When did you 'de-religify' yourself

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_starinvestor, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    With the concept of religion now in the limelight with the conflict in Gaza...I was wondering how and at what point in your life did you start thinking that the Bible, the Koran...whatever it may be...was.....eh......well that things didn't exactly 'add up?'

    Coming from a small town and active Methodist family, I was force fed religion from the time I could talk until I left for college. I suppose it was my early 20s when I was able to investigate...and even had the inclination...to examine the validity of religion.

    I still have family members, that are infinitely smarter than I (one of which is a nuclear physicist), that cling to religion........its hard to understand this.:confused:
     
  2. B_bi_mmf

    B_bi_mmf New Member

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    I was raised in a liberal, socially conscious Protestant tradition. Through high school, the concept of God made sense to me. When I was on my own in college, any belief I had had just melted away. No trauma involved. The whole concept seemed to be a ludicrous and largely destructive human invention to control people and to delude them.

    Why do many smart people believe? One reason is that even some very intelligent people have trouble accepting certain facts of life, such that when we die, it is almost certainly total oblivion other than what our survivors remember of us.
     
  3. _avg_

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    Raised Evangelical. Converted to Lutheranism around 18-20yo. Slipped to Deism while earning my biology degree. Settled on atheism shortly thereafter.

    Understanding why I believed in the first place was critical. To borrow Dawkins, you cannot reason a person out of a belief they did not reason themselves into. Knowing that my belief was largely (or entirely) a cultural inheiritance, I grew from my childhood indoctrination into the responsibility of adulthood - for it is irresponsible to hold irrational, unreasonable beliefs. Forced to think for myself, I still feel pangs of Pantheism, illustrating how powerful indoctrination can be.

    This process can be frightening, terrifying. Even intelligent people can act irrationally out of fear.
     
  4. Rubenesque

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    Raised in the UK, we just don't seem to be as arsed about religion here as they are in the USA.
     
  5. B_625girth

    B_625girth New Member

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    I was raised catholic, and started wandering away from the church at about 14-15 yo. at age 16, started driving, and so I would take the family car and "go" to church later on my own. I just drove around for an hour. with me, I just realized that there was more to life than what had been drummed into my head by catholic schools. I briefly joined the Lutheran church in my 30's. it seemed they were only interested in my money, so I stopped going. I still believe in God. I am a Christian, but I don't believe in organized religion, and blame the religious zealots for much of the violence in the world today. I don't care if you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or whatever, the bottom line is we are all praying to the same God, more or less. We are all God's children, created in his image and likeness(christianity), and I don't think God wants us killing each other.
     
  6. Industrialsize

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    Careful....you know how much trouble the Pres Elect got into with those exact words.....:cool:


    BTW, this is the only"religious" writing I find that makes sense:
    Heart Sutra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  7. SpoLLe

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    When I began to think for myself
     
  8. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I was in confirmation class in Sunday school at the Dutch Reformed Church and the day was approaching when we would be confirmed and I realized I had no idea what it was I supposed to believe. Just what does being Dutch Reformed mean? What makes them different from Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, and everyone else? I really didn't know and didn't even know who Calvin was or what Calvinism meant. My grandfather refused to recite the Nicean Creed as the Reformed Church says that Jesus suffered, died, and descended into Hell before being resurrected. As my grandfather saw it, Jesus told one of the criminals with him that he would be with him today in heaven and if Jesus said that then no profession of faith written by men could contradict it.

    My parents were Unitarians but there is no Unitarian church anywhere near us so we went to the Dutch Reformed church because that's where the family has gone since they were Puritans. I now can't believe that as Unitarians they actually had the nerve to send me to a Catholic school for five years. My first year there was in third grade and the first week we had Mass so I asked my mom. What do I do during Mass? She said just do what they do and you'll be fine.

    Well no, I wasn't.

    Mass was bewildering. There was sitting, standing, kneeling, cross yourself, standing, kneeling, cross yourself, sit, kneel, stand, cross yourself, kneel, kneel, cross yourself, stand, sit, shake hands, and get in line for communion! So operating under the premise that I should do what they do, I got in line for communion. I kept trying to see what was going on and realized that the priest was mumbling something before he popped the wafer into your mouth. Immediately I thought it must be some secret Catholic password and I just couldn't see or hear anyone give the password. Finally it was my turn and Father Burke mumbled something I later learned was, "Body of Christ," and I looked up at him and said way too loudly, "WHAAT?" Seeing as we were in the school gym, my voice echoed everywhere and caused everything, including the music, to come to a screeching halt. Students stared at me as if I was a heretic, nuns sneered at me as if I was Judas, and Father Burke turned red, scowled, and jammed the wafer into my mouth whereupon my crunching teeth accompanied by my facial reaction to the bitterness caused everyone to start whispering.

    Immediately this happened Sister Mary Patrick in her full penguin, came flying down the aisle and scooped me up exclaiming in her best County Claire accent, "Ho Lordy boy! Had no idea 'twernt Cath-a-lic!" She escorted me to my seat looking very serious but being the kind woman she was, she smiled at me and told me to come see her before recess.

    Nobody talked to me after Mass because they were all sure I was going to Hell. Oddly enough, however, they were wrong. When recess started I was dreading the punishment to come. Sister Mary Patrick dismissed the class and had me stay behind whereupon she pulled out a book and some sheets of paper and somehow, as only someone filled with misguided but genuine compassion can, said, "You know lad, you'll be a goin' te Pergatree for twenty thuree hundret years but as it were an honest mistake I shall pray for yer aternal soul te rest of me days." I had no idea what Pergatree or Purgatory was and so wasn't unduly alarmed. When I learned later, I wasn't terribly phased as it seemed a ridiculous thing to my mind. I am quite certain, however, that Sister Mary Patrick really did include me in her prayers for the rest of her life which ended only two years ago in her late 80s. All of this was followed by some pretty severe arguments with teachers about Catholic catechism and even a real roaring argument with Father Midori (who was syndicated on WABC radio on Sunday mornings) about the evils of masturbation during an all-boys "talk" when the girls were all rounded-up and sent to another classroom to see their secret movie. I was sent to the principal's office for that one. One thing I did appreciate more than anything else was the sense of serenity a few of the nuns had. Some were truly beautiful, lovely, kind people. Others were bitter harridans, later known to me to be repressed lesbians.

    I attended confirmation classes though basically did so in a half-assed manner. I had to do the work because they graded me. Perhaps as a flash of my future sexuality, when asked to choose a saint for my confirmation name, I chose St. Veronica.

    St. Veronica, legendary or not, always appealed to me for deep sense of compassion. It was easy for me to imagine a lonely woman, risking her life and perhaps the wrath of authorities and family, performing a humble act of compassion despite what must have been intense mob pressure to not do anything. She offered what she could, her own veil, to soothe the suffering Jesus. I found that far more noble than any of the philisophical saints or even St. Francis (who I was urged to select instead). I would not budge on St. Veronica despite phone calls to my parents and getting an F for the exercise (vindcitive hypocritical cunts).

    Being an art history major with a specialty in medieval art, I'm naturally drawn to medieval churches and cathedrals where I can spend hours admiring the sexpartite vaulting, clerestory windows, and reading the intricate sculptures carved into niches, archetraves, and doorways as they told the story of the horrible Hell that awaited anyone who didn't give money at the end of the tour. To this day I seek out a chapel dedicated to Veronica or, at least, her station of the cross to honor someone I believe truly did a saint-worthy deed and to remind myself that compassion is a virtue I should always cultivate.

    Between my experiences in parochial school and the Reformed Church, I pretty much grew-up distrusting any religion and cafeteria shopping among the faiths for tenets I thought made sensible rules for living. I really liked reading just the words of Jesus himself because they so often seemed to contradict what everyone was saying including other apostles. In that sense, I'm pretty damn Unitarian even though the only time I've been to a Unitarian service is when I was baptized.
     
  9. vince

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    In the second grade, we were sent to a Catholic school. Don't ask why, long story. Anyway, being young and impressionable, I took to it like a duck to water. We had mass every morning and I was in love with my teacher. I prayed a lot for six months for everything under the sun.

    The school bus dropped us off one mile from the farm and during the winter in Wisconsin, it was bloody cold. Every day, I'd pray for someone to stop and give my older sister and brother a ride. In February, after not getting even one ride, I announced at the dinner table that the nuns were wrong and I didn't believe in God any more. I was never tempted in to believing in some sky daddy ever again.

    The ironic part is that one or two weeks after I quit praying, a sheriff's deputy started showing up sometimes and driving us home.

    edit- One other incident at that school put me off religion. There was a kid in our class who was always mouthing off and causing trouble. One day the Sister had had enough, so she called the principle to come to the classroom to deal with him. The principle was this huge older nun who taught 7th grade. Mean as a pitbull she was. She stood this seven year old boy up in front of the class and started wacking him on the lips with a ruler. Not really hard, just a tap. But she did repeatedly for a quite awhile. His lips started to bleed and she kept it up until his mouth was a mess a blood. She told us that God punished those who couldn't control their mouths. Unbelievable isn't it? But true.

    Sister Julius, if you are out there, I'm sure your Almighty has prepared special fires for you.

    My mother pulled us out of that school and the next year we went to public school.
     
    #9 vince, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  10. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    was about twelve years of age when I realized church teachings didn't entirely make sense

    so, I at about that age I professed atheism, based on what I knew

    as a child, and since, I have been blessed, so to speak, with having had what is best described as "religious" experiences, moments when I was "taken" out of myself, and "saw" or "felt" the totality of existence --- difficult to describe, because it's not something most people are aware of, so words to describe it are few and far between

    one of my prep school mates introduced me to zen buddhism, and about the same time, I stumbled onto some writings by students of Abraham Maslow, and read Julian Jayne's book

    so I began to develop a gestalt of what Jesus and Prince Gautama were pointing at (reflected in Jesus' reference to "every jot and tittle" and the more explicit injunctions in Buddhism to not mistake the pointing finger for the actual target)

    fully aware also, that precious few people will ever know that such a state of being exists, and that from such awareness correct and proper behaviour flows (i.e., morality) (hence, Jesus' reference to seed that will not grow) (and, hence, the traits described by A Maslow:
    People that have reached self-actualization are characterized by certain behaviors. Common traits amongst people that have reached self-actualization are as follows: [5]

    • They embrace reality and facts rather than denying truth.
    • They are spontaneous.
    • They are interested in solving problems.
    • They are accepting of themselves and others and lack prejudice.)
    the correctness of a particular mode of conduct is further attested to by the fact across space and time, people existing at this state of being can communicate, and agree with each other: consider what a meeting between and among Jesus, Prince Gautama, and Laotze would be like, versus say, a meeting between Jack the Ripper, Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Adolph Hitler

    fully aware also, of those who would claim to use the precepts and teachings of religion to legitimize their efforts of social and political control and domination, and their tools

    so, if you think of religion as something at the level of reason or belief, you are ignoring that reason and belief are just constructs, and the real level of being is much deeper, and is before communication, reason, and belief -- real existence precedes consciousness

    again, I don't think most of you will know what I'm referring to

    human minds are not in touch with reality and being -- they are only cognizant of what shared constructs they have; if you understand this, you have an idea of what I'm speaking of
     
  11. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    She'll have company there with Sister Ann Paul Duncan and Stella Smith.
     
  12. kalipygian

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    I was sent once by my Great Grandmother to Sunday school at the Baptist church she belonged to. I refused to go again, and nobody tried to make me in the slightest. She was the only one on that side of the family who was an active church member, that church was across the street, (Wesconett) was probably the reason she was a member, historically the family had been Catholic, during the Spanish period in Florida, it was required. The nearest Catholic church was a long distance, St. Joseph's across the St. John's river in Mandarin, and there didn't used to be a bridge in that area. One great uncle on that side is a Unitarian.

    I was sent to Parochial school for the first three years, as a non-Catholic. I sat through catechism with the rest of the students, and went to mass every morning. Nobody ever tried to convert me. When I got to my teens, I realized there was nothing in the Nicene Creed that was either believable or relevant.

    I continue to like Gregorian Chanting. I kept a positive attitude to the church, a nun and two priests here were friends, until John Paul II squashed all the progressives in the church.
     
  13. Gl3nn

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    I was in a Catholic school, but that was just because it was the best one in the area. It wasn't really catholic either. The last years of high school, the class religion was more like philosophy.

    My mom didn't go to church either. My grandparents did/do however. Amazing how much Europe has changed in such a short time. And I'm glad it did. I can't imagine why people believe in something that can't be proven, but I respect it.
     
  14. nudeyorker

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    Well ...like many others like me, once I finished Hebrew school and had my Bar Mitzvah, I have not spent much time in a temple with the exception of weddings and Bar Mitzvah's! As an adult I have not been religious, but more spiritual. There are certain traditions that come into my head when life events happen and give me feeling of well being at difficult times. That is why I can't judge others if they get some strength and guidance that I do not.
     
  15. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    When I was 18 years old. I decided that because religion would not accept my gay friends, I would not accept religion.
     
  16. rbkwp

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    Experieced Christianity twice in my life .. big impact considering many of the other,s i have been thru.
    Intensive readings for several years . Philosophies n Religions incl Lao Tze etc (whom i loved/basic but str up) Modernish Bertrand Russell was interesting' .. reading phase occured when aged Mid 20s
    (understood all at the time of reading/but several years later..?)
    JC is all loving so expect him to give me a 3rd chance..as i have said before,i am a lazy b......d soooooo/but maybe i will have to make the first move.
    enz
     
  17. lipollo

    lipollo New Member

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    Starinvestor a couple of points:

    Who says that the Gaza point is a religious war? The further deeper you look into things you realise that religion is just a front filling in the ideological void of nationalism. Self-interest lies at the centre of this conflict and has less to do with 'Yeretz Israel' or the reincarnation of the Third Caliphate for religious prosperity as it does with increasing land and self-determination for its own people.

    Secondly why do things need to add up? I think you are looking at religion rather naiively through a rather Anglo-Saxon Western European perspective. The most prosperous religions are the ones that are mono-ethnic and are administered in the diaspora. They form a link between the people who have left their homeland to new places and offer a sense of identity and a rejection of their adopted homeland that is very common in 2nd and 3rd generation migrants.

    Look at it closely. Why have Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism not only lasted for so long but actually thrived in diaspora countries whilst in most cases have decreased in social influence in their homelands? Because it offers a sense of identity, one which arguably is greater then the mire of secularist or evangelical marketing **** in all of the 'West' (Western Europe not Eastern).

    On a last point, maybie he clings to religion because it offers him solice especially as what a nucleur physicist knowing all he does and understanding just how trivial his life really is in the bigger scheme of things?
     
  18. Phil Ayesho

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    Raised Catholic.

    Started questioning it at around age 8. Stopped going to mass by age 9.
    Investigated most other religions from then till I was 14... found them all to be pretty much the same, and yet not at all in agreement...

    The hypocrisy and moral relativism really got to me... the idea that a guy like Onan could be punished by God for KEEPING his covenant when God demands that he break it....Or the Abraham had to be willing to do murder or he wasn't devout enough...

    From there on it was just a growing understanding of reason that gradually swept away the darkness of superstition.
     
  19. Enid

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    My home is wherever reality seems elastic and the
    I was about 15-16 yoa. I was in confirmation class around that time and I remember the nun asking us what separated humans from animals. I was called on to answer and my reply was, "Well, it's the ability to reason, isn't it?". That was the wrong answer of course.

    In addition, I remember her talking about how bad or evil masturbation was, which I thought was ridiculous.
     
  20. Calboner

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    Really? That answer (suitably elaborated) was good enough for St. Thomas Aquinas, I think.
     
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