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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you left the religion you grew up with (in some way or completely), why? And what, if anything, do you believe now?<br><br><br><br>
I was extremely religious as a teenager all the way through college. I was in a very conservative and hard-nosed Protestant Christian denomination. I left because as hard as I tried, I did not seem to "fit" in the community and I was never shown real personal warmth. Actually, that was only the reason I got out of town and that particular denomination. I didn't give up Christian beliefs right away. I gradually moved away from Christianity as I found that it just didn't seem to have much relevance to my life. I just plain didn't give it much thought, I was too busy trying to deal with stuff that the church did not say anything about.<br><br><br><br>
And then, I saw there was a huge world out there that I had been hidden from in my community. So started the completely rebelious period, which has mellowed but I haven't really grown out of. I don't think of it as rebellion anymore, just personal change. And learning about science, lack of evidence for biblical stuff, seeing wackos, feeling that my religious experience had done *far* more harm than good for me.<br><br><br><br>
Sometimes I feel a need for "something more," sometimes I don't. I've tried a bunch of stuff but can't find any organized religion I can stomach.<br><br><br><br>
Others?
 

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<span style="color:#008000;">I was raised a Christian, specifically a United Methodist. As I grew into my teenage years I began to explore non-Western philosophy and faiths.<br><br>
I discovered that my own beliefs had more in common with Taoism and Buddhism than with those of my upbringing.<br><br><br><br>
I still maintain some of what I was raised with, just not in the traditional sense.</span>
 

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i think that this is difficult for me to 'define' in a number of ways. but, i'll do my best. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
i think that i never 'left' my childhood religion. but, i also notice that i only utilize two practices from this religion on a regular basis--though perhaps many more without any overt knowing (meaning, i likely learnd it there, but have recontextualized it if that makes any sense).<br><br><br><br>
i was raised catholic, and we also practiced yoga among our spiritual disciplines. around age 12, i became very entrenched in the process of contemplative prayer--which i still utilize to this day. at 14, i began to practice zen buddhism as well--going to sessin or zazen (same things, different spellings). At this time, i also began a more direct study of non-catholic practices, philosophy, and theology.<br><br><br><br>
i practiced these spiritual disciplines within the catholic context for years, and utilized my studies of other theologies and philosophies in a compartive-religion function (see the commonalities, develop depth of understanding to the core idea; eg, how to practice loving they neighbor in light of the language and practices surrounding the buddhist concept of compassionate action).<br><br><br><br>
over time, i became more active in these other traditions--seeking more education and practice in yoga, ayurveda, buddhism, thai yoga massage (which has strong buddhist components), and so on. i didn't 'leave behind' or 'abandon' the original religion, instead my understanding of it was deepened by this other information and these practices.<br><br><br><br>
in recent years, my practices have become nearly wholly personal and non-corporate. that is, i rarely practice in group settings. this means that i essentially stopped going to church--which in the more orthodox forms of catholicism technically makes me "not catholic" or 'lapsed.'<br><br><br><br>
the interesting thing to me is that i don't feel "not catholic" per se. this christmas i had an interesting theological breakthrough that may not match catholicism or most of christianity for that matter--which means that i may have now deviated away from that religion such that i am "not catholic" or christian. in a certain sense, though, i feel that i have a deeper understanding of and connection to Jesus, and thus that would make my "christian" in a 'technical' sense even though i don't 'fit into' any of the primary christian theologies or catholic theologies.<br><br><br><br>
because of this, i have let go of the need to belong in christianity, and i'm happy with my beliefs as they are. i know that many others would say that they're not catholic and christian--and i'm ok with that--and i myself can now say, comfortably, that i am n ot catholic or christian either.<br><br><br><br>
in many ways, i am simply working out my salvation with diligence. perhaps it is no religion, perhaps it is all religions. but, it is my spiritual practice and I am happy with it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I was raised in a quiet church that whispered their Hallelujahs, and sang (practically read) hymns our of a hymnal. I left that, or rather, was lead out of that setting to a church that cheers and claps during intense prayer sessions - that lays on hands, and offers healing and prophetic words by the power of the Holy Spirit. That sings and worships with intense fervor - hands outstretched to God - bowing to the Lord - praising Him with energy and truth.<br><br><br><br>
Why? Because Christianity is more spiritual than religious, and more a relationship than tradition and methods.<br><br><br><br>
I left my childhood "religion" and found a "relationship" with the Creator.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MissGarbo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
lack of evidence for biblical stuff</div>
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Which biblical things? Have you sought evidence or merely accepted the common worldly view that there is no evidence?
 

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it might be important to note that quiet doesn't mean that the individual lacks fervor, any more than charismatic practices indicate that the individual has great faith. both can be 'empty' or devoid of relationship; and both can also be deeply spiritual.<br><br><br><br>
i've found myself largely uncomfortable with many aspects of charismatic movements--it's just not my way. I move closer to God in quiet--meditation, contemplative prayer, silent prayer--than in noise (dancing, clapping, yelling, speaking in tounges, weeping loudly or crying out, etc).<br><br><br><br>
i do enjoy singing--which i do both loudly and quietly depending upon mood. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I left when I realized that my understanding of my religion (at that time catholicism) was based on the interpretations of my mom, the church etc. I didn't really feel like it was a real relationship and it wasn't. Also, I have been unable to separate the religion from the people who practice it...not then and not now, so even if I do at some point develop a consistant spiritual practice I wouldn't identify my path with any group.
 

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I was raised Roman Catholic and don't remember a time when I didn't hate it, and I'm not using the word hate lightly. When I was a kid, the worst part of the week was having to get up early Sunday mornings to go to church. I didn't like going, I wasn't interested in what the priest had to say, and I especially didn't like all the rituals - sitting, standing, sitting, kneeling, standing, sitting, etc. When I was old enough to understand what the priest was talking about, I still didn't like it, didn't find it relevant to my life, and didn't think it was worth my time to listen to it. I also found it creepy how everyone sometimes would chant back words that the priest said monotonously, as though they weren't really thinking about it.<br><br><br><br>
I never understood Jesus, or got how everyone was so sure that this person actually existed as the person that everyone thinks he is. I understand the character of Jesus and why he's important, but I didn't think he could possibly be a real person. As for God, he/she/it was entirely too scary and judgmental for me. The idea of spending eternity in either heaven or hell really frightens me. I don't want to spend an eternity anywhere. And I think most people are so complex that it would be too difficult to decide which one they should go to.<br><br><br><br>
Then there were the times that I tried to read the bible. At first I didn't understand. Then when I was old enough to understand, I went between being bored, confused, or angry.<br><br><br><br>
Now I'm quite content with being an atheist.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Brandon</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
I discovered that my own beliefs had more in common with Taoism and Buddhism than with those of my upbringing.</div>
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It is interesting to note that some of the appealing concepts of Taoism and Buddhism are in the heart of radical Christianity (especially peace and love toward all life) , but that instead of karma, we have a loophole to the enlightenment of the Spirit and forgiveness of sin (or the suffering) in Christ. And that while eternal justice is true in that vein, the atonement of Christ allows all those that seek and accept Him to receive this forgiveness, salvation, and enlightenment in spite of their own personal failings. I could highlight the connections between the two, and differences more, but that is another thread entirely.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
---<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I myself looked at them(eastern religions) for a short time in the past (not in much depth - I never actually went that route - as I have always believed in the Trinity and grace through Christ) as a more appealing religion in regard to some of my views (as well as new age - crystals, tarot, etc - which I _did_ practice for a while) ; but after researching more of the Bible and early church fathers, and being led by the Spirit in these matters, I see that God (of Isaac and Jacob, YHWH, Jehova, Elohim, Jesus, Holy Spirit, God) offers everything I could ever have hoped for in a faith, and the futileness of my endeavorers and practices. God has filled the emptiness inside of me longing for mystery and wonder, longer for purpose and love, with His majesty more than I could have ever imagined.<br><br><br><br>
The core of it all is love, which is so highlighted in veganism and serving the poor - and I believe this radical Christianity will affect this spiritual starved generation like never before.<br><br><br><br>
And also, the more I learn in science highlights His divine wonder, the more I learn in theology highlights His divine wonder. It is as if, that lately, everywhere and everything I pursue in the fields of knowledge (hard and soft science) and emotion (arts,poetry) do nothing but reflect more of who God is, or reveal more little facets of His perfect design. I don't entirely agree with everything being taught in hard science in the world, and discussions with Christian chemists and physicists have assisted in further understanding, but I can see especially where certain hard sciences are in full agreement and highlight each other - these are some of the places that they also highlight God. ( I will be the first to say I do NOT understand it all, not even close, and I don't seek to find complete understanding. I do accept and understand that as a human, I could never achieve full knowing, or full understanding - I am a philomath , NOT a polymath.)<br><br><br><br>
Every day that I allow Him to, is an adventure of new revelation and amazement and enlightenment of His glory and beauty of the created world. There are days where I do nothing but entertain myself - and those days are empty. But days filled in His light and days filled with seeking Him above all else, the relationship with Him above all else, worshiping Him above and regardless of all else, those days are indescribable.
 

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My religion always made me uncomfortable. I used to pray for salvation every day because I was absolutely terrified of going to hell (this started when I was about seven or eight years old). I was freaked out by the thought of God and dead acquaintances watching me all the time (like when I was in the bathroom, or committing minor "sins," etc.). I loved church service, but I could never take communion because wine makes me ill. When I was eight or nine I went to my first confession and I was so uncomfortable with the process (nothing bad happened, it just bothered me) that I never went back. Then I was sure I was going to hell, because I didn't take communion or confess.<br><br><br><br>
I started researching Paganism and I made the difficult decision of dropping Christianity to choose a new religion. Once I told myself that I didn't have to believe everything the church told me, there was such relief. I didn't have a personal relationship with God or Jesus, just fear, and that made the religion totally wrong for me. I didn't end up sticking with Paganism, but once I had seperated myself from Christianity, I realized that all that fear hadn't been worth it--I just don't believe in the central tenants of the religion. Now I'm just my own sort of spiritual, relying heavily on Buddhism, and it's so much better for me. I can choose what is right or wrong based on my own morals and experiences, and I don't have to live in fear of things that may or may not be real.
 

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Because I never met a Christian who didn't behave virtually like everyone else in society (including non-Christians) or who followed the teachings of Jesus, even the really basic ones. From this I decided the "religion" was without merit.<br><br><br><br>
And a bunch of other reasons.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
it might be important to note that quiet doesn't mean that the individual lacks fervor, any more than charismatic practices indicate that the individual has great faith. both can be 'empty' or devoid of relationship; and both can also be deeply spiritual.<br></div>
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Oh I agree entirely 100%, and I did not mean it that way, sorry if that is how it came off. I was trying to say that the church I grew up in was spiritually quiet - meaning... lots of "sunday christians".<br><br><br><br>
And to be honest, I do not personally like much of the charismatic tradition (pentecostal encouraged speaking of tongues, etc), and do feel closer to God in much of my personal quiet time, as well as louder church sessions. I was just trying to highlight the difference in spiritual intensity I guess. And am glad to have found a church that appeals to me in energy level, while leaving out some of the details that many charismatic traditions carry.<br><br><br><br>
But yeah, I have met both highly devoted and highly lost in both settings. Sorry if it came off that I was saying quiet hymnals meant a lack of faith or jumping around meant great faith. I am glad that God is so large that he can appeal to followers of all types - both those that enjoy slow, those that enjoy fast, and those that enjoy both. I enjoy a lot of faster, louder style and thats great - and someone else may enjoy more quieter style, and thats great.<br><br><br><br>
It's not that every quiet church is spiritually dead, but that it seemed as though the one I went to as a child just was more about tradition and method, then God - and it may not have been, but that was just what I gathered from being there.<br><br><br><br>
Sorry again for the miscommunication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was hoping to hear people's experiences with specific religions. But going into back and forth discussions about the particulars of those religions seems more suited to new threads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Ludi</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What if the personal experiences were with a particular religion?</div>
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I didn't say that very well. I meant I'd rather not hear back and forth discussions of particular religions, once people initially tell their stories. Like getting into Christian apologetics, could that go into a new thread.
 

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Oh, ok, that makes sense. Thanks. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MissGarbo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I didn't say that very well. I meant I'd rather not hear back and forth discussions of particular religions, once people initially tell their stories. Like getting into Christian apologetics, could that go into a new thread.</div>
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I don't get it. You want to talk about religous experiences or lack of but not talk about religion. i'm kind of out of it today but i feel like i'm missing something. Or are you saying to tell our stories but limit the discussion to the specifics of those stories? tho i suppose "specifics" could be just about anything. i don't know.
 

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I think it does limit the discussion, but I think I understand her saying she'd rather not have people sort of arguing back and forth "oh, that's not real Christianity" "oh that's not religion, that's a relationship with GOd" etc etc.
 
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