(Closed) NWR: Are you religious? Why?

posted 7 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
2867 posts
Sugar bee

I am.  I’m a Catholic convert.  I was raised Protestant.  I went off to college and started questioning everything to the point where I was questioning my own existence (what’s the point to living if there’s no hope of an afterlife?).  Anyways, my Fiance was there the entire time.  Anyways, I started RCIA after we started dating to sort of understand the Catholic Church better since I was dating a Catholic.  I spent six months discerning it and came to the realization that the Catholc Church represented Truth.  That’s key for me.  So what entails being Catholic–actively participating in weekly Mass and Holy Days of Obligation, partaking in the Sacraments, and representing Christ here on Earth the best way I can (I’m not perfect, so I can’t say I do these things perfectly.)  I think the most important thing to do is LOVE, no judging an individual, not my place.  This is very important to my life–love.

Post # 4
Member
1801 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Well, that’s a pretty intense set of questions.  I’ll do my best to answer, but I’m not sure I can fully articulate my “why.”

I am religious, I’m a Lutheran (LCMS).  I’m born and raised Lutheran, although my Dad stopped going to church when I was about 15.  When I met my husband, he and I started attending Methodist services and we continue to look for a church in our new city.  We struggle because I have a firm set of beliefs in the Lutheran doctrine and he’s less set in stone, but we both agree that we’d like something a little more contemporary, which is fairly rare in the Lutheran church. 

As for why, yes I was raised in the belief, but I’ve studied it in depth and I truly believe the faith.  I don’t agree that Lutheran, or any denomination, is the only way to go though.  Community wise, I’ve seen church congregations bond like a wonderful family, and I’ve seen them become snarky and clique-like, so I try not to judge entire groups.  I had a fantastic experience as a youth attending a national youth gathering twice and it really changed my life.  I do feel my faith in everyday life, and it helps me to not only keep perspective, but to cherish every second and every detail.  My faith teaches me not to take anything in life for granted, although I’m not perfect at keeping that perspective. 

 

Post # 5
Member
238 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I was raised catholic but stopped going when I was about 9. I visit church a couple times a year. Regardless, I always felt like a had a bond with God. I talk to him almost everyday. I’ve been through some lows in my life and I’ve put my complete trust in him.

I just feel a bond towards him, I turn to him during hard times and I feel like he listens. My life is wonderful!  And I try to show him I’m grateful everyday by working hard and trying to do what’s “right”. 

Post # 6
Hostess
11299 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’m a protestant but never been confirmed. I wasn’t religious when I was younger but as i’ve got older I believe in that there is something. As beekiss2 says I feel it’s about LOVE, I also believe in an after life. My FI is catholic and have considered about converting but I haven’t come to a decision.

Post # 7
Member
24 posts
Newbee

I’m a reconciling Methodist, which is the same as being a regular Methodist except there’s a heavy lean on social justice. From the website:

“Mobilizing United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.”

Anyway, I thought at one point that I couldn’t be religious anymore because I was at a church that wasn’t right for me. I fell a pull in my heart to advocate for the LBGT community, and my old church…did not. Once I found one that believed as I do, the whole experience changed. The congregation is so loving. I’ve never felt judged there, so it’s a freeing experience too. I get to be who I am, where I’m at, even if it is so imperfect. They challenge me intellectually and are open with their questions. Even my fiance- who did not grow up in church- loves it.

I’ve always felt like Jesus gets distorted by the media, like so many other good things. His name gets thrown about like a weapon or a bullet point on a resume by politicians and extremist people looking to sell books. I understand why so many people are turned away from Christianity. But when I peel away all the noise around Him, I want to be like the guy I’ve read about in the Bible. Peaceful, kind, passionate about important things.

I really hope you find a niche that works for you. I have so much respect for anyone who questions beliefs and earnestly looks for the right fit. For me, it has never come down to Absolute Truth or Proof or anything like that. No matter how much I’ve try to reason faith away, I still feel it in my soul.

Feel free to PM me if you are wondering about anything else. CS Lewis and Anne Lamott have been a big part of my faith, so I’d recommend either of those too to feel it out too!

Post # 8
Member
5263 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

I was raised Lutheran. I went to church every Sunday, was involved with youth group and other church groups, did group and independent Bible study, etc. 

The year I was 17, I sat down and read the Bible in-depth. It was the first time I had ever read it like that, instead of passages or books at a time. Something didn’t sit right with me. Pastors seemed to quote it in a very different way than what I read as the message and contradictions. 

I began researching other religions. I church-hopped denominations, looked in Catholicism, etc. I had certain values that for a long time, I had tried to believe fit with what I saw as the overall message of the Bible. None of the churches I went to shared these values, and often condemned them straight out. 

This brewed for awhile, I did lots of reading and research on religions, religious texts, and evolution/anthropology. I realized that I was trying awfully hard to reconcile two things that to me, just didn’t go together. I also realized that I had a bias in my logic: I kept telling myself, I don’t believe in these religions. If I was to believe in anything, it’d be Christianity. Why? Because that’s what I was raised with, so I was familiar with it. 

I heard the quote “I contend that we are all atheists, I just have one fewer god than you” and something just… connected. I realized I was making all these excuses that I didn’t really believe. I hated thinking about religion because it made me miserable to say I believed in something that my heart felt was wrong. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 that I sat down and talked to my fiance and told him I thought I was an atheist. We had a long talk (we were involved in religion together) and we shared our thoughts. He expressed similar doubts, and similar logic. A few months later, he admitted that he was an atheist, too, but scared to admit it to family. 

So, loooong answer, sorry! But it’s a subject that’s important to me, because I did feel very scared and lonely while going through the process and community was very helpful to me in the months following. 

Post # 9
Member
1145 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2000

Raised ‘kinda’ Catholic in my earlier years but very little really stuck so that by my teens I wasn’t aware of a connection to God. In my 20’s,  various random people tried to convert me to their place of worship in college, then I went through some ‘healing awareness’ the psychology route, and actively visited churches of different denominations searching for …something.

Finally, in my early 30’s, I started going to the same church off and on, at first though it was because it just sounded like a ‘good message’.  However, it was through prayer, study and open conversations with friends, reading the bible front to back for myself, and firsthand answered miracles that I finally realized this God is real, living and life began to make so much sense.  Eventually, I knew that I knew that I knew. Years later, I met DH and he was in the same place in his spiritual beliefs. DH and I pray, read, talk about God working in our lives in struggles and joys we have daily,  because He is with us, even on weeks when DH and I don’t go to church…but we definitely like church because we learn, grow and have built good relationships.  We all encourage each other to live by the values we believe God has given and help correct each other when we mess up. I have found true lasting joy, love, meaning, hope and healing with the choices I’ve made.

Post # 10
Member
756 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I am not. I was raised Catholic and I hated it. Church didn’t make any sense to me; it actually sort of scared me to see tons of people standing up, sitting down, and saying all the same stuff it unision. It felt like a cult. I didn’t like the idea that I’d been brought into this religion as a child without any choice. “You will go to church, you will do your sacraments, you will say prayers at night.” But why?

A few times in my teen years, I made an effort to be involved in religious life, just to see if it would make any sort of positive difference in my life, and it never did. I think there are people who need religion in their lives because it makes them feel good, and there are people who don’t. I just don’t.

I now consider myself an atheist, but I’m not overly vocal about it. I just don’t believe that there’s any higher power so great that it deserves to be “worshipped.” I hate the word “worship.” I don’t believe that everyone is living according to a “plan” that “god” has set out for them. You control your own life. Good and bad things happen to everyone, and they’re not predetermined.

I don’t think badly of people who are religious, but I do disagree with people who try to convert others — my policy is to respect others’ beliefs as long as they respect mine. I find the variety of religious and spiritual practices in the world very interesting and like to read about different religions. But actually practicing one just isn’t for me.

FI is an atheist as well, and we are in agreement that we will raise our children without religion. We plan to be knowledgeable about various religions so we can explain other families’ practices and beliefs to them if they ask. If they choose at any point in their lives to become involved in religion, that’s fine. Whatever makes them happy, as long as they don’t try to foist it on us.

Post # 11
Member
3539 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

i come from a long line of baptists….my dad is a Baptist minister and I grew up always going to church and bible study and it wasnt until about I was 21 that I realised I had more doubts than securities over it all.

So to the horror of my parents I stopped going to church. However they havent disowned me or treated me any different. I enjoy religious discussion with my family, but they respect my belief and I respect theres. I now believe that there is a higher power. I dont know if its god or not but I believe in creation there is no way I can even look at a blade of grass and not be in awe on how amazing life is.

My husband was raised to be jehoviahs witness but like me once he was older changed.

Religion is a fickle thing. I just let people believe what they want to believe. Im in the camp of …. if they have hope thats good enough for me. If that makes sense? in my head that does.. if it doesnt to you. Sorry! Im not a good explainer!

Post # 12
Member
447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Long! SORRY!

Born again Christian here. Converted 7 years ago. I will be extremely honest here since I really got nothing to be ashamed of and this is all pretty much annoymous so. I was bulimic for about 13 years, had anorexia along with it sometimes. Lowest I got down to was 82 lbs. I probably should have died then. I didn’t believe in God when I was that age..but I did feel a sense of that God unveiled my eyes one day and showed me that I had no more weight to lose and was going to die(I started to put on weight after that and never really got down to the weight again). I didn’t convert until several years later. I converted cause again, I was on borrowed time. The bulimia got to the point where I knew it was going to kill me and I was horribly terrified at the thought. Noone talked to me about God, or the about the name Jesus. I had really never gone to church really..I think maybe twice but I slept the whole time. So, I had no clue about who Jesus was or even that people really thought He was God really. I thought He was just a guy we got our time table from(BC, AD) and I had no idea why. There were no Christians in my life. It was me, alone about to die from my own self hatred and destruction. I was in the living room and I cried out to Someone..I didn’t know who..but I cried out..”If there is a God, please, please let me get to know you before I die, I am so sorry. Please don’t let me die without knowing you.” I meant it..with all of me, I meant it. I was horrified and it wasn’t fun getting to that point. I had no idea why..but not too long after that..I found myself going to a store late at night..and there I found myself being led to by a Bible..of all things. The book I never would read, hated the thought of reading it..would always close it if I ever opened one before…the book I criticized though never read..that was what I was being led to. I saw a Bible and I am not kidding..I grabbed it..held it..and cried right there in the grocery aisle for several hours. It was late at night and this “superstore” was about to close cause it never did any business. So, noone really saw me make a mess of myself there, thank God:). I didn’t even know what I was doing..I thought..really? A Bible? Over the next few months, I would keep asking the Lord if I was ok..if I was going to die and He gave me the most comforting Scripture..and I will never forget it..He was telling me, though I didn’t fully understand it..that now..I will be ok. It was Isaiah 55:12. ” For you shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills shall break before you into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”  I wasn’t going to die the way I was scared of. He showed me that when I pass from here..since I cried out to Him..when I leave here..I will go out with joy. It took me several months to know what really happened and who Jesus is. But I can you that my life is 180 different. I don’t see myself as total complete garbage, but I found love. Real love. The love I always was looking for all my life. The Bible says, “God is Love.” It also says that “whoever believes in Me shall never see death, shall never die.” “But has passed from death to life”. “He who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.. will have everlasting life”. (Romans 10:13, and John 3:16.). The time I really knew that I found Truth is when I went to women’s reteat and saw the genuine love they had for one another. I cried the entire weekend. I was overcome. The Bible says, “you will know they are my disciples by the love they have for one another.” I never saw love like that. It was real and it was from God. I never felt love here before..in fact, it was the opposite. And I always tried to be loved..in all the wrong ways. People I met at the church I have been going to for seven years..they have never once judged me, no matter what I did or what I had done. They love me, they showed me true love. I am so grateful to God that He showed me Himself through His Word and through other loving Christians. I go to chruch often to be “fed” spiritually. Fellowship with other Chrisitans, Bible reading and prayer. Those are the main three to stay close to the Lord. I laugh, I smile, I even dance sometimes, lol, cause you want to from all the Joy He gives you! I am free in Christ:). “He who is freed by the Son is free indeed.” John 8:36. I don’t practice a religion nor consider myself religious. It’s not about religion, it’s about a personal relationship with God. So, ya, that’s it..sorry about the rambling!!!! Or if I seemed lame or posted too much of my beliefs? Or way too serious? Lol, oh well! Hope I didn’t offend. Well, I out!!!! Much love to all the bees:). xoxo.

Oh one more thing..hahaha! I am getting married to GREAT GUY!!! I always attracted bad guys before the Lord..now I got me a keepa!

Post # 13
Member
1057 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

My parents forced me into a congregation of unaccepting people all the way through my childhood. I grew up baptist and was with the exact same group of people the entire time. When new people would try to join, they would run them out with gossip and hatred. When any AA people tried to join they were run-out as many members were racist. I knew that was not the environment I wanted to be in at all. At 18 my parents allowed me to choose whether I wanted to stay with the church or find another. I looked around at several churches but they all seemed to have the same vibe, I wasn’t welcomed by any of them. I moved out shortly after and haven’t been to church since. I am saved, and I am a believer. I pray and worship, and that’s what matters. 

FI was born and raised catholic and attended church on a regular basis before we started dating. I’m not sure why he stopped and I’ve encouraged him to go back, but he always seems to have excuses as to why he can’t go. 

Post # 14
Member
6598 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I am going to answer from the opposite side. Please respect that this is my opinion and my personal belief system and does not reflect onto anyone else. I truly believe that everyone has a right to their own belief system and should not be judged for it!

No, I am not religious I am an atheist.

I grew up Christian, attended church etc. as a young child and was exposed to all the bible stories. My mom started struggling with religion herself and stopped taking us to church but did not discuss her challenges with me. I was free to discuss and believe what I wanted to believe. 

My town that I grew up in was very diverse with many religions. By the age of 10ish I started questioning religion and different religions. My parents gave me as much information as they could on all the religions I would ask about.

By highschool I was not religious in the sense that I did not follow an organized religion I had decided that I did not like organized religion. I didn’t understand the concept of living your life for someone else. I wanted to follow my own personal morals and guidelines and live my life for me. However, I had not yet decided how I felt about god.

In late highschool (17ish) I decided that I had a deep faith in Science and therefore I did not believe that there was a god.

I am now a scientist and an atheist. My belief in Science is a faith in that I believe Science has an answer for everything even though it has not been proven as of yet.

Post # 15
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m an athiest. I just don’t see how I could believe in something that has been so manipulated as the Bible. I liken organized religion to a fairy tale – something overly convenient that is used as a tool to make us feel better about ourselves and our existence. Since morality is completely achiveable outside of the context of religion, I choose to live a positive life that doesn’t involve mandates from “God” used to keep the masses in check. As a scientist, I also find so many parts of all religions hard to swallow.

My husband is also athiest, and we live in a very liberal/secular part of the country. I grew up in the Bible Belt, and would never, under any circumstances, move back. When we have children, we will be sure to educate them on ALL religions, and allow them to make their own choices (as we were allowed to do by our families, if not by the society we grew up around). I really hope that my children take the time to challenge everything they’ve been told about religion, including what we have taught them.

Post # 16
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@FMM: Go you! I hate that as athiests, simply stating what we beieve is often  taken as an attack. Someone stating that they are Christian, etc is never seen as such. Everyone should be entitled to their own beliefs! 🙂

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