1. Joined
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    09 Aug '05 08:08
    Those of you who have a religious belief. How did it come about?

    Did you wake up one day and even tho you had never heard of Catholism, you realised this thing called Catholism is the way. Or do you honestly believe you were born with this belief and right from infancy knew of this Christian God?

    Did you have a spiritual experience that made you realise?

    Or are you simply a product of your environment?

    How do we explain the lack of christian believing children in Egypt? Or the lack of koran reading kids in New Zealand?

    Just thought I'd ask this question, I've never asked it before, but when you think about it, it is the most important one to ask.
  2. Standard memberOmnislash
    Digital Blasphemy
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    09 Aug '05 09:00
    Originally posted by Pullhard
    Those of you who have a religious belief. How did it come about?

    Did you wake up one day and even tho you had never heard of Catholism, you realised this thing called Catholism is the way. Or do you honestly believe you

    Did you have a spiritual experience that made you realise?

    Or are you simply a product of your environment?

    How do we explai ...[text shortened]... , I've never asked it before, but when you think about it, it is the most important one to ask.
    I posted this in the "Jesusbots: help me out" thread.

    "I did not come to believe as I do about God, etc. based upon historical reference. Rather, I came to my own conclusions based upon first hand observation of the world and a series of existential assumptions based upon said observations.

    When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter the probability, must be the correct answer. Thus I did, again based upon personal observation and existential assumptions. Thusly, for my own purposes, my questions are answered and I feel neither shame nor weakness in my beliefs. If I based my beliefs upon historical reference alone, I would neither hold many of the beliefs I have today nor would I have found anwsers to even the more basic and less assumptive questions I had. My beliefs validate my existence for my own purposes, and that is enough. So long as my adherance to these beliefs produces only positive effects to and from me, their legitimacy is really rather irrelevant.

    However, if anyone is pursuing such existential wisdom I can only suggest a similar course towards finding their own personal truth. Maybe that truth will be the same as mine, maybe it will not. It doesn't really matter. Every individual in this world is responsible for their own spiritual well being. While I am always happy to discuss my beliefs and explaine them, their purpose, etc. I quite simply know the fallacy of attempting to validate them by any means other than their own virtue."

    This is a very condensed summary of the manner by which I have formed my beliefs, but I believe it is sufficient to give you a notion of my thought process. If you (or anyone) would like elaboration I would be happy to do so. I just try to avoid excessive ranting when possible. 😉

    To answer some of your questions. Do I believe I "was born with this belief and understanding of God"? Well, I believe that we all are born with an affinity towards this end. As a theist, I believe that we all know God on a personal, if basic, level when we are born. The discernement of his truth and the inherant burden that comes with it are proportional to the accumulation of knowledge and existential awareness.

    Spiritual experience? Not in the sense I believe the question is intended. Just a passionate desire to understand my existence and answer the historical question, "Where do I come from?". My "spiritual experience" would be a series of peaceful moments such as sitting on my back porch with a cup of tea, or walking in the wilderness.

    Product of my enviroment? It would be foolish of me to say otherwise. I would like to say that any person, anywhere, can choose to overcome the influence of their enviroment and be more than a stereotype. This can be easily seen on the sociological level. However, I do conceed that while I can not consciously attribute my beliefs to the influences of my enviroment, I can not in all honestly deny the probability that it must have had some degree of influence.

    As for children (or adults for that matter) not believing in non-native theologies, I must attribute to the converse of my former statement. I would assume this to be highly enviroment dependent. Likewise, the small percentage that do believe in "foreign" religions are the exception to the rule of enviromental influence.

    I agree with you that this is a very important question indeed. I must confess that I believe that many people believe as they do solely because of their enviroment. I highly encourage people to question the status quo. Wisdom which is not divined individually is false wisdom. Belief which is not tempered with questioning is built upon unfirm ground. I am less concerned with people believeing the same thing as me, and more concerned with just getting them to think about the matter with an open mind.

    Best Regards,
    Omnislash
  3. Joined
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    09 Aug '05 09:22
    Originally posted by Omnislash
    I posted this in the "Jesusbots: help me out" thread.

    "I did not come to believe as I do about God, etc. based upon historical reference. Rather, I came to my own conclusions based upon first hand observation of the world and a series of existential assumptions based upon said observations.

    When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remain ...[text shortened]... with just getting them to think about the matter with an open mind.

    Best Regards,
    Omnislash
    I don't know, but I get the feeling your stance is much the same as mine. I was aiming the question at those whose "belief" is represented by an organised religion. I think you have thwarted my plan 😉

    Good answer though. I agree with most of what you said, thanks for the reply.
  4. London
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    09 Aug '05 09:59
    Originally posted by Pullhard
    Those of you who have a religious belief. How did it come about?

    I was raised Catholic. Then, for a while, I was irreligious. Eventually, I returned to Christianity and Catholicism.

    Did you wake up one day and even tho you had never heard of Catholism, you realised this thing called Catholism is the way. Or do you honestly believe you were born with this belief and right from infancy knew of this Christian God?

    "Honestly believe"? Why, do you think we are wrong?

    I believe that I, like all humans, was born with an innate ability and desire to come to know God. I didn't doubt the existence of God as a child, I didn't doubt it when I left the Church, and I don't doubt it now.

    Of all the "God"'s I came to know, the only one that made sense was the Christian God. And, I realised, it didn't make sense to be Christian and not be Catholic. So I returned.

    Did you have a spiritual experience that made you realise?

    Not until after I returned.

    Or are you simply a product of your environment?

    "Simply"?

    No. I am not simply a product of my environment. Nor is it the case that my environment has had no impact on me.

    How do we explain the lack of christian believing children in Egypt?

    Who says there is a lack of Christian children in Egypt? The See of Alexandria is one of the oldest in the Church!

    Of course, Christians are a minority in Egypt. But this would be a consequence of the arrival of Islam.

    Or the lack of koran reading kids in New Zealand?

    I'm not sure what this question is supposed to be about. Are you asking about historical growth of religions? Or are you asking why specific religions have not "spontaneously" arisen all across the world?
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Aug '05 15:55
    Originally posted by Pullhard
    Those of you who have a religious belief. How did it come about?

    Did you wake up one day and even tho you had never heard of Catholism, you realised this thing called Catholism is the way. Or do you honestly believe you were born with this belief and right from infancy knew of this Christian God?

    Did you have a spiritual experience that made you real ...[text shortened]... , I've never asked it before, but when you think about it, it is the most important one to ask.
    I grew up Protestant Christian. Aside from Sunday school and a couple years of catechism, I learned it by conditioning and “osmosis.” To be anything else was as unthinkable—literally—as unthinkable as picking your nose in public. When I began to understand that there were people who were not Christian (Jews in our community, for example), it seemed a non sequiter: “What does that mean not to be a Christian? I don’t understand?” It was that “thick.”

    It’s a long time ago to remember, but it seemed that at a fairly early age, I started to learn that my existence was flawed, that my very being-here had to be justified somehow. There was a certain amount of “puritanism” mixed in with Lutheran justification theology. I was fundamentally flawed (filled with original sin), there was nothing to do but believe as hard as I could and hope for God’s grace, but also realize that my whole life was under the obligation of justification—to anyone, to everyone, an obligational demand that could never be satisfied, a justification that could not be fulfilled till I died. (I’m not claiming this is standard Lutheran stuff; I don’t think it is, except for justification by faith.) And, I must say, behind it all was a (thin in my case) veil of fear: if you didn’t believe (think) right, you might not be saved….

    Pretty depressing stuff. And I was depressed a lot, “guilty” a lot. I would try my best at something, fail or only partially succeed, and feel deep shame. There was a really deep philosophical and theological message that let me know I could never “get it right.” And when you’re woven so deep in it, you can’t see out of it.

    Later, I began my own project of studying other religions. This was not something that was really encouraged, unless of course you held yourself to studying them through a properly Christian lens—making sure you stay on the “us” side of the “us/them” line, applying all your critical faculties to those other religions, faculties that you were never taught to apply to your own.

    Well, I won’t belabor this, and I don’t want to do more biography than the question seems to ask for (and, quite frankly, I just don’t want to cover all the details). I’ve had “spiritual” experiences that seemed to open me up to some insights. They have no particular religious attachment to them; they may come from the “deep unconscious” or whatever. But they have helped me to be more open and questioning. So have the debates on here.

    Some people find it easier to “unpeel” their early conditioning than others, I suppose. And I do not say that those, such as lucifershammer, who ultimately returned to the spiritual paradigm of their childhood, somehow did not succeed in that unpeeling. I also know people who grew up as well-conditioned atheists, who moved in the opposite direction in adulthood. But I read somewhere once that, if a child is not exposed to languages other than the primary language of their culture by some fairly early age, the “architecture” of the brain that would normally be used in that process either atrophies or is redirected—so that it is much more difficult to learn other languages later in life (given such things as talent, natural proclivities, etc.). That might be a good metaphor for my “spiritual” journey, and the difficult process it has been for me to open up those “neural pathways” that were set in hard casings so early on—then again, I might just be a slow learner, or a more fearful “clinger” than others.

    You can label me today “agnostic,” I suppose, if you need the label (some of you will see this as a change from when I first began to post here; and I hope I’m still changing, still moving). Zen Buddhist/Taoist perhaps—though again, I really find less and less use for the labels. I’m here—with our without justification—and I have a lot more serenity and harmony and eudaimonia in my life than I ever did before the age of about 40.

    I’m not attacking anyone’s beliefs or understanding; as Omnislash points out, we each have our path to walk, our questions to ask, our journey through life to make. I really have little to defend. As a Zen Master once said: “Just put it all down.” Well, I’ve put a lot of it down—and it generally is an error when I pick a piece of it back up again (but KneverKnight and frogstomp will surely point it out to me!).

    I offer a poem to just sum it up. This was written just a little while back, after spending too much time on the forum here. For background, there is a Buddhist saying about enlightenment and religious practice/methodology, that says: “Once you’ve crossed the river, you can leave the boat.” The second stanza of this poem came all at once under the circumstances described:

    After words, a while ago,
    went out to gaze at misty stars—

    There is no boat!
    There is no river!
    There is no this
    Or other shore!


    You can interpret that how you will. Thanks for the thread question, and your indulgence with this overlong response; I’m sure it was more helpful for me to write it than for anyone else to read it.
  6. Joined
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    10 Aug '05 03:33
    my dad raised me as a christian, i just thought that was the right thing to beleive in. i didnt know there were other religions.
  7. Joined
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    10 Aug '05 22:45
    I first thought about life and death at an early age. I used to think "is this all there is? 70 or so years and a hole in the ground?"Then my quest began. I looked at many different religions, and they left a bad taste in my mouth. I remember watching "The Excorsist" when it came out in the theaters, many years ago. I was told by friends that it was based on a true story. Well, needless to say, being young and watching this movie scared the bejesus out of me.
    I remember thinking, if their is really a devil and demons, then their has to be a God....then my quest took on a life of it's own, or to put it another way, it kicked into high gear...eventually God led me to Christianity....received Jesus as Lord...and I have been studying it for many years....no regrets whatsoever!!!
  8. Joined
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    11 Aug '05 02:11
    I was rasied in a christian home, I believed in God, and etc. I would do all the good things, but as a teenager, I began to fall to habitual sin, I tried to live for God but I couldnt, I began to wonder if there was any God. and through my "Knowlege" left him as I seen through all that "religion" junk.
    I tried everything to be set free, programs, etc. Then one of the most amazing christian guy said to me, "you will never get anywhere trying on your own power just give it to God, he will do amazing things", and it worked, I became free, and it is so worth it, I dont have any regrets, and it has made my life so joyful, I wouldnt trade it for anything, I still make mistakes, allot of them, But God changed me so much, that I could never leave Him, I strive to learn more about God, and anyone who been through what I been through, couldnt be an atheist,

    I dont really go for all that religion anymore, thats what I used to be in, and most of that stuff is in ones head.
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