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At what point did *you* choose your belief system?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Apeman, May 2, 2007.

  1. Apeman Gems: 25/31
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    I was wondering at what point in your life you actually made the step to accept a belief system that suited you personally. What I mean is when did you actually realised that a certain religion fitted your lifestyle and it was a systemm that actually made sense to *you* (not to what people said it did for you). Of course the same for when people realised that none of the belief systems made sense.

    I'm really curious if/when people who adopt a religion actually made the conscious choice in relation solely to themselves and not to a community they were living in at the moment (parents/school/etc). Is such a choice possible in a single belief system community?

    In my case my parents were Roman Catholics, as were most people in my community. We went to church every sunday during my basic education. In my opinion a child doesn't really know what's going on at this point except that the wooden benches in church are not comfortable and the what the priest says is boring. I did my communion, and never gave it a second thought.

    Now it wasn't until my 'confirmation' that I started asking questions as what it all meant. This was mainly because the stuff you had to do before this 'confirmation' was so dreadfully boring and so very vague to a child at that age. At this point I consciously started to think about the subject, and it steered me away (over the course of a few years) from the catholic religion to the point of 'there are no gods'.

    So when did *you* start to make a decision? Do you think children have the opportunity to make this decision for themselves in certain communities?
     
  2. AMaster Gems: 26/31
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    Six months ago, give or take.

    Oh, you meant religion, not politics? Um. Eight years ago, give or take. 'Course, my choosing not to believe (if choose is the right word; it wasn't really voluntary. I tried to believe, I wanted to believe...but I didn't) didn't keep my parents from dragging me to chuch every week.
     
  3. Equester Gems: 18/31
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    well around when i was 13years i think (around the confirmation age). basically i was asked wether or not I wanted to get a confirmation and attend preparation for that, since I at that point allready had realised i didn't believe in any gods, I said no.

    my parrents was fine with it, my Father is an Atheist allthough he is both baptised and confirmated in the Danish church and pay Church tax ( since he want to preserve the churches as monuments).
    my mother i think was a christian at a time, but now flirts with budism and eastern mystic, while i dont think she is a true believer, she does have a small alter with several buda figures and some insence.
    She was raised by her mother (surprise) who was a baptist, but latter renounced that faith and i think she still believes in God, but dosn't belong to any church.

    Around 50%of the people i know attended confirmation, but several of them did it purely out of tradition and/or because they wouldn't get a party/gifts if they didn't.
     
  4. TrueBlueAussie Gems: 17/31
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    About 6 months ago was when I became a solid atheist. I didnt really believe in any religion but when I did an essay on religions around the world, and how they were flawed, that made me a concrete atheist.
     
  5. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Not an easy question for me to answer since I have been through several changes in my lifetime which (for anyone not aware of it) is a long one.

    At the moment I would say I am a weak agnostic. I just don't know the answers. When did I realize this? Can't give a specific time or age. It was a long process but then I had the good fortune to be born into a family that didn't claim to have the answers.

    Guess that means I have kept the family 'religion' going although I did go through a period of trying to be a good, devout Anglo-Catholic. We all have our lapses. :)
     
  6. Carcaroth

    Carcaroth I call on the priests, saints and dancin' girls ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I can't remember ever "believing" in a religion.
    My parents aren't religious in the sense of attending church, although my mothers parents(who lived reasonably nearby) were heavily involved in their local church and one of my godparents, a close family friend, is a vicar. I attended church and sunday school - mainly because my friends did - but it never really sat well with me. Guess it's the engineer in me - no proof, no evidence, and no explanations why = no belief.
     
  7. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    I can't say that there was any specific point where I have had a spiritual breakthrough but mostly I would say that I am indifferent to religion.

    I went through with the whole confirmation ritual with the United Church of Canada mostly to keep my Mom happy. I go to church every now and again, but only when my Mom asks me to go with her. I figure that every now and again I can put up with attending a somewhat boring community event intended to encourage people to treat other people well if going there makes my Mom happy.

    I guess over time as I became more aware of science and aware of other peoples' beliefs that it just seemed natural to me that religion was mostly a tool to educate people in morals and that none of them had any particular divine validity.

    Maybe God exists, maybe God doesn't - either way I don't think it makes much difference. If God does exist I think God would care far more about what kind of person you are instead of whether you follow any particular belief structure. Saying that your beliefs are right and that everyone else's are wrong when none of you have any sort of proof just seems incredibly arrogant to me.
     
  8. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    At first I was brought up a christian by accident I think, probably because I hung around other christians in school and maybe I had a christian teacher or two. I basically thought that God was real the same way I thought that Santa and the easter bunny were real.

    Come about 12 years old I realised that there were other religions who believed different things. I asked if they were wrong and was told that yes, they are. I asked why and got the answer that because God says so. I kept asking why and the answers became more and more reliant on taking too much for granted. Basically I realised that religion seldom has any solid foundation and any God who'd punish someone for not knowing about him or following him in a specific manner when he himself can't be bothered to clarify isn't worth worshipping in my opinion. If God isn't going to tell me, by his own power, then he has no justification in punishing me for a so called 'sin'.

    Basicially I called him out, got no answer. I won't follow a shadow.
     
  9. Rallymama Gems: 31/31
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    In my late 20's.

    I was raised Roman Catholic by the type of parents who believed in indoctrination instead of education. My mother, in particular, was the kind of person who wouldn't tolerate questions. On many topics, her attitude was that there was only one possible right answer and that's the way it was and I should take what I was told and stop asking. Needless to say, this didn't sit well with me (it has, though, formed a large part of the basis for how I parent my boys, but that's :yot: ).

    So I sat through weekly Mass and made First Holy Communion and Confirmation, all without any sort of genuine understanding of the deeper theologies of Catholicism. What I did know was that the practices and expectations and applications in daily life seemed grossly intrusive and patronizing and unreasonable - but still, I tried. I even particpated in a Catholic group in college.

    Eventually I realized that the God of Catholicism - unreachable behind all those layers of intermediaries that had been imposed by the likes of men - wasn't someone I could have a relationship with. In my own mind I left the Church in 1985, although it probably happened long before that.

    I spent the next few years developing my own theories of God and a personal spirituality that allowed me to reconcile my heart and my brain. I first started investigating Judaism in 1992, but I didn't take the plunge into the mikveh until 2006. I was very, very happy to have found a religion that largely matches my personal spirituality and values.
     
  10. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    Raised as Christian-lite, but am under the impression that I've always disagreed with it. Some story my grandmother tells about always arguing with the Sunday School people over dinosaurs and stuff.

    It's very hard to pinpoint when I went all godless - younger than 13 I can say with certainty. Without certainty I'd say probably when I was ... 9 or 10?

    The progression went something like from strong atheist -> agnostic -> weak atheist -> strong atheist. The recent bout of strong atheism is pretty recent, but I suspect it's going to stay around for quite a while. Decided asserting that Santa doesn't exist is about the equivalent of saying that God doesn't exist, so copping out by saying 'Well, I don't believe in him, but he might exist' was a little silly.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    That almost identical to me. The only difference is my childhood religion was Roman Catholicism. I received Communion and Confirmation in the Catholic Church. I've also since been married in the Catholic Church. I even attended a Jesuit university (Jesuits are Catholic priests). To be fair though I didn't select to attend that Jesuit univesity because it was Jesuit, but rather because they had a very strong science department. I guess I should also point out that while the university was founded by Jesuit priests, very few classes outside of theology and philosophy were actually instructed by Jesuit priests.

    Anyway to finally answer the question, I would classify myself as a strong agnostic. Prior to my wife getting pregnant, I really didn't think much about religion at all. Now, however, because my wife's parents are devout Catholic, and I was raised Catholic too, it is likely that we will get our child baptized in a Catholic Church. I don't ever see me becoming religious ever again, but if pacifying the in-laws can be accomplished easily enough I won't put up a fight against it.
     
  12. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    When most people do: At the age of 13-15. It was a rather concrete decision because I was faced with confirmation. I pondered it and decided against it, because I didn't want to be confirmend just because of the money you get as present.

    I did not believe in the many of the things the church taught (I still don't), and I felt I'd betray the people close to me if I'd do it just for the presents.
     
  13. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Over there too, huh? :shake:

    The saddest thing is that it only gets worse as you get older. The benches grow even less comfortable (especially here; made for people 150 years ago, they're crippling to anyone taller than 1,5m), and the sermons and preaching start to repeat after a few years to the point that it's boring to death. So, as you can guess, I'm not really a frequent church-goer.

    However, I do think that being forced to go as a child only did me good, so I'm not in the least resentful. But those benches now... ugh. I can endure boredom, but physical discomfort during every mass is a bit too much to put up with.
     
  14. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    3 years old, at the top of some stairs, by myself; and before you say:
    ... Too late. Anyway, I've re-evaluated my position several times, and reconcidered my reasoning at the time I got saved, but I've never changed my mind and I've never regretted my decision.
     
  15. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    It is a constant process, I think.
     
  16. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Never, really. I just made my own, borrowing on various religions for different things. It fits me like a glove, and the best part is that I can change it as need be when new evidence pops up. Though if you want to pinpoint when I started thinking for myself rather than just suffering through mass and Sunday School, I think that'd be around 12.
     
  17. revmaf

    revmaf Older, not wiser, but a lot more fun

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    Exactly Kierkegaard's (sp?) question. And I did live in what amounted to a single-belief community for most of my early life.

    I wavered back and forth for a couple of decades. There were times I would have called myself atheist, some times agnostic. Somewhere in my 30's I found myself a Christian (having been baptized in infancy and confirmed at age 10). That was not really a "choice" but a discovery for me. (Which is consistent with the doctrine among Reformed Christian that God chooses us rather than our choosing God.)

    And I agree very much with Chevalier that it is a constant process. I think I am a Christian for good now but the nuances of that are always evolving for me. For instance, prayer for me is now much more silence than words. It used to be nearly all words.
     
  18. Ilmater's Suffering Gems: 21/31
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    Figured out my current beliefs when I was about 19 years old.

    Adopted Kierkegaard's idea that faith by nature is absurd and that cannot be reached by reason, which helped my get over the idea of not seeing a place in the world for God. William James also helped me here as well (the importance of realizing reason and empiricism can say nothing for or against god). Finally I ended up incorporating much of Spinoza's theory on God/substance to come to a conclusion as to what God was. I suppose there is a good dose of Hinduism in there as well. I find an infinite god is easiest to reconcile if it operates as a panantheistic entity (God is reality, but more then just reality) then a pantheistic or other various theistic views of god.

    I made my first decision about faith at about 16 as my life at that time didn't allow for me not do deal with the idea of whether there was a divine being out there or not.

    As for children being able to make a decision about faith or not, I think it depends on how insular the community is. The public high school I attended allowed for me to actively come into a relatively wide range of intellectual views on god/life through course material.
     
  19. Trellheim Gems: 22/31
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    My parents are atheists, so I wasn't baptised, they said when I'm old enough I could choose any religion I wanted. I haven't, atleast yet, chosen any, probably never will.

    It wasn't never really a decision, I've just always accepted I don't need to believe in any higher creature to do what's right or good.
    Especially if that involves sitting in a church.
     
  20. Iku-Turso Gems: 26/31
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    I started to question christianity in primary school which eventually made me an atheist for a few years, then quite soon after lutheran confirmation camp I thought that I was christian which lead me to study theology with the goal of becoming a priest. But "Soon I discovered that this Rock thing was true, that Jerry Lee Lewis was the..."

    ...wait...

    No, soon I realized that if I'd ever become a priest I would have to work and deal with narrow minded fundamentalists and fanatics on a day to day basis, which I might have managed, but I also found out that I didn't have that much to say about God and that I couldn't speak the words that people might have expected me to. It felt to me that too much of what christianity seemed to be about was only power struggles and that a lot of people were using empty rheotrics and the word of God to their own ends, and their fanatical certainty about them being in the right made it all the more terrible.

    So I thought that's enough christianity and religion for me. I guess you could call me an agnostic, but that wouldn't be entirely right. I guess I'm veering towards taoism, but it's not a religion to me. Is it a belief system? It might be, but to me it's a bunch of principles that I apply in the way I live; a lot of the same principles can be found in chritianity as well. Different way of using language, different perspective, but christianity, taoism and a lot of other religions might be looking at the same thing and that's my :2c:
     
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