stray from Buddhism.
    June 20th, 2014 at 05:40pm
  • Collin Berend

    Collin Berend (230)

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    I am an atheist. I was raised as a Christian and later went Buddhist for philosophy reasons and logic. Still follow some teachings, but I am a fully open atheist.
    July 6th, 2014 at 12:20am
  • bye gone

    bye gone (110)

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    I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school all of K-12, and up until a few months ago pretty much believed every word. Back in middle school I even followed a lot of the social teachings (I was adamantly pro-life before I even understood both sides of the abortion debate). That quickly changed as I was exposed to more liberal ideas in high school. But prior to high school I think I was pretty closeted and was not taught how to think for myself.

    It's not that I never used to think for myself, I have always been a pretty independent thinker who is always questioning things, but it's that whenever I had a question about the faith my father had an answer ready, and lately I've been less and less able to make sense even of the answers. I think part of the reasoning for this is that my way of thinking has changed over the years. I suppose after being raised from birth as a Catholic, many people either blindly follow their faith or just go by saying that they're Catholic (or maybe this is any religion) without really understanding what it is that that means?

    I think many people acquaint the Catholic church with the Magisterium (after all, the Pope is the head of the Church so should he not be the people Catholics and non-Catholics alike look to in trying to understand what exactly Catholicism is?), when religion is about much more than the people in charge.

    No matter what religion you look at, I think you're going to find something to not like. I personally have issues with a lot of the teachings of the Catholic church (such as being pro-life, anti-marriage equality, being against premarital sex, and not letting women be ordained, I could go on and on but I think those are the biggest ones that I strongly disagree with), and mainly it has to do with their limiting what the individual is and is not allowed to do. I think, in any Christian denomination, saying somethings a "sin" and trying to scare people into following their ideals lest they be burnt in the fires of Hell for all eternity, is a little ridiculous.

    And the argue I've heard is "Well, now you're saying that the individual is more important than God."

    (At this point I should probably interject and point out that while I'm questioning my faith and a brief period of agnosticism, I do believe that there is a God, that there is something beyond the physical world.)

    But I think it's the opposite. Saying that individuals can't be trusted to think or decide for themselves is very toxic, instead of hollering about "this is a sin, that's a sin, go to Mass every Sunday, etc." I think it's important to teach more of why Catholics believe what they believe. And while Scripture is the most obvious answer it's so much more than that. I think that more of an emphasis should be put on the philosophy and theology of the Doctors of the church, and giving people the opportunity to see what that means.

    I might be biased as I'm fascinated with learning about philosophy and theology (even if I don't always agree with a certain person's beliefs or way of thinking).

    I haven't yet started exploring the idea of other religions (although I would like to), but honestly to fully understand the philosophy behind every religion would take over a million lifetimes. So I guess for now I'll have to work with the cards that were handed to me at birth and since.

    I think being exposed to people of other religions (specifically non-Christian religions) who are quite educated on their religion (or quite educated about religion and can explain to me why they don't have a faith or spirituality: e.g, Atheists) is very important in the journey to finding out who I am and what exactly I am meant to do and what religion - or lack thereof - is where I am meant fall.

    As an 18-year-old I think it's really too soon for me to tell what that is. But seeing as I'm about to start college at my first non-Catholic institution of education I'm hoping I'll be able to explore that.

    And being a physics major, I'm sure I'll find plenty more liberals and Atheists who can let me know what they think, and maybe I'll even have something to offer them in the process.
    August 3rd, 2014 at 04:05pm
  • pearlhunter

    pearlhunter (100)

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    I grew up in a Christian family (my father was a minister) and when I was born to about age 17 I went to church pretty much every Sunday. I'd say I was pretty lucky because I hear all the time about how parents and churches force their kids to learn certain things or sugar coat the religion, but especially during my teenage years, the church I went to urged us to challenge our faith and not to just believe everything we were told but to look things up and ask questions. So I asked questions but the answers I got (even if they weren't complete or factual) still aligned enough with my own beliefs, so I remained a Christian.

    Between 17 and 20 I stopped going regularly after going through some rough patches in life but I did go when I felt incredibly depressed or lost. It was almost like I suffered from withdrawal (which is similar to how the bible describes it) and I would always feel better after going, but apart from my monthly visits I felt like nothing amazing was really happening.

    It then started to feel like I was going to church to please my mother (whom I love very much) or to keep my family name out of the dirt, because my family is so big and they all talk to each other too, and then there's all the links my father had with so many different people in other church communities, all of whom are watching me.

    So now, although I still believe in God, heaven and hell etc. I don't really go to church and I don't practise as much as I used to. I'm still curious about religion but right now, I suppose I'm taking a break, seeing what it's like to live without God in my life, since I never really got the chance to growing up.
    August 12th, 2014 at 02:38pm
  • elixir

    elixir (100)

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    pearlhunter:
    So now, although I still believe in God, heaven and hell etc. I don't really go to church and I don't practise as much as I used to. I'm still curious about religion but right now, I suppose I'm taking a break, seeing what it's like to live without God in my life, since I never really got the chance to growing up.
    I'm kind of in the same boat. I've been going to church pretty consistently since I was a child, and now that I'm going to college way far away from home, I haven't made any connections with religion. I'm hoping to come back to it, though, as soon as I find a good church to attend regularly.
    September 2nd, 2014 at 08:59pm
  • JustAnotherNobody

    JustAnotherNobody (200)

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    I was a Christian--specifically one of the ones who took the Bible literally. I'm now an atheist.
    September 21st, 2014 at 10:07am
  • hey sailor

    hey sailor (100)

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    I wasn't raised with a specific religion; rather, my family was very spiritual. My parents belong to a certain 12-step group (I won't go into detail, as anonymity is one of the biggest pillars in any 12-step program), and they believed in creating your own ideal of a higher power. I began nurturing my own ideals of afterlife, a higher power, reincarnation, everything, when I was about seven.

    As I live in the South, a huge population of people I know are Christian. When I got older, I wanted to fit in, so I started going to a Christian church. I'd listen to sermons but very few things really hit home for me. I did enjoy the idea of helping others in a community, but there were a lot of inconsistencies and I eventually left that church.

    Now I'm 22 and at that time in my life where I reevaluate everything. While I used to identify as a Christian, I don't anymore. I don't play into the media's perceptions of Christians, or for that matter, atheists, agnostics, pretty much anyone. I think good people exist everywhere.

    I identify as Spiritual. People say I'm agnostic, and if I had to put a label on it, sure, I'm agnostic. But that doesn't encompass everything. I believe there's a higher power because it brings me comfort to know I'm never actually alone.
    September 21st, 2014 at 09:10pm
  • Famous Friend.

    Famous Friend. (105)

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    I pretty much grew up in a hardcore orthodox Christian household. Basically my whole life revolved around my religion. As a kid I thought that that was the most normal thing and I didn't realize that there were so many other religions out there so as I grew up and learned about different cultures and ideas I changed my idea about religion. As of now I'm agnostic. I believe that religion has great morals and shows a basic idea of how one should live but I don't think one religion is right. So I believe in religion as a whole but not as individuals if that makes sense at all.
    September 28th, 2014 at 09:22am
  • whatshername924

    whatshername924 (100)

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    I think at some point in your life no matter how you were raised you come to this place where you decide what belief will in a sense guide your life. I am a Christian, however, I consider myself non denominational. The Bible clearly states that good works will not get you into heaven but faith- faith in the forgiveness God has given you through the death of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness from what though? For our sins. He is so holy, so perfect that we cannot be with Him. We deserve death but he loved us so much He provided us with a way that we could be forgiven, He sent his perfect Son who knew no sin to take our place and die instead. This is a gift, He will not force you to accept it but it is a gift anyone can obtain. I don't think there is enough emphasis in this world on God's love. God loves everyone the same, Christian or not. God loves me and you just as much as he loved Hitler. Christians are not perfect people, they are human and make mistakes. What sets a true Christian apart is their decision to put their faith in God, form with him and confess that their not good enough but now that they have been forgiven, they can spend eternal life with him. That's what I believe.
    September 29th, 2014 at 11:17pm
  • Valerie.

    Valerie. (115)

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    I was born into a Catholic family and went to Catholic schools for most of my life and kind of just went along with it. That was until I started high school and during religion class I started to pick up on the bible's hypocrisy. I would have become an atheist if it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t let go of certain beliefs. Then I learnt about Deism and realised it was basically what I believed in so I’m a Deist now.
    September 30th, 2014 at 04:30pm
  • faster.

    faster. (300)

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    Well, when I was really young I believed in God because I just thought that was the only way. Then I went through a crazy Athiest, fuck religion phase in high school for a while, but now I'd say I'm just agnostic. I don't know if there's a god or not, but you can believe whatever you want, as long as you're not a dick about it. and I'll try not to be either, lol.
    October 22nd, 2014 at 06:03am
  • January Rose

    January Rose (100)

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    I'm a Christian and I still watch Harry Potter, Twilight and all that stuff. I don't believe in abortion, not just because of my faith, but what I believe in personally. I think gays and lesbians should have rights and be treated as equals, but I can't say I'm 100% behind their decision. A lot of my believes have stemmed from my faith, but also my parents and the world around me.
    October 24th, 2014 at 08:15pm
  • January Rose

    January Rose (100)

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    So to answer your question, in some ways my belifd have changed. But mostly no.
    October 24th, 2014 at 08:16pm
  • Sarcastic Owl

    Sarcastic Owl (150)

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    I was an atheist as an underclassman in high school. I consider myself a Christian now. My classmates and professors find it particularly impressive that I find it possible to believe after spending my senior year watching my dad die a slow and painful death.

    One day around Christmas, I was at the mall with a friend. A man was handing out religious flyers about the "real reason for the season" and she got stuck with one. I asked her how out of context it was, and she told me it was outright lies and most of it was never in the Bible.

    I did some reading, and it occurred to me that what I was told about Christianity and the actual Gospel were not the same. I have a wonderful professor for New Testament this semester, and it's been a beautiful experience. Instead of trying to indoctrinate us, we've been learning the history of the New Bible. Nobody has lied to us about it being an inconsistent mess, and somehow that it makes it all the more real to me.
    October 26th, 2014 at 03:28am
  • arye.tyler

    arye.tyler (100)

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    I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. My grandparents, who more or less raised me, were very prominent in their congregation, and a large part of my childhood focused on maintaining a certain image. Present right, look right, speak right, think right, be right, be good. I loved soccer and track, though, and my grandmother was eventually convinced to allow me to play.

    I ended up injuring my knee and both of my ankles, and that was the end of soccer and track. Having been told my entire life that, if anything bad happens it's because the Lord didn't want you to do that anyway, and having spent so long being an athlete, I felt my entire identity was being invalidated by some pissed off dude on high. And so began a few years of me being a "fuck God and everything else" sort of atheist.

    I eventually began to go to Mass, and from there began to understand that my grandparents' beliefs were not representative of the majority of Christianity, or indeed the Christian god. I am not baptized, but I plan to be after college, and I still attend Mass regularly. I am in a place in my life where I can talk about my beliefs, and so here they are.

    I love other religions, and I love a part of the Qur'an where we are told that God made us into many tribes that we may come to know each other. It encompasses a lot of what I believe. My god, my Lord, my shepherd, is a loving god. So I can feel secure in my own faith, while I date an agnostic for five amazing years, and while I continue to learn the ways and thoughts and beliefs of others. I believe that we all come to know the Lord in different ways, and I don't think that anyone will be condemned for having had a different way of doing this. That would be inconsistent with the Lord being a god of love. So I don't find it inconsistent to say that I think that abortion should continue to be legal in the United States, out of concern for the health of the women that get them, even though I dislike the practice, or to say that I don't mind of "marriage" being a function of the Church, and "unions" a legal function of the state.

    My god is love. And I strive every day to find peace, that I may follow His example.

    (Sorry it got so long.)
    October 29th, 2014 at 08:01am