r/AskReddit Dec 02 '21 Silver 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome 2 Bless Up (Pro) 1

Religious people of Reddit, did you choose your religion or you were born into it? If you chose it, why did you pick that one specifically?

2.9k Upvotes

120

u/Brotherbeam Dec 02 '21

These comments are damn wholesome omg.

43

u/The_Blue_Bomber Dec 03 '21

Too wholesome. Are we still on Reddit?

12

u/Darkmaster666666 Dec 03 '21

And on a thread about religion! Something is off.

5

u/DPurple7 Dec 04 '21

A very pleasant surprise to see, honestly

7

u/Darkmaster666666 Dec 04 '21

A drop of sugar water in the dead sea, but still, very pleasant.

→ More replies
→ More replies

55

u/CiderDrinker Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

I converted to Christianity at University, after a basically secular upbringing. I did it, initially, not because I was intellectually convinced that Christianity was true, but because I was convinced that it was good.

It started by meeting a few Christians in some of my classes. I got into a conversation with a Christian friend, and it was remarkable: she spent her weekends teaching literacy skills to prisoners - I would never have had the courage or the drive to do that. She explained that she did it because she believed God loved everyone, especially those society has rejected, and that she believed in a thing called 'grace' - forgiveness, second chances, the idea that although we have sinned and are broken in all sorts of ways, we can be restored and made whole again through God's love and mercy. She wanted to be an instrument of grace, helping people to rebuild their lives.

As I looked around at the lives and lifestyles of the other Christians I met at University, I started to notice more about the things they did, they way they lived, the stuff they cared about.

I noticed another Christian acquaintance, who not only stopped to give money and food to a homeless person, but even sat down next to them and had a chat. I would never have done that. I was scared of homeless people. I had fallen into society's trap of dehumanising them. What gave these Christians the courage to live in such different ways?

During this time, I started attending a few Christian Union events and meeting other Christians. At first I was confused, and not convinced, by what they were saying, but there was something about them. They were undeniably weird. They had parties without alcohol. They seemed happy - and yet focused and grounded - in a way I had no encountered before. They got up early in the morning and had prayer meetings. They read strange old books - not just the Bible, but other things that I'd never heard of - from C S Lewis to St Augustine's City of God. They would factor what God thought into the practical aspects of their lives.

The contrast between my 'normal' friends and these crazy Christians was was undeniable. All my 'normal' friends spent their weekends drinking and trying to get laid, but as I started to meet Christians I encountered people - just students like myself - who would give up their Sunday morning to teach Sunday school, or to visit the elderly and sick of their church. My 'normal' friends spent their money on beer, computer games and gadgets; these crazy weirdo Christians were spending theirs on school supplies for a sponsored kid in Africa.

I had never experienced anything like it. I compared their lifestyles and their values to the secular, hedonistic, nihilistic culture around me, and decided it was worth investigating. Even if Christianity wasn't true, I figured, it was an excellent way to live.

I also started to look at the products of Christian culture - its art and architecture - and I contrasted that with what our dechristianised and debased culture was producing: the Christians had the Sistine Chapel and Salisbury Cathedral - things that looked up and out, away from the self towards something divine and transcendent; the secular world seemed obsessed with porn, pop music and soap operas.

By this point I had started to go along to church occasionally - I don't think I believed or understood it, but I saw there was something good in it and I wanted to investigate. I started reading the Bible and apologetics literature. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Christianity was not only good, but true. I investigated other religions, but none of them were convincing.

In my final year of University, I signed up with an Alpha Course, during which I properly became a Christian - I think I was 21 then.

The overall conversion process took around three years, from 'Wow, that's weird' to 'Mum, Dad, I'm a Christian now' (that conversation did not go down well; my parents were very anti-religion).

TLDR: I was intrigued by the lifestyles and values of the Christians I met, became convinced Christianity was good, investigated its claims, became convinced that it was also true, and decided I had to commit to it.

8

u/nitusga Dec 07 '21

This is quite a story, that was wonderful to read!

I am an atheist, and even though I was born into a roman catholic household (though non-practicing, I don't remember being forced to go to church ever), I used to hate religion vehemently for many years.

Slowly, as I started to learn more about the world I started to see the other side of religion. At first, I thought of it as a necessary evil for many; I viewed it as something clearly important, as throughout the course of human history superstition was ever present, almost as if it was a psychological need to explain the unexplained, but unnecessary now that science was achieved, and what was left was merely millennia of human history that still affected society.

As I started to ponder on the meaning of life, on the meaning of my life, on my values and beliefs, I started to realize that religion was the way that, for most of history, society passed these ideas from generation to generation, and by attributing them to a higher power you could get people to stick to these ideas strongly. Religion gave serenity and strength to the human mind, and was and still is a great factor in a society's success.

For example, Judaism passed down a series of values which made their followers wealthy time and time again in each society. Christianity passed down values which eventually lead to industrialization and the western world.

I started to realize that religion was great, and an incredible force in good. I started to respect anyone following religion, and began rolling my eyes a bit whenever I heard complete hatred for religion. Without a shadow of a doubt, most religions have great flaws, some religions more than others, but overall they are a great force for good. Christianity, at the very least.

I am still a completely non-spiritual person, as I find that the questions theism answers, I can too, and in a way that fits better with my life (thank you Nietzsche!).

Thanks again for writing your story, and in such a wonderful way! You definitely have a way with the English language, and it is appreciated. I wish you a great time on this earth and forever more!

→ More replies

509

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

[deleted]

313

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

I've a hunch the community is what really keeps people in their religions. My wife and I made the choice to walk away from Christianity, but we still occasionally reminisce about how comforting the community was.

We were lucky, no abuse of any sort, we just thought ourselves out of it, as it were.

136

u/whisperskeep Dec 03 '21

That's why I'm still a Christian, cause of the community. Grew up in a united church, very open, relax, welcoming. Was taught about spirits, afterlife, accepting all religions, all race, all genders, all sexual orention. Same at my new church

40

u/SnatchPuncher37 Dec 03 '21

Not being facetious I’m genuinely curious as someone who was raised Catholic; what branch of Christianity teaches these things?

41

u/thatguyinbushes Dec 03 '21

Could also just be the priest or the community, I was raised Catholic as well and was always taught to accept and respect everyone and their religion, sexuality, etc

I have definitely experienced the people who are against same sex relationships and all sorts of different weird things like tattoos and certain piercings. Oddly enough a lot of them have accepting parents and siblings.

Hell even my 86yr old very catholic grandmother is a supporter of LGBT+

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

1.1k

u/skriiiptz Dec 02 '21

I’m Jewish I choose it because I would celebrate it with my Jewish uncle when I was younger. he’s a cool dude I even still celebrate it with him. It brings back amazing memories:)

613

u/edlee98765 Dec 02 '21

A Jewish uncle walks into a bar...

...mitzvah.

87

u/sunra_lanquidity Dec 03 '21

more jokes pls

85

u/Chorioactis_geaster Dec 03 '21

Mohels don’t work on commission, but they get to keep the tips.

16

u/AutodidacticTactic Dec 03 '21

you hear about the mohel that stitched foreskins into a wallet? when he rubs it a little, it turns into luggage.

69

u/algerbanan Dec 03 '21

a Rabbi walks into a bar...

...mitzvah

→ More replies

30

u/[deleted] Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

[deleted]

→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/falconKh Dec 03 '21

So you chose your faith because your uncle is cool!

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

957

u/dumbnut69 Dec 02 '21

I'm Jewish and I was born into it, but I like it so I haven't changed it.

70

u/Similar_Square6440 Dec 02 '21

Also born Jewish. I may not be as religious as my parents want me to be but I do still choose to stick with it.

→ More replies

441

u/ringoron9 Dec 02 '21 Helpful

Did you do a 30 day free trial of the others to see if you like them more? :D

767

u/edlee98765 Dec 02 '21 Silver Helpful Wholesome

I'm Jewish and Nonbinary.

My pronouns are oy/they.

30

u/Vandixey Dec 03 '21

I’m not Jewish. My pronouns are goy/they.

47

u/Leedaleee Dec 03 '21

Oooohhhhmmmyyyyy I snorted and almost choked on my rice!!!

→ More replies

24

u/Crazed_waffle_party Dec 02 '21

That's considered idolatry within the Jewish faith

34

u/MasterKongQiu Dec 03 '21

I imagine no form of Abrahamic faith would be cool with a "free trial" model of trying out new religions.

58

u/Crazed_waffle_party Dec 03 '21

None are, but in Judaism, if you are born into the faith, you are always a Jew. An outsider would need to convert; however, a Jew who gets Baptized could then reject his Baptism and rejoin the Jewish tribe without going through the conversion process. Obviously, this is discouraged because its idolatry. I have a friend who grew up Christian, became a militant atheist, but his mother was Jewish by birth. He was allowed to pursue birthright without practicing Judaism. If you're born to a Jewish mother, you are part of the tribe, whether you're faithful or not.

It's quite common for militant atheists to partake in Jewish ritual. It's one of the few faiths that isn't fully dependent on belief.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

302

u/Xaevier Dec 02 '21 Wholesome

Similar with Christian

I was born and raised with it

I cut off some of the toxic parts of it like all the "don't be/do this thats a sin" but it just helps me deal with the insane existential dread and thought that if I died I would cease to exist

So I'd rather place my bets on a religion that I can get behind to some degree and gives me some peace of mind. I'm not going out in the streets and trying to convert anyone or harassing anyone about it

Religion is just something for myself at this point

53

u/major_calgar Dec 02 '21

That existential dread is terrible man. Every few months I’ll spend a day just unable to think of anything else, and I feel like every week I switch between leaning towards a god and leaning away from one.

27

u/manjjn Dec 02 '21

I remember a priest saying one time death is like birth. We are comfortable in the womb and know nothing else. We know nothing of what is beyond death but it could be amazing.

23

u/papadjeef Dec 03 '21

This is what the Baha'i Faith teaches, too! This world is like the womb. In the womb we grow eyes and hands and feet that we don't need there but use in this world. In this world we develop love and perseverance and compassion and all the other virtues that don't help with our material existence but will be essential in the next world.

https://bahaiteachings.org/why-our-life-on-earth-like-being-in-womb/

→ More replies

13

u/ProdigyManlet Dec 02 '21

Existential fear can be very daunting, but I've found comfort in the idea that we simply all have our time in the sun before we return to the Earth. The World will continue to rotate without us, but others will never experience what we did during our time. We're lucky to be alive at all and given a chance at life, so don't squander it

I'm not religious in anyway (I'd put myself at Atheist), but it's kind of interesting in how it's still somewhat "spiritual". Personally, I think it allows you stop and appreciate life much more than in a religion which promises eternal life after death (which scientifically is very unlikely). Making the most of life is the best thing we can do before our time to move on.

Still doesn't hurt to keep a little optimism that we can port our brains to computers in the near-future

36

u/Xaevier Dec 02 '21

Yeah fading into nothing and ceasing to exist is my greatest fear

23

u/qquiver Dec 02 '21

I was recently having issues with this a lot. Worrying about not existing. Until I watched True Detective and Matthew McConaughey's character said something that resonated with me for some reason: 'Death is release.' Or something like that I actually can't quite remember and am having a hard time googling it.

But essentially the gist was that death was no more worrying , no more stress, no more pain etc. Idk, it made me stop worrying about it though, and hope it helps

32

u/Zakblank Dec 02 '21

My favorite way to think of it is, you spent countless eons not being alive before you were born. That wasn't so bad was it? Personally, I hardly even noticed.

→ More replies
→ More replies

27

u/HardTitanium Dec 02 '21

Do you have the same dread or fear when you think of a time before you were born? Like "I hate thinking about the 1800s because I didn't exist then and it was so terrible"?

I don't believe human consciousness was designed for "forever." We dream of eternity, but can't even conceptualize what it truly means. And I don't think we would want eternity if we had it. However long you imagine it being, it's longer than that.

22

u/Xaevier Dec 02 '21

Yes actually I do dread/stress out over not existing in the past

The entire concept of not existing at any point in time past or present gives me existential dread

11

u/HardTitanium Dec 02 '21

I'm sorry that's the case, and I hope through reflection you find some relief from that anxiety.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

58

u/See-Em-Are Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 03 '21 Silver Wholesome

fearing death is normal. it's expected. human brains have the unfortunate capacity to be almost completely self aware.

i find myself often just contemplating the final moments and how it would feel. i can't distract from it. but to think a god is involved at all is, in my opinion, degenerate to the possibility of existence. we've all heard the "you was never aware of you lack of existence before you were born, so you'll be the same when you die." allagory. but that's never been the cause for worry or dread. it's the dying. the last breath. the unresolved mistakes and wrongdoings. it's the lack of a completion and the ultimate, undeniable, definite state of dying that scares us.

we don't live for a reason and we don't die for a reason, it just is what it is. religious people find the excuse of "i get to exist" when that's not what the fear is. the fear is the dying. it hurts to cut yourself. it hurts to be bruised. broken bones. so the expectation of pain/discomfort is so overwhelming we can't help but fear the event of dying. everybody will die and a large majority of us will not die normal deaths. we will get strange infections, we will bleed out, we'll suffocate, drown, severely get injured and die from complications. the chances of most of us dying comfrotably is very slim. but we won't consider it because that makes the ordeal worse.

studies have shown that anticipation of discomfort/pain makes everything much worse in the moment. waiting an hour for a 30V shock for 4 hours is going to hurt and mentally scar you more than a 60V shock every minute for 4 minutes. the waiting is what makes us scared.

i have good news.

when you die, your body will know it and your brain will flood your nervous system with dopamine and other chemicals to make you relax. it will do this deliberately and your last moments will not be as excrutiating as expected. ever been cut/scratched but not known until hours/days later when it's sore/stinging? that's because your body and mind gave you painkillers without your permissions/awareness. dying is a very taxing event on your mind and body. so it will do everything it can to stop you from acting out and making it worse, in the hopes that you can be fixed. (this is why people can drown and be relatively okay after 20 minutes. the human body and mind knows to completely block your airways and prevent further invasion of liquid. it does this knowing, as a social species, we rely on each other.

don't fear death. fear not living. live your life while you can. once you're dead, living isn't an option. some people are so afraid of death, they don't afford themselves the luxury of living a life at all. at least if you act as if you're alive, dying will not be so bad.

and yes, i am trying to convince myself of this too. more often than not. i think about dying and why i'm not living. i'm 31 and have dabbled in stuff but got nothing. don't forget, even religions tell you to live your life while you can. because even religions know it's cruel to pretend anything after this life is more important. thos kinds of people drown thier kids to save them.

are you already dead? or do you have a life to live?

live it up!

Edit: Thanks for the Silver Award. i've not really been invested in Reddit, but that actually feels good.

if anybody is truly having an existential crisis (panic) please talk to someone. online, in person, anybody. it will help. Y.A.N.A.

→ More replies
→ More replies

54

u/charlie2135 Dec 02 '21

I was born into the Catholic religion and the Nuns drove me out of it.

35

u/UNN_Rickenbacker Dec 02 '21

They certainly can drive you out of church, or catholicity / other groups of christianity.

I myself still believe in Jesus, and that he was a pretty swell dude with a lot of good ideas about empathy.

→ More replies
→ More replies

113

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

Thank you for your answer. Choosing a faith because it provides peace of mind is a very valid reason. :)

→ More replies
→ More replies

20

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

Thank you for your answer and happy Hanukkah!

→ More replies

353

u/Signal_Skill9761 Dec 02 '21

I chose Buddhism. I wasn't born into it. I chose it because it really is calming to think about inner peace and to meditate on the ultimate truth. There is obviously a lot more to it than that, and I'm new to it. But I honestly have never been happier.

80

u/StochasticLife Dec 03 '21

Also picked Buddhism.

It’s a weird fit for us converts though, as there’s a lot of ‘cultural tradition’ thrown in with actual dharma. We need a tradition unique to the Western world.

52

u/DemocraticRepublic Dec 03 '21

I flirted with Buddhism a lot but ultimately found Stoicism, which is very close to being a Western Buddhism.

30

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

Not really a "religion," but rather a life philosophy. Epictetus was a fascinating character!

→ More replies

5

u/veritaserum9 Dec 03 '21

Stoicism is philosophy. I am an agnostic and into stoicism.

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/tyinsf Dec 03 '21

Me, too.

I think there's a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don't think we know what's baby and what's bathwater. I agree with everything Stephen Batchelor ("Buddhism Without Beliefs") says, but he's missing something. For me, anyway. YMMV.

I like Lama Lena, an American who refers to herself as an "old leather dyke". A fair amount of Tibetan cultural tradition but good Western explanations.

→ More replies

6

u/longdog10 Dec 03 '21

I practice Jodo Shin Buddhism and really enjoy it. I highly recommend “River of Fire, River of Water: An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism” by Taitetsu Unno. That book really put things into perspective for me, and I enjoy participating in my local Buddhist temple’s activities.

→ More replies
→ More replies

503

u/zazzlekdazzle Dec 02 '21

I was born into my religion, but I pretty much decided for myself that was going to be more "religious."

My parents were big advocates of letting kids make their own decisions and sort of stepped back. For whatever reason, even young, I was a pretty spiritual person and as I got older I wanted to know more and more about being observant.

I don't consider myself super religious, but I am not an atheist and I am a lot more believing and observing than most of my friends of most other religions. I move in pretty hyper-liberal circles that tend to view religion with skepticism, particularly mine, so I mostly keep my beliefs to myself. When I mention it, it's only for practical reasons (scheduling, dietary stuff, etc.) and don't say anything more.

I think most of them were either raised to think religious people were idiots or with religion shoved down their throats, so they don't have a lot of experience with normal people just like them having positive experiences with relgiion.

58

u/toast_is_ghost Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

I think most of them were either raised to think religious people were idiots or with religion shoved down their throats, so they don't have a lot of experience with normal people just like them having positive experiences with relgiion.

Yup, this definitely describes me. I grew up in a non-religious household and just...assumed religious people were kind of unkind and superior, mostly based on negative impressions of the religious people I knew as a kid.

The girls on my soccer team were all really nice, except the girls who went to the local Catholic school. They were almost universally mean. The few friends I had that were religious were often pushy about it, even though I don't remember saying anything negative about their religions (it's possible I did). They even occasionally used put-downs on me specifically for not being religious. Literal quotes include "You should go to church" and "I sometimes struggle with the fact that you're going to hell" (literally weeks after my dad died, and this friend wanted me to comfort him about the fact that I was going to hell). So yeah, not surprising that as a kid I had a negative view on religion.

But yeah, once I was 17 I started to question this whole "religion = bad" narrative I had in my head, after realizing it was just based on a few people. As an adult, I've met many thoughtful, tolerant, and incredibly kind religious people, and definitely don't think their beliefs are stupid.

→ More replies

36

u/QuuxJn Dec 02 '21

But im always wondering what makes you believe in whatever you believe?

(This is not meant disrespectful in any way, I'm just curious)

49

u/zazzlekdazzle Dec 02 '21

Honestly, I think that being spiritual is like a sense or an inclination some people have - like being more artistic or being into music. Some people just have it, feel it, follow it and it has meaning for them, and some people don't and their lives are fine without it.

Much later in my life, I found out that my mother is pretty a-theistic but my father was very spiritual. I had no idea either way. My father and I are very similar in how we think - we are both big sports fans who live and die with our clubs/teams, very into loyalty, into philosophy, and are scientists who are very involved with our work (related but different fields). I realized my parents' differing outlooks long after I had this theory about a spiritual "sense" but I wonder if my spirituality is all of a piece with just the same kind of mindset as my father.

→ More replies

95

u/davidellis23 Dec 02 '21

I think most of them were either raised to think religious people were idiots or with religion shoved down their throats

This is interesting, but I would have some doubts about it. I knew a lot of intelligent religious people with great character. And I thought religion made me better in a lot of ways. But, there was just not enough evidence for it. And I felt like my friends in liberal circles felt the same way.

187

u/vsmack Dec 02 '21

I knew a lot of intelligent religious people with great character.

I'm an atheist but I know some religious people who are very sharp. I've always hated the atheist edgelords who think all religious people are inherently dumb or ignorant. If you've studied theology or philosophy even in passing, there are many truly fascinating ideas from great thinkers, modern and historical

82

u/xiroir Dec 02 '21

One of the greatest myths is that intellegence is part of a person as a whole and not a specific part of it. You can have a doctorate degree in a specific subject and be crazy smart. But still be "stupid" in a lot of other areas of life. And fall for stupid things like MLMs. Humans are fallible.

26

u/jigsawsmurf Dec 03 '21

My dad is the smartest idiot I know.

19

u/xiroir Dec 03 '21

What is The smart part and what the stupid?

Ill start. My father could fix anything but also would believe stupid adds. He once called me over in a drunk stoopor saying that this beer bottle was designed to be dropable. He drops it. It breaks in a million pieces, beer everywhere... then he goes... "but the add told me it wouldnt break..." (it wasnt just limited to being drunk either, this is just my fav example.)

27

u/jigsawsmurf Dec 03 '21

He's a world-famous anthropologist with a PHD from Harvard. He also thinks Armageddon is a good movie.

6

u/xiroir Dec 03 '21

thats hilarious! Hah!

→ More replies
→ More replies

22

u/zazzlekdazzle Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

I can only speak about my friends in my circle, many of whom I grew up with so I know their background. They way most of them grew up, religion was an important structural thing in their lives - services gone to, holidays observed, extra school, etc. - but administered parents who were not spiritual people at all.

They were brought up that they HAD to do that stuff, but not why, or that it might be meaningful. So, they rejected doing those things as adults because it annoyed them as kids. And they were never brought up to respect that people had reasons to be observant other than it's just what you did because that's what everyone does or else people talk about you behind your back.

In families with religion, it's a lot like driving - anyone faster than you is a maniac, slower is an idiot and a menace. I think a lot of my peers were brought up to think people who were more religious lacked critical thinking skills but less so were just lazy and didn't have respect for traditions. If they rejected their family's way of being religious, they didn't have many options.

14

u/davidellis23 Dec 02 '21

I get that, and I'm sure a lot of people would be more religious if they were taught why. But, it also sounds like you're saying people aren't religious because they just don't understand religion. Rather than because they weighed the evidence and concluded against it. I feel like that is something religious people avoid thinking.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

549

u/DasB00ts Dec 02 '21

The “I was born into it, but I chose it” crowd is interesting to me.

79

u/Onsyde Dec 03 '21

For me I was born in it, but pretty much became agnostic at a certain point because I really wanted to answer some tough questions and be open to everything. Eventually I came back to the "same" religion but my faith is basically on the polar opposite of the religious spectrum.

47

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

I was born into a religion (Christianity), “chose” to be born again, then eventually chose to abandon it. In doing that, I spent years exploring a ton of other religious beliefs, you know, just in case.

I ended up realizing the freedom and genuine contentment I felt without religion was impossible with religion, so I remained a non-believer in anything.

But, during my search, I regularly found myself scoffing at most other religions that weren’t Christian, which I realized was due to the fact it was what’s familiar to me. It occurred to me that everyone I know who temporarily left the religion they were born into, to explore themselves or whatever, always returned to their original religion.

Statistically, that doesn’t make sense. But psychologically, it totally does. I would contend no real “choice” was made here, rather people want to feel like their belief is rooted in more than just the people who raised them.

10

u/Onsyde Dec 03 '21

In my experience, i have been on the same journey as many different friends have too, and less than half of us came back (3/9 that I know of). Again this is my experience. But for me, i choose the only version of religion that could be reconciled with the science i learned and believe in. In my head I still know it's a 50/50 shot. It's pascal's wager. But in my heart I know that if I don't believe in something, that would be the actual death of me. So yeah while it is a defense mechanism to keep me away from utter nihilism and depression, it gives me a better life and something to hold on to. And i think i was created that way, forcing me to have faith or die early by my own hands.

13

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

Know that I appreciate your sentiment immensely, in fact I find it quite relatable. Before I truly made the complete leap away from religion, I had the same concern about falling into a nihilistic pit of despair. It wasn't until I "fully went there" that I realized it's crazy better than I ever imagined it could be. I no longer live with the belief that God is love, but rather have chosen for love to be my "god."

In my head I still know it's a 50/50 shot.

More like a 1 in 4000+ shot considering just how many religions are out there. But if it's what keeps you feeling secure, and you're not hurting others, more power to you, my friend.

→ More replies

11

u/Mandorrisem Dec 03 '21

"I wasn't born into it, but my family is part of it sooo..." :/

39

u/signedupfornightmode Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

I was born into one kind of Catholic family: the kind that went to church most but not all Sundays, kept it so private other Catholic friends would be shocked to hear we were Catholic, was poorly taught the religion and therefore had almost no understanding about any of the whys and only a few of the hows, did not pray as a family or as individuals. But, we still got all the sacraments and went to Catholic schools some of the time.

Unsurprisingly, I found myself an agnostic by the start of middle school, when many people start questioning the things they grew up with.

Later on, as I got closer to high school and actually learned a little about the faith I’d been born into, I began to understand and decided I was on board. Even then, I kept it pretty secret from my family, reading the Bible at night and never talking about it with them because I was afraid they’d judge me for being too sincere about it.

Finally, in college, I got to experience without shame the most beautiful parts of Catholicism, from the intellectual tradition to the gorgeous liturgies. I also had some really solid friends and found so much healing from some pretty serious mental health challenges.

I’m still a practicing Catholic today, but it’s almost a completely different version of the religion than what I experienced as a child. All of that to say, both “born” and “chosen” are equally true in my case, but I find I have more in common sometimes with people who have converted from other faiths into Catholicism.

(Edit: clarification in the last sentence)

→ More replies

160

u/BenefitCuttlefish Dec 03 '21

I was raised in a catholic home and went to a catholic school, all my close friends are catholic. I'm now an agnostic but my childhood friends are still very much catholic.

They choose to be catholic everyday, they have been through crises in their faith and have put their beliefs into question, searching for an answer with truth, sincerity and freedom (as we have been encouraged to do in our similar upbringings). While I stopped believing in god, they continue to do so, particularly the christian god and 'catholic way' of living their faith. They are better people for it, it's fascinating how fruitful their faith is.

It is completely possible to be born into a religion and still choose it.

64

u/Krynn71 Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

I think the hidden question here is, would they have chosen that religion had they not been born into it first?

→ More replies

26

u/EvangelineTheodora Dec 03 '21

Dude, I have friends that are priests and nuns! I'm atheist now, but I think it's so cool that they've chosen that path.

→ More replies
→ More replies

363

u/chmod744username Dec 02 '21

I was born Catholic but I'm converting to Judaism. My wife was born Jewish but I'm actually not converting for her so much as I'm converting because I grew to love Jewish rituals, ideas, and festivals over time as an outside participant.

137

u/blueshiftglass Dec 02 '21

We’re glad to have you! Welcome! And Chanukah Sameach!

58

u/chmod744username Dec 02 '21

Thank you! Honored to be welcomed in. Chanukah Sameach!

41

u/Smidgerening Dec 02 '21

i wish you good luck. i tried for two years and was told no in the end, just because i’m dating someone who isn’t racially jewish and wouldn’t break up with her. it’s notoriously hard to convert

52

u/Crazed_waffle_party Dec 02 '21

You can still convert to reformed Judaism, but the Orthodox and Conservative branches will still reject you. Converting is incredibly difficult. Unlike most faiths, Judaism doesn't have missionaries. Judaism is also passed down through the mother, so even if you converted, your children wouldn't qualify unless they went through the conversion process themselves.

21

u/chmod744username Dec 02 '21

I'm converting to Conservative Judaism. They don't perform interfaith marriages but my wife and I weren't observant at the time we got married. But once I convert we're going to renew our vows thru our shul.

→ More replies
→ More replies

584

u/Myvenom Dec 02 '21 Silver

I was born Catholic and have stayed with it. My wife however, converted after we got married and is probably a better Catholic than I am. It’s almost like she was looking for something her whole life and when she found it, she dove in with both feet. It definitely does help to have a partner in faith.

27

u/8MODA Dec 03 '21

If you don’t mind me asking, was your wife’s religious beliefs important to you marrying her?

43

u/Myvenom Dec 03 '21

Not entirely. I guess I might have said that I’d like to raise our kids Catholic since it was always such a big part of my upbringing, but she was already kinda going to church here and there with her friend and liked it. Her former fiancé was Baptist and she told me that she never cared for it, but something about my church really spoke to her I guess.

13

u/8MODA Dec 03 '21

Ok just thought I’d ask. I also would like my children to be raised with my religion at least exposed to them, but lately have been thinking about how important it would be to have my wife be religious or not.

14

u/Yyiilliiee Dec 03 '21

I am Catholic. If my husband isn't atheist, he's pretty close. Our children are raised with Catholic rituals and education. We obviously have very different opinions but are super respectful and open about it. My husband sees value in raising children within a community and will go to church for special occasions and if I ask him. No questions asked. I love him for that. I don't preach and give him the space he needs. It has worked beautifully. BUT we had this conversation before we got married. We both knew what we were getting into.

6

u/mrshinrichs Dec 03 '21

Same here- born Catholic, knew my now-husband as a friend for years, one of our first “wait are we dating now?” conversations included the fact that a)we both wanted kids and b) they would be raised Catholic. We go to mass as a family, and he just sits out the sacraments. He is very much an atheist (though the kids think he’s just Methodist, which was what he was baptized/confirmed as). He goes with us because a) he promised me, b) he knows it makes me happy, and c) he likes the music.

→ More replies

141

u/spidermom4 Dec 02 '21

I was also born Catholic and stayed with it. My husband was born into a "Catholic" family who didn't really practice and none of his family members consider themselves Catholic anymore (not even his parents) but he went to a Catholic college and got his master's in theology and worked for the church for 12+ years. It's funny how some of the best Catholic's didn't really have a faith background.

→ More replies

17

u/chronically-clumsy Dec 03 '21

I was born Catholic but pretty much stopped caring during my early teenage years. I struggled a lot with mental health and felt abandoned. When I was 17, I had the opportunity to go do some mission work and that changed my life. After I started to pursue my faith more, my mental health improved drastically.

14

u/Myvenom Dec 03 '21 edited Dec 03 '21

I struggled with alcoholism and turning to my faith and handing my life over to God truly saved my marriage and my life. Never been happier and I’m very happy for you too!

→ More replies
→ More replies

145

u/nicebonestructure Dec 02 '21 Silver

My mother's family were extreme Christians while I was growing up. We went to an evangelical free church. I remember liking what I learned in church to some extent and liking our pastor because he seemed like he actually cared about what he was teaching and would make the lessons accessible and meaningful even to me as a small child. My mom and her family and people who went for community but obviously had no real spiritual belief were the ones who made the experience unbearable to me. My mom told me stuff like I wasn't letting Jesus into my heart and that I would burn in hell forever for petty things and mistakes that a child could never understand, so that was a lovely experience. I also remember being tortured as a small child by being forced to stay in a boring church service listening to controlling old farts for literally twelve hours on Christmas day instead of celebrating in a personally meaningful way.

Now I can't choose to be religious because I can see that there's value in aspects of each belief system. Reading is more of a religious practice to me than anything. A lot of people take the meanings of scriptures too literally when if we really consider their deeper meanings many have exact same lessons as stories from other religions and it seems inane to argue and be snobbish over the details that separate them. I think people should really be encouraged to do more academic work if they are attending services, otherwise it ends up being like a club for narcissists who don't care and never will.

20

u/Dadtakesthebait Dec 03 '21

Sorry this was your experience, it sounds like it sucked.

25

u/nicebonestructure Dec 03 '21

I've heard of much, much worse from many people. The first one that comes to mind was one of my poor coworkers who told me a lot about how she and her brother were severely abused by her fanatic parents. Since they had black hair and their siblings had blonde hair, they were treated as inferior because they "weren't Israelites" and pretty much left neglected as their siblings were treated like angels in front of them. She told me about being beaten, abused in every horrible way imaginable, having to live outside and eat raw bugs because they were so incredibly hungry. At one point she said she knew that her parents both had hand guns under their pillows, and she would think daily that if she could get a hold of one she would have killed them both happily for what they did. It's hard to believe this is happening today in a place like the United States.

I have dozens and dozens of stories like this from Christian, Muslim, and Hindu friends and none of them are believers because they were traumatized and then further persecuted for not fitting into the norms by their families and their societies. Spirituality is a personal journey and it can't be forced upon anyone, especially kids with developing minds.

→ More replies

5

u/haZardous_wreck Dec 03 '21

Well said, it isn’t always easy to find a good church

→ More replies

10

u/icy-Corgi-3 Dec 03 '21

I was born Christian and didn’t have a good time, I became Buddhist for a couple months before becoming Muslim, which I have been for years and plan on being for the rest of my life.

417

u/Yetizod Dec 02 '21

I was non religious and chose Christianity. I had an experience that I cannot even explain how it felt, but I'll try. Basically I was in a church, and there was a moment in my head where all the stories of the bible lined up for me. Bible describes the Lord removing the scales from your eyes. That was really what it was like for me, but more like minds eye. Suddenly a lot of individual stories that seemed to range from meaningless, to ok maybe a good moral, to me made sense in a way they never had before. I suddenly understood the greater meaning, and direction of it all and why things had to happen the way they did. I don't know how else to describe it, it was awesome. Most incredible moment of my life.

8

u/sselesu Dec 03 '21

I wish I could experience something like that.

→ More replies

45

u/MasterKongQiu Dec 03 '21

What do you do with people who have the exact same type of testimony but with Mormonism or Islam?

132

u/inveiglementor Dec 03 '21 Silver

Doesn't bother me. God is love.

It's like three small children looking at the night sky. One says "wow, that star is so small, it must be so far away. I bet it's like ten miles away."

The next says "nah, that's crazy- it's at least 20".

The next: "you're both so wrong. I think it's 100 miles."

All the children know something true: the star is far away. Is one slightly more accurate? Sure, but still way off base.

I choose the religion that seems the closest, but I don't think it's rational to pretend we have a monopoly on sacred truth. I know its imaginings are still lightyears from who God really is.

19

u/ad3l1n3 Dec 03 '21

What a beautiful allegory. Thank you.

→ More replies
→ More replies

169

u/St_Melangell Dec 02 '21

I absolutely know what you mean. I was an atheist my whole life and then I had this amazing experience during Mass.

It’s hard to describe, isn’t it? It was more than a feeling. Like pure joy, pure certainty - I knew I was in God’s presence.

10

u/Most_Triumphant Dec 03 '21

I’m Catholic and I know this feeling. It happened during Mass for me too. I’ve had it happen a few times. It’s so enveloping, certain, and light.

46

u/Yetizod Dec 02 '21

Yup, this exactly.

9

u/EvangelineTheodora Dec 03 '21

You should try adoration sometime. Both by yourself and with a large group of people. It's amazing.

→ More replies
→ More replies

22

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

I experienced this multiple times as a Christian, it's what motivated me to recommit my life to Christ.

That was 28 years ago. I've since realized that feeling/experience is one that can fairly easily be replicated with the right conditions. Oddly enough, it was experiencing that feeling in a completely secular environment that contributed to my own questioning. And here I am today, a happy, normal, moral, loving dude with a beautiful wife, wonderful kids, and warm home, despite having no religious beliefs.

→ More replies
→ More replies

156

u/Silent_Living_3298 Dec 02 '21

I was born into hindu. I believe Hinduism let's you choose your own path to follow it.

There are no particular rules and restrictions as such. It's all about praying to the nature more than an idol.

Above all, the ' Bhagavad Gita is a way of life'.

24

u/squirrelkibble Dec 03 '21

I've been very interested in learning more about Hinduism. Is there any particular literature I should start with?

30

u/DreamsOfCleanTeeth Dec 03 '21

I am not Hindu but I read the Ramayana (the Penguin classics version). It is very approachable for an English speaker with little background in Hinduism. I have read parts of the Bhagavad Gita but I found it more challenging because it is basically entirely poetry.

4

u/SweetSweetInternet Dec 03 '21

There are simpler translated version of Bhagvad Gita. I like the one by Bibek Debroy. But I agree it's not an easy read and if you go with dismissive mindset you'll not get anything from it.

I like it's lean towards stoicism and take on morality not being absolute was best for me.

It argues that what is right for one person at one time may not be right for same person at another time or for other person. So you give weightage to your responsibility.

9

u/Itz_The_Rain Dec 03 '21

I think YouTube videos can do a really good job in explaining core concepts. There are tons of them out there on many stories from a vast amount of books so you could learn a lot.

3

u/imagoofygooberlemon Dec 03 '21

I think the idea of starting w “literature” is wayyy too much of a western/Christian concept and doesn’t apply well to Hinduism because the idea of an analogue to the Bible doesn’t exist. If you’re interested in learning more about the religion itself, looking at books about the history and evolution of hinduism would be helpful. I read a book some time ago by wendy doniger that I liked.

→ More replies

45

u/Sheer10 Dec 03 '21

No holy book gives me more comfort then the Gita. When I’m really feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders or really going through a tough time I always go back to it in my mind then I’m instantly freed mentally.

→ More replies

40

u/Caracasdogajo Dec 02 '21

Born Mormon, went inactive for a good number of years and then decided to come back.

Over the years I've questioned a lot of things but have had some awesome experiences that I can't really put into words that keep me here. There are certainly flaws, some major, some cultural and some minor but all in all I think most of the people I've known growing up in a Mormon community are genuinely good people that are trying to be their best.

There are a lot of idiots in the LDS church, I get that. I also understand why those idiots give us a bad look. I think the tides are shifting and the younger generation is shaking off a lot of the bad parts of the Mormon culture, which is great as well.

16

u/Aylabadayla Dec 03 '21

Mormon member here too. I agree with everything you said. I think you will find crappy religious people no matter where you go or what religion you join.

I also really like your comment about the younger generation is shaking off a lot of the bad parts. I finally feel okay enough with myself and with my relationship with God that I got double piercings. May not seem like a big deal to some but I literally thought I would be going to hell for it due to the church culture. It’s been a big part of my healing process with the church. Anyways sorry for the tangent lol

→ More replies

216

u/Novel_Accountant7623 Dec 02 '21

I was Born a Muslim ,but in my late teens i started to become more of an agnostic untill someday i found a video of Jeffrey lang who's a known mathematician who transfered to Islam in his late 20s ,he was talking about the verse of creation in Quran in way i never heard about from any religious people that i knew before,that made rethink Islam in a total different way and i became a stronger believer than i was before going agnostic

26

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

Would you happen to have a link to this video?

40

u/Novel_Accountant7623 Dec 02 '21

https://youtu.be/ifllgTA2pmY

Start at 12:55 in the video,plz share your opinion after you watch it

→ More replies

53

u/Pyromantress Dec 02 '21

I also got stronger with my deen after learning about Muslims in STEM. Learning about Hamza Tzortzis really helped me get into the Islamic Golden Age and how Islam and science were never really at odds the way seems to be right now.

9

u/_Zayd__ Dec 03 '21

I actually got to meet him! He’s a great guy practices what he preaches

→ More replies
→ More replies

651

u/ImWhatTheySayDeaf Dec 02 '21 Wholesome Take My Energy

I didnt choose the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it chose me. I am thankful to be chosen.

110

u/tired_of_old_memes Dec 02 '21

We are all chosen, unfortunately many people still live in darkness

25

u/tiny_tuner Dec 03 '21

We are the salt... and the pepper... and the parmesan cheese!

44

u/Rakkachi Dec 02 '21

Was it a pirate who enlightend you ?

18

u/DemocraticRepublic Dec 03 '21

Probably His Noodly Appendage.

34

u/wpyoga Dec 03 '21

Ramen, brother. I too, am thankful to be chosen.

26

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

How did it choose you?

147

u/not_lurking_this_tim Dec 02 '21

With his noodly appendage, of course

→ More replies
→ More replies

21

u/cbrad1713 Dec 03 '21

My parents did not really practice Catholicism after I was in like 5th grade, we eventually drifted away until I joined my friends' Christian Reformed Church. I ended up being in the CRC for 6 years before going to the Episcopal Church in college. I was Episcopalian until 2019 when I decided to return to the Catholic Church, and in 2021, 14 years late, I finally got confirmed. I returned because protestants taught me the "why" of Christianity, but I feel the Catholic Church shows me the "how," if that makes sense. I am now the only practicing Catholic of my siblings and cousins, though I was able to convince my parents, with whom I have a historically fraught but healing relationship, to return to the Church as well.

139

u/Foxil_qq Dec 02 '21

I was born into an atheist family, I was always stuck to logic or "what's real" until I somehow found my way to Christianity. (This is just what I believe) but I realize that science and God are connected. Ive found more peace and comfort following a higher power. I don't have a specific answer to why I chose Christianity but all I can say is that I'm in a happy place.

23

u/Ok_Bicycle7502 Dec 02 '21

Cool. This ones interesting and cool.

→ More replies

297

u/RyujinNoRay Dec 02 '21

Born Muslim, stayed a Muslim

When i was old enough i looked up on everything that bugged me searching for "make sense" answers most of them i found , little to nothing i didnt like the answer but then i said if im ok with 99% then thats high enough for me.

Still have difficulty in remembering all my 5 prays , sometimes im being lazy but im trying my best , fasting month is fun and it keeps me away from alcohol, drugs and other things

Being a good useful member of family to my parents satisfies me.

95

u/rashonmyeed Dec 03 '21

I like how this is different compared to the other comments where people chose religion because of the community or fun rituals. You stayed a Muslim because you found it to make sense and be the truth. I respect that.

37

u/minneapple79 Dec 03 '21

Also born Muslim. Also sometimes lazy about my prayers. Do your best and inshaAllah you'll be fine. Ramadan is a great time to cleanse your body and soul.

→ More replies

17

u/Lagiar Dec 03 '21

Ah a fellow brother Salam dawg

→ More replies
→ More replies

147

u/Fred_Foreskin Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

I was born into a Christian family that didn't go to church very often. We were never part of any specific church, but we mainly went to Baptist churches whenever we did go. My parents never forced it on me, and they encouraged me to think for myself and explore my own beliefs.

When I got into college, I took religious studies as a second major. After studying and exploring a bunch of different religions, I ended up joining the Episcopal Church.

I joined the Episcopal Church because it's basically LGBTQ-affirming Catholicism. Our liturgies are very similar to traditional Catholic liturgies, our music is a similar style (classical hymns and chants with pipe organ), and we can trace our tradition all the way back to the original church just like the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Plus, we have structured daily prayers in our prayer book that I really enjoy, and I think those kinds of practices can be really good for your health.

99

u/GibbyMyBoy Dec 02 '21 Helpful

Thanks for the insight Fred Foreskin

54

u/White_Gables Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

I dislike how some Christians have a hatred for LGBTQ+. I'm a Christian but I don't think it is a sin. And even if it is, I firmly believe hating someone is a much bigger sin.

Jesus said, "Love your neighbors.". He said "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

It's not for us to decide how UnChristianlike LGBTQ+ are. And if we really want to be Christianlike, we shouldn't harrass them or hate them. We should love and support them like everyone else.

19

u/Fred_Foreskin Dec 02 '21

Exactly. If you read through the Gospels and the message you take away from it is that you should condemn gay people, then you didn't really read the Gospels; you just cherry-picked the parts that made you feel superior. Jesus taught us that radical love for each other and for God is the way we should live, not hatred.

Plus, most Biblical scholarship agrees that the Bible doesn't actually say anything about homosexuality.

→ More replies

20

u/farrenkm Dec 02 '21

Thank you.

Cradle Catholic here. Last two months I've had my own world and spiritual crisis. Priest gave me the party line on LGBTQ. I can't get it to fit within the context of my faith. I truly believe God put me into this crisis -- for the better -- and I can't take the Catholic church's position any longer.

Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love one another as Jesus did. I don't see the Catholic church doing that. It's been a toll on me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically (many sleepless nights and had to go on a BP med because of the stress). But I'm coming out better in the end, wholly supported by my wife and kids.

7

u/ThePelicanWalksAgain Dec 03 '21

Also a cradle Catholic here. Remember that lots and lots of people (in and out of the Church) misunderstand God's Truth. Some maliciously, some innocently. Remember that there are other people in the Church who agree with you on this great love God has for us.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

4

u/wolfcarrier Dec 03 '21

Cradle Episcopalian and stayed that way. Love this religion and it loves everyone, too!

You still get all the pomp and circumstance, tons of historical significance, and welcoming to all!

→ More replies
→ More replies

6

u/KinoTele Dec 02 '21

Born into Episcopalian Christianity, eventually migrated into moderately charismatic Pentecostalism because on the surface it seemed there was a greater purpose within evangelical Christianity. Left after I realized I was in a church that bore several cult-like tendencies. Now, I'm not really sure what's on the other side. I have had personal experiences that you could call ecstatic religious experiences or visions, but after looking into data concerning those kinds of experiences in world religions, I'm not so sure anymore.

I'm not certain about anything more than I know nothing. I am nothing- not an agnostic, not an atheist, not a Christian or anything else. And I'm fine with that.

72

u/StevesMcQueenIsHere Dec 02 '21

I was born into a Catholic family, was an atheist for awhile, and have been a Buddhist for the last ten years.

28

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

What aspects of Buddhism made you decide to follow it?

113

u/StevesMcQueenIsHere Dec 02 '21

Western religion is all about looking outward for salvation: Priests, and churches, and holy books. Eastern philosophy is about looking within yourself for the answers to your own spiritual progression, which I was always drawn to. It's much more proactive. I believe that materialism and clinging to the dream of this earthly plane is what keeps us in a state of constant pain. Only through achieving an "emptiness" of everything but spiritual awareness can we set ourselves free.

21

u/nvsfg Dec 02 '21

Your path was similar to mine. Born into Southern Baptist, searched for spirituality not religion.

This rings true- "Eastern philosophy is about looking within yourself for the answers to your own spiritual progression, which I was always drawn to"

→ More replies

15

u/endergod16 Dec 02 '21

I'm agnostic currently and have been really interested in Buddhism. I have yet to really look into it but I wanna look at other religions and see which one I want to be a part of. Definitely have ruled out Christianity.

→ More replies

8

u/string1969 Dec 02 '21

Born into Catholic family, Catholic school through 12th grade. Atheist and Buddhist now

→ More replies

32

u/amazing_cow1 Dec 02 '21

I was born into it. I am a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. After going and looking at sources that were not part of the church I decided that I didn't belive anymore. I am still an active member though because everyone in my family also is. Also It would hurt me to see my mom cry if I told her this so, it is easier just to stay active and pretend.

22

u/a-guy-on-his-phone Dec 03 '21

Your mom may be sad if you told her, but what about you? Would you be more sad if you continued doing something you don’t believe in? I’m also a member of the church, but I am a realist. If you hold in something you believe because of fear of the consequences, it will eat you from the inside out. You can end up resentful and bitter, nobody wants that, we all seek happiness, some seek religion, others don’t. In the end, it is my belief that treating others with love and kindness are maybe more important than what religion you belong to.

→ More replies

16

u/awesomebouncer123 Dec 02 '21

I'm a member of the church of jesus Christ of latter day saints. (Mormon or LDS) I was born into it but I like it a lot and believe science and God are connected in some way. I've chosen to pick out the toxic parts I don't like.

12

u/ImperialHojo Dec 03 '21

I’m in much the same position myself. I try my best to distill what I feel are the most important teachings into how I live, and let go of all the rest. So much of the LDS culture is blown way out of proportion and taken in the wrong context, especially by people within the church.

I once met a family that refused to allow a television into their home, or processed sugars, and a whole host of other things I can’t remember now and used the church’s teachings as the justification. I’ve met people who legitimately think it is one of our core beliefs that we can’t have caffeine, which just isn’t factually true. I can understand why they think that, but it’s things like this and more that just get twisted out of context.

Honestly, I believe in the end that if there is an afterlife and I have been wrong this whole time, I’ll still be happy with the end results, or at least content to accept what ever it is. And if oblivion is all there is, it’s not like I’ll be around to worry about it. I still feel that my life is better now for living by my faith than it would have been doing the opposite. As long as I’m putting positivity into the world instead of negativity, I’ll go right on feeling like I’ve had a life well lived.

→ More replies

112

u/Cannonfury Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21 Silver

Muslim here, born and raised in the U.S.

My parents have never been religious, it was just "You're a Muslim" and that's it. My paternal family were Muslim, maternal side were Christian. When I was little I would stand beside either my uncle or grandparents and "pray" with them, even though I had no idea what I was doing, just copying their movements. I went to my maternal grandparents house on Christmas eve every year. A maternal uncle gave sermons at Church, while my paternal uncle gave sermons at the local Mosque. I was around the Church and the Mosque scene a lot, I went to Sunday school as a little kid and in the summer time I went to the Mosque some. I actually attended a Baptist Christian elementary school.

In my mid 20's, after being very depressed for a very long time, I started looking into religion more. I read more about Islam, I listened to youtube talks mostly by American Muslim speakers. I started to pray sporadically. I really started understanding the purpose of life, afterlife..etc. I understood Islam more. I understood the misconceptions..etc.

When I started reading the English translation of the Quran I, surprisingly, was shocked when I read names such as Moses, Noah, David/Goliath, and Joseph(the one who was betrayed by his brothers.,etc). I also did not know that Islam held Jesus in very high regard and await his return. (peace be upon the prophets I mentioned)

I learned about the life of the prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him), so I could get better understanding of the context of verses I did not understand...along with listening to talks explaining things. Hadith is very important in context. example: The English translation of a verse make it sound like its ok to beat your wife. In the hadith, Muhammad(pbuh) is quoted as saying to never strike your wife in the face, as well as saying never hit your wife with anything bigger than a tooth stick.

The Quran for example says to pray 5 times a day...The hadith tells you how to pray and what you are supposed to say. The Quran does not tell you how.

Context and language differences matter. There are words in Arabic that dont exist in English.

I am much happier and wished people understood Islam more. They dont have to covert or conform to it, just understand it.

28

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

Thanks for replying! Is there a version of the Quran that takes context and language barriers/misinterpretations into consideration?

31

u/Cannonfury Dec 02 '21

Tafseer ibn kathir is an explanation of the verses of the Quran.

The Quran I have is "Al-Quran The Guidance for Mankind" The Institute of Islamic Knowledge.

If you read a surah/chapter you don't understand you can also go to YouTube and search "tafseer of" whatever surah it is.

4

u/Chchcherrysour Dec 03 '21

This is a great question! I’m glad you brought it up. Although the Quran has been well preserved in its original draft, translations and transliterations do differ from translator to translator.

  1. Quranic Arabic and modern day Arabic are understandably very different. There are parts of the Quran that are still debated on today because just one word can change the context of the whole message.

  2. Going from one language to another, something will always be lost in translation.

  3. Human Bias - we are at the mercy of these translators. Their interpretation will be limited to their knowledge and environment. Ex: the infamous text on beating your wife can be found in one of the most popular English translators, Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s version. Ali was a man born in the early 30’s - considering the era he was born in, it isn’t a jump that he would have such an interpretation of this verse. Translations written in more modern times, do not interpret the term “daraba” (interpreted as strike by Ali) as beating your wife. Another interpretation of daraba is separation. This completely changes what’s being said.

I think it’s also important to note here that Islamic jurisprudence is referred to when debates rise on certain translations. One noteworthy element in the legal process is ijtihad - which means independent reasoning. In other words, in the case of translations - Islam allows room for interpretation and re-interpretation. I’ve overly simplified it but hopefully this sheds some light on the matter.

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/Mindfuldaywalker Dec 02 '21

I was raised catholic and have since switched to Lutheran.

→ More replies

5

u/Infamous-Lunch6496 Dec 02 '21

I was born into it, but it’s important to note that for a person to truly follow a religion, regardless of their history with it, they also have to choose it. You can’t live your whole life practicing a relationship and worldview that’s entirely based upon your parents’ choices. Everyone who believes in a religion has to have chosen to believe in it. In that way, everyone is a convert, even if they’ve always practiced and believed.

7

u/frostrogue117 Dec 03 '21

Since I've gone way down the list of comments and haven't seen a mention yet..

I was raised in the Baha'i Faith, and although I'm not strongly religious, the core principles make the most sense to me out of all religions.

Unity of Mankind, equality between man and woman, harmony between science and religion. It all just makes sense and if there's a God in this universe, it only makes sense that commonality between all religions build upon each through mankind's development. Progressive Revelation. No clergy because we the common man can read and understand scripture in this modern age. Just alot of things make sense. There's alot more but I'm not gonna unload on an Ask Reddit.

PS. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from the Office) is a Baha'i and he's got a fantastic book on his life that talks a bit about it, The Bassoon King.

17

u/ConfusedDuck02 Dec 02 '21

I was born into a catholic family. We when every Sunday since before I can remember for 13/14 years. I still go every time I visit family (don’t tell my granny).

→ More replies

16

u/shyviolet201 Dec 02 '21

Born Catholic and I’m still Catholic.

4

u/nursebeast Dec 03 '21

I'm descended from Huguenots and Methodists, but my mother sent us to Catholic VBS one summer for the cheap baby-sitting. Guess who converted?

→ More replies

16

u/Nerdiant Dec 02 '21

I grew up Mormon but consider myself agnostic now. Unlike a lot of ex-Mormon stories, you may see on Reddit, my disbelief has nothing to do with any cult related issues/horror stories or learning about questionable history. So, I don't really have any particularly interesting story.

The way I see it, people are religious for a few reasons for the most part. They see religion as a way to explain the unexplainable such as what happens to us after we die. Some seek a sense of community found in many churches or religions. And then there are others like me who were just born into it. There are other reasons, but I'd cite what I previously said as some common reasons.

I simply see no benefit in remaining religious. I don't feel any sense of community. I also don't quite like the culture in some ways. And I am content with not knowing some things. While I'm curious about how the world works and would like to spend my life and career doing research, I am willing to accept that some things simply can't be known for sure. There is likely nothing after death and I am content with that. I don't fear death at all as long as the process isn't too painful. I'm not happy with life by any means, but I know that religion won't remedy that.

I live with my hardcore Mormon family so need to keep my lack of belief on the down low for now. At least until I move out when I transfer to another university and live on campus. There is my non-interesting story for you, I guess.

→ More replies

4

u/Riko208 Dec 02 '21

This is a great question. It should be a poll! I was born into one and I've remained as part of it.

4

u/thirtytwomonkeys Dec 03 '21

Born a Catholic. Lapsed in my early adulthood. Returned to the Church after going through some rough times and attending mass helped me immensely.

6

u/awiseoldturtle Dec 03 '21

Born into it and chose it.

I was a big reader when I was a kid, and with massive ADHD church was always a struggle, so my dad gave me the book full of the readings and told me to flip around and try reading the gospels to keep myself occupied.

Turns out Jesus made some good points. What especially stood out to me is how many times people ask him questions and he’s just like “dude you’re not getting it”

The parables are almost all gems that might challenge conventional wisdom, or make you think about a thing in a new way. I learned a lot from the gospels.

Know what I came across more than anything else?

Treat everyone well, everyone is your neighbor, everyone is your family. Tribes are meaningless

Kindness wins. Generosity wins. Forgiveness wins.

Don’t mix the physical with the spiritual, Pay your taxes etc. (Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s)

Sometimes we get the short end of the stick, but it all evens out

It’s okay to fail, even multiple times, even when it’s bad.

Nobody’s perfect, we’re all flawed and that’s okay

If someone wants to do a kind deed, look at it for what it is, not what you think it should have been

I could probably go on, but I’m gonna wrap it up. I was born into this, but I chose it when I learned what it meant. It makes sense.

43

u/Throwaway583thisdumb Dec 02 '21

Born into protestantism, learned about Hebrew faith quite a bit via an ex, went to a Catholic church a few times, and read a ton about Eastern religions.

I always considered myself spiritual but not religious, which is a douchebag copout I guess.

Later I realized the community and support is just as important as the belief. So I just picked one, I'm going weekly, and it's all interesting.

I think the difference between a religion and a cult is that a religion is something you can dive into, disagree, but still get life lessons out of it, and everyone benefits.

A cult you have to get in before you even understand what's being said.

I chose Christianity because it's a story about a dude walking around helping people, telling parables, and eventually a mob murdered him. For reasons, that spoke to me

4

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21

Thank you for your answer. It’s so interesting to see how much a context and a community brings into the whole picture, and it makes so much sense. I haven’t even thought about that

→ More replies
→ More replies

28

u/jaffacakeslover Dec 03 '21

I was born as a Muslim and still am a Muslim today and proud to be! A couple years ago (I’m 18 now) I did question my religion a bit, as in like ‘how do I know this religion is correct and not another religion’ so I did my research and was satisfied with Islam. Also I have found as a Muslim that prayer does bring me peace in my life, ofc I have days where I struggle but overall i feel like my religion has brought positivity to my life and I would honestly be lost without religion. Also my religion is important to me because of the negative opinions that many people hold about Islam so I feel like it’s my duty too to show that Islam is about peace and love

10

u/username_is_missing_ Dec 03 '21

I was born Hindu. I am now an atheist although I celebrate all the Hindu festival as well as Muslim, Cristian and Sikh festivals with my friends.

31

u/satooshi-nakamooshi Dec 02 '21

Born Christian, and chose it. There's a certain state of being, very (frustratingly) difficult to reach, but when I do touch it, I feel like I'm in the presence of God Himself, like there's a river of water of life flowing within me. Everything is effortless, every moment is filled with joy, just to breathe is sheer delight. Freedom from sin, freedom from the guilt of sin, freedom from the urge to do the things I know I shouldn't. The feeling that I'm truly living exactly as I was designed to.

I've tried (some) drugs, but this is on another level. My mind feels so clear, and I know with certainty that this is worth giving my whole life to.

The funny thing is that I suffer depression, so I rarely have the strength or energy to do the things like pray, sing, read the bible, etc, that would help me to stay in this paradise. So I end up living a fairly normal, unspiritual life, knowing that such a state exists but seldom reaching it

14

u/thepineapplereborn Dec 02 '21

Yes! This is why I’m Christian too. Thank you for sharing.

→ More replies

3

u/sleepy_tech Dec 02 '21

I will still choose the one I was born with. So no regrets though not a heavy practitioner of my religion.

23

u/Mrgreen37 Dec 02 '21

I’m actually from a fairly secular family and for many years, I was a staunch atheist.

In my teens however, I began thinking more about religion and eventually found a lot to like in Catholicism. I’m still going to church to this day

23

u/isthegreatest84 Dec 02 '21

I wasn't born into religion. As kids my mom took us to a Methodist church. Then we stopped going. In high school I joined the LDS, stayed with it for about a year. I consider myself an atheist, but have been going back to church recently. I go through phases. Last year I went through a Wicca phase. This year I'm reading the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Qur'an. It's weird and I'm sure it's because of my mental health. I read them as stories and don't really believe in it. I come away with something from church each time with their messages. That's me in a nutshell.

→ More replies

79

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

Chose it. Christianity. Jesus is a cool dude.

36

u/burntorange321 Dec 02 '21

Yeah he’s a pretty chill guy

7

u/Ok_Bicycle7502 Dec 02 '21

when - how? what was your upbringing like?

19

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '21

I wasn't really raised with any particular religion, I decided to be Christian when I was about 14 when I met some Christian friends.

6

u/Ok_Bicycle7502 Dec 02 '21

Cool cool - i like this. if you're going to be religious idk.. i like YOU choosing it.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

26

u/FineAd3926 Dec 02 '21

Born Muslim and still a Muslim. I made a conscious choice to recommit to Islam when I got older.

→ More replies

23

u/Ok_Appointment2844 Dec 03 '21

Muslim here, for context was born Muslim. However, despite that when I was 18 and more on my own in terms of what I do with my life I took time to discover other faiths. Personally I felt strong belief that there was one god, so naturally stayed within the three main monotheistic religions. Guess at the end of the day Islam resonated with me more, the principles and beliefs made more rational sense in my head (everyone thinks in their own manner no disrespect to any other religions ❤️).

25

u/Vlad-V2-Vladimir Dec 02 '21

I was born into Islam, and I’m still Islamic, though I’m non-practicing. If anyone invites me to an invent at our mosque, though, I will join because a lot of people there are nice and treat everyone equally and what I believe Islam should be seen more like.

→ More replies

27

u/crrruise Dec 02 '21

was born and raised in a catholic family up until my teen years and was agnostic/atheist until this year. now a non denom christian:)

22

u/akikiriki Dec 02 '21

What made you switch back to believing in God this year?

18

u/Rothdrop Dec 03 '21

Bruh. I'm non-denom, but my dyslexic butt thought you said "non demon Christian", and I reread it again and again and I was like huh and started Googling until I saw you said nonDENOM as in Non-Denoninational. I thought it was a sect of Christianity that doesn't believe in demons or something.

→ More replies

31

u/SkittleShake Dec 02 '21

Born atheist, chose Christianity. I feel a lot happier believing in a higher power. It makes me far more compassionate/open minded towards people. With how ridiculously complex life and humans are, I find it very hard to believe it was created from absolutely nothing.

→ More replies

13

u/bajena0 Dec 02 '21

Born Catholic, still Catholic.

60

u/Pimpcool420 Dec 02 '21

Chose Islam. Consistent prayer is good for mental health; a religion that stresses equality-before-God is good for society; and a friendly multi-ethnic religious community is invaluable for improving your life.

I've done enough hedonistic stuff to know that it's not the key to happiness. I think when you're born into a strict religious family you could feel that you're missing-out on some sinful activities, but doing some sinning as an adult and finding your own way back to a healthier lifestyle is a powerful religious motivator.

14

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

Were you born into Islam, and remained muslim by choice or when you say you chose it, you reconverted? I heard a good amount of muslims who were born in it say getting into adulthood confirmed their choice and made their relationship with God stronger.

29

u/Pimpcool420 Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

Nah my parents are not-very-devout Christian. I think there are some great churches out there, but the one I was raised in always felt like it didn't believe in itself (more of a European "culturally Christian" vibe than an evangelical vibe; the type of church where the congregation keeps getting older because they can't pull in their grandchildren's generation).

Also I should mention that I've had a lot of exposure to Buddhism; couldn't get into the mythical parts but the mindset/philosophy of Buddhism is something that even atheists can learn from. It was a spiritual stepping-stone for me (when I was living in a country with a lot of devout Buddhists and casual Muslims).

→ More replies
→ More replies

48

u/24520ls Dec 02 '21

Recovering catholic, now Wiccan. I was raised catholic cause all my moms family are all catholic. My doubts with the church started at a young age. Mild childhood trauma at tge hands of the church (long story). Gradually started disagreeing with more and more of it, refused to go to church, and around highschool realized I wasn't Christian anymore.

At this point I start exploring various belief systems to find one like mine. I'd believed in supernatural shit my whole life, judge if you will, and that didn't go away when I stopped being Christian so I wasn't an atheist.

I thought I was spiritual for a bit but Finally found out about Wicca. It matches my beliefs fairly well, can be practiced solitarily, and didn't call anything fun a sin. The best part However, what really made me get into it was that it wasn't fear based. There was no fire and brimstone, no "kind" God ready to toss you into a lake of fire for believing the wrong thing. Just a cosmic and magical side to the universe that gave me a sense of peace rather than dread.

7

u/itsJ92 Dec 02 '21 edited Dec 02 '21

Very interesting perspective. I see more and more people talking about how energy and the universe influences them, but I’m not sure if it’s necessarily Wicca. When you say it can be practiced solitarily, what is being done?

→ More replies
→ More replies

17

u/Expslain Dec 02 '21

Christian, born into it. And made my decision to stay Christian as i got older. I've just had personal experiences that proved it to me. Though im not comfortable sharing them.

→ More replies

13

u/Independent-Formal94 Dec 03 '21

I'm a Mormon and I was born into it. I also happen to have Jewish cousins because my aunt married my Jewish uncle, so it is cool to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas with them. I don't like talking about my religion much because there are a lot of misconceptions regarding it, but I've recently gotten much more involved besides just going to church. Also, growing up in a very religiously diverse community was very cool because sometimes me and my friends (Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Islam), would have these cool long dialogues about religions, and it was the place I feel like where we all could share our religion and religious experiences safely. But yeah, I like it, and I've met a lot of amazing people and made a ton of cool memories being apart of my religion.

7

u/jackrue12 Dec 03 '21

Bunch of religion haters here

30

u/undergrounddirt Dec 02 '21

Born into a family of “Mormons.” My great grandma would tell me about all the crazy trials her family went through just before she was born.

Her great aunt lost her feet to the frost as they crossed the plaines to escape the political/religious persecution they were experiencing.

We have their journals from when they first ran into Joseph Smith and the story of how they helped settle the west with that religion burning in their hearts.

Call them stupid and hoodwinked, members of a cult.. but I am grateful for the land they settled and the religion which has helped shape so much of my life in a positive way.

→ More replies

7

u/Illiad7342 Dec 02 '21

I was raised vaguely Christian, though there wasn't really any emphasis on it except from my grandparents. Towards middle school and high school I started noticing all the little inconsistencies and thought it was odd how much people disagreed, and how it pretty much just had to do with location of birth. Like Muslims and Hindus and Christians and Buddhists all strongly believed in their own religions, so why should I trust myself to be right over everybody else. So I became agnostic. I wasn't certain enough to say there was definitively no God, , but couldn't make any specific claims either, so I decided to remain undecided. And so I was agnostic for many years.

Then I took psychedelics and hoo boy that shit was wild. Even if you discount any of the specific details, it was impossible to deny that there was so much more out there than I could have ever imagined, and that there are experiences which cannot be described directly, only through metaphor, stories, and art. I began to study different religions, to learn as much about them as I could, to look for patterns in their stories, things that were common across religion, and things that vibed with my own experiences of the world. I ended up adopting beliefs from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Islam, even Atheism into my worldview, trying to put together as many different pieces of the divine puzzle together as I could manage. So I never really did pick one thing, because I don't think any one religion is completely right or completely wrong.

TL;DR : The Universe is a complicated place, and nobody is 100% correct or 100% incorrect. Just learn from whoever you can, and be willing to change your mind as you find new information. Don't feel like you need to commit to one thing or another.

→ More replies