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Hey Religion Board,
I haven't posted a lot before, but this is a subject in which I am becoming increasingly interested, so I thought I'd see what you guys have to say.
Anyway, I was reading that demographics poll and noticing that most people mentioned that they developed their current belief systems in their teens or twenties. I'm 21 right now and definitely feeling like I have a lot of pulls from different directions with regards to my developing belief system. And I am very curious as to how and why this happens, and what your specific experiences are.
I am particularly interested in the difference between those who were more or less "raised with" their current beliefs and those who have beliefs now that are significantly different than their original childhood belief system, family system, etc.
Personally, I was raised in a very secular/non-religious family, and while I had minimal exposure to some forms of Christianity as a kid due to going to a nominally Christian school (but hardly - we had chapel once a cycle which rarely amounted to more than mindlessly singing the lord's prayer and doxology and then being lectured to for half an hour about how we need to feed the homeless more; there was next to no legitimate theology involved and only the major biblical stories were depicted in most cases), I never considered myself to be religious and grew up pretty much thinking the standard atheist/agnostic kinds of lines that religion was unimportant, there probably wasn't a god, and we should concern ourselves a lot more with what science and our own perceptions tell us about the world than books or preachers. However, more recently (partially due to dating a fairly serious Christian and being in contact with several other people of faith, plus having a job singing in a church choir and the like) I have become a little more interested in exploring religion in a different vein and trying to develop a stronger sense of my own personal faith and spirituality, at least in terms of my life goals and basic worldview.
Anyway, I guess I am wondering if there are many people who have come to develop different views throughout their lives and how they went about doing so and what kinds of journeys people tend to take, in an attempt to better understand my personal journey and help me along the path, wherever it takes me.
I was raised in an explicitly secular home. My parents were outright atheist/agnostic. Religion was never really brought up at all while I was little. I was only vaugely aware that there were people who were religious and didnt really think about it much.
Around the age of 12 I met some people who went to church and almost immidently became interested in the idea of religion. . For the next several years I started to examine and study the religions of the world. I read the holy books of the major world faiths, as well as various books about them. I also started to attend services at a church down the street I could walk to and once I got my first car I visited various other places of worship, including a Mosque, a Mormon Temple, and a Wicca group.
At the time I wasnt sure what I believed, but I was facinated with the idea of belief. Eventually around the age of 17 I realized that Christianity made sense to me, and I'v decided to consider myself a Christian, and I found a(united methodist) church I had been visiting that I liked a lot and asked to become a member and be baptized.
Since then I'v continued to learn and study religions, particularly my own, my views on things like the nature of Heaven, hell and the end of times have changed as I'v learned more. There is also still a mosque I visit once a month or so for their weekly prayer, because I find it interesting.
My advice if you arent sure what to believe: study and learn. If you havent yet read the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, find some good books or sites with information about some given religions, and learn as much as you can. You may eventually find something that 'clicks' with you, or you may not....I dont know....
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Thanks! That's exactly what I was looking for, another person's experience, especially since it sounds similar to what I may be going through. I am in the same boat - I kind of want to try a little of everything and see what resonates with me. I am just having a hard time knowing where to begin, and devoting the time and energy such a study deserves. But I'm all about learning and viewing all the options, so I guess I gotta start somewhere, and right now my first order of business is a LOT of preliminary readings... you know, the background "what the heck is this even all about" kind of stuff. I hope I will come across something good even though most of what I've been doing so far is basically random googling with a grain of salt (or a bucketful, as it were).
I grew up with no real religious influence one way or another. Both of my parents are non-religious, and didn't really share any of their philosophical beliefs with me until I was much older. I became very interested in religion and philosophy around the age of 11 and started studying everything I could get my hands on. I went through a few stages of different beliefs, but kept on abandoning them because they just didn't feel right, and I'd always come to the conclusion that, deep down, I didn't really believe in what they were saying.
I started studying Buddhism and Taoism in my mid-teens, and things clicked much more fully. These are the two strongest influences on my current beliefs, though my views on certain things still evolve and change in small ways, refining beliefs in certain areas, learning new information, and having my views shaped by my general life experiences.
So ultimately it was, and is, just a matter of exploring all the ideas I could and finding the ones that really fit.
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I was raised in a family with mixed beliefs. My mother and grandmother believe in some variation of the Christian God, but also hold some new age beliefs (healing, divination, spirits etc). They believe God to be of a much less demanding and repressive kind than he is portrayed in the Bible. My great grandmother is a regular Christian. I don't actually know what my dad believes in, but I suspect him to be atheist or agnostic. Never really talked to him about the subject.
I went to sunday school (more like sunday funday) when I was a kid and I was basically a Christian until 17 or so. I believed that the Bible had been corrupted, and that God didn't hate gays and stuff, though.
After giving the subject of God some thought, I decided that God must be a deistic God, as he doesn't seem to do stuff anymore. This later evolved into pantheism, mainly with me becoming more of a hippie. The more I thought about the concept of god or divinity, I could accept it less and less, and with a more firm grasp of reality, I became an atheist / naturalistic pantheist, and I no longer believe in anything supernatural.
So it basically went the, of my understanding, quite common path:
Christian -> Deist -> Pantheist -> Atheist.
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