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Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from a(51 posts)

Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from a94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 11:14 AM
religious family? Or not?

When did it start? Did your parents pull you kicking and screaming and you continued going when you grew up? Or is that why you don't go to church today?

Are there atheists in fox holes? I have been told no. Then, who do they pray to?

I am a devout Mormon. Converted to The C of JC of LDS when I was 25 (17 years ago). Parents, now also Mormons, were periodic church attenders at best while we were growing up and never forced us to go. I went to be with my friends. Never got much else out of it until I was 25.
Not.... Not..MR_GRUMPY
Jul 30, 2003 11:36 AM
Never got into the God thing, but don't mind that others do, unless they try to force their beliefs on me.
Not. Not. No.czardonic
Jul 30, 2003 11:40 AM
Who do atheists pray to? Hard to say. The Universe. Fate. Entropy. Nobody. Themselves to muster the strength or wisdom they require.
No, No, No, nmNo_sprint
Jul 30, 2003 11:44 AM
No, no, yesContinental
Jul 30, 2003 12:06 PM
I was raised in a conservative Christian family. I found the teachings of religious conservatives to contradict with history, science, and common sense. This contradiction forced me to examine the roll of God in the universe. If God is defined as an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, and loving Being, I concluded that God doesn't exist. There are many reasons at many levels for me reaching this conclusion, and it wasn't easy to "come out of the closet." I was a religious hypocrite until both my parents had died. Telling them I didn't believe in their God would have hurt them more than me dying a miserable death but keeping my faith. Now it doesn't bother me that one of my brothers and one of my sisters think that I'll burn in hell. I respect religious believers, but cannot understand how intellegent educated people literally believe the old myths. When religious beliefs attempt to deprive others of freedom and liberty I lose all respect and tolerance.
re: Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from aLive Steam
Jul 30, 2003 12:07 PM
Raised as a Roman Catholic. Made all of my sacraments and then pretty much left the church. My dad is a church regular and my mom an occasional visitor, though she always says I should go to church more. My cousin is a monsignor and worked for the last two or three Cardinals of NYC. He has his own parish now. Oh he also worked in the Vatican when he was a young priest.

I was recently married and did not have a church service. We were married by a minister at the location of the reception. My wife did not make here confirmation, though she attended mostly Catholic schools as a child. Not even my cousin could help us with the fact that she needed to be confirmed in order to get married in church. Well he could have, but Christine wasn't very receptive to what she had to do. She wanted a garden wedding and that too is not allowed by the Catholic church. Lots of rules you know.

I guess recently I have been considering finding some church that will fulfill my requirements. That being a more progressive type of service and teachings. I have never stopped believing, just didn't believe in the ceremony nor what many of the priests had to say. Maybe it's because I am older and understand my mortality better, that I have had these recent desires to again attend church.
Strange why they would not permit....Fender
Jul 30, 2003 1:00 PM
a garden wedding? Also, from my understanding you don't need to be confirmed to get married by the Catholic church. Might be wrong though.
Strange why they would not permit....Live Steam
Jul 30, 2003 1:09 PM
The Roman Catholic church wants marriages to take place in a church or "the House of God". That is only for marriages between two Catholics. If one of use were Jewish for arguments sake, we could have had a priest marry us anywhere. Go figure :O)

In order for two Catholics to be married in a church, both have to have had completed their sacraments. For me and her, it is not a big deal. We had a beautiful day and a beautiful ceremony. I don't think our folks really cared either. I think my cousin is kind of po'ed. I really wanted him to perform the ceremony. He has wed, buried and baptized pretty much everyone in the family except yours truly. He is a wonderful speaker and usually does so from the heart. Oh well, again I'm the "black sheep" :O)
No, No, Moderately yes.sn69
Jul 30, 2003 12:09 PM
I was raised by an active family through my 13th birthday. They gave me a choice after that, and I chose to leave. I don't practice yet I wouldn't categorize myself as an atheist. Rather, I don't subscribe personally to any organized religion--I don't feel that I need the machinations of mankind to provide a conduit between me and my spirituality. ...I see/communicate with the Big G any time I'm inspired by nature.
And acid, young Scott. Don't forget theOldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 6:27 PM
acid (soon as you get loose of the pee police).

You'll hear a Big Voice, and feel a hand on your neck: "You wanted to see the Books? Well, LOOK at the Books."

It'll send you to the country for Bloodhounds and Bourbon for life, believe you me.

Selah --
You know, Ed,sn69
Jul 30, 2003 8:13 PM
in a strange sense I'm relieved that acid seems to have defined the far reaches of your exploration of Ed's Inner Space. I shudder to think where you might have ended up if you had taken a shine to toxic toad licking. ...Then again, you might have ended up in business partnership with the Nug and his wacked ultra-rightie bow hunting bid'niz.

Your humble war-mongering servant,
Don't knock toads till you try 'em!OldEdScott
Jul 31, 2003 4:48 AM
And the Nug on toads = awesome.
Jul 31, 2003 5:58 AM
Scroll down for a couple of descriptions of 'toad trips.' The psychoctive agent is essentially DMT, which causes a short but very intense experience. (Acid lasts 8-12 hours, DMT less than an hour).

I would recommend it, but it generally leads to harder stuff, like God. Ot maybe Nug.
Sorry. The link:OldEdScott
Jul 31, 2003 5:59 AM
Thanks for starting my morning w/a hearty laugh! nmsn69
Jul 31, 2003 6:28 AM
a Gnostic in training? nmBikeViking at home
Jul 31, 2003 3:40 AM
Perhaps, but more likely purely indie. Me, myself and mysn69
Jul 31, 2003 6:37 AM

re: Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from aColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 1:01 PM
religious family...missouri synod lutheran. it was never a question whether or not to go to church and sunday school/bible study...we just did. currently agnostic. not anti-religious, but not very hot on mist brands of christianity. curious...have you read the new krakauer book called under the banner of heaven? i bought it, but haven't started it yet.
No, but you might agree, that all religions have their own...94Nole
Jul 30, 2003 1:09 PM
versions of fundamentalists. These people would argue that they are members of the church, but I'll bet if I had access to church records I would find that these people were excommunicated from the church a long time ago.

We could, no doubt, find similar books/stories within all of the world's predominant religions.
no doubt true (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 31, 2003 7:12 AM
No, no, yesThe Walrus
Jul 30, 2003 1:39 PM
I come from a long line of Methodists, and endured years of mandatory church attendance which made worship a duty and a chore as opposed to a willing, joyous act. After years of friction over this with my parents, they finally relented when I was in high school and no longer dragged me with them. I went through the atheistic and then agnostic phases that seem to go along with the teenage angst ritual, but eventually came to believe that there had to be
i some
sort of force that guides and shapes the universe, but is not involved at our level, "Bruce Almighty" notwithstanding. I refuse to accept any of the organized religions; as far as I'm concerned, God (with a capital "G") was created in man's image, and not the other way around. I think it's wonderful for people to have a faith they can live by, but too often it becomes a crutch or an all-purpose absolution used to relieve people of the need for conscious thought or judgement, and becomes a vehicle of hate and oppression. Believe whatever you will, but don't expect me to accept it, just as I wouldn't expect you to accept my beliefs.

I guess my personal bottom line is that one can
i believe,
but one can't
i know.
Big difference there.
No, Yes, Nokilimanjaro
Jul 30, 2003 1:48 PM
Came from a agnostic family. In fact my father was upset at the minister who converted my grandmother to Christianity at her death bed. He thought the minister took advantage of my granny in her moment of weakness.

I was a devout Christian teeanger for about one week during a period of crisis. Later oscillated between agnostism and atheism. Converted to one of the "Big Three" prior to marriage. The rather liberal clergy who converted me said it was fine that while I appreciate force(s) beyond my grasp created the world, I could not attriibutre human characteristics like love, anger, justice, morality to them(it). I was in the outer fringes of the religeous doctrine but still acceptable as long as I did not close my mind to the possiblity of a traditional, personal God.

We belong to an ultra orthodox congregation that both me and my wife have serious theological/philisophcial problems with. We remain members because it is the most personable, least snooby, kindest congregation in our neighborhood. The congregation clergy mostly preach by example rather than from the pulpit. Still we struggle with our membership from time to time.
Not sure.Spoke Wrench
Jul 30, 2003 2:30 PM
I don't know what it means to be religious. I am spiritual and I pray almost every day. I go to church almost every Sunday mostly as a public witness of my faith in God. I continue to attend the Catholic Church because that is the tradition that I grew up with and God hasn't made it clear that I should do something different.
Interesting discussionMatno
Jul 30, 2003 2:37 PM
Seems like there are a lot of people raised in churches, but fell away for lack of a decent motive to stay. Personally, I was raised in a Mormon family, am still a Mormon, and love it. (Some might argue that my family hardly counts as "real" Mormon since I only have one sibling, but that wasn't intentional...) I've had my questions, but have always been able to work out the answers, and I've never doubted that I am where I should be.

I think the most common reason people who are raised in a religious setting choose to walk a different path is because either they or their parents never went for the right reasons. If you go to church just because it's the "right thing to do" or because it will make your parents happy, without ever really thinking about why you are there, there will never be a firm commitment.

Of course, coming from a religion that believes in revelation, modern prophets, and a living God, I can see why members of many religions would not feel overwhelmingly compelled to attend or even believe. It also seems sad when people stop believing in God because their church beliefs either aren't consistent with "science," nature, or whatever, or don't clearly explain the connection between them and religion. I feel like religion should complement science, and in many cases even explain it. (As opposed to many who seek to explain religion via science).

One other interesting note. I live in a community of Jewish students, and it is fascinating to see that many, if not a majority of the ultra-orthodox Jews are actually MORE religious than their parents. There are logical reasons behind some of the changes, but not enough to justify an entire generation actually increasing their spirituality. Personally, I think God inspires all people to be more religious, and many people are listening!
Interesting discussionmichaelcford
Jul 30, 2003 10:08 PM
Funny I grew up in Utah in the Mormon world, for a while a lived in an area of queens that was very Jewish, and I found no two groups so similar, but both would deny that so ventamently.
Funny you should mention that...Matno
Aug 1, 2003 3:38 AM
The few Mormons that are at my school are also known as "honorary Jews." I've even had the Rabbi offer to put my email address on the local Shul's mailing list! I've heard Jews referring to our housing unit as a Mormon/Jewish community! (Although there are far more Jews than Mormons). I think most people would be amazed to see how much we have in common, both in how we live and in what we believe. I guess it makes sense since Mormons believe that truth is eternal and that the God of the Old Testament is the same God who lives today. (Seems like many other Christian denominations somehow think that there is a difference between the God of the Old and New Testaments. I'm not sure how they reconcile it. As far as I can see, the only thing that changed was a few of the outward ordinances. The actual doctrine behind those ordinances has always been the same). I actually know several orthodox Jews who have become Mormons, believe it or not, and they certainly see a lot of similarities.
re: Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from aDuane Gran
Jul 30, 2003 3:07 PM
I went to church as a kid and was very interested in spiritual matters until about the age of 17, at which point I figured that I knew everything (like most teenagers). I spent the next 7 years as an atheist, at times speaking on panels at college and promoting a humanist view of ethics and social order until a few life events forced me to reconsider the ability of humankind to negotiate life's perils. I recommitted my life to Jesus as a Christian and have never regretted it.

I know a lot of people who had bad church experiences in their youth. I'm glad that I wasn't forced to go, and I think the volitional aspect of my religious upbringing helped me to rediscover it later in life. In general I think religions are poor approximations of the ideal relationship with God, but they are nonetheless the best we have developed over history. It is sort of like the Justice system in that it is bad, but it is the best we have.
Good discussion.Len J
Jul 30, 2003 3:13 PM
Religious or Not?

I consider myself very spiritual, very connected to my higher power.

Organized or not?

Currently a member of a Unitarian Universalist fellowship.

Come from a Religious family?

Oh yea. Great Aunt was head of Immaculate Heart of Mary Nuns. Uncle who is a Priest.

I was raised Roman Catholic and was very active in my church. Alter Boy, Lay Minister, etc etc. In 1988, my wife divorced me after 7.5 years and 4 kids. A failed marriage is the only sin for which the Catholic Church will not offer forgivness. I struggled with the implications of this for several years, and began to discover many inconsistancies between the faith and beliefs preached and taught and the expected actions and rules. With much sorrow, I left the Church. My search led me to realize that organized religion should never be an excuse for not exploring and developing your own belief system, your own moral compass. I feel closer to the Devine now that at any time I was a Roman Catholic.

none for me, thank you.rufus
Jul 30, 2003 3:17 PM

"sunday church and they look fetching.
saturday night saw him retching over our fence."

-andy partridge
Family not religious, don't go to church, butOldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 4:03 PM
deeply believe in God after acid in DaNang in '68 I think it was etc etc a story I've told before. Christian as a matter of choice and convenience, not of revelation -- the God I met really doesn't give a sh!t what denomination or flavor you are. Any God that would make such invidious distinctions (Veblen again) is unimaginable.

Mormon, huh? I have a million Mormon friends. They enjoy me because I'm such a shocking libertine, and I admire them for their rectitude and humor. I've read the BoM and think it's pretty solid stuff. The American Revelation. I knew there was something about you I liked.
Jul 30, 2003 4:05 PM
So don't go talking about the hideous anti-God Left any more! I AM the Left, and I know God and like Mormons, for Christ's sake!
Very well, then.94Nole
Jul 31, 2003 4:43 AM
Gosh, OldEd, it sure sounds alot more harsh when you play back to me some of what I have said. I guess I should be more careful how I characterize.

And by the way, thanks for putting your butt on the line 35 years ago, whether voluntarily or not. Glad you came home so that we can have these conversations.
re: Religious or not? Organized or not? Come from amichaelcford
Jul 30, 2003 8:33 PM
Was born and raised a good mormon boy in Utah, it was more than a religion, it was a life style. Near 18 or so I asked questions, that did not go over well, take it on faith. Wish I could but that won't work for me.

My wife is Long Island Irish catholic; we got married by a Presbyterian, he ask why ?
We responded neutral territory.

Not a real believer in organized religion, do believe in karma and figure when the end comes, if there is a big guy upstairs, I will do just fine.

Never cared for folks that could see the world only there way, a closed mind never grows.
Atheists in foxholes, not in kids' hospital rooms. But how..cory
Jul 30, 2003 9:02 PM
I wasn't raised in a religion--it had, and has, no place in my life, and I'm happy with that. I don't recall spending much time praying in Vietnam--it was a long time ago--though I probably did do it occasionally.
Where I did pray, fervently and constantly, was in my son's hospital room during a serious illness. And for 20 years, I've kept every promise I made in that period, even though I don't really believe God saved his life or would hold it against him if I slipped.
The question I'd ask any devoutly religious person, though, is how you explain things like childhood cancer. It's fine to pray to God or thank him for sparing you in the plane crash, but how to you deal with the notion that he let the plane hit the nursery school in the first place?
Excellent question The answer is...jesse1
Jul 31, 2003 3:08 AM
...a good one, or a bad one, based on your beliefs.
One who believes in God and what's in the Bible would say that bad things happen, cuased by Satan, but are turned to the "good of God", by God, and ultimately to the good of thoses who believe in him.
Of coarse if one doesn't believe, it's hard to see how a childs illness or death can work out for the good.
One who believes has the faith, that although we can't understand God's ways, He knows what He's doing. And we CAN'T understand His ways. It's like a goldfish understanding the differences between Dolby Surround Sound and mono.
Another thing we need to keep in mind is that our time here is not relevent to eternity. What we go through here is not even an instant, compared to eternity. Hope this helps. I've heard this explained by those a lot smarter than me & still have a hard time "understanding". It's all about faith.
Excellent question The answer is...Jon Billheimer
Jul 31, 2003 10:19 AM
Either invent a different god--one with limitations and a truncated sense of justice--or turn off your brain. Which is what most religious types do. I know. I was raised in the heart of dogmatic religious fundamentalism.
I like my choice better than your two. (nm)jesse1
Jul 31, 2003 12:10 PM
These are my million dollar questions...BikeViking at home
Jul 31, 2003 3:52 AM
Had an EXTREMELY rough time while my wife was assigned remotely to South Korea for a year. I went to church, Bible study as thought I was REALLY looking for the magic "BB", but I never found it. Never felt the Holy Hand guiding me, so now agnostic with atheistic tendencies is the way for me. I fins this below riddle very interesting and think about it a fair bit.


The Riddle of Epicurus
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
According to my beliefs...Matno
Aug 1, 2003 4:01 AM
The whole purpose of our existence here on earth is to be tested to see whether we will obey God's will. (Actually, the simpler purpose is for us to have joy, but we believe that joy comes through obedience to eternal principles, both in this life and in the next). If there were no evil in the world, then there could be no good. Satan, on the other hand, does not want us to be happy, and God allows him to influence man so that we might learn the difference between sweet and bitter, good and evil, etc. Thus, while God is fully ABLE to stop bad things (and often does, I might add) He often leaves us to our own devices in order that his judgments might be more just. It is not malevolence that prompts Him to act thus, but rather a desire for us to learn and grow strong through the only means possible - experience. I often feel sorry for people who have known no adversity in their lives. Without it, it is next to impossible to grow spiritually.

Adversity strenghthens us in ways we might not otherwise have known. A friend of mine had one brother killed and another seriously injured during her own wedding reception (they were driving home to get more food for the reception). I've seen people for whom such a tragedy would destroy their lives. In this case, both she and her new husband felt that it was a blessing in that it brought them and their families together in ways they hadn't thought possible. It was knowing that this life isn't the end of our existence that allowed them to not worry about what had happened and to move on.

Many people think that "blind" obedience is dumb and serves no purpose, but my obedience is not blind faith. Having lived according to the teachings of Christ (as best as I can - I'm far from perfect) I know that doing so makes me happier than I could otherwise be. You can't know unless you try it. (That's a paraphrase of what Christ Himself said in John 7:17). However, if you DO try it, you can KNOW (and not just believe).

That was a little longer reply than I intended, but hopefully it was helpful in some way...
I agree that this is a terrific question and not the easiest94Nole
Jul 31, 2003 8:38 AM
to address, especially me as I have never really been faced with personal adversity (critical illness or death of a child, parent, sibling, etc.). According to my faith, trials and adversity are a part of this life. Why are people allowed to fly airplanes into buildings and kill 3,000 innocent people? For those without faith, I can see where such an event would result in bitterness and only work to drive the wedge deeper.

These are difficult times but I think the reaction that results from such an event is the goal of He, whose great plan of salvation this is. It took many of us out of our normal modes and if for but a brief moment, many came closer as families, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, etc. That is according to the scriptures these 2nd most important of the commandments. Okay, I'm getting too preachy. Sorry.

My mother-in-law is still pretty bitter toward "God" because her husband, a Navy test pilot, in order to save a populated area, rode a jet to the ground in 1961 leaving a wife and 3 small children, the oldest, my wife, then 4 years old. She's never gotten over that. How can one blame her? How does one endure such an event in life, without faith? Not sure that I could. Hope I never find out.
Your MIL might try to find a way to let goStarliner
Aug 1, 2003 10:53 AM
Clinging on to bitterness for forty years and counting is a cruel thing to do to oneself. What a waste of time and energy. What good has she gotten out of it? What does she think the payoff is for her? It's high time she let go of her resistance and move on so she can salvage the rest of her years in enjoyment. That's my baldfaced, cold water-in-the-face, take-it-or-leave-it advice to her.
Oh, I couldn't agree more. Try and tell her that. (nm)94Nole
Aug 1, 2003 11:33 AM
On God and CancerStarliner
Aug 1, 2003 10:32 AM
I'm not sure anyone can give a satisfactory answer your question, because the given answer will inevitably be wrapped in faith and belief, where visible proof cannot be easily offered to ease any skepticism.

For example, I would tell you that our present life is but one of many incarnations; and that in each life there are lessons to learn; and that life's events and how you deal with them is all part of the big gig. God hasn't made any agreements with anybody that one's present life will be free of hurt and pain, where every pitch thrown one's way is big, fat and down the middle. Except for maybe George Clooney.

I'm not so sure you'd consider that a satisfactory answer to your question.
religious? no. organized? n/a. religious upbringing? yes. (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Jul 31, 2003 5:43 AM
religious? no. spiritual? yes. organized? no. fam? yes.sacheson
Jul 31, 2003 6:12 AM
When did it start? 2-3 years old. Quit in the mid to late teens.

Did your parents pull you kicking and screaming and you continued going when you grew up? Maybe? I was never pulled to church, but there were times I really didn't want to be there. More than that, I remember values being preached and discarded in a "do as I say, not as I do" manner. That was probably more destructive on my acceptance of religion than about any other influence.

Or is that why you don't go to church today? Nope. I think I don't subscribe to an organized religion based on my own ignorance/naivety.

Funny ... so many things are answered in this one discussion tree. Good discussion.
When I realized the church was full of sinners,Spunout
Jul 31, 2003 7:47 AM
I stopped going. Next, I stopped believing in hell.

Releasing the threat of hell and satan was an immense relief to me. Opened my eyes to the world around me, allowed me to see heaven and hell (in others' words) around me everyday.

Making the world a better place requires positive action now. Contemplation and prayer over an absent deity hasn't helped in the last few thousand years, so I propose that we try a new angle!
When I realized the church was full of sinners,Duane Gran
Jul 31, 2003 8:46 AM
If the church were only open to non-sinners there would be no churches! I find blatant hypocrisy upsetting, but I don't think anyone gives up on the workplace because it is full of under achievers, do we?

Making the world a better place requires positive action now. Contemplation and prayer over an absent deity hasn't helped in the last few thousand years, so I propose that we try a new angle

I'm all for making the world a better place, but I think Christianity has played an important role in that regard. I'll grant some failures of course (crusades come to mind) but on the whole there are shining examples of positive change brought through faith (Mother Teresa comes to mind).
Yeah, there are tons of people who have94Nole
Jul 31, 2003 8:47 AM
become disgusted with religion because of others in their own congregations. I would argue that they were attending for the wrong reasons. However, there is a saying that goes something like, church isn't a haven for the perfect, it's a hospital for the sinner. Without sin, we'd have no need really to even go to church.

Lots of the congregations I attended (pre-Mormon life) were more like clubs than people joining together who share religious beliefs. I actually knew partners at my old CPA firm who attended this church or that based on who (business opportunities) attended there. It was really hilarious on the one hand and very sad on the other.

I like your proactive making the world a better place view.
Yep; Sorta'; Yep.Dale Brigham
Jul 31, 2003 9:33 AM
Tryin' to be religious. See the Light of God in several people around me. The guy that married my wife and me is a retired Methodist minister who builds hand-crank carts for legless/non-ambulatory people and sends them around the world. He is the face of God. (You can read about the PET Project here: )

Wife and I help with chapel services at local veteran's hospital. Put's it all in perspective.

Plenty o' religion in upbringing: church (Methodist) every Sunday and some Wednesdays, plus summer Bible school and church camp. Rejected it in later high school years; now coming back (tentatively).

yes; sometimes; mostlyDougSloan
Jul 31, 2003 11:02 AM
Grew up Lutheran (Norwegian/German heritage), attending church sporadically. Went to Catholic kindergarten (twice). Went to Methodist church on my own in high school, and remain Methodist; however, wife is Catholic, so I go along and attend there. I'd call her an "independent thinking" Catholic. Her mother is from Italy, so she had no choice.

Regardless of teachings, I've developed my own ideas about a lot of things about religion and God. My thoughts don't seem to mesh with any particular religion. I don't think it's very important to buy into any partcular dogma, though. God knows what I believe, and that's all that counts.

Not. Not. Yes. (nm)eyebob
Jul 31, 2003 11:49 AM