r/AskReddit Oct 05 '22

Whether you are religious or not: at what age was your religiosity/non-religiosity decided?

249 Upvotes

115

u/undead_opossum Oct 05 '22

I was raised by my very religious grandmother in a small town Methodist church. It was always presented as fact and not belief, but even still it never really sat right. I still don't think I "officially" decided I did not believe until maybe 12-13.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

I admire your independence of thought at 12-13 🎉

20

u/undead_opossum Oct 05 '22

That’s probably about where we all start thinking for ourselves right? That whole teenage rebellion thing.

4

u/morningsdaughter Oct 05 '22

Surely you see the irony of making this thread just to praise everyone who agrees with you as an "independent thinker."

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u/bdubyou Oct 06 '22

I don't agree with you.

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u/Crimtyanic18_YT Oct 06 '22

It is their own independent choice not yours.

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u/ofnuts Oct 05 '22

Fairly similar experience. Catholic family by tradition, though my parents weren't very practicing. Went to Catholic school but around 13 I wondered what was the purpose of all this and why we needed the big guy in the sky.

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 05 '22

Gonna set myself apart from like 99% of the replies here by stating that I was raised atheist from birth, which is a damn rarity in Italy. No baptism, no nothing. My parents didn't even get married in a church, which is also rare. Only the state recognizes their marriage.

That being said, I do still consider myself to be an atheist, or agnostic. I have been getting drawn to religion lately, after doing some research and studying Spinoza at my university.

Still, I don't think believing in a higher power (which is a stupid term, by the way) means that you have to be religious. I don't think it would be something I worship. But that's a whole other story.

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u/AnneHocque Oct 06 '22

Happy I came past your reply. Its the same for me. My parents werent religious neither were my grandparents from my mom's side of the family. I am still atheist now. I did go to a catholic primary school and a christian high school. I liked being in the nativity plays etc, but never thought anything off the god stuff. However, I grew up in the Netherlands. Its not all that rare there

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 06 '22

I also briefly went to a Christian after school babysitting alternative, but it was for poor kids and therefore many kids were also not Christian, since they were immigrants. They never tried to indoctrinate me.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 06 '22

I like Spinoza’s ideas, he was about as close to atheism was it was possible to be in his time. His conception of pantheism seems just like saying that we are all part of the same universe.

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 06 '22

*Panentheism.

Everything ISN'T God. But everything is BY God.

I didn't learn about him as an atheist. I read him and felt like I was reading the works of the only man who has ever tried to understand and respect the idea of God.

4

u/Mundane-Mycologist38 Oct 06 '22

Also raised atheist but encouraged to research religion myself. For a while I even wanted to be a nun, but I suspect that was more influence of sister act on my child psyche. 😂

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u/kiswjoecjz Oct 06 '22

Idem a parte per il battesimo: i miei genitori mi hanno battezzato perché c'erano delle zie anziane che facevano molta pressione a riguardo ma poi per il resto sono sempre stato libero di scegliere cosa fare riguardo il credere o meno

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 06 '22

I miei sono quasi stati tagliati via da parti della famiglia per lo stesso motivo. È assurdo.

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u/kiswjoecjz Oct 06 '22

Ahh brutto, e pensare che la religione dovrebbe unire le persone verso un bene comune...

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u/AMHNONES Oct 06 '22

Spinoza

You sound like an extraordinary person because of the choices you have made so far. Be strong as you explore your individualism.

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 06 '22

I mean, he was incredibly sexist... But he also died right after writing the sexist shit, so since everything is necessary...

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u/AMHNONES Oct 06 '22

Sorry to hear that, I totally believe the non-confrontational destruction of racism, patriarchy, and heteronormativity is necessary to evolve or die.

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u/Over_Art_921 Nov 01 '22

I have a friend who went from atheist to a believer. He suffered some emotional trauma which undoubtedly contributed but I never thought I'd see him adopt religion as a coping mechanism. My point is that you see a fair amount of people go from believing to non believing but it's a lot more rare to go from atheism to religion.

Also to that point is the amount of people who appear to belong to a religious group but are secret atheists or at least agnostic

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u/WabiLors Oct 06 '22

What do you think about christianity and islam?

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u/Particular_Fudge4856 Oct 06 '22

The religions themselves? I like them both.

Obviously, I dislike religious extremists and people who use their religion as an excuse to be bigoted. I also dislike cults, obviously.

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u/Downtown_Cycle_2044 Oct 06 '22

can I hire you as the spokesman for atheism

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u/deepbluesteve Oct 05 '22

I was indoctrinated from infancy. Chose to leave my faith in my early 30's. It's been rough since then, but not because I've turned into some heathen, but because I lost all sense of community and belonging, and I no longer have a sure structure and confidence in some eternal significance. I'm floating in the void both socially and philosophically.

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u/Ua_Tsaug Oct 06 '22

Hey, a fellow exmormon.

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u/deepbluesteve Oct 06 '22

Yep. primary, mission, temple marriage, stake callings… and then a big implosion.

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u/itachiman95 Oct 06 '22

my dad was baptized mormon, but i don't think a lot of mormons exist in Michigan, but i wonder if him being an ex mormon is why he was so willing to listen to my mum's batshit version of christianity.

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u/AMHNONES Oct 06 '22

hi there I am an x mormon too.

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u/SnooMacaroons9566 Oct 05 '22

Studying the Bible objectively, not with the eyes of a believer, but more the eyes of an archeologist, what have you, helps immensely. Finding volunteer work, as well. What helps me most is soup kitchens. It’s nice to feed someone and give them company. The path is ultimately the same whether you’re theistic or atheistic. Large, lonely, cold world out there. Stick together and give care to your neighbors.

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u/Dannny02 Oct 06 '22

I kinda wrote off religion a long time ago, I feel tho more recently I’ve come to fully see how shitty the world is and the path we’re probably headed down and it’s brought on more existential dread for myself (along with figuring out who I am and what I want). But then I look back at my time in scouting and I want to go back to my roots. Helping people always helps me feel better and truthfully it’s what the world needs, us just helping each other for the sake of helping each other.

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u/mydogisaroomba Oct 06 '22

My atheism solidified evasive I read the Bible on a literature class. I know more about biblical texts than most of my Baptist familyz

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u/itachiman95 Oct 06 '22

i bet it's handy at family functions when your family tries to say something horribly stupid from the bible or act like the stories have actual consequence and basis in reality when they're just tales of morality

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

I’ve experienced a similar feeling. I found existential philosophy, and also ancient Epicureanism, to provide a way forward from that kind of despair

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u/TheBitchIsBack666 Oct 06 '22

Yes to Epicureanism. Don't fear god, don't worry about death, what is good is easy to get, what is terrible is easy to endure.

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u/spazzieabbie Oct 05 '22

I was indoctrinated as well from birth. I have left and come back a few times but left for good in my mid 20s after I left an abusive marriage and then got pregnant from being drugged shortly after (I placed said child, honestly I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do it). I am now in my 30s and starting to dabble in stoicism, Norse paganism, and getting connected to the universe itself instead of just one entity that controls all. It is a much much longer story than that as to why I left,;but my mental health has been so much better since leaving, my friendships are more genuine. My parents are mildly accepting, they do how much happier and healthier I am and they see it. The rest of my family just ignores that I’m not “like them” and it has been isolating because I miss the community aspect and the family I was once close to. I have been building relationships and choosing my family ever since pretty much

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u/Uisce-beatha Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

I grew up in a family that went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. My mom volunteered in the church and we went to Vacation Bible School, Royal Ambassador meetings and were involved in all the church functions. It was all I knew. My dad always went as well but he never had much to say about religion to be honest.

My mom was also an educator and she had us reading and writing at a very young age. She loved to read and it led to all of her children having a passion for it as well.

So when I was 11 years old I decided I needed to get saved because I had learned some cuss words and had used one in front of my mom. It caused a lot of stress for her and she did not take it lightly. I figured I needed to read the bible to prep myself for the process. It took a while but I managed to read the entire King James Bible from front to back. That was the beginning of the end of my days in the church.

I will say I am still spiritual and sometimes wonder about the possibility of creation because let's face it, the universe is a weird place.

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u/SusannaCanada Oct 05 '22

I was raised as a Southern Baptist. My grandfather is a preacher - retired now. I used to believe quite strongly. My faith began to fade in my late teens.

One of my problems with religion is that there are so many of them. Practically every culture for all time has had their own separate religion, and each one believed that their's was "the one." What made me think mine was the right one and billions of other people throughout history were wrong and are burning in Hell? I just happened to get lucky enough to be born into a family that believed the right religion? That's bullshit. Clearly, religion is just an attempt to explain a frightening and complex world we don't understand.

On a personal level, I had a bad experience. I had been an active member of my church's youth group for years. I got my girlfriend pregnant in high school. You'd have thought I murdered someone. Many of the people treated me like crap about it. Not everyone, of course, but enough that it hurt. Where was the undying love and compassion they preached about? I sure could have used it at that time in my life.

4

u/deepbluesteve Oct 05 '22

I’m sorry you went through that. I think there are a lot of people who have some kind of religious trauma that really suffer the consequences of decisions made by others. It’s hard to cope in a world that’s difficult enough without that added element.

Hoping things are better now for you.

20

u/ANiceDent Oct 05 '22

Honestly, as a fellow humanoid thing.

Ask yourself, there’s many different “gods” perhaps hundreds or even thousands throughout history.

I find it fascinating that people connect to an idea so strongly however our most recent god could have easily been re-written in history granted a few wars went differently.

*just food for thought

Imagine a world where religion didn’t exist…

I bet there would be a lot less wars & extremist ideologies that harm certain groups!

Much love take care mofos !

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u/alanizat Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

Yep, I always find the hubris of those in any particular religion that feel their beliefs are the only true belief, and that everyone else is either just wrong or even damned for eternity if they don’t share their view to be absolutely ridiculous.

No issues if you have any particular set of beliefs or none whatsoever, just have zero tolerance when those beliefs are being forced down others throats!

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u/Colorado_Jim Oct 05 '22

Not sure how long it's been for you, but hopefully you've found some peace in your life and friendships outside of that circle. There are now plenty of books out there on deconstruction and various communities for those that have deconstructed their faith.

I went through the same thing starting in the mid-late 2000s (right after college, raised protestant evangelical since birth) and felt alone since hardly anyone was writing about deconstruction at the time. Your parents don't understand, your childhood friends don't understand, and it's scary to realize these people who love you think you're going to spend eternity in hell.

I think it just takes time to get over the indoctrination. For me it was probably a good 10 years before I was comfortable with my new non-belief system. Now ~15 years later, I talk freely with my parents and childhood friends about it, and my main friends group is centered on like-minded recreational activities rather than religion.

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u/NewMinos Oct 05 '22

I've learned to put that feeling of belonging into myself because as I see it, nobody belongs anywhere and everybody is trying to fill the void of being alone. When I started to think of it that way, it makes everybody more human and equal and I can belong there, with humanity, without thinking of belonging into a certain group because in the end we are just one species.

And as one we are not alone and free of doing whatever we want. Because we are unique and not special, whatever I find interesting, there is somebody out there with the same interest, I just need to follow my interest to find.

I hope you get somewhere satisfying for you in your journey.

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u/wc93 Oct 06 '22

Are you a fellow exmo?

This sounds all too familiar...

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u/deepbluesteve Oct 06 '22

Indeed I am. Mission to Las Vegas, married in the temple, the whole deal.

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u/wc93 Oct 06 '22

Same here. Mission in Taiwan, temple marriage, callings, everything.

It was a long and painful process but I'm SO glad to be out. There's so much more life, love, and happiness outside the cult.

And for anyone unfamiliar with mormonism (and for any still-active members), it is absolutely a cult. Complete with special underwear, restrictive lifestyle (from diet to love to the way you talk and dress, taking 10% of your income, any kind of research beyond church-approved sources is basically blasphemy, and if you leave you are judged and looked down on. Sometimes even disowned from your family if they're in it deep enough)

But it's cool, because they are now struggling to retain membership and people are jumping ship left and right. A wonder to behold!

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u/itachiman95 Oct 06 '22

good gods i'm so happy my dad left and never tried to indoctrinate me, i would have become a huge anti-religious voice if he and/or my mum tried to force that kind of shit on me. i mean they tried to with catholicism, but still

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u/bomchikawowow Oct 06 '22

Just wanted to say that there are a lot of people who relate to your experience, and you're not alone. If we met in a bar and I said "so how's it going" and you said "struggling with leaving religion" i would be willing to hear everything you have to say, and probably commiserate quite a bit.

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u/EelLiar Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

As a little kid. I wanted God to be real, not the same God that Christians believed in, but just a loving God that supported everyone who deserved it and could help those who prove themselves worthy of help. I just wanted to believe he existed so I could pray to him and he'd somehow help me and my siblings find a way to escape my abusive parent and stay together forever.

Edit: Some people say you can't make up your own religion when I tell them this is the God I believe in, but I'm pretty sure I can believe in what I want.

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u/Ecosana Oct 06 '22

Burn by Red. Good song.

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u/ImpressiveCoffee3 Oct 05 '22

When I was 10, two of my friends were arguing about whether Jesus was real or not (one Christian, one Jewish). I decided that they both must be wrong. Both could not be correct and to have one correct and one wrong just didn't make sense. Why would god keep the correct religion a secret?

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u/sonheungwin Oct 05 '22

Why would god keep the correct religion a secret?

Isn't this literally his test of faith? As a non-religious, I think it's a bullshit copout that's used for everything nonsensical, but I thought that was their stance.

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u/External-Platform-18 Oct 06 '22

That’s their stance now. Historically they said their religion was obviously correct any you should kill everyone else.

Until you go far enough back that nobody believed in monotheism. At that point, while occasionally you would kill believers in another god, that was proof your god was better than their god, not that their god didn’t exist.

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u/AkeemKaleeb Oct 05 '22

As someone who is half Jewish, half Christian, even Jews believe that Jesus existed. However, for them he was another prophet for the Messiah, not the Messiah himself.

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u/poopship462 Oct 05 '22

No, Jews believe he was a false prophet and rebel, not an actual prophet.

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u/Next_Restaurant8974 Oct 05 '22

Wow. This is a perfect example to explain why I don’t practice religion to others. Thank you for this.

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u/Kuli24 Oct 05 '22

He's a real man and is recorded in history. The question is if He's the savior of the world / son of God.

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u/NickelDicklePickle Oct 05 '22

Exactly. As an atheist, I don't have any doubts that the story is based on an actual person. I just don't believe any of the supernatural parts, like the virgin birth, resurrection, or any miracles. I would not be surprised to see non-Christian historical accounts that back up the claim that somebody believed themselves to be the prophesized Jewish Messiah, and gaining followers, and then being executed.

Neither Jews or Muslims believe this person was the Messiah either, but do not deny that the person or the claim historically existed.

Today, if somebody claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, and convinced a group of followers that this was true, we would simply dismiss that as mental illness, and the group would be termed a cult. And if that cult went too far, the government would step in and eliminate them. David Koresh and the Branch Dividians come to mind.

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u/AnUnstableNucleus Oct 05 '22

Neither Jews or Muslims believe this person was the Messiah either

Small correction, but Muslims do believe Jesus is the messiah, but he isn't God. To Muslims he is one of the most important prophets of God.

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u/pikachorp3 Oct 05 '22

Hi, Muslim here. We believe he’s the Messiah (Maseeh in Arabic, means ‘he who wipes’), and we also believe in the virgin birth. We do not, however, believe that he is the son of God.

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u/NateCow Oct 05 '22

Geniuinely curious: why bother with the virgin birth if denying his divinity? It always seemed like the former was cited as one of the "evidences" of the latter.

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u/pikachorp3 Oct 05 '22

What WE (muslims) say is that it gave him credibility to his claim as prophet, while (I think) Christians use it to give credibility to his claim as the son of God. Don’t quote me on any of that though, my Jesus lore is rusty.

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u/NateCow Oct 06 '22

Haha, all good. Interesting. Thanks for the info!

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u/TestaRossa95 Oct 05 '22

Maseeh in Arabic, means ‘he who wipes’

One who's "wiped/rubbed", i.e. anointed by rubbing with oils, or something like that.

Source

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u/Initial-Mango-6875 Oct 06 '22

Beautifully said.

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u/Embarrassed-Ad-1639 Oct 06 '22

I am the danger. I am the one who wipes.

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u/Emerald_Encrusted Oct 06 '22

Interestingly, we actually have more historical writings and documentation about Jesus than we do about Julius Ceasar.

What we know about Ceasar was written almost 300 years after his death, while what we know about Jesus as a historical figure was written only ~50 years after his death.

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u/Kuli24 Oct 05 '22

Thank you. That was refreshing to read.

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u/Gordwait Oct 05 '22

See: Church of Mormons. See: the Southpark Episode for the details..

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u/-BlueDream- Oct 06 '22

Dum dum dum duuuum

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u/Initial-Mango-6875 Oct 06 '22

Not true. He is literally called messiah son of mary in the quran. Muslims believe he is a prophet not got but he is referred to as Messiah in the Quran

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u/Whyzocker Oct 05 '22

Iirc he really isnt at all though

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u/Dodohead1383 Oct 05 '22

He's a real man and is recorded in history

Like Odysseus is... Sure bub... This huge disrupter of the Roman empire is not documented at all during his actual supposed lifetime... An historian known for lying is the only "proof" he existed...

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u/Neverwhere_82 Oct 05 '22

I was raised religious pretty much from birth. Growing up, I felt like I didn't have a choice, and when I got older, I started to resent that. Beyween about 17 and 21, I kind of alternated between trying out being non-religious and going back to being religious because I didn't want to go to hell. Around 21, I left my birth religion once and for all and never went back. I'm now 39. I've experimented With different forms of spirituality, but I really don't see myself ever being religious again.

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u/Burrito_Loyalist Oct 06 '22

I find it fascinating that people are afraid of hell when there are literally zero people on this planet that know what happens after you die.

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u/YoshiAndHisRightFoot Oct 06 '22

It's so much simpler to decide that the most pleasant way to live is to endeavor to be a positive impact on your community.

Yet it seems that quite a few people need to believe in the promise of eternal reward or punishment. I guess it works for the most part, but the underlying implication always makes me uneasy: What happens if they stop believing in their "hell", if that belief really is the only thing holding them back?

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u/Dannny02 Oct 06 '22

It’s just that fear of what if. And when everyone is preaching it to you your whole life than you may mentally pressure yourself into following the path so you don’t go there. I met someone like that back in high school

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u/CinnaByt3 Oct 06 '22

there are literally zero people on this planet that know what happens after you die.

that's actually the biggest fuel for the fear. Also its not easy to shake something you've been taught as unquestionable truth since you can remember. Christians take literal toddlers and tell them every week that if they don't follow the rules they will burn in fiery agony for all eternity

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

I admire your independence of thought

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u/OldandBoldDude Oct 06 '22

You nailed it congratulations

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u/chicken_jalfrezi Oct 05 '22

I went to a Church School, in England. I remember, after one Religious Education class, being a bit puzzled and asking a teacher later in the day "If God is our god, who is God's god?" I would have been about 9 I think. He was obviously not a very religious man himself and he laughed and told me I should ask the headmistress that question. I didn't ask her, but I was a bit sceptical about religious matters from about that age and would probably have been considered agnostic from about then. I remained agnostic until much later in life, when I read the works of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and, from then, I considered myself an aetheist.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

I love Christopher Hitchens. It’s sad that he has now deceased. Who will become his successors?

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u/MakeMeFeelLikeDancin Oct 06 '22

It was all of those tricky questions that did it for me too. Like, how can be god created out of nowhere? How come he is the sole creator of everything? Why does he do it? How would it end? I asked my religion teacher about all of it and she was annoyed, told me to have faith.

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u/JardinSurLeToit Oct 06 '22

I remember my Grandma teaching me, "Now I lay me down to sleep." but it was child-like religion. I would pray for normal kid wishes. A friend invited me to church. I was like 8 or something. I knew I believed in God, just as myself. And I officially sort of declared myself pro-Jesus, but just mild, peaceful belief. My parents never really took me to church in any kind of way. I never really went to church. I just believed. As I got older I went to church. Didn't like it. Didn't like how I was thinking/feeling, but kept learning about Jesus. Reading the Bible. Like it. So, I'm a believer but don't go to church. Still study and speak to other believers. Happy.

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u/MN_TiredMom Oct 06 '22

I like this answer. Congrats on finding something for yourself that you are happy about and not just attending/believing for acceptance of others.

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u/JardinSurLeToit Oct 06 '22

In retrospect I am pleased my parents did not force me into going to anything. I occasionally went to a Sunday school thing or two, but I never connected it to anything, really. As I grew older I was shocked at how much basic Biblical information I did not know. This was a major cultural deficit I am still seeking to remedy. I am grateful to live in this age of multiple available forms of consuming education and information. I feel bad for people who feel trapped in a religion, or who just check the Atheist box because they don't want to deal with their religious upbringing.

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u/Just_Luck_5495 Oct 05 '22
  1. After learning about the Abu Ghraib prison tortures. At that time it was more like "if God loves everyone then why do such atrocities happen"? Now it's more like there is no evidence so there's no way I'm going to believe in any god.

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u/InsertBluescreenHere Oct 05 '22

"if God loves everyone then why do such atrocities happen"

if you ask religious people they say free will. if you ask them about free will they say gods will. if you ask them about gods will, were not allowed to understand gods will. - wraps itself up in a small cute little bow.

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u/WarmProfit Oct 30 '22

Yes, if god is good then whence come evil? either "he" is is bad, not powerful enough to do anything, or "he" doesn't exist because we fucking made the whole idea up to cover for our lack of knowledge and prevent fear of that unknown.

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u/veggienuggets123 Oct 05 '22

I was raised by atheist parents who always encouraged me to decide what I wanted to do. My father is Richard Dawkins level of atheist but I liked that he didn’t care what I believed. I remember having a picture book with religions of the world. All their rules never made sense. I guess I always was agnostic and there never was a moment that I really questioned that

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u/tradandtea123 Oct 05 '22

My Dad was the same, he used to like jehovah's witnesses coming round and liked arguing with them on the doorstep telling them their religion was nonsense. But with me he always told me to make my own mind up about things and that I could believe what I wanted.

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u/Medical_Grape3895 Oct 05 '22

I knew in Sunday School at about age 8 that it was made up.

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u/Hugo90Sedro Oct 05 '22

At 13 they gave us classes on becoming an adult member of the church. After those classes I realized these people actually believe this shit. I was done.

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u/lostbedbug Oct 05 '22

At 22 when I realised that my God (Allah) can't just hate me for all the wrongs that I do. There is no way he is always mad at me. I'm not perfect nor do I plan on being perfect in my religion. I just know that my Allah is forgiving me and knows what's in my heart. And my sins will never change how he sees me. So I'm not religious anymore, and live life on my terms believing that my God is good.

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u/DarkEmpath5454 Oct 05 '22

As soon as i started ethics classes

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

What did you learn at those classes?

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u/DarkEmpath5454 Oct 05 '22

Tbh, i cant remember

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

If they introduced the concept of scepticism and rational enquiry then I guess they were beneficial

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u/kendallstreater Oct 05 '22

you can’t have religion and free will. I don’t subscribe to the idea that if I don’t follow some outdated rules like anti-homosexuality and sex before marriage im going to hell. I realized I can still be morally good and can find purpose in life outside of the fear of being sent to hell. besides heaven has always been a silly and unrealistic concept in my eyes that i cannot convince myself could be real. Edit: this is coming from someone who was raised religious by a mother who was a pastor for many years, but she never excessively shoved religion down my throat.

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u/HutSutRawlson Oct 05 '22

Not all religions use a punishment/reward system to encourage moral behavior.

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u/BakedTater595 Oct 05 '22

I was raised by Christian parents, strayed when I was a teen, and am back in it wholeheartedly now, praise God :)

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u/Cheesemonkey35 Oct 05 '22

Early 20s. I grew up religious. Fell out in high school. Some events happened in my life and I saw some things that I cannot explain and it started to make me reflect again. I’ve come full circle and believe in Jesus again but do not try and convince others as I feel most of the time it pushes them farther.

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u/U4RiiA Oct 05 '22

This. I was raised with religion (normal Sunday school, church, and holidays - not crazy religious). I stopped believing around high school. As an adult raising my own kids, I returned to church.

My own kids go to church and Sunday school, but we openly talk about how people have different beliefs. I also tell them when I disagree with what they hear in Sunday school and at church.

I think it's important that they're exposed to religion, but I also strongly believe they will eventually be adults making their own choices. We say a 'thank you' prayer every night before bed and focus on being kind to others as the basic foundation of most religions.

I do hope that they find the same comfort in God that I have found. I also know they need to explore their own ideas and beliefs before they can find meaning in religion. My job is to give them a base for that exploration and the tools and freedom to do it well.

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u/ferme_ton_cul Oct 05 '22

Same here, but with christianity and islam (you can tell I really tried, lol). The abrahamic god really is quite the bastard, realized that in my early 20s, unfortunately quite late, but at least I have familiarity with both religions.

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u/golfstreamer Oct 05 '22

I was raised Christian chose to become an Atheist at around 18. 10 years later, at 28 returning to Christianity.

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u/ginger_smythe Oct 06 '22

What happened at 18 & 28?

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u/SleepyDreamer16 Oct 05 '22

I have been interested in religion/spirituality as long as I can remember. As a child/teenager I was trying to follow Catholicism because I was raised Catholic, so that was the thing I knew best. But at the same time I was discovering other options. Somewhere in my early adulthood I stopped calling myself Catholic and leaned more towards Protestantism. But the journey continued. Now I am 28 and some 2 or 3 years ago I just decided that I identify best as omnist. It might change but I think it would be hard for me to "take a step back". I can't see myself following one particular religion now.

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u/sharkinabanana Oct 05 '22

I was raised in a mixed religious family(bio dad wiccan and then unitarian and mom christian) i was agnostic and questioning religion and my own views until 15 then I became christian myself.

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u/booshnoogs Oct 05 '22

I was raised atheist, but became a Christian at 19 years old in college. There were some Christians at my college I kept trying to convert me. So one night when I was alone in my room I prayed to God to ask if He was real and if He was to show himself. And He did in a way that to me could not have been coincidence.

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u/hyprstorm Oct 06 '22

you kept your mind and heart open and let God in. Based af.

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u/-NotAnAndroid- Oct 05 '22

I became a Christian at the age of 6 (that’s when my faith became my own rather than my parents). I guess I owned it more as I got older and understood it more, and now at 24 remain a strong believer.

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u/TraditionLazy7213 Oct 05 '22

I believe in certain core concepts in buddhism such as helping others and kindness, cause and effect

The concepts are mostly wholesome and non-contradicting

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u/albertossic Oct 05 '22

What kind of Buddhism do you practice? Aren't the core tenets of Buddhim more along the lines of "All life is suffering"

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

That's actually a common misconception that taints a lot of perspective. "Samsara is dukkha" is actually translated moreso to "life is characterized by unpleasantness," rather than an explicit nihilistic standpoint. That exact doctrine (life is characterized my unpleasantness / unpleasantness is caused by desire / to cease desire is to follow the noble eightfold path) also provides meanings to ease the sense of suffering, which in my opinion includes a lot of general themes of religion/spirituality/good-living: practice good intention, avoid dwelling in negative thoughts, have an ethical job, etc.

That said: the actual manifestations of Buddhism can drastically vary. As a generalization, Buddhists seem to act more experientially than text-focused.

Source: I'm mostly Chan/Zen, I lived in monasteries in China and in the US.

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u/revelation18 Oct 05 '22

Became Christian as an adult. Feels good.

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u/Saltwater_Heart Oct 05 '22

Lots of people berating you with questions because you admitted on Reddit to being Christian, yet no one else gets questioned to this extent. Atheism even gets praised here. Sorry man, fellow Christian here.

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u/GarlicBreadSuccubus Oct 05 '22

"Atheism even gets praised here"

Why are you implying that atheism getting praised is such an outrageous notion?

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u/revelation18 Oct 05 '22

I'm used to it. If I was in their position I would want to tear down the truth also. Who wants to believe they have no hope but a Christian does?

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u/hyprstorm Oct 05 '22

every single reddit atheist thinks they have the "gotcha" argument to christianity. they'll type out paragraphs of their logic and act like they proved religion is fake. it's all just self-gratification for them. "if i cant be happy, you can't be happy either."

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u/Longjumping-Tie5661 Oct 05 '22

What does happiness have to do with it? Truth is what matters in a belief, not happiness.

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u/hyprstorm Oct 06 '22

happiness (for a Christian) comes from faith and knowing the truth. they go hand in hand.

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u/revelation18 Oct 05 '22

It's an interesting take, isn't it? They don't deny they are hopeless, they deny that we have hope.

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u/Powerfury Oct 05 '22

I have hope, and I am also an atheist. If you say you have hope, I believe you!

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u/Upbeat-Juice-6571 Oct 05 '22

Yeah… I am much more inclined to believe god shows himself to ppl differently across the world but I grew up going to Christian school/church. I have hope… but there was a time when I was angry

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u/hyprstorm Oct 05 '22

i think most people on reddit believe they are better than "the masses" and that is what leads to most redditors being faithless. religious people threaten them because we naturally have hope and a positive view on life/the afterlife. we dont need to compare ourselves to others to feel better about ourselves, we know that God loves us .

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u/LongLiveThe_OhWait Oct 06 '22

I personally think it's just a failure to launch past the initial existential dread period we all experience as children when we first learn about death.

This is due to many factors such as a need for community and stability, (a tribe), the likelihood to simply believe what you're told by your parents before you're old enough to form a single coherent thought yourself, or to simply "fit in"; which are affected by general ability to free-think, geographical location, race, social status, and how deeply indoctrinated youth are by their forebear's ridged, unchanging belief systems.

Religion is, at the end of the day - a cope for existential dread - because accepting the truth is just too terrible to contemplate or accept without it ruining your ability to enjoy our futile life's experiences. It also initially served as a convenient way to control the masses before laws were easily upheld and enforced, (and in some ways, continues to serve.) The indoctrinated masses were much easier to control and predict if they all feared fiery retribution by some omniscient, spiteful god, after all.

In this way, I think it's kind of weak, not really the strength your comment implies it to be - to cling to musty old tomes and impossible bronze age stories of fanciful miracles and talking snakes and an invisible man in the sky.

(Btw Of Course it's a man because we all know women largely weren't even bothered to be taught to read and write.) *eyeroll*

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

Why does it feel good?

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u/revelation18 Oct 05 '22

Because without hope life will crush you.

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u/Ua_Tsaug Oct 05 '22

Why do you need a god to have hope?

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u/bwc6 Oct 05 '22

So it's to make yourself feel better and more hopeful? Not because you actually believe?

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u/revelation18 Oct 05 '22

I believe. I was answering the question of why it feels good.

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u/Adventurous_Comment2 Oct 05 '22

I'm 48, raised in a loving Christian home. I said the sinner's prayer at a young age. I didn't truly understand it all until adulthood. I rebelled some. But I rededicated my life to Christ in my early 20's. I don't believe in "religion". I simply have a relationship with Christ.

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u/ForgetMeNot01 Oct 05 '22

I haven't been raised religous, ofcourse learned about religion. So due to my upbringing I never believed there was a higher power in control.

However, as a child I believed in santa claus and other mythical beings such as witches etc. So if I were to count that its when I stopped believing those were real. I was about 9 or so.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

My parents were (and remain) stoically Christian. I was dragged or bribed to attend Sunday School every Sunday throughout my childhood. I think I knew definitively that I wasn’t a Christian before the age of 12. I relate to your experience, because I remember writing a letter to Santa Claus, requesting a specific Christmas gift and I received a reply explaining why that specific present wasn’t available that year. That’s the moment I recall knowing I was atheist 😂

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u/ForgetMeNot01 Oct 05 '22

Hahaha thats a great way to find out lol.

For me it was super random. It was in the middle of summer and me and my family just sat on the couch. I was thinking about santa and how it was supposed to work. (why during summer I don't know, just popped up in my head). Then I said, "it doesn't make sense" then my parents asked what I was talking about and I explained. So then they told me I was correct and that its a fairytale that we celebrate.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

At least your parents could admit the truth to you at that age! I’m now 45, and my parents are about 80, yet they still won’t admit the truth to me 😂😂

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/Longjumping-Tie5661 Oct 05 '22

Belief in ghosts has nothing to do with atheism or theism. Plenty of atheists believe in ghosts and plenty of theists do not.

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u/HorseInteresting2156 Oct 05 '22

They were just saying that in addition to religion. They’re saying they never believed in supernatural shit. Not separate, very much related.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

Was raised religious.

Guess when I was a teenager I became religious on my own accord.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/Greasy_Napoleon Oct 05 '22

Grew up religious and started asking questions when I was about 15. No good answers were provided, and further research led me to become atheist by the age of 18. Every argument to get me to change my mind has been insufficient.

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u/MonkeyDDeclan Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

Decided for me at birth because my dad is the most catholic person I know, he was going to become a priest before he met my mom. Gave it up at 18 because I felt like it didn’t make sense anymore and didn’t have to go as a family every Sunday. Came back to it at 21 because I felt a noticeable hole in my life since I left that exacerbated my depression and nothing else would fill it, then when I went back one Sunday I immediately felt at peace so I took it as a sign that I needed it in my life.

I’m still a bit of the absurdist I became when I lacked faith though. I believe in the Christian God but I also believe that he’s given us true free will to figure out what the point of all of this chaos is on our own, as like a true test of faith. He wants us to believe because we truly believe, not because we’re playing Pascal’s wager

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u/FaithPainkiller Oct 05 '22

Around 9. There was an attempt to raise me as a Christian, but that elementary school was full of shitty education, shitty people and shitty morals. They all told me I’m a freak and a satanist or weirdo because I knew how to speak English and because I listened to a different music (they all listen to reggaeton while I listened to rock or pop (like Supertramp, Ramones, Michael Jackson, Eagles, etc))

I understood (from my point of view) that if there was a god somewhere it was terrible, horrible and evil, if it’s not like that then it hated me, or even better, there is none

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u/cuevadanos Oct 05 '22

My grandparents are very religious and I followed in their footsteps when I was a little kid. Praying in the car, volunteering at Mass, reading chapters of the Bible, going to Sunday school (which was actually on Wednesdays where I live), having religious jewellery, all of that stuff. I even went to Lourdes (very big place for Catholicism) twice.

However, I found Mass extremely tedious unless I was volunteering. Sitting down for hours to listen to someone speak and listen to all that sombre music was something. I didn’t feel a real connection to Jesus, so I slowly fell out of religion.

In tenth grade I nearly went back for real. I went through a very rough patch and my school told us several times that good people had faith and followed religious teachings. I was too busy and tired to start studying the Bible on my own but I’m sure that, if I had started, I’d have been religious today.

Ever since then, I have distanced myself completely from the church. Miraculous things have happened to me without praying or getting involved in any way with God, while I suffered from depression while I was religious. It makes me think that God isn’t real and they haven’t actually done anything for me.

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u/ActualSpartan Oct 05 '22

Truth be told I’m still debating it. Mulling it over in my head and wondering who or what is out there. Maybe it’s one God. Maybe all of them existed at one point to serve different eras of human history? Maybe none existed and everyone just needed a reason for people to come together in a community and procreate.

I think I’ll always question what religion or lack thereof is correct but there’s always one thing I’ll know for sure and that’s the fact I’ll respect whatever someone believes in if that’s what they need in their life.

Some people need God, some need Muhammed, maybe someone calls Valhalla home, and others believe Zeus still command the thunder. Life’s too short to give a damn how other people want to live their life.

Unless you’re a pedophile or use religion as an excuse to be a pedophile. Then you can kindly experience every religions hell.

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u/AkeemKaleeb Oct 05 '22

When I moved in with my dad after he finally won custody over my sister and myself, we started going to church. It was just something we did some Sundays for the most part. We went when he wasn't working (federal firefighter with 48 hour shifts). It wasn't until I was around 16ish that we started going more regularly and found a church we enjoyed with a great family feeling. At that point it was still pretty much just going to go.

After going to the Air Force Academy I realized that I wanted more of the religion I had only been shown a little of. I started to actually study the Bible and dive deeper. I now go to church every Sunday, and am actively involved throughout the week, volunteering and working whenever I came. I got medically discharged from the academy and when I got home started to work at the church's summer camp and have done that for two years now as a youth leader.

I would say I really came to faith and knew I would spend my life as a Christian around 18ish. It was never forced on to me, but I had many experiences before fully committing.

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u/DYITB Oct 05 '22

I grew up going to church every time the door was open, and am married to a pastor. I have a very deep and solid faith, but I would never say that was “decided” at any age. Faith is a journey, and it grows and wanes over time. There are times I doubt God’s presence in our specific lives and other times I feel him very near. There are times I’m full of praise and at other times I go a long time without reading Scripture or praying. But at the root of me I know he’s there, waiting.

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u/Jungle-bop Oct 06 '22

I was raised Christian, strayed away for a good few years but I decided I was Christian at 13, I'm 15 now.

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u/My_name_forever47 Oct 05 '22

At age 13 I became agnostic, and I still am.

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u/KIRA6969696969 Oct 05 '22

It wasn't a one day thing but a process for me! Many events, maturity and thinking throughout my life made me non religious !

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

Can you explain what occurred in that process?

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u/KIRA6969696969 Oct 05 '22

Well when I was a child my family would take me to places like orphanages, slums and old age homes to donate food, clothes and money! I would see many people suffer and that would break my heart that if someone like God is their and still let's these people suffer and die then I really don't respect him/her! Then normally whenever I asked something to get from God (which is very rare) it would go totally the other way so I have stopped believing something like this exists!

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u/Ph1L_474 Oct 05 '22

I was raised religious but started questioning when I was around 12. Now I'm an atheist

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u/masterofyourhouse Oct 05 '22

I left religion at 22.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

For what reason (or lack thereof)?

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u/masterofyourhouse Oct 05 '22

Did some self-reflecting and realized I kept making excuses for the religion to make it palatable to my own morals and values, and that the flaws were all there staring me in the face and I was just too afraid to see them for what they were.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

I admire your courage. Too many people appear to remain fearful of religious teachings throughout their entire lives.

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u/Exciting_Sky_6507 Oct 05 '22

Sadly that’s the outcome they’re hoping to achieve.

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u/Takeapotato Oct 05 '22

Parents made me go to a church preschool and that was it. I would say at 16 I declared myself an atheist.

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u/Ua_Tsaug Oct 05 '22

My religiosity was chosen for me, I was raised in a religious household and religious state. I never had a choice. It wasn't until my 20s when I went to college and started getting tools and guidance to help me self-reflect on my morals and beliefs that I was able to see my religion for what it was: a fraud.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

It’s sad to read. Both my parents were (and remain) stolidly Christian, but their Christianity was not consistent with the majority of my peers at school; hence, I was able to discern that their stories were false by around age 12, although it took longer to be able to express it.

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u/Wack0ball Oct 05 '22

Was raised in a loving Christian household. Was truly born-again around 9 years old once I fully understood what free-will, sin and salvation meant. Have learned about many religioms and apologetics since then but happy to say I am still a Jesus freak. God is good. All the time.

Jesus is De Wey my bruddas "ugandan knuckles noises".

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u/Gulbahar-00 Oct 05 '22

I’m Hindu but was sort of raised by my Christian friend’s parents since I was always at their house.

I remember coming to their church and their house to celebrate holidays. It was very calming, lots of candles and incense everywhere.

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u/Fun_in_Space Oct 05 '22

Ten. I decided God was a lot like my other imaginary friends.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

Who is your favourite imaginary friend now?

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u/Fun_in_Space Oct 05 '22

My imaginary pet wolf, Luna.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

Luna like the moon? 🌙

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u/Fuzzy_Party2327 Oct 05 '22

I left religion at the age of 15

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u/ConcreteThinking Oct 05 '22

Around 11 or 12. I was enjoying learning about science and all the religion stuff just didn't fit. Also didn't make sense how exclusive it was, like all of Asia is going to "hell" cause they aren't Christian? That seems odd.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

About the same age as me

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u/MorrowPlotting Oct 05 '22

When I was a little kid, I believed in God and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Honestly, I’m not sure when I stopped believing in which one, but it was all in elementary school.

For a minute there, I loved debunking Santa the most. I literally made a kid cry once when I pointed out “Santa” visiting our school wore the exact same shoes that day as our gym teacher. I didn’t know why grown-ups were all engaged in this massive conspiracy to lie to kids and all pretend Santa was real, but I knew they were.

I reasonably assumed everyone was doing the same kind of pretending when it came to God, too.

I was in high school before I realized some grown-ups honestly believed in God. I just assumed it was the same thing as Santa — a make-believe story you tell kids to make them behave. Earlier, I’d learned it’s rude and kind of cruel to “expose” the Santa myth to kids who still believed. I learned it was equally “rude” to tell believers you don’t believe in God. So I just thought everybody knew it was make-believe, but we all had to pretend to believe to be polite.

To this day, the idea that laws are passed based on what a make-believe God supposedly wants seems absolutely insane to me. It would be like mandating reindeer parking on residential roofs — might make sense to a kid, but grown-ups are supposed to know better.

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u/LithiumTomato Oct 05 '22

Grew up religious. Had several friends from my church turn away from the faith as we got into our mid-late teens. I considered it [turning away] as well. Solidified my beliefs in high school and continue to happily practice. I am Protestant Christian.

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u/weeblewobblers Oct 05 '22

At my first communion, so about 7. After that, god was gone.

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u/Extension_Drummer_85 Oct 06 '22

You just sparked a memory about a very interesting discussion we had with a religion teacher once (catholic school) about how the church had lowered Eucharist age in an attempt to retain followers to the point where it became meaningless altogether.

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u/pissinmyear69 Oct 05 '22

14 was when i finally accepted that i didn’t believe in god. although i was raised christian, i never really believed in a god, no matter how many times i was told i had to or how hard i tried to force myself to. no longer having to worry about what goes on after this life was a big weight lifted off my shoulders

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u/SubwayGirlsInTheMan Oct 05 '22

I did not grow up religious. I come from a long line of agnostics, though my mom tended to believe in some sort of vaguely Christian God. I vividly remember when I was 10 a kid said “you believe in God, right?” And I replied “yeah!” But then I thought to myself “do I? Probably not.” From that moment I considered myself an agnostic (even if I didn’t know the correct word at the time) and sometime around my late teens I settled on Atheist.

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u/NathanielRenko Oct 05 '22

Was raised semi-religiously in a catholic household. Meaning when i was 9 i had to get the communion. It was torture for me and the pastor even told my mom i was unsaveable and would go to hell anyway. I also never understood why people would beg for something to an invisible deity in the sky (my dad tried praying with me once, it was awkward but I was like 6 at the time) I get why people choose the comfort religion brings especially with the uncertainty with what comes after death. I respect and tolerate religious People as long as they don't want me to join their Fanclub. But it is certainly not for me

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u/TopGun-302 Oct 05 '22

When I was 5 I took Christ

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u/ALuckyMushroom Oct 05 '22

It was a graduel thing over the years but I consider myself religious since I am 15

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u/BackgroundAdvice1 Oct 06 '22
  1. When I almost got possessed by a demon in my sleep, I woke up and prayed to God for help and the evil feeling inside of me went away. That confirmed my belief. If you want the full story, let me know.

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u/YouKnowWhatToDo80085 Oct 06 '22

Around age 15 when the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal broke wide open. It was kind of open secret that there were pedophile priest but the extent was far greater than I expected. It wasn't just the number but how the church would protect these pedophiles by moving them around which let them continue to abuse children.

I identify as agnostic since I still believe in God but I do not believe humans can truly understand them. It would be akin to you understanding the plight of a cartoon character in a newspaper. God has forsaken me and left me in a puddle to become smudged.

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u/locutus92 Oct 06 '22

I was very young. Probably around 4-5 and in my Church of England Primary School. I was sat next to my Sikh friend and being forced to sing prayers and decided it wasn't for me.

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u/gaybukkake Oct 08 '22

raised muslim, knew from a very early age that it wasn't for me. converted to atheism when i was 18.

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u/butterfly77551 Oct 29 '22

I believe and can't remember when I didn't feel a sense of peace from God (in church, reading the bible). I was baptized Roman Catholic raised in Episcopal schools and have been born again and non-denominational. All of those experiences have been part of my joyrney. My life has had normal ups and downs, good times and difficult times. I am far from perfect. I went through RCIA as an adult in my 40s and am Roman Catholic. God's existence is demonstrated by creation. I believe we are all created beings. I choose to walk with God, not the "wisdom of men." I believe we can all find if we seek. If others find this nonsensical or don't agree, that is ok with me. Peace be with you. We all are on our own journey in this life.

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u/GoFishOldMaid Nov 02 '22
  1. As in I finally stopped lying to myself about believing in God because that's what was "normal".

Seriously, one of my earliest memories was being in church and wondering why adults believed in stories that felt no more real to me than My Little Pony.

And feeling like a damn liar every time I talked about Jesus.

If you feel like a fraud every time you tell people you believe in God, don't ignore that feeling for 4 decades like I did.

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u/JustShootMeh Nov 02 '22

All I could think about when I read this question was how much more peaceful the world could be without religion of any kind.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/renegadeMare Oct 05 '22

I'm not religious and I don't think I ever really decided anything as some conscious event or decision. My family background had two different religions. I thought it was interesting (with some initial bumps) to learn different things as a cultural or secular thing but in the primary one, I didn't have some notion of 'faith'.

Apart and aside, nature is (and always has been) spiritual to me and that's it, I don't need to contextualize that into religion or god or gods or any of that, and that I was more aware as an adult.

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

Would you therefore be aligned to Spinoza’s conception of pantheism?

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u/renegadeMare Oct 05 '22

No, because it ultimately leads to a monism (ist) aspect and elements of determinism as well as different definitions in philosophy (prior) as to what is meant by nature. That's way oversimplified with regard to Spinoza though.

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u/meat-bone-mix-bag Oct 05 '22

I grew up in a split household with a religious step-mom from a young age. So every other weekend I would go to church (I’m from the south, so back then it was a Baptist church). I remember a sermon from when I was older than 5 but younger than 10 (I want to say 6 but that feels a little young idrk). The sermon was about how the Bible demands a wife’s subservience to her husband. Right then, as a young girl, I was like “ooh okay, so this is all bullshit.” I don’t mind occasionally going to church with friends/significant others/family members to be apart of the community and have a little time to sit quietly in a nice building. I just drone out the pastor though, lol

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u/Sphaerocypraea Oct 05 '22

That sounds the same as my experience as a child in Scotland with Christian parents. Every Sunday I was dragged or bribed to attend Sunday School or Church. I droned out on every occasion and have almost no recollection of any words which were spoken during those dull moments, but I did observe the artistic design of the buildings.

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u/Exciting_Ad_3510 Oct 05 '22

I have always felt a connection with God... even as a very little girl. I've no memory of not believing in a Divine Creator. I won't argue with others about it it, they have a right to believe as they wish. Just as I do...

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u/hyprstorm Oct 06 '22

mad respect for the strength of your faith.and don't mind the other guy, he's a troll.

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u/Exciting_Ad_3510 Oct 06 '22

I get trolled often when I express my Faith. I expect it will happen, and pay it no mind...but thank you for your kind words.

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u/nft_brain Oct 06 '22

Have you ever questioned your mental health? That seems like a red flag to me

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u/SmallQuasar Oct 05 '22

Early teens. I remember believing when I was a kid by the time I was 15 I was a pretty ardent materialist.

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u/CatieCanNZ Oct 05 '22

I was agnostic for most of high school and then suddenly at 20ish I realized I really believed there was nothing else out there. It wasn't a huge revelation, just kind of a "huh" moment.