Is Being Religious a Choice?

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Member
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I would say it is a choice. Lots of people go to church as children but then shift their views as adults to atheists or other religions or just not caring at all. 

Member
7060 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Hmm, that’s an interesting analogy.  I think you’re right that people may be hard-wired to be or not be.  I’ve always been a very rational person who likes to see evidence for things before believing them – and also likes to challenge authority when it makes no sense… that got me into trouble as a kid.  I turned out to be a scientist and an atheist, and I think that’s my basic “setting”.  I’m not totally dead-set that there is not a God in the traditional sense, but I have yet to experience any evidence that would lead me to that belief and it seems extremely unlikely.  (Especially as we learn more and more about astrophysics, etc.)  I suspect that even if I grew up in a religious family, which I didn’t (although we did attend church on occasion), I would have grown out of being religious.  

@Pinkmoon: I think she means “a choice” in the sense of it being a nature vs. nuture deal.  Are you more or less hard-wired to be religious, or not?  I think I’m hard-wired to be not, for the reasons above…

Member
4326 posts
Honey bee

I dont know. It is my choice not to go to church or to have a religion, my mom and other family members do not approve but whatever… I started off as agnostic and starting to lean more to atheism despite my very religious upbringing.

Member
5755 posts
Bee Keeper

Of course it’s a choice, one that regardless of upbringing or ilk, you make based on your own set of experiences and ideals….the concept of being shot down a cattle shoot of religiousness just because your folks were makin it happen every Sunday does not add up….and looking at today’s society, is not a valid argument if results are based in reality.

Member
159 posts
Blushing bee

I do believe, it is 100% a choice.

Member
8046 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@Rachel631:  I think it’s a choice. I agree we are predisposed to either believe or not (like I am agnostic while my family is atheist), but to actually be religious i.e. attend church, subscribe to a particular religion, that’s a choice.

 

Member
6218 posts
Bee Keeper

It is absolutely a choice. Indoctrination is something that starts when you are young. You are raised to think “it always is/was/will be.”

I was born and raised a Catholic. My mother indoctrinated me and after some life moving events in my life, at 11 (Yeah, that young) I shed my faith and questioned everything.

Faith is not about answers. It is simply accepting [a] God’s will. I can’t accept that, and so I don’t.

 

I chose to be an Atheist. It is very much a choice to have a faith, just as much as someone can choose not to have a faith. Sexuality is hard wired into your brain. Something you are born with. It’s the way your body works. Faith is given by man, not by genetics.

Member
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Oops double unfinished post 

Member
564 posts
Busy bee

I’ve wondered this myself, but wasn’t familiar with Kinsey. I grew up in the evangelical world and could never get on board with believing that those who didn’t believe were “lost”. I went on to study religious studies as my major, which just made me more confused about it, quite frankly. 

I like this idea by Kinsey that we’re more suseptible to a certain shift, it helps to make sense of things and how people come to conclusions about their religion when applied to this question you pose. My fiance says he was a self proclaimed athiest at age 7. I have relatives who have always had a strong connection to their faith even as children. I have always questioned it, even as a child…I’ve always been on the verge of agnostic. 

I do not think it affects religious freedom, maybe free will a bit? If we’re naturally born some type of way then our will to be another way has been tampered with. On the other hand, if you are a pendulum and can swing a different way then you have the will…you just might doubt your decision because of your predisposition to believe or not believe, or somewhere in between.

This is a good food for thought. Thank you.

 

Member
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@lolot:  Yah I would be like you then. I didn’t grow up in a religious family either, and I’m not religious now. I still think it is more of a choice though since the way you grow up usually influences you in a lot of areas. 

Member
564 posts
Busy bee

@lolot:  Yes, I’m sort of thinking the same thing you are. Because I was raised religious, but wasn’t able to fully accept it, I’ve grown out of it. Perfectly put. 

Member
564 posts
Busy bee

@Hyperventilate:  We’re really not so sure about that though, in terms of the genetics. We are still understanding genetics. I mean, on the one hand I have learned that personality is not driven by genes, but what about neural activity? For example, those who have regular, vivid dreams have a more active amygdala at night…what if we found the “religion lobe”? The OP is suggesting that we would be hard wired to either be more likey to think one way, or more likely to think another way. Sure, you could say “faith” is a choice, but what about someone’s propensity to believe in the supernatural or not to believe? That is the question…and we don’t know yet why some people find it very easy to believe and others question it or outright deny it, like yourself for example.

Member
2388 posts
Buzzing bee

I definitely think being religious is a choice.  Maybe some people are more inclined to believe and some people might need religion more, but it’s not a given.  I am Catholic and I grew up Catholic and, after seiours thought and contimplation, I have made a conscious choice to stay Catholic.

Also, I’m not sure your metephor is a good one.  Sexuality has a lot more to do with hormones and body chemistry and cannot really be altered by meditation.  You cannot simply think your way into being a homo- or hetrosexual.  However, the degree that you are religious is usually based on study and reflection.  When you are young, you might not have a choice and you are stuck going where you parents take you, but as you grow older and learn about the ways of the world, other religions, your current religion (or lack of), history, science, philosophy, etc., you start to form an idea of what you do and do not believe.

Now I can get on board with people being predisposed to believe, but I think that has more to do with their mental and emotional capability.  I think that some people need to believe in a higher being; something that has control over their lives and is looking out for them.  So when bad sh*t happens, it’s easier to deal with because you aren’t alone and that it’s happening for a reason.  Other people can handle the bad sh*t better and don’t need the comfort of a higher being.  Of course not all people believe for this reason, but I definitely think it’s one reason.

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