How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
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24-08-2011, 05:35 PM
How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
People usually post their current opinion on things but it would be interesting to see how people's relationship to god and/or religion evolved over time. That could give some perspective to the subject and make many realize that opinions are not absolute but fluid and, maybe, opinions we hold today might change in the future. That thought, in turn, might moderate hubris and arrogance so many people display on these forums.

Here is a short summary of my progress regarding religion:

At 10: I was fervently religious
At 20: I despised anyone who was
At 30: I felt I ought to respect people’s beliefs
At 40: I was pissed off at organized religion
At 50: I was wondering how so many people took it seriously
At 60: I was amused by the comic irrationality
At 65: I am not amused any more: expecting witch-burning any day now
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24-08-2011, 06:01 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
Hm, good idea. I'll go in five year increments since I don't have as many years under my belt. Yet. Smile

At 10: I was happily religious..
At 15: Still happily religious, but starting to form tiny little opinions that didn't mesh with the church. This is where I learned avoidance!
At 20: Not sure God was real, but still prayed for him to show me truth.
At 25: Now a member of the Orthodox Christian church, but getting tired of constantly feeling inadequate no matter how hard I tried. Not sure God even existed.
At 30: Realizing that a lot of my sucesses came from me and my hard work. Nothing I had acheived and no conclusions I came to just divinely popped into my came from careful thought and reasoning. Stopped going to church.
Today: *trembles* I just don't beleive in God. I'm sure enjoying my Sundays now.

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.

- Carl Sagan
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24-08-2011, 06:06 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
I've told my story so many times I'm sure people are tired of hearing it, but here goes...

At 10: Fervently religious in a Pentecostal Church. Saw snake handling, saw and took part in speaking in tongues, rolling the aisles, the whole gamut.

At 14: Held first revival and got my minister's license. What I lacked in knowledge I made up for it in fervor.

At 19: Became pastor of my own Pentecostal Church.

At 21: Began asking questions. Discovered my first contradictions in the Bible, read it many times before but never noticed the contradiction.

At 23: Had so many questions and doubts, I stepped down as pastor and took two year sabbatical to study and decide what I did believe in.

At 25: Came to the conclusion that I was an atheist, feeling lonely and isolated. Took a lot of persecution from my family.

At 30: Struggling to raise children in a mixed Christian/Atheist household. Wife knew she married an atheist but apparently thought she could change me. She couldn't.

At 40: Divorced and free to get involved in local Atheist organizations. Became much more confident that there is no god. Lost my last remaining fears and guilt from my childhood.

At 50: Not much changed beyond being more comfortable with being atheist.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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24-08-2011, 06:14 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
At 10, i believed everything but didn't take it too seriously.
At 20, i was several years into agnosticism and secular philosophy, and so were all my friends, so it didn't matter.
At 30, i had learned to say 'atheist' without worrying how it sounded to other people, but didn't make an issue of it.
At 40 it was no kind of issue at all - just living my life, godless and churchless.
At 50, i still respected other people's religions and other superstitions; thought that a good Christian or good Muslim was better than a hypocritical one - and knew how small a minority good ones are compared to hypocrites.
At 60, i became alarmed at the growth of militant, intolerant, aggressively political fundamentalism in the US, and later in Canada. Since then, i've taken more opportunities to speak out against it.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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24-08-2011, 07:25 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
Some great progressions! Here's mine:

At 10: Already well into my Orthodox Jewish education. Hebrew coming along nicely. Dad was happy.
At 12: The Kosher Nazi. "Mom, didn't you read the label on this can? It doesn't have a U!!!*"
At 13: My Bar Mitzvah, a big deal. Prelude to a couple of years' religiosity. Prayed in the traditional way every morning, with prayer shawl and phylacteries. Felt very secure and "right with God." Dad proud.
At 15: Doubt began. It all started to seem silly. What my religious teachers told me didn't square with my observations of the world. Had my first non-kosher food, a lobster-salad sandwich. Tasty. Stopped praying. Dad not happy.
At 16: Read Walter Kaufmann's The Faith of a Heretic. Brilliant. Identified myself as an agnostic or atheist, depending on the definition of God.
17-66: A confirmed non-believer, although while the folks were alive I continued attending--and after Dad died, eventually leading--family Passover seders. (Nice songs, good food.) Stopped when Mom died.

*A U in a circle is the assurance from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations that the food contained therein is certified kosher.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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25-08-2011, 09:35 AM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
Mine is similar to Zaika's
age 10: Believed in Christianity and decided I wanted to get baptized...just in case.
age 13: Teenager. Sundays more of a time for sleep than school so i stopped going.
ge 18: Still a Christian but I hear a sermon from a youth minister that causes me to no longer respect the bible as truth and opens the door for me to see the danger in interpretations of the bible
age 20: More or less agnostic. I claimed to believe in a "supernatural power" and reincarnation. Essentially I was still scared of death so I tried finding ways around it
age 22: Conversations with one of my good friends as well as my education in geology lead me to confidently proclaim to be an atheist. Big relief, and I felt a lot better about the world.
Age 23: Mother and family find out about my atheism via facebook and the insults and accusations begin. Causes me to begin to despise the narrow minded thinking of some religious people.
Age 24: I have now turned my focus mainly on the Creationist/intelligent design vs. Evolution debate. Still worried about nutjobs like Romney, Palin and Perry but I want to focus more on the education issue than anything else. Teach people how to think and learn and religion will become less important and influential.
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25-08-2011, 12:38 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
Ok, I'll play.

5: Believed in god, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc.

10: Knew that Santa et al were fairy tales, but also knew that at Christmas we had to go to church, lest we piss off grandma and grandpa.

15ish: Told my parents that I would no longer be attending church at christmas since I didn't believe in god, to which my parents replied, "believe what you like, but if you don't make the annual visit to church, YOU can deal with the backlash from your grandparents." (Needless to say, I attended church for a few more years)

20-30: No church, no god, and never really thought about it much at all. Had a kid to raise, a career to start, relationships to cultivate, and a lot of growing up to do. Met my wife at 30, got hitched in a celebration with family and friends by an ex-communicated priest, and nary a prayer was uttered.

30-present: I have, in the recent past, noticed more and more negative impact on the world around me caused by religion. I still think that peoples beliefs are their own and that I should respect their right to believe in a magical sky daddy. I no longer pretend it doesn't affect me though. In the last 5 years or so, I have given religion more thought, and those thoughts continue to develop and evolve today.

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25-08-2011, 01:34 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
I was born into a family who is pretty non-religious, but that doesn't mean I wasn't exposed to it.

Age 5: Still attending church/Sunday School. Only memories are boring sermons and colouring pictures of the Nativity Scene (though I had no idea who the people I was colouring were Tongue).

Age 6: We moved a few kilometres out of town and we stopped going to church. My mom's excuse was the winter driving.

Up to age 12 or 13: Religion and god didn't really cross my mind. A Christian aunt took me and my brother to church on weekends that we stayed with her. Spent the time thinking about the brunch that was served afterward and how hungry I was.

12 or 13: Summer camp for a couple of weeks. Didn't realise it was a Christian camp (I went there for the trail rides). Got scared that I was going to burn in hell for not being a Christian. I ask my mom about it; she answers that she doesn't believe in hell. Wave of relief.

14-17: Exploring different religions and belief systems for something that I can believe in for longer than a week. Look at ancient mythologies, Shintoism, Buddhism, pantheism, etc. Finally decide that I can't find a belief system in which I agree with all the tenets.

17-18: Agnostic.

18: Arrive at university in southern Alberta. Meet really religious people for the first time (including Mormons). Encounter Christian stories/beliefs in Art History and English classes and become amazed at how people can believe any of it.

19-20: I learn from my roommate (and some Mormon missionaries... and South Park) more about Mormonism. My amazement grows. My partner shows me a Richard Dawkins series on YouTube. Started reading Dawkins and Hitchens and become angry with religion. Also at this time, I take a Neuroscience class and stop believing in a soul and an afterlife. I begin to label myself an atheist.

21: Watch a Carl Sagan video on astrology. Stop believing in that. Become less angry with religion and more angry with the lack of critical thinking skills taught in schools. Also become passionately interested in religion and the history of religion. Ironically, the more I learn about it, the less I can believe in any of it.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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25-08-2011, 02:00 PM
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
Age 5 - 8: started to be aware of the Jewish holidays and I was raised what I'll call "culturally" Jewish. Religion was never a big deal in my house growing up but my cultural identity was. I did not think much about if God existed but did not believe in Santa or anything like that.

Age 8 - 13: attended Hebrew School, originally believed the history they taught us was real because it was called "History", which I assumed had to mean it was not a fraud. In fairness, the history of the Jewish people as set forth in the Old Testament was taught more as actual History vs. religious texts. At least in my Hebrew School it was. I can't say that's true of all of them.

Age 13: Had my Bar Mitzvah, was a big deal to my parents, was a big deal to me, but had no real religious significance to me. I was probably a full agnostic at this point, and probably even an atheist, although I was not really familiar with either concept at the time.

Age 20 - 25: Full fledged agnostic. Did the Jewish holidays with my folks and sister when I was home but did not make an any attempt when I was alone.

Age 25 - 35: Probably an atheist at this point but completely unwilling to admit it. Would tell people (and myself) that I believed in "something" but not any organized view of God. Just could not bring myself to admit there was no proof at all of a deity. I knew it, but would not admit it. Struggled with this for a long time, too. I just wanted there to be a god. But, doesn't everyone?

Age 35 - 42: Full fledged admitted atheist. I also had kids and decided to raise them at least culturally Jewish like I was. I do even less than my parents do but my parents, and especially my mother, would be really upset if I did not send them to Hebrew School and let them learn about who they are and where they came from. My parents have always been very supportive of me so I do this much because it makes them happy. My parents are not religious and are probably at least agnostics (and I think my dad is a closet atheist) but the cultural identity is very important to them so I send my kids and will have them both Bar Mitzvahed. I don't discuss religion or god with them much but I teach them to think for themselves. When they ask questions about religion and god, my wife and I tell them what different people believe. When they ask what I believe, I tell them. I never just give them the answer I want them to have, though. That's not how you learn to think for yourself.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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25-08-2011, 02:26 PM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2011 02:51 AM by Thammuz.)
RE: How did your relationship to God/Religion evolve?
5) Wondered how Santa Claus got into the house when everything was completely locked down. We had no chimney either... I loved geography then, saw how big the world was. How did he bring presents to the entire world? And why didn't the poor African kids get any? Something wasn't right. I began to question everything from that day.

7) Communion; hated it. Why did I have to love someone when I could be good anyway? I had to do my first confession and couldn't come up with anything, so I just said I threw a rock at a kid. I lied about a sin because nobody is without sin. But I was afraid of hell. I must've done some terrible things, no? Because everyone is a sinner and God can see everything. I remember wondering if he really could see everything, even in a basement with the lights out. I found that somewhat creepy. Did he have X-ray vision?

7-12) Started to ask more and more questions. Some people didn't like that. But I still considered myself a christian. I mean, atheists had no morals, right? I was a nice kid, I couldn't possibly be an atheist. And muslims and jews chose the wrong religion. The bible clearly says it's the right book, why didn't they realize that?

12-14) Agnostic, but still going to church sometimes. I used Pascals wager, but soon found out I was cheating. God would know, wouldn't he?. So I decided to be good and just wait until I got a sign from God.

14-18) Abandoned my faith completely, but never looked into the scientific/philosophical aspects of it. Got my ass kicked by my religion teacher on my very catholic high school.

18-20) Joined the armed forces and got confronted with a few religious people (African exchange students) that tried to convert me. It was only then that I learned to debate creationists. I lost the the last bit of respect I had for religious people and started to regard them as second class citizens.

20-now: read alot of philosophical and scientific material. I'm a full-fledged atheist now with a good overall background. I still lack knowledge in the areas of physics, but I've never been a mathematical mind. I've abandoned the idea that an atheist has to know everything about every subject because failure to answer a single question would prove the bible and the judeo-christian god to be real.

edit: spelling

"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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