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

I'm in a Bible study group, and one of my husband's colleagues is coming. She is questioning types of religion/belief in hell/etc. My approach has been to try to answer her questions when asked, and then email her information from both sides, sort of like apologetics. Spirituality has to be a personal decision, so it should be an informed one. Well, this has me thinking (along with GuardianB) - for those of you on the board from any faith or no faith at all (in God), how did you get to where you are today?

Did you grow up "in the church"? Did you grow up with parents who hold the same beliefs you hold today? Did a negative experience turn you away from organized religion? Did a negative experience turn you toward religion? Did you grow up without any religious experiences and "convert" when you were older? Did you study various religions and then pick the "right fit"? Did you just decide one day that something other than what you had believed was right? Anything else you think is interesting.

I know you can't control how a topic goes, but I really am only interested in seeing how different people arrive at their beliefs. I grew up in a Christian home, and it could have gone either way for me, I think. My mom was very religious, but she used Scriptures to justify "beating the devil out of us." So, please do a spinoff or pm if you want to disagree directly with a poster. I know the controversial threads get more action, but I just want some information, if anyone is willing to share!
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
I am not sure how to answer the question. I grew up in a home that taught us love, spirituality, respect, and tolerance for all on earth. We were not raised in any one religion.

I had to be familiar with the Torah, Quran, and the Christian (Catholic) Bible. I also grew up knowing about different Native American beliefs of the Americas, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

We were not burdened by the thought of sin either. We were raised that sin was abstract and can be different from person to person (excluding acts such as adultery, murder, etc.).

My parent’s philosophy was to respect all people and their religion because fundamentally, the principle concepts are the same—it is only the details that change.

Incidentally, I do not believe in hell either.
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.
Madonna getting upset with her daughter for dressing too slutty is like Mr. T getting upset with his son for pitying too many fools.
Hehe, I am not baptized either.

My very Catholic friend (used to be atheist) told me I was going to hell and I replied only if I believe I will go……
I was brought up in a strongly devout Catholic family. Nothing really devastating happened to make me turn away from the church, in fact the church we attended was really lovely and friendly. The priests were sweet, wise, and father-like to me. But starting from a very early age I do remember shredding different ideas in my mind (the virgin birth, the ressurrection, the ark, etc.) and feeling those extremely uncomfortable feelings when you *know* an adult is lying to you. After many bitter arguments with my mother, she gave up fighting with me and let me stay home.

That wasn't the end for me. I searched other spiritual paths, in fact for the majority of my 20's. I found that my natural mother was a practicing Wiccan, and threw myself into that. I opened my heart and soul to Judaism, studying endlessly. It became a pre-occupation of mine. Nothing ever clicked. The only teachings that have come close and that I've aligned myself with is Taoism with a smattering of Buddhism.

I finally said to myself "I don't believe in God, and that's OK." That was an extraodinarily freeing moment, and I haven't looked back since.

Perhaps I will someday. Perhaps I'll be laying on my death bed, seized with fear that my puny little mind couldn't grasp the enormity of God's love, and I'll beg for mercy for my hell-bound soul. But for right now, I need to listen to my gut on what I feel is truth. Or should I say MY truth.
Thanks for sharing, ladies. I guess I should be more clear - my questions may be clouded by my own upbringing (that everyone "believed" in a higher power). So, what I really want to know is was there any type of spiritual teaching (rather than religious) in your home growing up, and if so (or not) do you still accept as true the teachings you grew up with.

Does that make sense?
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
So, what I really want to know is was there any type of spiritual teaching (rather than religious) in your home growing up, and if so (or not) do you still accept as true the teachings you grew up with.
Originally Posted by dia99
As I stated before I grew up in a home that taught us love, spirituality, respect, and tolerance for all on earth.

My parent’s philosophy was to respect all people and their religion because fundamentally, the principle concepts are the same—it is only the details that change.

I still accept their teachings today and will pass them on to my future children.
I really wasnt sure how to vote in the poll. But I will throw my lil story in. Baptised and went thru first communion at the catholic church. My parents divorced when I was 3-4 years old and I think I "HAD" to do first communion to appease one of my grandparents. At my fathers home where I lived, there was never any mention of religion at any time. However, I went to church in an odd fashion almost every weekend, due to my mom being a singer/cantor for a few local catholic churchs. I have been to hundreds of masses, funerals and weddings of hundreds of people I dont know. Up inthe choir loft with the organist. Over the time I learned all of the hymns and other songs she sang. But to me it was just a place where my mom worked. It wasnt anything special. So essentially I have stayed the same since birth. A happy atheist, with a respect for the music of the catholic church.
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I grew up in a very christian conservative home and my parents are still very religious. The Lutheran church I attened was literally attached to my N-8 school. Never been to public school from nursery through graduate school. I rejected Christianity somewhere around college. It just sort of happenened and I can not pinpoint what made that change.

Yoga has helped me appreciate spirituality and the many paths to higher conciousness.

I have no religion, but I am currently studying vedantic meditation as part of my yogic path.
Thank you guys for answering my question(s) better than I could ask it .
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
I voted that I was born into the religion that I follow, which is true, but that's really simplifying things. I was born and raised in my denomination, but I gave it up for a while, tried other things, and then eventually I came back to the denomination in which I was born and raised.
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I grew up in a home with non-practicing Catholic parents. I was baptized, and I made my first Communion, and I went to some form of Sunday school till I was about 12 or so, but we barely went to church. My parents didn't "enforce" any religion, and once I was a teen, I was allowed to choose whether or not I wanted to continue practicing Catholicism. I wasn't taught about religion really by them, only through the classes I took when I was younger. In high school, I joined a church youth group mainly so it would look good on my college resume, and that is when I decided Christianity really wasn't for me. Not that it was a bad youth group, it was actually very good, but I didn't fit in. After that I considered myself agnostic/borderline atheist.

When I was 21, I happened across some Pagan literature and I developed a strong interest in learning about it and eventually realizing that it was something I more or less felt throughout my life, but never really knew there was an entire belief system based around it until then. So that is how I ended up where I am today.
I am not sure how to answer the question. I grew up in a home that taught us love, spirituality, respect, and tolerance for all on earth. We were not raised in any one religion.

I had to be familiar with the Torah, Quran, and the Christian (Catholic) Bible. I also grew up knowing about different Native American beliefs of the Americas, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

We were not burdened by the thought of sin either. We were raised that sin was abstract and can be different from person to person (excluding acts such as adultery, murder, etc.).

My parent’s philosophy was to respect all people and their religion because fundamentally, the principle concepts are the same—it is only the details that change.

Incidentally, I do not believe in hell either.
Originally Posted by Cehua
whoa. this is very similar to how i was raised, too.

cool...
here i was thinking my parents were wildly eccentric.
MizKeri,

What is Paganism? Or, I know you can't give me everything about your beliefs in a sentence, but if there was a mission statement or core values statement for Paganism, what would it be?
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
I was born into my Catholic Christian faith,but I made a conscience decision to stay with it when I was a young adult and again as an older adult.
"what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?"



"If you judge people,you have no time to love them"
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I was born & raised Catholic & was a practicing Catholic until my sophomore year of college. I'd begun to question some of the things I was taught to believe & had issues w/ the Church.

I "shopped around" & dabbled in what I call the "salad bar" approach to religion. I believed/accepted things from different faiths but somehow things were never just right.

I dont go to church now but would describe myself as a Christian. I still have issues w/ the Church but believe in God & pray daily.
Slinky's rule for NC.com:

I suppose I can't judge you because you married a serviceman and it is wartime. Boo hoo. You must be loney sitting at home with nothing else to do but pick on people. Why don't you go masterbate again?
MizKeri,

What is Paganism? Or, I know you can't give me everything about your beliefs in a sentence, but if there was a mission statement or core values statement for Paganism, what would it be?
Originally Posted by dia99
Dia, this is a question that every Pagan will answer differently but I will give you mine. First, Paganism is really a term that encompasses a whole slew of earth-centered religions, much like the term Christian encompasses a variety of religions.

I practice Wicca, or witchcraft, and to me that means I believe in both a female and male aspect of the Divine, and that the Divine is found within us and all around us. It means that I revere nature and the Earth and I do my best to treat it well. I try to follow something called the Wiccan Rede, which says "Do as you will, but harm none." I believe in karma, particularly the rule of three - that energy, whether it be positive or negative, I send out comes back to me threefold. I believe in the concept of reincarnation rather than Heaven or Hell. I practice magic, and rather than thinking of this as the hocus pocus sort, think of it as a manipulation of the energy around us, or really, as a form of prayer much of the time. In my religion, there is no central book (like the Bible) or central religious leader (like the Pope).

What Wicca ISN'T is Satanism, devil-worship, "black magic," necromancy, etc.

There's tons more I could say, but feel free to PM if you have other questions! There's a few other Pagans on the board who'll have more to add as well, I'm sure.

Thanks for asking. I don't get the chance to discuss this very much with most people.
MizKerri,

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!
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
Did not grow up going to church. Do not believe the Bible is anything more than a book of historical writings, and leaders used and rewrote it over centuries to establish law. Who knows for sure how many times it was translated, or how accurately?

I think religion has persevered in society because people have a need to feel death is not final, and also for many it gives a sense of peace or relief or whatever to feel like "a being of great power" is watching over them, and loves them no matter what.

I just try to be nice to others, help when I can, and do my best to be a generally good person while I am here. When I am gone, I am gone. And if I have been wrong about everything, and it ends up there actually IS somewhere to go after death, well then, my bad.
I had a difficult time answering the poll question as well. I was raised with kind of a lack of religious teaching, beyond that there was a creator god who made everything and watched over us. My parents have very different beliefs - my mom is Shinto Buddhist while my dad is kind of a nondescript nonpracticing Protestant. They would probably be happy in a Universalist church.

As a teenager I converted to evangelical protestantism due to the influence of a good friend, and was a Christian for about 12 years. During that time I went to a Christian university and had planned to be a missionary, but shelved it after examining my motivations and in face of doubts that I also set aside.

A few years after college I started studying the Bible, theology, and Christianity and eventually, about a year or so ago, came to the conclusion that it does not live up to its claims of being unique, historically true, or an internally consistent whole. I discarded this belief system and have not been moved to search for one to replace it.

I am interested - more than ever - in learning about the myths and religions of the world, but my interest is more anthropological than the next phase of a spiritual journey. You can learn a lot about a people through the stories they hold sacred.
"Beware the man of one book." --Latin proverb

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