How do you choose a religion?
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16-05-2013, 03:29 PM
Question How do you choose a religion?
Hi,

I'm new round these parts, I hope this hasn't been done to death.

I don't understand how theists choose their religion, I know most are indoctrinated, but surely these theists contemplate their faith at some point in life, I can just about comprehend that some people believe in a "creator god" but with so many existing religions, how do theists know that the god that they believe in is the true god of that particular religion.

Surely it's more truthful to to believe in a god(if your that way inclined) but not associate with a religion. Because believing in a particular religion is pure guesswork surely?!?!? Consider
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16-05-2013, 03:34 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
I think most are just indoctrinated, and even if they believe they are contemplating their faith, they are taught that questioning is basically temptation by the devil and should be overcome with faith. So most of them seem to keep the religion they were born with, because they are taught to view the world through that religion, so it "makes sense" to them to continue doing so.

Some switch religions. The only people I know who have done that converted to their spouse's religion, sometimes even to gain the respect of the spouse's parents (I had a college professor who converted to Islam for this reason).

Others maybe do it for social reasons or trends (new age-y stuff comes to mind, as does Wicca).

I don't think religious folks see their religion as "pure guesswork," they figure they are learning from the people who came before them.

As for 'more truthful," I honestly don't think many people value "truth" as much as they value comfort and their social group.
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16-05-2013, 03:59 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
(16-05-2013 03:29 PM)Blasphemous Ben Wrote:  Hi,

I'm new round these parts, I hope this hasn't been done to death.

I don't understand how theists choose their religion, I know most are indoctrinated, but surely these theists contemplate their faith at some point in life, I can just about comprehend that some people believe in a "creator god" but with so many existing religions, how do theists know that the god that they believe in is the true god of that particular religion.

Surely it's more truthful to to believe in a god(if your that way inclined) but not associate with a religion. Because believing in a particular religion is pure guesswork surely?!?!? Consider
There are a few ways into religion.
- You get born to religious parents. (about 95 % of the cases, I'd say)

- You get into a bad life situation, get depressed and some religious group takes you in and helps you out, claiming your mind and life in return.

- You experience something extraordinarily spiritual and assume that the god in a religion from where you live must be the cause behind that. Not giving a second thought to many other religions, gods, theories and explanations. You'd be surprised how often that happens, but if people know only the local religion, they ascribe everything supernatural or spiritual to that particular religion, even if they're originally not believers, they see it as evidence. This happened to the famous writer C. S. Lewis.

Alternatively,
- You already have a religion but find out your denomination is losing the spirit's blessing (people get burn out and disillusioned) so you find a new one where the blessing is strong. (I suspect these groups break up and re-create indefinitely all the time).
- You find out that some other religion gives more sense than your current, for example Buddhism is better than Christianity. But that often leads to changing religion so often you go into agnosticism and atheism.


The fact is, most theists don't give much thought to what is or isn't true. They don't exactly know what truth is. They think truth is whatever they believe and they believe whatever someone told them. The longer they believe, or the closer family member indoctrinated them, the more it better be true. Must not think it's not true, that would be just too terrible. Must be Satan sending the doubts. Stop. Thinking.
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16-05-2013, 04:05 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
Quote: They think truth is whatever they believe and they believe whatever someone told them. ... Must be Satan sending the doubts. Stop. Thinking.
This, pretty much. Seems every theist I have discussed the idea of "questioning one's faith" with has come back with this kind of response, namely, the "god is testing me," "the devil is trying to confuse me," etc. If they are taught to value faith a lot, then looking for evidence and being skeptical is seen as weakness.

I think Luminon also brings up good points about the bad life situation conversions, too. I had a lifelong atheist friend who had some sort of personal crisis relating to childhood abuse and current relationship problems, he suddenly found Jesus a couple months ago.

I still think indoctrination is the most common, by far, though, so I don't think there are really many people that "choose a religion." Certainly, there are some. But even going back to my friend I mentioned, he didn't really even choose one, but rather, went to xianity because his parents were xians.
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16-05-2013, 04:07 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
It's easy to know if you have the right religion.

You were born into it: ask pretty much any believer: the religion they were (most likely) born into is correct, they were just blessed enough to born into said. All the others are incorrect and mislead.
Those who picked a religion of sect of said, will likely say they were blessed or lead to the decision. Truth is; they were probably window shopping until they saw something which fit their personality, a loud excitable person would likely join up with the Pentecostal crowd, whereas a quite reserved person would pick a boring, quite sect instead.

And naturally, you cannot ask them how they verify that they are right, they just know it to be true and continually disregard the probability that their sect is wrong. And lets not even get into the likelihood that any of them will be true.

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16-05-2013, 04:29 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
(16-05-2013 04:07 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  It's easy to know if you have the right religion.

You were born into it: ask pretty much any believer: the religion they were (most likely) born into is correct, they were just blessed enough to born into said. All the others are incorrect and mislead.
Those who picked a religion of sect of said, will likely say they were blessed or lead to the decision. Truth is; they were probably window shopping until they saw something which fit their personality, a loud excitable person would likely join up with the Pentecostal crowd, whereas a quite reserved person would pick a boring, quite sect instead.

And naturally, you cannot ask them how they verify that they are right, they just know it to be true and continually disregard the probability that their sect is wrong. And lets not even get into the likelihood that any of them will be true.

Thanks for the responses, I think you're all correct, it is a combination of factors:
Indoctrination from a young age
Not wanting to disappoint parents & others who you respect
Unquestioning faith is seen as a positive, questioning is the devils work
Not wanting to lose the friendships gained through chosen religion
Religion isn't a massive part of their life but they have always called themselves christian, muslim etc don't care enough to question it
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16-05-2013, 04:40 PM (This post was last modified: 16-05-2013 04:45 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: How do you choose a religion?
Holy shit (pun intented), religion wasn't a choice for me. It crept up on my crib like some skulking thing, and chose me Sad
First it was jeebus-god, then all gods were really just the same one, then there was none for me. Which happened progressively with every question I asked, and every one of those questions rose up out of observation of my fellow christians, and their behavior.
Knowing my own mind, I can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that had I not been indoctinated into x-iantiy, I wouldn't have simply chosen "other", I would have chosen Atheism.
Well I might have worshiped Pigskin - God of the NFL for awhile before coming around.....replace Amen with HutHut & leave me the fuck alone Dodgy Tongue

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16-05-2013, 05:17 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
(16-05-2013 04:40 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  First it was jeebus-god, then all gods were really just the same one, then there was none for me.

This is what I struggle to understand, all religions tend to be bat-shit crazy.... If there is a god i'm 99.999% it hasn't provided a doctrine, I find that to be a million times more likely than the gay hating gods of the major monotheistic religions, why the fuck would an omnipotent god care where a mere mortal places his fucking appendages.......... MIND BOGGLING! Laughat
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16-05-2013, 05:32 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
^I think an inflated sense of one's importance in the world comes into play, too (the idea that a skydaddy loves you and listens to your prayers and really pays attention to your life), and in the case of homophobia, the way many people dislike anyone different from them. I've heard theists say that the idea of there being no afterlife is "scary," or "depressing," which brings me right back to thinking people value comforting lies more than truth. They aren't asking themselves what is more likely, they ask themselves what sounds nice to them (if, indeed, they question anything at all).

Also, many have pointed out the fact that "god" tends to have the same opinions and hate the very same people his followers do, so I think it's just that people feel like they can be bigots if they claim god is on their side. Compare the statement "I hate gay people" with "God hates gay people." It's like passing the buck to a nonexistent person.

And if the "god hates gays" doesn't work, some of them claim that if they (christians) tolerate gays, god will punish everybody, and that's why they feel it's ok to be bigots.
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16-05-2013, 06:27 PM
RE: How do you choose a religion?
Well if I had to choose a religion there are a few things it must have :

1. Bingo nights.
2. Pancake breakfasts.
3. Easy parking.
4. No tithing.
5. Free coffee hour.
6. Short sermons.

Big Grin

All the rest of that Jebus stuff is unimportant.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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