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  1. #21
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    I "came out" when I was 16 or 17. Grew up in a very passionately Christian home. It's the main focus of all of my family, and all their friends and acquaintances are from church or my dad's job (which is in the Christian music industry). My sister went to college focusing on ministry oriented stuff for 4 years, my brother below me is currently interning at a church and my youngest bro is involved in youth group and that's where all his friends are from. It's very awkward in a way but at the same time it's not so hard because I'm in a good family. Though it pains them to know I've turned away, they are no less accepting and loving. It does suck though, a lot because despite things being ok between all of us I do feel alienated. Mostly with my dad he doesn't understand how my mind works. He thinks I've decided it must just not be "convenient" for me to be a Christian but that I MUST believe in God. I don't know that he'll understand that a lot of people just aren't like he is and can't accept things at face value.

    I hate the ambiguity of spiritualism and God. It's frustrating.

  2. #22
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBeatGoesOn View Post
    I "came out" when I was 16 or 17. Grew up in a very passionately Christian home. It's the main focus of all of my family, and all their friends and acquaintances are from church or my dad's job (which is in the Christian music industry). My sister went to college focusing on ministry oriented stuff for 4 years, my brother below me is currently interning at a church and my youngest bro is involved in youth group and that's where all his friends are from. It's very awkward in a way but at the same time it's not so hard because I'm in a good family. Though it pains them to know I've turned away, they are no less accepting and loving. It does suck though, a lot because despite things being ok between all of us I do feel alienated. Mostly with my dad he doesn't understand how my mind works. He thinks I've decided it must just not be "convenient" for me to be a Christian but that I MUST believe in God. I don't know that he'll understand that a lot of people just aren't like he is and can't accept things at face value.

    I hate the ambiguity of spiritualism and God. It's frustrating.
    Feelers often say they "feel" god inside them, but what they don't realize is that they could feel that way about a sandwich with the right conditioning. Internal feelings are not a good basis for religious belief. But then what is? Thinking? People who think logically about religion either start to ask questions about the inconsistencies, or concoct faulting rationalizations to support their deeply embedded beliefs.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by arborvitae View Post
    I was wondering if other non-Christians in predominantly Christian cultures have trouble "coming out."

    I'm a sweet, upper middle class, white woman living in Texas, and the natural assumption is that I'm Christian. I find that I frequently get invited to church events by new acquaintances, or someone makes a statement around me that assumes Christianity. I don't want to be rude and curtly deny their attempts at friendliness, or be blunt and say "Actually, I'm not Christian." Somehow this would be too awkward and off-putting, and not really representative of my nature. But at the same time, I want to assert my spiritual beliefs. How should I handle this situation?

    The hardest part is that I belong to a religion that isn't well know - I'm a Unitarian Universalist (If you don't know what that is, I'd look it up ). I always end up fumbling through a description of it that makes Unitarianism sound more like a cult. It would be so much easier if I could just say I was Jewish or something.

    Anybody else have these experiences?
    I will admit I haven't read the whole thread so apologize if someone has already said this:

    I attended the Unitarian chuch for 10 years before it became known with the Universalist tack on (which I didn't approve of btw)... that was years ago and things may have changed but, at the time, all the Christians I ran into were very aware of what it was and it was held in quite a bit of disdain. So you might be surprised actually. When I'm talking with a Christian, I usually just say I'm not religious but my personal Hero is Jesus. They seem to accept that pretty well. Now, if they ever asked me if I thought Jesus was God... we would probably have a problem.

  4. #24
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostInNerSpace View Post
    Feelers often say they "feel" god inside them, but what they don't realize is that they could feel that way about a sandwich with the right conditioning. Internal feelings are not a good basis for religious belief. But then what is? Thinking? People who think logically about religion either start to ask questions about the inconsistencies, or concoct faulting rationalizations to support their deeply embedded beliefs.
    I suppose the problem I have with people that say that religion relies on feelings is that there are really many things that people gladly participate in/believe in that really makes no logical sense either. Take for instance, falling in love. The way I see it, many people rationalize, fantasize, and romanticize the person of their affection...and falling in love with them makes no rational sense at all, but they still do it. If we relied solely on logic to choose a mate, then no one would bother getting married because no one is perfect. I am definitely strong in my T function, and do I question inconsistencies and things that I don't understand about Christianity? Sure, I absolutely do...and I think beliefs should be tried and questioned to prove their validity. But then I do also have to keep in mind that God does not exist in the little "box" that I try to keep him in -- the little metaphorical box that only allows me to comprehend the finite things of this world. I mean, if God really is omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent (like the Bible says he is) then I think that he goes WAY beyond our level of understanding. Yes, Christianity does take a certain amount of faith...but then again, just about everything in life takes some amount of faith and unsaid assumptions.

    Also, I know I am a rather skeptical thinker in all areas of my life, and I have no doubt that I have "felt" God in my life. I really don't know how to explain it in words that will be understood correctly, but trust me, it is nothing at all like being conditioned to feel a sandwhich in your stomach.

  5. #25
    Fe, rusted. Poser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    I suppose the problem I have with people that say that religion relies on feelings is that there are really many things that people gladly participate in/believe in that really makes no logical sense either. Take for instance, falling in love. The way I see it, many people rationalize, fantasize, and romanticize the person of their affection...and falling in love with them makes no rational sense at all, but they still do it. If we relied solely on logic to choose a mate, then no one would bother getting married because no one is perfect. I am definitely strong in my T function, and do I question inconsistencies and things that I don't understand about Christianity? Sure, I absolutely do...and I think beliefs should be tried and questioned to prove their validity. But then I do also have to keep in mind that God does not exist in the little "box" that I try to keep him in -- the little metaphorical box that only allows me to comprehend the finite things of this world. I mean, if God really is omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent (like the Bible says he is) then I think that he goes WAY beyond our level of understanding. Yes, Christianity does take a certain amount of faith...but then again, just about everything in life takes some amount of faith and unsaid assumptions.

    Also, I know I am a rather skeptical thinker in all areas of my life, and I have no doubt that I have "felt" God in my life. I really don't know how to explain it in words that will be understood correctly, but trust me, it is nothing at all like being conditioned to feel a sandwhich in your stomach.
    My current line of thinking is that I believe in religion but don't think that I am capable of knowing if there is a God. I understand the need for some people throughout history to believe in a higher power but that doesn't mean that I have to believe. I am really comfortable with people telling me that their faith is based on feeling but have an issue when they attempt to argue the logic of something that cannot be proven (or is meant to be).


  6. #26
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Wow, I always thought Unitarian Universalist was a Christian denomination, just like the Quakers?

    My family went to a Methodist church when we were younger but are varying degrees of lapsed. My brother is a hard-core INTP atheist who actively looks down on Christians and doesn't believe anyone reallybelieves in God. I am one of those hippie hybrids of CCM lovin' spiritualists (?)

    Our responses when asked about church/god are below:

    Me/ENFP female: For strangers simply reply, "I don't go to church?" Why not? "I just don't go to church/Hmm, not sure" followed be tense smile or distracted look --> the other person gets the hint 75% of the time. They might add a final, "God wants you to go to church, etc." and I just nod.

    If they really push I often lie to avoid the drama. I told this one woman who was way persistent about my parents, "They're Buddhist" and she looked me straight in the face and said, "We have to convert them". Hahahaha. She also told me that even though I look like a college student I'm an old lady and I need to hurry up and get married and have some kids. She was a total stranger. My people are funny sometimes -- but for the record, the Buddhist ones are waaaaaay more laid back.

    With people I know? When I get invitations to go to church at work I just say "Wow thank you for asking me". I mean, it is nice to get the invitation I'm just most likely not going to follow them up on it.

    With friends or people whom I would like to befriend, that's when I feel invested/motivated to talk about it.

    I view invitations to church not as opportunities to talk about religion so much as old-fashioned social and friendship overtures. It's flattering to be invited to someone's place of worship. And you can still be friends (hopefully) with these individuals w/o attending their church or sharing the
    exact same faith.

    For you and your situation? I think the easiest (though not necessarily smoothest) approach is to be blunt like my brother/mom, but coupled with my more friendly vibe. Just say, "Thank you but I'm Unitarian Universalist" or just say, "Thank you but I have my own church that I attend regularly". That might open up conversation about your faith if you want it.

    Also, is it against your faith to attend other services? Sometimes going to someone's place of faith is literally a "good faith" gesture, it's friendly and social, even if you aren't of the same faith (I dunno, I attended a Jewish Shabbat service once and I've visited Buddhist temples and no one seemed to care)


    And just becuase I bothered to write them -- more blunt/funny responses:

    INTP 20ish male Christians piss him off: One woman at work kept trying to convert him/get him to go to church. He interrupted her, said bluntly, "I don't believe in God" and walked away. The woman literally choked and sputtered "Wha? Wha? Wha???" Hahahhaah. So wrong. So (young) INTP (male).

    Assertive IXNX Mom: This woman at the hair salon was pressing my mom about church and god and my mom told her, "My relationship with god is fine so I don't have to go to church and I'm done talking about this."

    BTW, probably not applicable to you but funny to me and my friend -- some Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons (I forget...) went to her mom's house who is Buddhist and she sat them in the living room where the huge Buddhist altar is and she lectured them on the story of Buddha until they excused themselves and left. LOLZ.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

    Johari/Nohari

  7. #27
    Senior Member Veneti's Avatar
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    Hmm..

    I'm probably going the other way. Although I don't believe in the strict definition of the bible and all the wives tales that got added to it as it progressed through the centuries....

    Although what I believe it is convoluted and complex I'd have to spend a page or 2 explaining it...

    I do however like the social cohesiveness that Christianity brought and it’s obvious that the more materialistic and less spiritual society we now live in has made life far worse.

    If you even just look at YouTube and see the 1980s music videos and compare that against 2000s videos you can see the degradation spirituality.

  8. #28
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    People often assumes that i'm christian because i'm a very nice and generous guy most of the time. But i'm certainly not. If I were to believe in any god it would be one of the celtic ones, especially Cernunnos. But I don't know if I really do believe in the supernatural. I'm very much a sceptic person. In times of need I throw away a prayer or two, though. To be on the safe.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  9. #29
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    I view Christianity as a vehicle that is there for the purpose of carrying people to a certain goal. But the same goal can be reached by other vehicles and other paths. All religions I view as being there for us, not us for them (like dictionaries and rules generally), and useful only in so far as their objective is not being defeated by abuse either by the person at the 'user' end or those in organizational/authorative roles.

    If asked by a stranger, I'd probably say I'm a Christian because it'd take too long to explain how my beliefs and practice differ from mainstream Christianity, and because loosely speaking, it's true: I am a follower of Christ's teachings, as well as other 'prophets' and sages who have taught similar wisdom. But I don't feel obliged to follow St Paul's teachings and interpretations of Christ's teachings, or anyone else's.

    I go to church for the sense of community and because it's a gateway that facilitates me in my personal goal and desire of being useful to the community, and provides for me the only means whereby I can put my personal skills of meeting, accepting and supporting people through ministry of chaplaincy. This I feel is one useful bridge between the secular and sacred, as I recognize that most people have a need for some kind of spiritual support, and for it to be relevant to real life in the secular world in which most people have no choice but to live.

    But I don't generally encourage 'rule following' and I think that in the European situation, where most people here in the UK are nowadays completely clueless and uneducated regarding the Bible and have not been brought up as church goers, the Bible is a recipe for further confusion and I tend to only dip into the Gospels now and again, whilst recommending to people more cohesive and less contradictory texts such as Lao Tzu and some of the Hindi Upanishads.

    Like with most things in my life, I take an interdisciplinary, polymath type approach to religion
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  10. #30
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Christians believe in the Trinity. As I understand it, Unitarians don't. So it would be impossible for Unitarians to be Christian.

    Victor.
    That would be incorrect. Not all denominations of Christianity believe in the Trinity.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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