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How Influential is Your Birth Religion in Your Adult Life?

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 07:12 pm
Many people are born into a particular religion, and stay with it for their entire lives. Others adopt a faith other than the beliefs they learned as a child. Some are nominally a part of their birth religion, although they do not parctice it as a part of their daily lives, while still others have rejected religion entirely.

How much influence does your birth religion have in your life? If you changed your faith, or abandoned religion entirely, why?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,472 • Replies: 48
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Bibliophile the BibleGuru
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 07:25 pm
Out of the one-hundred-and-thirty-two members of my extended family, excluding my wife and children, they ALL are practising ATHIESTS and I am not!

Is was raised to distrust and challenge ANYONE who practised any form of organised religion. Attendance at places of worship was forbidden; speaking to door-to-door evangelists or street-corner proselytisers was frowned upon.

Humanism, funnily enough, whilst a recognised philosophy, and seen by some to be a religion, was the bed-fellow of my parents personal beliefs and ardent defence of atheism.
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maxsdadeo
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 07:37 pm
I am actively involved in the organizational leadership and teaching of my church.

It brings color, texture, understanding and a vastly improved appreciation for all aspects of my life.
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flyboy804
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 08:12 pm
I checked the last box even though it is not totally accurate. Though I am an atheist, so long as others embrace religion, it does have a relevance to me. I am ethnically Jewish and was brought up in a reform Jewish household. Hard as this may be to believe, when I was only nine years old I returned from Sunday school one morning and told my parents that I didn't believe any of the stories I was being told and I was not going back. My parents only put mild pressure on me to return. My conviction that I was right has intensified over the years.
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flyboy804
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 08:30 pm
I just realized that I did not answer the specific question. As a Jew, I was (am) a minority and was at times confronted with bigotry and prejudice. This is not a completely bad thing. It has led me to be violently opposed to any form of bigotry or discrimination. This is coming from a staunch conservative. So much for generalized definitions. It also led to a wonderful experience. When I was about twelve years old, I and four of my friends sought temporary tennis club membership over the summer. My friends were accepted, but I was not. I was straightforwardly told that Jews were not allowed. (This was 1942 in case you are wondering about anti-discrimination laws.) My friends would not join without me; one of the best feelings I can recall.
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husker
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 08:33 pm
Ditto on Max!
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timberlandko
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 08:41 pm
I chose the last option as well, though the "Fit" is more "Off-The-Rack" than custom-tailored. I consider myself more an Agnostic than an Athiest. I have issue with precepts and tenets of just about any "Religion", viewing all such more as businesses and bureaucracies than as valuable social constructs or even valid philosophies. No cause in the history of humankind has been central to more havoc and tragedy than has "RELIGION". That in itself is enough to condem and invalidate the concept in my mind.



timber
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:23 pm
I was sort of raised Anglican - but went to a Presbyterian school - I was able to slough it all off at age 14 with a minimum of difficulty, and have had no interest in Christianity since - except to acknowledge the influence the churches sometimes have on social policy, and to be annoyed about things like the place of women, attitudes to homosexuality etc.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:27 pm
My parents were agnostics, but my dad was/is very very Jewish in non-religious ways, so it's kinda tough for me to answer. I guess my birth religion, or lack thereof, had a fair amount of influence on me as I have remained agnostic-but-culturally-Jewish (in many ways, but lacking the religious aspect, so not all) pretty much throughout.
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mikey
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:31 pm
Irish Catholic, suburb of the notorious city of Boston. Yippeeeee... not.

I have no chosen faith, only spirituality I'll go to any church.
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jespah
 
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Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:46 pm
I was born Jewish and practice it a bit although less than my family does but more than my husband's side does. We try to acknowledge the major holidays, but we don't go to synagogue (and I did a lot when I was a kid). We do the most for Chanukah and Passover.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Dec, 2002 09:57 pm
I went to catholic church for the first 5-6 years of my life. We dropped out then and I've never had much of an interest in religion. I feel that my vote of "None. I have rejected the entire concept of religion as irrelevent to my life." sounds a bit more violent then reality. I just don't go, I don't really get it. I mistrust organized religions.
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Hazlitt
 
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Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 01:53 am
Phoenix, I was not able to check any of the options on your poll. I have no religious beliefs, but am sure I will be influenced by my religious background for as long as I live. This is especially true in my concepts of personal and social morality or ethics. I'm greatly influenced by the "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," ethic. I could go on and on quoting various moral admonitions of the Bible that still influence me (What does thy God require of thee, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God). Although, I would couch these ideas in secular language if I were talking about them today, I know that the real power they have over me originates in my religious past.

I refer to this as a sort of religious moral anchor that drags along behind making me a little more morally conservative than I might otherwise be. I think this works socially too. Even as some people see morality decaying, I think that people are more influenced by early religious training than the hand wringing doom sayers think, and that rapid change in the moral code is inhibited by the moral anchor.

My parents were nominal Presbyterians, and I was sent to Sunday School on an intermittent basis as a youngster. At about age 17 I experienced a cataclysmic conversion to 1950s style Baptist fundalmentalism. It took about five or six years to get out of that organization. But I'm influenced by it to this day. But then, only 50 years have passed. Maybe in a hundred or so I'll have forgotten it completely.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 05:00 am
Hazlitt- It is too late for people who have voted before, but you brought up a very interesting point, the substance of which I have added to the poll. I think that there are many people, who fit into this category.
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dream2020
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 08:16 am
My mother became a Jehovah's Witness when I was 5, I think it appealed to her paranoia which is part of her mental illness. As a result, I was taken door-to-door, never saluted the flag or celebrated any of the holidays until my mom changed her mind and said there was no god. By that time I was 12. so for me organized religion has always been associated with my mother's wierdness.

I've never gotten how religion can foster a spirituality that opens you up to sacred experiences and ultimately being a better person. My early experience taught me that we're all pretty much on our own, and the gift of belief, or perception of the sacred in life, is pretty much anywhere but in a church. So though I completely rejected the church I was brought up in, I'm still trying to be spiritually open, and I'm happy for people who can find a spiritual path in church.
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 10:53 am
I was born a catholic. I went to Sunday school until I was 15, etc... After that I decided that I didn't believe the things I was told all those years. Things in the bible just didn't sit right with me at all. I am not a religious person and I don't believe in organized religion whats so ever, but I do consider myself to be a spiritual person because I still believe in God, just not the God I was taught about. The God I believe in is not in any bible or organization.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 11:56 am
My parents never never NEVER went to church in my lifetime. Yet, if hard pressed, I am pretty sure they would have claimed to be Baptists. Terms such as prayer, sin, forgiveness, rebirth, etc. simply were not discussed. When I was about seven my older brother said to me, out of the blue, "I'm a Christian." His conversion, apparently momentary, never resulted in his regularly going to church, but it set me to thinking about these things. When the local Baptist minister offered to drive me and my siblings to Sunday worship, I alone went, eager to learn what it meant to be a Christian. When, after I had attended for a few months, I referred to one of the church members as "Brother", my step father looked at me in disgust. "You'll never see the day I call one of them 'Brother'," he said. I persevered. These Christian people claimed to have all the answers. I desperately wanted them. Slowly it dawned on me that my desires for conversion were not 'taking'. I lay awake at night, eight by now, pondering. The minister had said that without God there could be no morals. But I could not accept that. Where, then? Where does morality spring from. There, in the dark of night, as three of my brothers lay sleeping in bed with me, like a revelation from outside myself, I heard the one word: "Inside". I knew that I was given to understand that morality is inate; we are born with it. After a few more weeks of struggle, during which I watched an after service casting out of a demon while waiting for my ride home, I lay awake yet another night. This time I admitted to myself that I would never become a Christian. The instant repercussion for the admission was a realization that my death would bring total personal extinction. I was frightened, but I accepted that condition of being an atheist. In the years that followed I became enamored of Philip Wylie's version of atheism, which relied heavily on C. G. Jung's thought, as well as evolution and comparitive study of animal/human behavior. I recognize that the myth making drive within the human psyche has been largely grabbed on to and jealously guarded by religions and I suppose that is why I read extensively on Buddhism and Christianity today. I also recognise much in offshoot religions that is worthwhile. There are some aspects of L Ron Hubbard's work that I find relevant, for instance. I don't regret being an atheist, but, it would be nice if, after a century of struggle, there could be an eternal reward. Oh, well; there is good and bad about every person's beliefs.
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flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 12:50 pm
Edgar- I enjoyed reading your post and agree with most of your conclusions. I don't believe that morality itself is innate, but I do believe that there is something innate that determines how "moral" a person we become. For me, once I learned that I felt better doing the "right" thing and helping others rather than harming them, that is the path I took. I once had a very good friend who was a devout Catholic. He considered me a "good" person, but knowing me to be an Atheist could not understand why I was "good". I, on the other hand could not understand why he could not believe that one could be good just for the sake of being good.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 01:07 pm
I believe that as we grow the instincts, what we call being good, unfold. Corrupting influences of course waylay many a character's moral persuasion.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 01:15 pm
"Religion" is merely that aspect of humankind's social consciousness which strives to provide ethico-moral authority and to account for that which may be unexplained by contemporary technology, while fostering a sense of community. A number of conundrums arise. Need one be "Religious" to be Moral? Are Morals and Ethics interdependent? Has Civilization rendered Religion irrelevant?

Personally, I find little correlation between "Religion" and "Faith". Both may exist within the makeup of a given individual, while any other individual may evidence either or neither of the two attributes. Certainly, neither attribute is a requirement for a wholesome and enlightened approach to life, nor do either preclude such. Perhaps it would be best to live one's life in the assumption of and with regard to an O'erwatching Deity; should that in fact be the case, one's eternal fortune is made, while if not, it matters not in the least.
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