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What Religion Do You Practice/Not Practice and Why?

What Religion Do You Practice/Not Practice and Why?


  • Total voters
    131

Evastover

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I expect to find a lot of atheists and agnostics, but this might not necessarily be the case. I'm also very interested in the "Why?" responses I might get.

I might post my extraordinarily, exhaustingly long dissertation on why I believe/don't believe what I do if several people post replies, but I don't have a lot of time to write at the moment. Also, I'd much rather see what other people think first :)

What do you believe and why?
 

laterlazer

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I'm a Christian, well for one I was brought up that way, and I'm really glad I was. Although I've definitely questioned Christian teachings; the way it makes no sense to atheists that God exists, it makes no sense to me that he doesn't. My experiences as well have definitely added to my belief.
 

LonestarCowgirl

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I believe the Bible is the living, breathing word of God. I believe God is love. I believe in Jesus and the forgiveness of sin. I believe most people are going to heaven. I believe love, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres for all people, even in the darkest places, because God loves and believes in their potential that much. (1 Corinthians 13:7).
 

ceecee

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Agnostic but I was raised Catholic. Religion, it makes no difference what kind, there is no place for it in my life, I don't want to be anywhere near it. It had nothing to do with how I was raised, I simply have a visceral, disgusted reaction to it. I don't react well to evangelizing either.
 

Passacaglia

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I'm a Christian, well for one I was brought up that way, and I'm really glad I was. Although I've definitely questioned Christian teachings; the way it makes no sense to atheists that God exists, it makes no sense to me that he doesn't. My experiences as well have definitely added to my belief.
More or less, yeah. :) I'm an atheist because while the world has a cornucopia of religions and differing sects, none of them have any evidence backing them up.

I think the truth is that religion is something that must be felt and experienced to be truly embraced, and I've never felt it. The closest I ever came to a religious experience was reading the final chapter of The Last Battle. (The last book of The Chronicles of Narnia.) It was the first time that a book ever took my breath away...but even then, my reaction was "Wow, what a great narrative conclusion!" rather than "Wow, maybe these books are an allegory for something real..."
 

93JC

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I don't believe in any religion. They're all completely implausible to me. I don't like the label "atheist" because it implies I believe in an -ism, and I most definitely do not.

For the most part I avoid talking about religion, because I know my casual dismissal of any and all of them can be a little rude. Caustic even, if given the opportunity to rant at length about it.

To the religious people out there I'm not sure I could ever adequately explain my indifference. The most polite way I can is to say that the active religions of today seem as implausible as the (e.g.) Norse pantheon of gods would seem to any Jew, Muslim, Christian, etc. Taking communion is not unlike making a ritual sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl; praying to Allah not unlike making an offering to Athena at the Parthenon. The dogma just... doesn't jive with me.

I appreciate that a lot of religious dogma encourages us all to be good to each other, but I don't need belief to guide me. I know how to be good, and I'm pretty sure I am good.

Religion brings me no comfort in hard times, it brings me no more happiness or sadness about how the world around me plays out. It's probably hard for a devout believer in a religion to truly comprehend the feeling of disencumbrance I feel by having no religion. To me it's an extra 'thing'; a superfluous part of a life. I don't need it, and it's incredulous to me that others do.
 

Polaris

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If you're a Christian, you're going to hell for not being something else, and if you're something else, you're going to hell for not being a Christian. So I don't see the point in bothering to get out of bed early to attend church or mosque or whatever. If I'm going to hell, I may as well do it with a good night's rest.

I don't even want to address the question. If there's someone up in the sky, I don't think it's likely they care what you label yourself or what you go so far as to outright believe. I don't particularly believe anything. I don't even particularly believe that this isn't all some sort of screwed up dream. I just try, sometimes, to be as good a person as I reasonably can be, and hope that that will at least let me go to bed with a sound conscience if not win me admission into an eternal paradise.

To the extent that I have any clear spiritual beliefs, they're mostly aligned with Buddhist teachings. I believe that we go through an endless cycle of death and rebirth (from which there is probably no escape). I also believe that my present actions send things out into the universe that will probably sooner or later come back to me, and so, like a good Buddhist, I attend to my karma.

And that's really about as far as it goes. I've never found a religion that entirely rang true to me (whether or not there's something wrong with my ears is for you to decide), and I don't feel any real compulsion to change that. To the extent that I've gone deeper into religion, it has almost without exception brought me stress instead of relief. And I do not say that lightly--I once had a long lasting breakdown, from which it was very hard to recover, that was in no small part brought on by religion. To me that defeats the purpose and argues against the idea that the particular strands of religion I've had experience with are right and healthy. Most things are either true or false, and how you feel about them is unimportant. Religion isn't one of those things; religion isn't just supposed to be true; it's supposed to help you.

The bottom line is that I'm declining to make a definitive statement on the matter (and no, I'm not an agnostic). I think definitive statements are overrated.
 

á´…eparted

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I am atheist because I see no reason to believe in a god or anything spiritual. The reason being is there no evidence to support such a think. As such I see it as foolish.

Granted, I can see why for some people it is helpful and can lead to them living more fulfilling lives because of it. For others it is actually necesscarry for their mental health and ability to function as a human. It doesn't make those beliefs factually correct though. It's just merely a tool that is used for them. If it helps and doesn't negatively impact those around them good for them. That said, I see religion and spirituality more harmful than good from a global prospective so I am against it. I see it as an impedance on societal progress. I will tolerate and sometimes respect religious individuals who are good people, and keep their faith limited to themselves and those who share their faith. Doubly so if they recognize that their beliefs are not supportable and respect others who do not share that. If they go beyond that though and try to spread it around, or allow their beliefs to influence life and political decisions that effect others, all bets are off.
 

Nicodemus

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I fervently practice none of them, although I do think keeping up with Christianity's various teachings is good for one's memory.
 

Eska

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I would say I'm an agnostic.

The concept of 'God' is the equivalent of saying that there is an invisible chair behind me, it is a statement that is neither provable or unprovable.

Based on the multitude of contradictions in most of the religious texts, and the reasons possible as to why religion would have existed (control, comfort, etc.), I find it highly likely that religions were built on lies or misinterpretations.
 

Bush

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I don't adhere to one, but I try to learn from what they all have in common and what they have to teach. Whatever, lots of religious tomes have good stuff in them. Any particular religion to me seems way too specific in its outlook. So, ignosticism is all up in there for me:

Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts; including (but not limited to) concepts of faith, spirituality, heaven, hell, afterlife, damnation, salvation, sin and the soul.​

Basically, I find many religious frameworks to be too prescriptive and narrow for me to be bothered to adhere to them. Must I necessarily derive my state of being from a myth that Atum pounded off on a Friday night and ejaculated the whole universe; that a consensus among thetans shaped the world because they believed it to exist; or that a more prude deity simply said that things exist and that made them exist, kinda like in The Secret? Suppose I subscribe to the third of these creation stories. Does it matter, further, whether my Oprah's-book-of-the-month-club-influenced deity also happened to have burned bushes, issued commandments, healed sick people every now and again, and tested a man's faith by taking all of his stuff away? I don't think those stories in particular have much to offer to inform one's everyday practice in a meaningful way.. at least, no more than any individual Brothers Grimm story would.

Really, I'd say that the concept of monism (basically that God and the universe are equivalent, one in the same, etc.) drives quite a bit of my moral outlook. (Exaggerated a bit, I could consider Spinoza to be a personal prophet.) Generally, then, morality to me stems fundamentally stuff we do affects us and also the entire universe, because we're all intertwined, and so acting good is a cool way to act. Or, alternatively, that "we're all connected, man *smokes a j*"

I would also accept Agnosticsm as a label. Close enough.
 

Obsidius

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Agnostic but I was raised Catholic. Religion, it makes no difference what kind, there is no place for it in my life, I don't want to be anywhere near it. It had nothing to do with how I was raised, I simply have a visceral, disgusted reaction to it. I don't react well to evangelizing either.

Agnosticism and Atheism is not a dichotomy. So I hope you voted Atheist if you don't believe in God...
 

Obsidius

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I'm an atheist. Because although I am agnostic to the existence of God (Agnosticism is not a word that means "unknowing to the existence of God", it just means lack of knowledge, I'm an Agnostic Atheist, as most Atheists are), I do not see any evidence or rationale that bolsters the veracity of such a claim to anything more than a myth.
 

grey_beard

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More or less, yeah. :) I'm an atheist because while the world has a cornucopia of religions and differing sects, none of them have any evidence backing them up.

I think the truth is that religion is something that must be felt and experienced to be truly embraced, and I've never felt it. The closest I ever came to a religious experience was reading the final chapter of The Last Battle. (The last book of The Chronicles of Narnia.) It was the first time that a book ever took my breath away...but even then, my reaction was "Wow, what a great narrative conclusion!" rather than "Wow, maybe these books are an allegory for something real..."

I was a staunch atheist growing up. But I liked Narnia despite any symbolism or Christian themes; first, because I could not see the Christian themes "coming" until they sprang up full-force; and second (as I now realize) because they were particularly well-written, and contained both gravity (the girls crying all night at the death of Aslan, Digory's mother) and humour (Governor Gumpas, Prince Rabadash): and there were glimpses throughout (such as in Dawn Treader: "...he's a retired star.") of things that were obviously organically part of that world, which were not introduced arbitrarily and 'isolated', nor was anything introduced deux et machina.

EDIT: I only realized once reaching adulthood, that many of the things I liked in Narnia were taken from Classical or Medieval sources...
 

Passacaglia

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I was a staunch atheist growing up. But I liked Narnia despite any symbolism or Christian themes; first, because I could not see the Christian themes "coming" until they sprang up full-force; and second (as I now realize) because they were particularly well-written, and contained both gravity (the girls crying all night at the death of Aslan, Digory's mother) and humour (Governor Gumpas, Prince Rabadash): and there were glimpses throughout (such as in Dawn Treader: "...he's a retired star.") of things that were obviously organically part of that world, which were not introduced arbitrarily and 'isolated', nor was anything introduced deux et machina.

EDIT: I only realized once reaching adulthood, that many of the things I liked in Narnia were taken from Classical or Medieval sources...
Interesting; I was an adult by the time I read The Chronicles, and fully aware of Lewis' faith and the Christian aspect of his fiction. Although I did miss a lot of the allegorical details that you mention; I'm terrible about picking up on that sort of thing. ;) In any case, yeah, Lewis was a great writer whatever his beliefs and attitudes.

Ooh, I just remembered my other big near-religious experience! During Peter Jackson's film version of The Return of the King, he takes a bit of creative license during the battle for Minas Tirith. Spoilered on the off chance that somebody reading this hasn't yet seen or read The Lord of the Rings, and might want to someday:



And that's a powerful image, combined with Ian McKellen's oratory skill. Billy Boyd, who played Pippin, didn't have to pretend to cry when this scene was filmed; and I'm not ashamed to say that I cry pretty much every time I watch it. And that's in part because I want to believe that there's some idyllic afterlife waiting for me when I die; it's an immensely comforting thought. (It helps that I'm a born and raised country-boy.) And I'm sure that's how many atheists and agnostics become religious; the emotional appeal is strong, and quite understandable.
 

prplchknz

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I would say I'm an agnostic.

The concept of 'God' is the equivalent of saying that there is an invisible chair behind me, it is a statement that is neither provable or unprovable.

Based on the multitude of contradictions in most of the religious texts, and the reasons possible as to why religion would have existed (control, comfort, etc.), I find it highly likely that religions were built on lies or misinterpretations.
if the chair is just invisble that means it's physically there you can't see but you have the potential of bumping into it. god if he exists is both invisble and untouchable like a ghost, so he'd be the OG (orginal ghost, hah! I crack myself up *dodges rotten tomatoes being thrown). so you could prove the chair existed just have people run into it
 

grey_beard

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Interesting; I was an adult by the time I read The Chronicles, and fully aware of Lewis' faith and the Christian aspect of his fiction. Although I did miss a lot of the allegorical details that you mention; I'm terrible about picking up on that sort of thing. ;) In any case, yeah, Lewis was a great writer whatever his beliefs and attitudes.

Ooh, I just remembered my other big near-religious experience! During Peter Jackson's film version of The Return of the King, he takes a bit of creative license during the battle for Minas Tirith. Spoilered on the off chance that somebody reading this hasn't yet seen or read The Lord of the Rings, and might want to someday:



And that's a powerful image, combined with Ian McKellen's oratory skill. Billy Boyd, who played Pippin, didn't have to pretend to cry when this scene was filmed; and I'm not ashamed to say that I cry pretty much every time I watch it. And that's in part because I want to believe that there's some idyllic afterlife waiting for me when I die; it's an immensely comforting thought. (It helps that I'm a born and raised country-boy.) And I'm sure that's how many atheists and agnostics become religious; the emotional appeal is strong, and quite understandable.

Your


The key is with IanMcKellen: the way he delivered the line is as though he were *remembering* in order to gain strength for the probably helpless battle which lay ahead: and recall he already had a death-and-return experience after his battle with the Balrog, which is described more fully, but still briefly, in the original book.
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

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Although God is quiet and elusive, He exists profoundly. That is the paradox of God.

He is in our every cell, in our DNA, in our soul. He created us, we are not an 'accident'. As such, He knows us. He has a special mission for each of us.

I love Christ. I tried, but there is no way to get around His original and epic teachings. He is the most beloved Son of God, mighty Yahweh.

God always loves me perfectly, in the exact way I need. No one else does this. Though some might get close ;) I love being His servant and his love.

He is EVERYTHING but all He wants from me is my love. My obedience, yes, but that is mostly for my own good and our own good; it affects Him naught.

How awesome is it that He wants nothing more than the love from each of us. That is why He created us, to be in communion with Him.

Praise Him, praise Him.
 

Lark

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I believe in Roman Catholicism, I would characterise myself as a Christian Humanist and would be more influenced by some of greater schools of Jewish agnosticism or Jewish humanism too, although my beliefs are a very rich and broad tapestry of different schools of thought, philosophy, spirituality, others too.

Why I believe these things is probably to do with upbringing and social context, those things are important and worth acknowledging, I think they have a lot of do with why people turn towards or away from beliefs which have been central to their communities for generations or longer.

I like Erich Fromm's description of religion as providing an orientating frame of reference, ie ethics, ritual etc. and an object of devotion, sometimes more than one but there's always a dominant single object, for theists its a deity of some sort. Although some people think that's too broad and prefer to draw hard boundaries between supernatural beliefs and materialism/naturalism or things like that. I tend to think whether its labelled or not as religion most people have a religion if you apply Fromm's thinking, he goes so far as to say that peoples ignorance of it, repression or it or denial of it can be key to diagnosing illness or self-awareness.

Its a more complex idea than Berne's scripts and games or other ideas like that but if you loath anything remotely labelled religion or religosity and you've disowned any tendencies of that kind in yourself you're unlikely to want to give it an airing.

To be honest what interests me about it all, and it probably always will, is that despite its history and some of its representatives, its closer to being one of the perrenial things than a lot of the fashions and vogues which have come and gone ideologically or philosophically since. A lot of other sources of meaning, explanatory styles, whatever you choose to call it or however you choose to frame it ALL seem strikingly and woefully inadequate, superficial and lacking in depth altogether by comparison.

Although I'd add that when I think of a perrenial thing I'm talking about an ageless forest rather than concrete, that's to say its a living thing, not something which doesnt change overtime and takes an extra long time in decaying but does all the same because it dead already.
 

Lark

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There's also a lot of interesting positions between supernatural and naturalistic beliefs which never ever make the centre stage or light of day, like if someone believes in the existence of God but none the less does not believe in God, in the sense that someone could say they believe or dont believe in their country or their president or family members or even a lover, that is in a sense of implying service or reliability or dependence upon.

I know some evangelical thinkers who've taken up a kind of schtick or routine which involves distancing themselves from religion, adopting most of the atheistic or materialist objections to religion as an amalgamation of superstition and habit and suggesting that they are instead about spirituality, something transcendent of religion.

I even know some more traditional authorities which accept that dichotomy in some shape or form suggesting that transcendence or spirituality isnt for everyone but religion provides a tradition for everyone, since God's grace, miracles etc. can be exclusive or restricted to a few rather than the many (I dont know whether that is the case or not but I know that at the time of writing the discourse on free will Erasmus was remarking upon how God's grace didnt seem to operate as it once did or was supposed to, it was meant to be an objective value free observation of how religion survives without all the wonder working and still has value, although Luther attacked him for being a lukewarm non-believer something like that, so those debates and discussions are pretty old).
 
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