Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
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17-05-2013, 10:18 AM
Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
What was your upbringing, as far as religious matters are concerned?, mine was a bit confusing;

My mother was raised Catholic, but became a Jehovah's Witness along with most of my adult family a few years after their mother died. By the time I was born, she believed in a God that most closely resembled the Christian God, but she didn't practice any faiths.

My father's father was raised in a very religious, "beat the sin out of you" type of household, his father was a preacher even. This left him, and subsequently my father very bitter towards religion, and Christianity in particular.

With this upbringing, I probably would have grown up atheist/agnostic (bit of a crime around this neck of the woods), but I spent a lot of time with my Jehovah's Witness family when my parents were out, who wasted no time in pumping me full of as much doctrine as possible.

So I ended up between two worlds, the liberal, mostly irreligious world of my parents, and the deeply religious one of my family, eventually, the latter won out, and I became a strict Jehovah's Witness in an Agnostic household. I Wouldn't have crosses in the house, I wouldn't watch anything that so much as joked about Jehovah, etc.

This pissed off my dad, as he thought my aunt had been brainwashing me, and that created an animosity towards them that lasts to this day.

Eventually I grew pissed too, And I rejected the Jehovah's Witness faith when I was 8 (soon followed by my formerly devout older cousin)

I Was an atheist for a while, until I was frightened into becoming a strict Fundamentalist Christian (Fire and brimstone type), I Tried a bit of converting, rarely worked out,I Didn't attend any church because my parents wouldn't take me,all in all, that affair lasted about...9 Months.

After that, well, here I am.
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17-05-2013, 10:44 AM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(17-05-2013 10:18 AM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  What was your upbringing, as far as religious matters are concerned?

Mom was raised Catholic, but I'm pretty sure she gave it all up right after she got married. I don't remember her ever praying, talking about God or Jesus.

Dad was raised mostly Presbyterian although he talked about a Calvinist church as a kid. He had to take some sort of Catholic classes when he was in the Navy so that he and my Mom could marry. 50 years later he was still very resentful about that. He never talked about God or Jesus or praying. He was very much against all sorts of organized religion. He did seem to identify with Native American spirituality. I think he liked the story telling aspect of it and that it relates back to Mother Nature.

My oldest brother, always has been an atheist. Huge Carl Sagan fan and he's into astronomy & biology. He gets very hot headed when anyone brings up the topic of religion.

1 brother is now Catholic with his wife and kids. 1 brother played the game for his bride to be in the baptist church. I doubt either actually attend regularly.

My sister is a what I call a warm fuzzy christian. She likes the little knick knacks with prayers about love, (bless this home- sisters are a blessing) etc. But you won't ever find her in church, or with a bible, or telling anyone she will pray for them. I honestly don't know where she falls.

We only attended church for weddings and funerals. Mostly Catholic. I posted another thread today about how the rituals creep me out. People answering in unison, drinking blood (gag). It would really bother me to see people all acting like sheep,( kneel, pray, sit, stand, kneel, cross over chest, answer in unison). It gave me the heebie jeebies because all I could think of is that they were all brainwashed. It scared me.

later after I met my husband, he was raised baptist and is still a believer (although non practicing). We tried church here...they still creep me out just in different ways.

After the death of my parents I finally got off the fence and went back to my roots of non-belief.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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26-05-2013, 12:02 PM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2013 12:07 PM by Scully.)
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(17-05-2013 10:18 AM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  What was your upbringing, as far as religious matters are concerned?, mine was a bit confusing;

My mother was raised Catholic, but became a Jehovah's Witness along with most of my adult family a few years after their mother died. By the time I was born, she believed in a God that most closely resembled the Christian God, but she didn't practice any faiths.

My father's father was raised in a very religious, "beat the sin out of you" type of household, his father was a preacher even. This left him, and subsequently my father very bitter towards religion, and Christianity in particular.

With this upbringing, I probably would have grown up atheist/agnostic (bit of a crime around this neck of the woods), but I spent a lot of time with my Jehovah's Witness family when my parents were out, who wasted no time in pumping me full of as much doctrine as possible.

So I ended up between two worlds, the liberal, mostly irreligious world of my parents, and the deeply religious one of my family, eventually, the latter won out, and I became a strict Jehovah's Witness in an Agnostic household. I Wouldn't have crosses in the house, I wouldn't watch anything that so much as joked about Jehovah, etc.

This pissed off my dad, as he thought my aunt had been brainwashing me, and that created an animosity towards them that lasts to this day.

Eventually I grew pissed too, And I rejected the Jehovah's Witness faith when I was 8 (soon followed by my formerly devout older cousin)

I Was an atheist for a while, until I was frightened into becoming a strict Fundamentalist Christian (Fire and brimstone type), I Tried a bit of converting, rarely worked out,I Didn't attend any church because my parents wouldn't take me,all in all, that affair lasted about...9 Months.

After that, well, here I am.

No real religious training until about age 6. Then my parents were contacted by the Jehovah's Witnesses. By the time I was 8 years old, there were no more birthdays or other holidays. We had "meetings" at the Kingdom Hall on Sundays and on Thursdays, plus "bible study" in someone's home as smaller groups on Tuesdays. We went "in service" (door-to-door) on Saturday mornings. We had "family study" on Friday nights.

It was a religious immersion program, for lack of a better phrase. Prayers were offered before all meals at home. "The Daily Text" was considered... well... daily. The Watchtower organization produces an annual almanac of sorts, which provides a daily scripture and commentary from JW publications - that's what "The Daily Text" is. Skirmishes between my siblings and I were handled by a parent asking "Is that how Jesus would behave?" in order to shame us into silence. Silence was the goal, not fairness. More often than not, my sneakier younger brothers got away with invading my room and taking something of mine without asking. Typical little brother stuff, of course, but rather than reinforcing the common courtesy of asking before borrowing, I was expected to "turn the other cheek" or 'let myself be wronged' as the higher *Christian* virtue. One of my father's favorite shaming techniques to use when he didn't like something we were doing was to say derisively "and you call yourself a Jehovah's Witness??" as if whatever we were doing was so heinous that we weren't worthy of that title. He'd even say that when someone cut in front of him in line or in the parking lot at "circuit assemblies" or "district conventions" (large gatherings that JWs hold annually) and even at the Kingdom Hall.

Being the only girl in the family at that point, I noticed the blatantly sexist attitude, and I suppose their letting my brothers have pretty much free reign while I was expected to toe the mark quite rigidly was part of that dynamic. My mother found the misogyny quite distasteful too, although she rationalized it as being part of the original curse on Eve, where men were granted the privilege of dominating women, and she decided that it was her lot in life to take those lumps like a good little martyr so that eventually she could "Live Forever In Paradise On Earth".

I started questioning in my teens. It did not go well. Due to the insular nature of the JWs, being shunned by the only friends you've ever been allowed to have is exquisitely painful. I wasn't even officially a JW because I wasn't baptized, yet I was deemed to be a "bad association" and my friends' parents forbade contact until I 'came to my senses'. It was one of the loneliest and most heart wrenching times of my life - I had legitimate questions that I was being punished for having, and nobody was willing to explore those questions with me. My parents were matter-of-fact about it: "Well, you know what you have to do to fix it." In order to make the shunning stop, I had to adjust my "negative attitude". I had to participate in the JW lifestyle. I had to undergo a personal bible study and submit to baptism. I wasn't allowed to research secular literature to answer my questions, only Watchtower propaganda. It didn't help that in school we were reading Orwell's 1984 which was like holding up a mirror to my own existence. In my late teens, I was baptized at a circuit assembly. My dad hugged me and congratulated me. My mom gave me a superior look and pushed me away when I went to hug her - "You're only doing what you're supposed to be doing." Her words crushed my heart.

What Jehovah's Witnesses don't disclose to outsiders and potential converts is that they consider baptism to be an unofficial contract between yourself and (*not* god, as you might expect) the Watchtower Society (a.k.a. "God's spirit-directed organization"). In other words, you are expected to believe Watchtower doctrine, whatever it happens to be at the present moment in time. If they "simplify" or "clarify" a doctrine such that it becomes the opposite of what it was previously, you have to accept it, without question. Any doubts are considered to be the work of Satan, and lingering on those doubts has you teetering on the brink of apostasy. They hate (and I can't stress this enough), absolutely *hate*, having their doctrines questioned. It is an affront, an insult, of a magnitude that you don't wanna know. So my questions had to go on the back burner, preferably as far back as humanly possible, so far back that I stopped thinking about them. For almost 15 years, I was able to stomp out the embers of curiosity and doubt. And I was actually content in my life.

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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26-05-2013, 12:13 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
Dad was Catholic in an area that was over 90 percent Catholic. (Still is) I don't think he thought about it much other than "it's what we do". He went to Catholic schools because that's all that was available. Mom was/is Methodist but when she finally mentioned it, she claimed to be Atheist...I hear that she goes to church now...whatever.

As a kid I had to go through all the Catholic stuff when I was in public school then we moved to dad's home town and I ended up in Catholic schools. Oh boy!

When dad was done with college and growing his business, he discovered Sunday morning golf. After a while I wasn't expected to do the Sunday mass thing either. I always had doubts but didn't know that it was okay to not believe. In my early 20s, I pretty much checked out. My younger sister remained active because church was a place for her to continue playing music and sing...no other reason. Brother gave it up till he figured out his son could get a better education at a Catholic school and it was cheaper if he was an active member of the parish church.

All us kids pretty much figured God was an asshole for sticking us with two violent drunks for parents.

We went through some motions...none of the belief stuff ever stuck.

Before he died, dad finally admitted to his atheism when I brought up mine.

It was all for show.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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26-05-2013, 12:22 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(26-05-2013 12:02 PM)Scully Wrote:  
(17-05-2013 10:18 AM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  What was your upbringing, as far as religious matters are concerned?, mine was a bit confusing;

My mother was raised Catholic, but became a Jehovah's Witness along with most of my adult family a few years after their mother died. By the time I was born, she believed in a God that most closely resembled the Christian God, but she didn't practice any faiths.

My father's father was raised in a very religious, "beat the sin out of you" type of household, his father was a preacher even. This left him, and subsequently my father very bitter towards religion, and Christianity in particular.

With this upbringing, I probably would have grown up atheist/agnostic (bit of a crime around this neck of the woods), but I spent a lot of time with my Jehovah's Witness family when my parents were out, who wasted no time in pumping me full of as much doctrine as possible.

So I ended up between two worlds, the liberal, mostly irreligious world of my parents, and the deeply religious one of my family, eventually, the latter won out, and I became a strict Jehovah's Witness in an Agnostic household. I Wouldn't have crosses in the house, I wouldn't watch anything that so much as joked about Jehovah, etc.

This pissed off my dad, as he thought my aunt had been brainwashing me, and that created an animosity towards them that lasts to this day.

Eventually I grew pissed too, And I rejected the Jehovah's Witness faith when I was 8 (soon followed by my formerly devout older cousin)

I Was an atheist for a while, until I was frightened into becoming a strict Fundamentalist Christian (Fire and brimstone type), I Tried a bit of converting, rarely worked out,I Didn't attend any church because my parents wouldn't take me,all in all, that affair lasted about...9 Months.

After that, well, here I am.

No real religious training until about age 6. Then my parents were contacted by the Jehovah's Witnesses. By the time I was 8 years old, there were no more birthdays or other holidays. We had "meetings" at the Kingdom Hall on Sundays and on Thursdays, plus "bible study" in someone's home as smaller groups on Tuesdays. We went "in service" (door-to-door) on Saturday mornings. We had "family study" on Friday nights.

It was a religious immersion program, for lack of a better phrase. Prayers were offered before all meals at home. "The Daily Text" was considered... well... daily. The Watchtower organization produces an annual almanac of sorts, which provides a daily scripture and commentary from JW publications - that's what "The Daily Text" is. Skirmishes between my siblings and I were handled by a parent asking "Is that how Jesus would behave?" in order to shame us into silence. Silence was the goal, not fairness. More often than not, my sneakier younger brothers got away with invading my room and taking something of mine without asking. Typical little brother stuff, of course, but rather than reinforcing the common courtesy of asking before borrowing, I was expected to "turn the other cheek" or 'let myself be wronged' as the higher *Christian* virtue. One of my father's favorite shaming techniques to use when he didn't like something we were doing was to say derisively "and you call yourself a Jehovah's Witness??" as if whatever we were doing was so heinous that we weren't worthy of that title. He'd even say that when someone cut in front of him in line or in the parking lot at "circuit assemblies" or "district conventions" (large gatherings that JWs hold annually) and even at the Kingdom Hall.

Being the only girl in the family at that point, I noticed the blatantly sexist attitude, and I suppose their letting my brothers have pretty much free reign while I was expected to toe the mark quite rigidly was part of that dynamic. My mother found the misogyny quite distasteful too, although she rationalized it as being part of the original curse on Eve, where men were granted the privilege of dominating women, and she decided that it was her lot in life to take those lumps like a good little martyr so that eventually she could "Live Forever In Paradise On Earth".

I started questioning in my teens. It did not go well. Due to the insular nature of the JWs, being shunned by the only friends you've ever been allowed to have is exquisitely painful. I wasn't even officially a JW because I wasn't baptized, yet I was deemed to be a "bad association" and my friends' parents forbade contact until I 'came to my senses'. It was one of the loneliest and most heart wrenching times of my life - I had legitimate questions that I was being punished for having, and nobody was willing to explore those questions with me. My parents were matter-of-fact about it: "Well, you know what you have to do to fix it." In order to make the shunning stop, I had to adjust my "negative attitude". I had to participate in the JW lifestyle. I had to undergo a personal bible study and submit to baptism. I wasn't allowed to research secular literature to answer my questions, only Watchtower propaganda. It didn't help that in school we were reading Orwell's 1984 which was like holding up a mirror to my own existence. In my late teens, I was baptized at a circuit assembly. My dad hugged me and congratulated me. My mom gave me a superior look and pushed me away when I went to hug her - "You're only doing what you're supposed to be doing." Her words crushed my heart.

What Jehovah's Witnesses don't disclose to outsiders and potential converts is that they consider baptism to be an unofficial contract between yourself and (*not* god, as you might expect) the Watchtower Society (a.k.a. "God's spirit-directed organization"). In other words, you are expected to believe Watchtower doctrine, whatever it happens to be at the present moment in time. If they "simplify" or "clarify" a doctrine such that it becomes the opposite of what it was previously, you have to accept it, without question. Any doubts are considered to be the work of Satan, and lingering on those doubts has you teetering on the brink of apostasy. They hate (and I can't stress this enough), absolutely *hate*, having their doctrines questioned. It is an affront, an insult, of a magnitude that you don't wanna know. So my questions had to go on the back burner, preferably as far back as humanly possible, so far back that I stopped thinking about them. For almost 15 years, I was able to stomp out the embers of curiosity and doubt. And I was actually content in my life.

Fuck, that's ugly. Angry

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-05-2013, 12:35 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(26-05-2013 12:22 PM)Chas Wrote:  Fuck, that's ugly. Angry

Sadly, it gets worse before it gets better.Blush

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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26-05-2013, 12:48 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
Geez Scully, I'm sorry for what you had to go through.
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26-05-2013, 01:05 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
The city I was born in is extremely Catholic. Both of my parents' families were very Catholic. The parents were married in a catholic church, but my dad never attended except for funerals and weddings (and not for many of those). My mom made me go to church with her and also to Sunday school until my first communion at age 8. I threw a fit about it every Sunday, at that point, my dad said I could stop going.

My mom stopped going too, except for weddings, funerals, and my brother's baptism (he is ten years younger than me, and never attended any church). My mom stopped going for 20 years, until my dad died.

Anyway, nobody prayed, said grace before meals, talked about god, or anything like that when I was a kid, unless super religious relatives were visiting and my mom wanted to impress them. I get the feeling their parents were only religious on holidays, too, but still apparently believed in the christian god.

Around the age of 13, I started reading religious texts, especially Christian and Hindu ones (no reason except Hindu gods looked cool). I thought all religions were pretty nonsensical, and it began to annoy me that adults believed in them, when even a child could see that they were bullshit. Went through a teenage rebellious phase, I suppose, when I was very anti-religion. It was considered a scandal all around town and caused a lot of problems with relatives, and even teachers (though I was a good student).

Forgot about it for a while during college, I was going to school full time and working 2 jobs; I barely had time to get my drinking done, much less thinking about stuff. That changed when I had an evangelican xian roommate for a semester. That's a long story, but I'll just say that, while I continued to live in the dorms, I made sure to have a private room from that point on, despite the exorbitant costs.

Still am very anti-religion, actually. My dad spoke openly about being an atheist in the years before he died, which is apparently why he was ok with my not going to church. (On the other hand, for a year or two after he died, my mom became religious again, started attending church for a while, bitched at me whenever I said "goddamn" in her presence.)

The most confusing thing for me, as a kid, was trying to understand how adults actually believed this shit. That was traumatic for me, and it's why I was very, very anti religious as a teenager. As a young kid I though hell was just a dumb story parents told to scare kids into behaving; promises of heaven were kind of like promising a kid an ice cream cone if he's good, except it doesn't cost money. God was Santa claus on a bigger scale, etc.
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26-05-2013, 01:17 PM
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(26-05-2013 12:02 PM)Scully Wrote:  They hate (and I can't stress this enough), absolutely *hate*, having their doctrines questioned. It is an affront, an insult, of a magnitude that you don't wanna know.
Geez, after all you had to endure, I just may open my door to the next JW who knocks just so I can question their doctrine. Dodgy

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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26-05-2013, 01:18 PM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2013 01:22 PM by Scully.)
RE: Your (Ir)Religious Upbringing
(26-05-2013 12:48 PM)cjs Wrote:  Geez Scully, I'm sorry for what you had to go through.

In fairness, it wasn't *all* bad. I understand my parents' desire to give us what they considered to be a proper upbringing. Having kids of my own made it clear that I had a responsibility of teaching them to be good citizens, although my husband and I made a conscious choice to keep religion and emotional blackmail out of the equation. That's not to say that I *never* occasionally offered a cookie in exchange for appropriate behaviour or to quell inappropriate behaviour. (guilty as charged!)

FWIW, it seems to me that people gravitate to belief systems that permit them to express their fucked-up-ness with impunity, whether it's sexism, outright misogyny, racism, homophobia, extreme control, or whatever. There are clues in my family history generations earlier that lead me to believe that the JWs appealed to my parents on a subconscious level because their beliefs reinforced attitudes that my parents already held. Even without the JW influence, emotional blackmail would have been a currency that my parents preferred to use in their parenting.

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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