*AuthorTopic: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? (Read 3517 times)

Scaredgirl

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How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422363#msg422363
on: November 08, 2011, 11:45:16 AM
How did you choose your religion?
Or was it chosen for you?

When people choose their religion, they study all the available options and choose the one they like the most. This is how it goes, right?

Wrong.

Religion is actually something most people are born into. If you were born in the US, you are most likely a Christian. If you were born in India, you are most likely a Hindu. If you were born in Iraq, you are most likely a Muslim. If you were born in some small jungle village in Africa you might worship "The Great Monkey".

It's very common that you follow in the religious footsteps of your parents. There are some cases where people convert to other religions later in life, but usually people stick with whatever religion they happened to be introduced as a child.

Lets take a look at the map.

WORLD MAP OF MAJOR RELIGIONS

Click to open in full screen

I find it really strange that big divine things like God are determined by the country or family you were born in. I makes no sense. If I had been born elsewhere, would that somehow changed what God is like?

To me religions just seems like one small part of the culture, kind of like a language. A person who was adopted and raised as a Muslim, could have just as easily be adopted by some other family and be raised as a Catholic. To that person, what defines God and religion is his or her parents and culture.

I was a Christian for the first 18 years of my life but I did not choose that religion, nor I ever even believed in it. Just like about 90% of my fellow citizens, I was baptized when I was really young, and from there on I just did what everyone else did. Choosing some other religion was not really an option, not if I didn't want to be seen as weird. The general attitude has changed a lot since then, but the point is that it was a combination of my parents and social pressure that chose Christianity for me.


I have 2 questions to all religious people:
  • Do you think that if you were born somewhere else, your religion (like your language) could be something totally different?
  • If you answered "Yes" to the first question, do you think that you would see that other religion as the one true religion?

Offline Pineapple

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422395#msg422395
Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 02:43:43 PM
So..why aren't language, cultural heritage, and etiquette--things all determined by the family we come from or the culture we grew up in--big things?

ninetyfools

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422398#msg422398
Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 02:53:54 PM
The Great Monkey.... LOL cant stop laughing.

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422400#msg422400
Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 03:06:32 PM
I'm italian, almost everyone here is catholic, but almost everyone is a fake catholic, it's like a cultural heritage, and many people goes to churches on sunday even if they don't believe. Of course there are people that truely believe, too.
I was born catholic, i had sacraments when i was too young to decide (baptism, confirmation and holy eucharist), and i'm kind of angry for that.
I love my parents, but i feel it would be more respectful if they let me choose when i would be older enough to decide.
Now i'm agnostic. Sometimes i feel there is some kind of superior energy that resides in everything, sometimes i'm not sure of it.
I believe that, if a "god" exists, it's not the catholic one, nor allah, nor the jew god. I cannot believe in a god that imposes arbitrary rules and deny paradise to an innocent just because he doesn't believe in himself.
However, i think that is more important to have faith in humankind, reason, logic, and try to do the good thing, without burdening ourselves with concepts like sin.
I believe in karma, somehow!

Scaredgirl

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422405#msg422405
Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 03:11:34 PM
So..why aren't language, cultural heritage, and etiquette--things all determined by the family we come from or the culture we grew up in--big things?
You are missing the point. The point of this topic is that creation of the universe, meaning of life, existence of God.. these are big things that most religious people do not form an opinion on based on evidence collected over the years, but based on where they happened to be born. It's basically creating a God and explaining the universe based on geographic location.

It makes sense that people in different parts of the world have different languages because language was created by man. God however is supposed to have created us, and everything else around here, so how can religion be so different in different parts of the world? Maybe there are multiple Gods (which contradicts what most religions teach us) who have their own territories? Or maybe religions were developed by man, just like languages were?

Offline UTAlan

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422427#msg422427
Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 03:45:19 PM
I was born and raised a Christian. Very likely, had I been born in a different part of the world or at a different time in history, I would have been raised differently. However, I am not a Christian solely because I was raised to be one. Many times, I have evaluated multiple religions and world views. While I can't guarantee that I've evaluated them all (who can?), I can confidently say I have found the truth. I'm not a big fan of the word "religion" when it comes to my personal beliefs (this probably isn't the place to discuss that, though), but I absolutely believe in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ - and not because I was raised to.
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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422442#msg422442
Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 04:05:49 PM
Yes to the first question, no to the second.

So, if people that are born into religion are illogical, does that mean that the people that chose it later in life, without influence, are logical?
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Scaredgirl

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422459#msg422459
Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 04:40:54 PM
I was born and raised a Christian. Very likely, had I been born in a different part of the world or at a different time in history, I would have been raised differently. However, I am not a Christian solely because I was raised to be one. Many times, I have evaluated multiple religions and world views. While I can't guarantee that I've evaluated them all (who can?), I can confidently say I have found the truth. I'm not a big fan of the word "religion" when it comes to my personal beliefs (this probably isn't the place to discuss that, though), but I absolutely believe in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ - and not because I was raised to.
Well, one could argue that after years of religious indoctrination, it would be very unlikely that you can be objective when comparing religions. If Christianity is part of what defines you as a person, it's going to be nearly impossible to suddenly convert you to some other religion. You might see the teachings of Christianity as the best choice for you, but had you been raised as a Muslim or Hindu, you would probably feel very differently.

I also think that you cannot say with an absolute certainty that you believe in Jesus because of your own beliefs, not because you were raised to. You might think you do, but that's not always the same thing, because emotions effect human behavior in many ways. It could be that because you have been raised a Christian, and have many positive emotions attached to Christianity, it drastically affects your opinion on this subject. Had you not been raised as a Christian, I doubt your belief would be as strong.

I have one question. Don't you find it a coincidence that the one religion that you were raised with, out of all the hundreds of other options that were available, just happened to be the perfect one for you?


Yes to the first question, no to the second.
How can you confidently say "No" to the second question? If you had been living in India all your life and had been taught Hinduism all your life, are you seriously suggesting that you would ignore your culture, your parents and your friends, and would convert to Christianity? Isn't it possible that you feel strongly about Christianity because that's what you have been taught? Isn't it also possible that you would feel the same way about Hinduism if you have been taught that?


So, if people that are born into religion are illogical, does that mean that the people that chose it later in life, without influence, are logical?
Being born into a religion does not make you illogical because babies cannot make decisions like that.

I do think that people who change religion at a later date are probably in general more educated and open-minded in world religions, although there are of course exceptions. The fact that they change religions show me that they have really considered different options and chosen the one that fits them the best. While changing religions doesn't of course make your faith more legit, it does show certain open-mindedness and wanting to learn new things. Optimal system would be of course if you tried out all the major religions before you convert into one, kind of like you test drive a car before buying one.

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422467#msg422467
Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 05:02:54 PM
I don't know if I would exactly consider myself religious, but given that I was compelled to follow Christianity by my mother until I was responsible for myself, I think I'm credible enough to add my thoughts here.

1.  Yes.  Christianity is completely unknown still in some areas of the world so there's a very good chance of this.

2.  I don't see any reason why I wouldn't.  I honestly wasn't even aware that other religions existed outside of Christianity until the U.S. went to war against terrorism when I was 9 years old.  So if I was born and raised in...say, India, I could easily see taking Hinduism as the one true religion, especially if my peers and family followed the same religion.

I also find myself questioning several aspects of Christianity which either don't make sense to me or that I don't agree with.  I doubt this indicates I'll become Atheist, but it does seem to make it clear that I was forced into my religion rather than deciding for myself.
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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422475#msg422475
Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 05:14:14 PM
Machiavelli explains repeatedly that religion is man-made, and that the value of religion lies in its contribution to social order.
Religions made our contries what they are now. During centuries (and still running for some), Religion was a part of the Power.

We're the sons of our fathers, and before that, they were sons of theirs fathers. Everybody is educated in what they've learned, and they've learned religions from their parents.

I see something simple and obvious here. Religions have the People, Religions had the Power. They forged our societies. They forged us. And it's still true. (And as we saw how it survived revolutions though Time, we can bet that it will be like this for a while).

To answer your questions:
1.Do you think that if you were born somewhere else, your religion (like your language) could be something totally different?----Yes, I'm sure of it.

2.If you answered "Yes" to the first question, do you think that you would see that other religion as the one true religion?----I don't have Faith. So I don't think I'll be able to see any religion as the One True Religion as long as I don't have evidences of it. The question is, would I have the same vision about Faith if I were born somewhere else? If I had a different education? Certainly not. And I really have no possibility to make such an hypothesis.


 

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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422481#msg422481
Reply #10 on: November 08, 2011, 07:46:37 PM
well, i stated as an unpracticing christian (my mom was) i stopped believing in god at around 6 (my life was rather suckish). once i started doing a little bit of research into other religions, i settled on buddhism. but i later found out that that was a bad idea too since A LOT of people think that buddhists believe buddha is god (a lot of buddhists i met even share that beliefe ::)) so i ditched that one as well and am now agnostic :P
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Re: How did you choose your religion? Or was it chosen for you? http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=33488.msg422496#msg422496
Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 08:29:20 PM
Well, one could argue that after years of religious indoctrination, it would be very unlikely that you can be objective when comparing religions.
1) It's quite presumptuous to say that someone else isn't able to be objective due to one factor, when you don't know any of the other factors involved. Obviously, being raised a Christian had an impact on my decision to accept it as truth, as well as to stick with it for this long. But it isn't the only reason, nor is it the main reason.

2) Your argument could be extended to say that nobody is able to be objective about anything they are taught as children, which means your choice to reject Christianity was just as biased as my choice to accept it. Interestingly, between 50-90% of teens leave Christianity after high school (http://www.conversantlife.com/theology/how-many-youth-are-leaving-the-church). To say that the 10-50% who don't just stay because they've been indoctrinated is silly. Moving out of your parents' house gives you the opportunity to experience life in a new way, along with evaluating what you truly believe versus what you were raised to believe. The end result will be either rejecting what you were raised to believe, or accepting it. The decision you make does not affect whether you are being objective in your analysis.
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