View Poll Results: How did you arrive at your spiritual beliefs?
I was born into the religion I currently practice. 21 44.68%
I do not hold the same religious beliefs as my parents. 26 55.32%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

How did you arrive at your spiritual beliefs? Poll

My mother was raised Greek Orthodox (Catholic but stricker and loooonger for everything!), my father Presbyterian. My mother's parents eventually left the Greek Orthdox church and became Presbyterian.

While growing up we went to church when I was very young and the we just sort of stopped. That is, we stopped going to church. The guilt, blame and shame continued. Religion was used (by my mother) to tell me how bad I was, although the only time she has gone to church in years has been to attend a function that will make her look good. There are a few plaques and such on the walls of their house that have Bible versus on them, again to make it look good. She is what I call a "convienent Christian". She pulls it out when it suits her needs.

I meandered about the various churches with friends as an early teen, all I ever felt was guilt. When I was 16 I moved out of my parents house, and rented a room from a friend's parents. I grew up in a college town and alot of people rented out rooms to students. The "man" of the house was a Greek Orthodox priest who was only in town on weekends (he taught at another college M-F). More guilt and shame. The Father was an alcoholic and he and his wife basically had one of the most disfunctional marriages ever - they have since divorced.

I am not a practising anything. I belive in certain concepts - be a good person, live a simple life, be good to others, what comes around goes around. I don't feel as though I got any of this from the church. It is just my own little belief system - a church of one if you will.

I think that the main reason that I am again having the guilt issue is as I stated on another thread. We will be moving back to South Carolina in a couple of years and where we live, people are judged by what church they go to. My daughter is an innocent. What are they going to think of her when she tells them we don't attend church? How will she be judged and treated because of it. This is one of the problems I have with organized religion - most people feel as thought they have a right to judge others who don't share their beliefs. DD is a very sweet, polite and considerate kid (don't ask me how I pulled that one off ). I don't want her to have to face the pressures of something that I consider private, simply because I want her to have free will. I would never prevent her from attending church or following a particular type of faith - it is her life.

We were married by a non-denominational minister (a woman). We did this out of respect for our families. There was very little "religious" content to the service, but it made the believers feel better, and we really liked the minister as a person. I am not offended by Chritianity, I just can't seem to make it work in my life. I support others' rights to any belief system that they choose. I just wish that could be reciprocated. I do have a major problem with the religious groups who try to inflict their belief system on the masses - don't tell me how to live my life because you are self-righteous - that is what turns people away from the Church - any church.
Better everyone think your a fool, than to open your mouth and prove them right.

Perception is not reality.

http://public.fotki.com/hmiklos
I grew up with no religion. My mum is from the Church of England, my dad grew up in a Presbyterian church. I went to church one year of my life (when I was 5 years old) and I think that was to appease my dad's mother. She died shortly thereafter. My mum still brought my older sister and me to church, but we stopped going because my dad didn't go and my mum was just doing it because it was seen as a thing you were supposed to do at the time. Being that I was 5, I have little to no memories of church. Both my sister and I were not baptized, as my parents wanted us to choose our own religious paths (damn hippies!). We were brought up with the belief that there is a god, but were not taught anything from the bible.

To this day neither my sister or I have chosen to be baptized.

I still believe in god (not God as in Christian God/He, but in a higher power), although like most, I questioned it and waivered throughout the years. I am by no means a Christian and do not believe in the bible at all. I don't like to call myself religious, as I believe in no organized religion. I am spiritual though, if that makes any sense. The word "religion" or "religious" always makes me think of being affiliated with some group, which I am not.

What can I say, I am a registered Independent voter and I am independent in my religious beliefs. My husband was raised/baptized Methodist, but is non-practicing and like me does not believe in the bible but believes in a higher power.
Originally Posted by mazey
Gosh, this is me exactly. Never baptised, don't believe in the bible although I do believe in "a god" of some sort. Exactly. My hubby is Catholic (or was raised Catholic) but never practices. He knows the history of the religion and says his prayers like a good boy at the dinner table when we're with his family, but other than that he really questions the whole idea of it. Glad to see I'm not the only one!

edited to add: I can't tell you all how great it is to read this thread. I've always felt like such a freak because of my beliefs, or lack thereof. Seems everyone around me has some religion. Maybe we just don't talk about it enough to realize that more people are like me than I think. But really, thank you all for sharing.
I was baptized Catholic in a non-practicing Catholic/First Baptist family. My mother, who gave me most of my initial outlooks on life, morals, death, afterlife grew up in a strong Catholic family and went to an all-girls Catholic school until 8th grade. She at one point in her life wanted to be a nun, but also wanted to be a mother so she made her choice. She lost touch and faith with the Catholic "system" over time and my youngest brother was not invited after my mothers request to be baptized at the same church that me and my other brother were.

As a teen growing up I read many books on Greek mythology and Native Americans and admired their multiple god theories. This gave a personal touch to a higher power that was very comforting to me but all it really did was prompt more questions.

I do not practice any religion. My wife (raised Southern Baptist) does not practice and her grandfather on one side is a preacher, on the other was more than half Cherokee.

I have a sense of a higher power but believe in a sort of Big Bang idea. I do not have enough faith to dedicate to one idea when so many of them have opposing and believable thoughts and wishes. I strive to live by an acceptable level of purpose, morals and virtues. I expect no one but myself to be accountable for my actions and can not with good conscious ask to be cleansed of my actions if they are not to my or anyone elses standards. I will live and die by those and what happens happens. I have no clear idea of where "GB" may be after this life and don't at this time want to. I have confidence that when my marble falls off this maze of life that everything shall be as it was meant to be.
~Two friends, one soul inspired~ anonymous
As a teen growing up I read many books on Greek mythology and Native Americans and admired their multiple god theories. This gave a personal touch to a higher power that was very comforting to me but all it really did was prompt more questions.
Originally Posted by GuardianB
Not to guano, but in general, Native Americans do not believe in "multiple Gods." They believe in multiple spirits but there is one top Creator. For example, there are spirits of the sky, wind, river, etc. but they are not the top Creator (who is usually a woman btw).

Also, the Creator is supposed to be in all of the spirits (i.e., look and you will see the God in everything even ourselves, which incidentally, that is how I thought of Jesus growing up. I thought that we all had the potential to be Jesus because we all had God in us. I also believed (and still believe) that we all have the potential to be Jesus but most people just wait around for the “messiah” to come to lead us and fail to realize that the “messiah” is no different from us. I hope no one finds this insulting, as I do not mean to insult any Christian here on the board by speaking of Jesus in this way.)

I am simplifying a little and NA beliefs vary by nations but this is what I have been taught as a child (grew up with Native American relatives). Usually people confuse the spirits for Gods because the spirits have powers. To relate it to Christianity, the spirits are like angels and in some cases like saints because you can pray to them to get to the Creator.
I was baptised Catholic but for my family Catholicism is more of a family/cultural tradition than it is a doctrine of faith. We only went to church for wedding, baptisms, first communions, funerals, whenever school demanded it, and Easter, and by going to chruch on Easter I mean driving to all the different parishes looking for a church that wasn't standing room only.

I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through highschool because the public schools where I grew up are so bad, not for the religious teachings. It's really wierd going to catholic school when you come from a family of non-practicing catholics...you become scared that you and your whole family is going to hell because you're all "sinners." My high school was all girls, which made the school even more fanatical in it's theology classes - sex education was interesting. By that point I already disagreed with church teachings and thought they were full of ****, but it was more a matter of me being too lazy to follow the rules. I still had that fear of hell and that thought in the back of my mind that I better change my ways in case I die suddenly and end up in hell. The history of the chruch always disgusted me, and it drove me nuts how events like the Crusades, the Inquistition, and the Spanish Conquest were described as the "spread of Christianity" - doesn't sound like the bloody torture, genocide, and slavery that those events actually were, does it?

Despite all this, I was still Catholic when I started college, and would, on rare occasions, attend mass. The more I learned, the more "anti-Catholic" I became. The very last mass I went to (that wasn't for a family event) was an Easter vigil mass, and I really enjoyed it. The priest was fantastic - really embodying what every religion should be, and I felt nothing - no peace, no spirituality, nothing. And I thought how great it would be if the leaders of the church were more like that priest, how the message would truly about being closer to god and not about ancient rules and traditions. I knew that that would never happen. No matter how great that priest was, the church would always be run my old men who are completely out of touch with society. "Virgins" (not that I believe that for a second) would always be the one making rules about sex, birth control, and marriage, etc. History would always be distorted. I decided that I was no longer Catholic and felt really good about that.

Right now, I'm not practising anything. I believe in a higher power, but not in the Christian sense. My spiritual beliefs are all over the place, and I feel no need to have a defined belief system about the universe, although I love reading about different paths.
Eres o te haces?
I didn't reply because "spiritual beliefs" do not necessarily equate to religion and the two choices offered don't apply to me. ETA--I see you have addressed that--sorry!

I was born Catholic, but really not raised with the church, so I don't claim that as my religion. I have developed my own beliefs from observations and knowing right from wrong. I do believe in God, but I also believe there are many paths to salvation. I have trouble accepting religions that teach that their way is the only right way to be "saved." I have to question everything, so many times I am left feeling frustrated with some of the teachings of the church. I wish I could just accept everything on faith, but that is not me at all. I also feel I am too liberal for many Christian based religions (which is what I am most familiar with).

I can't tell you all how great it is to read this thread. I've always felt like such a freak because of my beliefs, or lack thereof. Seems everyone around me has some religion. Maybe we just don't talk about it enough to realize that more people are like me than I think. But really, thank you all for sharing
Well said!! My husband jokes that I am a "heathen" (he was raised going to church every Sunday). I know he is kidding, but at least reading this thread, I know I am not alone.
my blog
I have studied some other religions a little, but I always steer away from ones that say "witch" because I think of scary stuff. Your practices sound much different than I ever imagined, so thank you for broadening my mind!
Originally Posted by dia99
This is a very important statement, because this is how I went from a saved and sanctified Christian to someone with a keen interest in Wicca. LOL. How crazy is that?

I grew up Episcopalian. Went to church most Sundays just because. Was Christened, took my first Communion, etc, etc. Going through the motions. My parents never discussed their beliefs, nor made any mention of God at all (that I remember). So I felt like I had no real guidance in this area after it was all said and done.

When I was almost 30, I met a man who persuaded me to get "saved".I became very, very involved in a Pentecostal church in upstate New York. I loved it! It really was a wonderful learning experience. I feel like I learn the Bible backwards and forwards. I really love the discipline of organized religion, but I always felt like an outsider and was always full of guilt about something.

Then, me and that guy broke up, and I branched out into other things. At first I felt like I was doomed to hell if I entertained any other religion! But I was somehow drawn to Wicca--like you said, Dia, I discovered it was nothing like I imagined. Very pure and simple. It did fall in line with many things I had believed all along.

From there, I opened up to many, many things and studied a bit here and there. Like Cehua said, its only the details, rituals, and the names of the deities that are different.

I realized that I dont' have to attach specific *words* to spirit. As humans, we try to explain our spirituality with words and all kinds of other things. How can we be sure that one way is more worthy or accurate that another? It really is all the same. Just my 2 cents.

So now, I attend a Religious Science/"Science of Mind" church that I love! I don't have to feel like an outsider because you see a little bit of everthing in that church! Relgious Science is so interesting because it taught me to do away with dualities: God/Devil, Good/Bad, etc. We believe that all there is is God. What is thought of as "evil" is only separation from God. I don't believe in Hell or a "Devil". And I am totally convinced that we have the power to manifest things in our lives. After all, we are "little Gods". We are created in God's image. God is not outside of ourselves, God is inside. This is what I have come to believe.

When you say "God", to me that encompasses everything. So if someone has a word or blessing for me, I take it! I watched the Chrisitian evangelist Joyce Meyer the other week and really enjoyed it. I also love the book "Witch" by Fiona Horne.. I do yoga and mediation sometimes. I've done spells, spiritual treatments, spoken in tongues....I know all this sounds very crazy. But now I feel open and comfortable enough about my concept of God to do all these things and feel secure about it.

Best topic ever, Dia

Sorry this is so long.
"Don't play me...I'm over 30, and I don't smoke weed"
-Prince

Witches! You're all a bunch of witches! Let's have a witch trial and start burning people at the stake! C'mon - it'll be a curly bonfire!!

*joking - Heee! Please don't curse me - I meant no disrespect - and I don't want to be turned into a toad*
Better everyone think your a fool, than to open your mouth and prove them right.

Perception is not reality.

http://public.fotki.com/hmiklos
I havent quite 'arrived' yet. I am looking into studying Santeria right now. But, basically, I think there is a supreme being/force.
I'm the same as my parents. We are all what I would consider to be "agnostic cultural Hindus". I consider myself a practising Hindu in that my way of life/values/attitudes are shaped by Hindu philosophy and teaching. Its also my connection to my family, ancestors and my community. I love the associated culture and traditions as well.

However, when it comes right down to it, I'm really not sure whether I believe in a higher power - but I am open to the possibility. I'm sure if you ask my dad he would say the same thing.

Hinduism is a very non-structured religion or way of life - I know plenty of fundamentalists, agnostics and atheists who would still indentify themselves as Hindu. I am married to someone I would consider an "agnostic cultural Sikh", so we have learnt each others customs and traditions - some of which are the same and some of which are quite different.
I grew up in a home that went to church occasionally on Easter and Christmas Eve. Then when I became an unruly teenager my mom began forcing me to go to church, but that quickly died out after awhile.

I have always had differing ideas than the core beliefs of Christians, it just didn't ring true with me. But it was all I grew up with and all I knew. I began studying different religions in my late 20's and after a few years of searching I came across Wicca and this one felt right to me, or as many people say 'like coming home'.

Because of media portrayal and ignorance of others, the practice of Wicca (or witchcraft) is associated with evil, Satan, etc. It's a hard idea to overcome, but this is the path I choose and it has fulfilled me in ways Christianity never did.

Great thread btw.
Thank you guys so much for being honest and respectful! I am learning a lot, and as I love to learn just for learning's sake, this is a thrill. Also, because when I witness (or just talk) to people of other beliefs, I do want to have a valid, unbiased view of what they believe, so I won't offend by my ignorance. This means so much to me that we have had so many different responses, and everyone has respected each other! So, please continue to share!
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
I'm the same as my parents. We are all what I would consider to be "agnostic cultural Hindus". I consider myself a practising Hindu in that my way of life/values/attitudes are shaped by Hindu philosophy and teaching. Its also my connection to my family, ancestors and my community. I love the associated culture and traditions as well.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Exactly the same for me.
I was baptized Catholic in a non-practing Catholic family. I've had a lot of experience w/ religion growing up. My mother is very religious, spiritual, and Christian, so it was a big part of growing up. I attended Southern Baptist churches, I belonged to a Charismatic (or, dare I say, Born Again) church for a long time. As I've gotten older I've decided that I'm pretty pissed off at religion all together. I believe in everything I was taught in Christian religions, and in the Bible, but I'm sick of them telling me what I can and can't do, or what's right and wrong. I'm sick of them making up rules that aren't made up by God. And I'm sick of being judged!! I find many devout christians to have a holier-than-thou attitude. Their supposed to love all, and go forth and spread the word, and all their doing is shutting us out for being sinners. Pretty funny when all of them are cheating on their wives and husbands. Religion is a bunch of rules made up by a specific church. I don't call myself religious, I call myself spiritual.
~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
As a teen growing up I read many books on Greek mythology and Native Americans and admired their multiple god theories. This gave a personal touch to a higher power that was very comforting to me but all it really did was prompt more questions.
Originally Posted by GuardianB
Not to guano, but in general, Native Americans do not believe in "multiple Gods." They believe in multiple spirits but there is one top Creator. For example, there are spirits of the sky, wind, river, etc. but they are not the top Creator (who is usually a woman btw).

Also, the Creator is supposed to be in all of the spirits...

...Usually people confuse the spirits for Gods because the spirits have powers. To relate it to Christianity, the spirits are like angels and in some cases like saints because you can pray to them to get to the Creator.
Originally Posted by Cehua
Thanks for clarifying my rushed misstatements Cehua. I did realize that each spirit (and even gods in my Greek reference as well) were not the creator (or primary god) but I did not convey that well at all.

I had never related them to Christian angels and saints before. I can see the correlation somewhat.

Thanks again.
~Two friends, one soul inspired~ anonymous
As a teen growing up I read many books on Greek mythology and Native Americans and admired their multiple god theories. This gave a personal touch to a higher power that was very comforting to me but all it really did was prompt more questions.
Originally Posted by GuardianB
Not to guano, but in general, Native Americans do not believe in "multiple Gods." They believe in multiple spirits but there is one top Creator. For example, there are spirits of the sky, wind, river, etc. but they are not the top Creator (who is usually a woman btw).

Also, the Creator is supposed to be in all of the spirits...

...Usually people confuse the spirits for Gods because the spirits have powers. To relate it to Christianity, the spirits are like angels and in some cases like saints because you can pray to them to get to the Creator.
Originally Posted by Cehua
I had never related them to Christian angels and saints before. I can see the correlation somewhat.

Thanks again.
Originally Posted by GuardianB
Yes, thanks for pointing this out Cehua. It is one of the many correlation/similarities that exist between Christian and Non-Christian religions.

I read someone's fascinating viewpoint on the similiarities between the practices of Catholics and Wiccans. I know that seems odd to many people, but the lighting of candles and praying to saints (gods/goddessess for Wiccans) is part of both "rituals". I won't get too far into it though.

Good Stuff in this thread.
"Don't play me...I'm over 30, and I don't smoke weed"
-Prince

Many of the Catholic rituals come from “pagan” rituals. It is not odd at all (although modern day Christians may want to distance themselves as much as possible from “pagans” and “witches”). It was one way to get more people to accept Christianity. One well known example is celebrating the birth of Christ (Christmas i.e., mass of Christ) on December 25. That day is also the day the feast of the Son of Isis was celebrated in ancient Babylon. For the Romans and other Europeans this date coincided with the winter solstice and winter festivals.

Many of these pagan religions were mentioned in the Bible too. They were usually criticized because they revered a Goddess instead of a God.

Carnaval is another example.

There are other aspects of the pagan religions/culture that the Christianity (Judaism and Islam) incorporated into their religion but they are too many to go into on the board . One of the main differences between paganism and the religions that originated in that area is the role of the woman. Judaism, and later Christianity and Islam severely diminished the importance of women this is something (I think) Wiccans kept.

Many of the things people accept as the word of God is really the influence of the culture and politics of that time. Things were done to get the most converts as possible and getting rid of women and aligning themselves with familiar practices of the time were some of them.

I could go on but I will stop because I may be here all day.

Big thanks to my parents for making me learn these things :P !
We are all what I would consider to be "agnostic cultural Hindus".
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Ooh, I love that term. I guess I am an "agnostic cultural Jew", as is my family. Our practice of Judaism was very limited, since my family is from the former Soviet Union. Basically it was limited to gathering for the holidays and eating the traditional foods. My husband's family are also "agnostic cultural Jews" but he was raised practicing Judaism and his parents were quite active in their temple. Since being married I've expanded my knowledge of the religion beyond latkes and matzoh balls.
I'd say we practice mainly to preserve our cultural tradition. My personal spiritual beliefs are a mix of Agnosticism, Reform Judaism and some Paganism and Deism thrown in. That is something I am still developing on my own. I do enjoy learning about all religions.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
Many of the Catholic rituals come from “pagan” rituals. It is not odd at all (although modern day Christians may want to distance themselves as much as possible from “pagans” and “witches”). It was one way to get more people to accept Christianity. One well known example is celebrating the birth of Christ (Christmas i.e., mass of Christ) on December 25. That day is also the day the feast of the Son of Isis was celebrated in ancient Babylon. For the Romans and other Europeans this date coincided with the winter solstice and winter festivals.

Many of these pagan religions were mentioned in the Bible too. They were usually criticized because they revered a Goddess instead of a God.

Carnaval is another example.

There are other aspects of the pagan religions/culture that the Christianity (Judaism and Islam) incorporated into their religion but they are too many to go into on the board . One of the main differences between paganism and the religions that originated in that area is the role of the woman. Judaism, and later Christianity and Islam severely diminished the importance of women this is something (I think) Wiccans kept.

Many of the things people accept as the word of God is really the influence of the culture and politics of that time. Things were done to get the most converts as possible and getting rid of women and aligning themselves with familiar practices of the time were some of them.

I could go on but I will stop because I may be here all day.

Big thanks to my parents for making me learn these things :P !
Originally Posted by Cehua
Yep, yep, yep. All true. You are so lucky that your parents gave you all this very thorough knowledge! I was so totally blank by the time I started studying various religions...*I* thought it was all so odd and ironic!

It was so great when I came to know all this stuff. It made the concept of God seem so much bigger than I ever thought. No limitations.
"Don't play me...I'm over 30, and I don't smoke weed"
-Prince

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