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  1. #1
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Default How did you gain / switch or lose your religion

    I'm not a religious person, I have not ever found any satisfying answers in religion as I see too many alternative solutions and do not have the inclination to pick a specific one in the absence of (in my experience) definitive or at least strong evidence towards one explanation which would lead me to add the notion of a form of divinity to my mental spectrum (or pural divinities) however...

    I am interested in other people's experience and perhaps how it related to type.

    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?

    What were the involved religions (for example switching from a to b or losing a)

    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?

    If you believe what would it take for you to lose that belief?

    If you don't believe what would it take for you to gain belief?

    feel free to add questions to that list
    cheers!
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

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  2. #2
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    am interested in other people's experience and perhaps how it related to type.

    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?
    I started out as extremly religious as a kid, I even wanted to be a nun. but I was scared of the devil, so I made a conscious decision to not believe anything. now I'm kinda in the middle I believe there is something out there, I don't know what. But my thinking is, even though there are rules of the universe that someone or something created it, I refuse to believe that the universe was created by nothing from nothing

    What were the involved religions (for example switching from a to b or losing a)
    Orthodox Christian-->atheism-->agnostism

    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?
    First be naturally paranoid as a child and thinking that the only way i'd have a chance in death is to become part of the church. Then fear that something bad was going to happen to me or my family. Then the need to figure things out

    If you believe what would it take for you to lose that belief?
    irreftuple proof that it's not true
    If you don't believe what would it take for you to gain belief?
    irreftuble proof that is is true

    added question:
    Have you ever tried to force your belief/lack of belief on someone else, under the guise that you were actually helping the other person?
    no, even when I was extremely religious I figured that I didn't like being told that I should believe things I didn't, so why would I do that to other people?
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  3. #3
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?
    Yup. I was raised Christian, but never really practiced--it was just a Christian..ish.. house. My mother likes to pray on her own via Game of Thrones style alter-like-nature churches. My father's a typical lazy Christian--yeah, there's something, but church? meh...

    I ended up exploring other religions out of pure curiosity. My mother's ways naturally attracted me to Wicca when that came up on the roster. It eventually evolved into my own ideas which lump under the umbrella that is paganism. It helped that there were plenty of books in circulation at the time as Wicca/Paganism was really coming back into mainstream then. Also the internet.

    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?
    I honestly was just like my father--meh... about everything. Curiosity was probably the biggest factor for looking into other religions at all. I ended up choosing paganism for a variety of reasons--1. I'm quite superstitious about the universe and everything having energy.. it's a really amazing blend of my Irish roots and my attraction to the Zen that Japanese Buddhists look towards.. and there is something very soothing about the practice of pagan rituals, the physicality of it all is very centering. I find meditation extremely difficult for me.. and the rituals I partake in, sparingly though they are, are really eye opening. It's more like reading a self-help book than .. like.. praying to a deity for me.

    If you believe what would it take for you to lose that belief?
    I don't think much could make me lose it. I'd really have to go off my rocker to throw this out. Religion is a stabilizer, and although mine does not focus on a particular deity, and is quite hippy and ever-too idealistic in its approach to other religions, at the end of the day it helps me control my anger a lot.. it helps me think, and clear my mind, and sleep better. It helps me focus. and those things help drive the things I do with my life.

    If you don't believe what would it take for you to gain belief?
    As I don't believe in deities as normal people do.. I suppose if I had an experience first-hand it would change my mind. Otherwise, I'm content with this.
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  4. #4
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    I don't remember where I learned it, but upon discovering this factoid, my mind snapped hard: "You can be Buddhist and an atheist?"

    Been studying since, pretty much. Now I see the two are just about exclusive

  5. #5
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    I rejected Christianity when I decided it didn't make sense and didn't accord with my values. It was kind of like a friendship; at first I was all excited to have the relationship, but after awhile I realized we just had nothing in common and broke it off.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    I remember being in church when I was very young, and wondering what people were referring to when they talked about god. I always knew deep down that I didn't believe.

    For a long time I tried to believe, kind of. I was never into Christianity, but sometimes I would call myself an agnostic, and most other times I would say I didn't know if god existed or not.

    Then, surprisingly, I became very religious once my depression hit. I think it actually was inside me all along, but it manifested only as diffuse superstition. My depression basically made me get to the point of what my beliefs were and carry them to their logical conclusions.

    The story is even more complicated still. My drug experiences had made me seriously wonder if there was a god. Actually they pretty much confirmed, there TRULY is an experience of god. That I am sure of, and I say that as an atheist now. One time I drank a bottle of Robitussin, and I 100% certainly experienced what could only be called god. Other times I experienced visions of Jesus, visions of hell, limbo, other unknown demigods. The mind has some weird religious shit going on inside it, whoever you are and whatever you consciously believe.

    But that was years before. In the first half of 2013, I became very religious without drugs, and in the end it was because I wanted something as bad as something can possibly be wanted. My life became a constant communication with a god that I no longer even believe is there. It was all prayer. Everything that happened was god telling me something, or happening for some reason.

    Things got so dark in my life, this view collapsed in on itself. I began to realize, nope, it's really not there. Nope, things couldn't get like this. This isn't right.

    I'm an atheist now, and it's ok I suppose. As I have stated in another thread, I do not like the thought of living in a dead universe. No one is watching over us. Very terrible things can happen. Wanting life to be good, I find it all that much more important these days. Things matter. It's all up to us....

  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?
    I'd say they've adjusted more than anything. A lot of the core beliefs are still there, though I've also become somewhat agnostic about them intellectually.

    What were the involved religions (for example switching from a to b or losing a)
    My family is a liberali-ish branch of Pentecostal Christian, which is to say, pretty conservative in most ways, but don't require a weird-looking mode of dress or complete separation from secular entertainment, though some forms are frowned upon.

    I still practice some stuff even though I don't believe it's necessary or beneficial for most people. It's as much my sub-culture as my religion and not all of the practices are bad. Some are neutral and some are helpful.

    But I do not attend church. I am not opposed to the idea of ever doing so, but I don't like to go and I feel my branch of Christianity has been perverted and corrupted by its political alliances and it disgusts me. Plus, services are long and boring and I find a lot of religious conservatives to be unpleasant company.

    As far as actual beliefs, I believe in God, but I don't believe we can actually know, so I'm not enthusiastic about proselytizing, etc. I can't believe that homosexuality, etc is wrong because that makes no sense to me. I didn't choose to be straight. I don't think people choose to be gay and if you can't choose, you shouldn't be rewarded or punished for it any more than for the color of your eyes. And I don't believe in Hell as taught by my religion. I think God created the universe, but I think he probably used evolution to do it. So stuff like that.

    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?
    It's probably genetic. I wasn't raised by my dad and I didn't even meet him until I was twenty-seven, but I seem to have inherited my brain and thought-processes more from him than my mother's family.

    Also, I have studied the sacred texts more than the average believer. I know where they contradict. I know they've been interpreted different ways over time. I've seen my church change over the last twenty years. I've also had more opportunity to observe church leadership closely and have seen how many of them are greedy, ambitious, dishonest people. And they do cruel things with no apparent twinge of conscience. So, to me, they have no spiritual authority whatsoever.

    If you believe what would it take for you to lose that belief?
    I don't know, to be honest. What I have left is ingrained stuff from childhood. It's really, in a lot of ways, more like superstition than faith. I pray from instinct. My fear of God is like my sense of Karma. But there is also nostalgia mixed in. I don't feel that God is obligated to protect me from hardship or suffering, so that would probably not do it.

    If you don't believe what would it take for you to gain belief?
    I'd have to have some kind of major spiritual experience. Pentecostals believe in supernatural manifestations of God. I do also, but more in a theoretical way. I haven't experienced or observed enough definitively supernatural stuff to be convinced. Stuff that seems to convince other people doesn't seem convincing to me. I suspect that I'm a bit hard to cold read, so I don't get 'words from God' that would exceed the Forer effect. So I've really always wanted to believe, but have been consistently disappointed.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #8
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    This might be of interest to you, because I am fairly certain my (former) spiritual beliefs caused me to mistype myself for years.

    I used to be new age, spiritual, universalist. Pretty much every modern take on spirituality you could think of was lumped into it. I was very into tarot, astrology, the law of attraction, synchronicities, etc.. The idea that there was a divine grand order to everything around us. The idea that there was a god and spirits all around us that permeated everything and effected all. I was raised around this by my mother. My father disapproved wildly. However, they divorced when I was 3, and my mother had primary custody of me so I was around her 5 days a week and my dad 2. Long story short, my mom "got" me. She knew what would comfort me, what would make me happy, and was very devoted and kind. My father tried hard as well, but due to who he is was poor at connecting with me. Overall he's just a harsh person, but a well intended one. I aligned with my mother and was way more receptive to her and her views of the world. One of them was her spiritual beliefs. I ate them up and believed them as a child, and made it into my own. I "saw" what she saw in the world, we experienced things together, and she evolved over time with it. My father rejected this and tried (unsuccessfully) to get my mom to stop and get me to stop believing. However, he went about it in a way that I would have never accepted or received in a million years. So he in effect reinforced it.

    It wasn't until I was around 18 or so that I had the first glimmers of "hunh, wait a sec, does this actually fit?". However, I was naturally very idealistic, and unbeknownst to me, I simply wanted everything I believed to be true, and I tricked myself into making it so by using flawed and warped logic. I never consciously considered it couldn't be true. It wasn't until around 2010 that I began to truly wonder in patches. My mom actually triggered it. She was slowly but surely getting more fanatical with her ideas and starting to toe into crazytown. Seeing that, the one person who I (wrongly) saw as an ideal person have major cracks in their make up, really got me thinking. I remember one day I had to convince her sea salt doesn't contain less sodium and she couldn't wrap her head around it, that I began to see.

    Fast forward to early 2013, I was getting massively beat up by life left and right and couldn't catch a break. A partial chunk of it was because of using my beliefs as a crutch. Against my own conscious will, I began to think "...there is no rational basis for my beliefs. The same arguments I have used to debunk religion apply to mine as well... uh oh." I couldn't exactly unthink this, and it started a cascade of events that caused by beliefs to slowly die. It alientated my mother a lot, and that will be an ongoing issue. It was painful, but on the other side I have seen that becoming atheist is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has made my thinking SO much clearer. I stopped coloring everything in false logic, stopped wishing things to be true, and actually put mental effort into things I usually woudln't because of a spiritual crutch. Being in school helped all of this come to be because the kind of work I do required very very rigorous thinking. It was a matter of time before that kind of thinking leaked into other aspects of my life. In essence, my brain could no longer hide from itself, idealism broke.

    For years and years I thought I was an INFJ. I felt it fit me, and at the time it did. My mother is also an INFJ, and I modeled myself after her a lot. My father, an ESTJ I pushed away. I have a tendancy to do a lot of black-white binary thinking, and since childhood labeled my mom as good and my father as bad. I emulated my mothers traits, and rejected my fathers. I am a mix of both of them, the good and bad of them. In my desire to be like my mother, I pushed myself beyond who I actually was by burying unpleasent things of my makeup. Upon the collapose of my spiritual beleifs, those walls came down too because I saw what I was doing with myself. This was part of the painful part because all of the idealism I created for myself (my mother is extremely idealistic) cracked and I had to face things as they were, including parts of myself. But there were some parts of me that lied dormant for long that I didn't realise they were actually good things. They just needed dusting off and practice. With this happening, I realized I am not INFJ, I just fancied myself one (and for all intents and purposes was like one) because of what I emulated (and ironically I was emulating bad things too to create the image for myself). I am not sure of my type, but I am thinking I am xxTJ. I am kind of certain on the I actually, and I am more certain on the T than I have been.
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  9. #9
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?
    Yes.
    What were the involved religions (for example switching from a to b or losing a)
    Catholicism (not exactly a choice) to Atheism.
    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?
    The realization that ethical values are man-made constructions, susceptible to wild variations according to when and where people are born, and how they are raised.
    If you don't believe what would it take for you to gain belief?
    For starters, I'd need to see God him(?)self.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kyli_ryan's Avatar
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    Did you switch / lose / or gain religious belief?
    I changed my religious belief. Although really, I think I just played it out to completion.

    What were the involved religions (for example switching from a to b or losing a)
    I was raised Baptist (Christian) and then converted (reverted) to Islam.

    In all honesty what do you think were the main factors in that process?
    My first introduction to Islam was whenever I went away to college and took Art History/Literature courses that dealt heavily with Islamic themes in Medieval history. It wasn't until later (when I began dating my current fiance) that I dug deeper into the faith. Initially, I was determined to learn as much about MY faith (Christian Baptist) as possible, so that I would be a "faithful woman of the book" for him (which is totally acceptable for marriage in Islam). I wasn't raised to really go to church every Sunday, but when Kamel (my fiance) left the US to go back to Algeria for his required stay, I began going to church every Sunday AND Wednesday, and got very involved... or as involved as they would allow me to be. I found that at every stage of my attendance, I was encountering issues of "not belonging." There would be sermons about not "back biting," and the next day I would hear about the older members discussing my relationship as a group with the pastor (WHO HAD JUST DONE THE SERMON). As I was going to church and doing bible study, I also began going to Islam classes on Sunday afternoons that were for Muslims and non-Muslims, just to learn about Islam and the similarities with Christianity. I thought this would help me bridge any divides between Kamel and I. When I began studying the bible closely, I started coming up with questions that couldn't really be answered. I would ask my pastor and he wouldn't really have answers for me at all. But EVERY question I asked about Islam, there was a clear answer for me. An answer that someone didn't have to tell me. I could find it in the book myself. I liked that structure. One day in church, I was reading a passage in the New Testament that emphasized God and Jesus as separate, and I just couldn't handle this question anymore. I decided that Christianity wasn't for me. Because I had never believed that Jesus was God and I couldn't convince myself of this anymore. So, intense bible study with my Sunday school class (and then Kamel) and then unanswered questions... those are what led me to Islam.

    If you believe what would it take for you to lose that belief?
    My previous belief was lost through the hypocrisy I encountered at church, the intolerance, and the blatant disregard for their own teachings. I lost faith in Christianity being the correct faith, but I never, and can never, lose faith in God.

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