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Ironically my father was named after Charles Darwin. His father, a Christian and scientist, believed in a balance between faith and science. The faith dominated my up bringing and I was raised attending a Southern Baptist church 3 times a week. Although my parents were known to dance and drink on occasion, they were rigid in their faith towards God / Jesus Christ. My mother served as the Director of Children Ministries for the SB convention; my father was an influential businessmen and church Elder Deacon. Family TV shows - Highway to Heaven; Little House on the Prairie. Gospel and country music aired on the home stereo. A Girl Scout up to 4th grade - then I was kicked out for not praying. A Job's Daughter up to 15 - then I was kicked out for not praying. You know I honestly cannot think of a single Sunday from 3-13 that I was not marched out of my Sunday School Class or Worship Service for disturbing the peace with my incessant questions. Prayer for me was synonymous with spanking. Edited by: Sara Michael at: 10/4/06 2:03 pm
- Frank 013
Worthy of Worship
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My upbringing was nearly completely secular. Nothing bad was ever said about religion but I had no interest in the subject when I was young.I think one of the reasons that I was raised in this manor was due to the fact that my adoptive father was Jewish and my mother was a non practicing Christian. As well as I can remember I do not recall ever hearing a single religious discussion before I was 16. I really thought Christmas was about a fat guy that brought me presents. Later religion did surface as a topic but these discussions only surfaced because my younger sister wanted to know what she was. Her friends were Christian and she did not know what that meant. But her friends were going to Christian camp and having fun and she felt like she was missing out on something. She did go but came home early because it was too much like school. Of course by this time I was completely wrapped up in the pursuit of the opposite sex, so religion still held no interest to me. This changed slightly because my friends were very fascinated by the god question, so I started looking into the subject so I could contribute to the frequent talks we had on the subject.Later I found a real fascination for ancient history especially Greek mythology and military tactics and the Roman military.During these studies I found many remarkable similarities between ancient mythical heroes and the Christian Jesus myth. To me, Christianity was starting to look like a copy cat religion.Of course the more I saw the closer to atheist I became. When I read the Bible I went completely atheist, having finally seen the foolishness first hand. My values were shaped by a good hearted mom, karate, 2 stupid step brothers, a greedy manipulative adoptive father, The Army, and my very close and true friends. Some of these influences were examples of good behavior and some were examples of how I did not want to be.In most observations I am seen as a good, respectful, fair and moral person. But I did not gain these traits through religion. Later
I was not raised with religion, although a belief or curiosity or pursuit of "god" was encouraged- just not in a religious fashion. My parents read books about spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, Zen, self-help, etc, etc. They took us to Thich Naht Hanh seminars and stuff like that. My father was the biggest encourager of being openminded and anti religion, although the possiblity of no god was never discussed. At Christmas time my mother would sneak Jesus ideas into the house, which was a little confusing as a child. After they split up, my mother turned into a church attending christian and has tried her best to show us Christianity isn't so bad. It is hard for my brother and I to respect her now because she was always such an intelligent woman when we were growing up. My father went extreme in another direction... one that is hard to describe because there is no name for it. I guess it is part of a new age movement. He is anti- church, anti-bible, and even gave me a cope of The End of Faith recently, but his take on things definitely involves a god and his own belief system. Both he and my mother are distressed that I became an atheist. My mother of course is worried I won't go to heaven; my father doesn't believe in that crap but doesn't want me to waste "this" life by not progressing spiritually and having to go through the same lessons again. He diagnoses me as fearfully clinging to the mental-body and ignoring the soul and spirit bodies of my being. Even though my father is into some weird stuff, I still get along with him better than my mother, and we tend to have more intellectually stimulating conversations.I could write for days on this subject...
I grew up in a Christian, church attending family. We went to church most Sundays and all holidays. I loved Sunday School. My mother went back to university when I was in school and took comparative religions, etc. We suddenly stopped going to church, though no one really explained why. I was really broken up about not going to Sunday School anymore. No one ever talked about God or Christianity or religion in my house. Though for that matter, no one talked about much of anything. Christianity or the alternatives certainly were never an open topic of discussion, not that it would have been forbidden, just not of interest, I guess. I tried church as an adult. But the more I thought about the whole basis of Christianity, the more it just didn't ring true. Have Faith and believe in all this stuff that we (the church) cannot explain, but have faith nonetheless. I did a lot of reading on Judaism. But it made no more sense. I like Paganism though. It is more "down to earth" in a way that I like. But over time, I've come to believe that we are no different than the bumble bees and squirrels in my back yard. Just another creature on this earth. When you study animal behaviour, you really can see that we are no different. Makes our mating behaviour seem such a laugh too! Not so advanced from the apes after all So I've made it to atheism from Christianity all on my own, because this is what I believed deep down all the time. Just took me quite a few years to find it.
I was raised hardcore southern Baptist, went to Christian school for several years in high school. My entire family has basically had a hard on for Jesus their whole lives. My grandfather published a book on theology Amazon which never really did very well. My step father spent his younger years in a Christian gospel group touring the country. My mother has been in and out of hospitals since she was 6 years old and holds very dearly to her belief that god is the only reason she is alive. So to say that Christianity had an influence on my upbringing is an understatement.
I grew up in a small community -- my dad-to-be (atheist? non-theist, definitely) moved in, met my mom-to-be who was essentially a princess in the ruling family (all churchgoers). They fell in love...he was 24 years her senior (2 years older than her father), and already married. From what I understand, he got a quickie divorce in Mexico, they married, and she was essentially kicked out of the church (they do that in the Anglican church?!?). Anyway, when my sister and I were born, we were baptized, and as we grew up, we used to go (by ourselves, after we could go by ourselves, Mom didn't bother taking us anymore). Up until I was 8, I went regularly -- for the social life, I imagine. The minister used to take me to the old folks' home when he did his traveling services, so that I could do the readings. We moved to the West, and I went to church again. Then one Sunday, after I'd missed a week, I was asked (by an adult) "Where were you last week?" I was 9 years old, and I thought to myself "THAT is not why I go to church!" and I never went back.My sister, on the other hand, is one of those blind-faith kind of people -- couldn't tell you exactly what she believes, but I think she loves the community now, and would never question anything, especially if it meant she couldn't continue to be part of it. "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds." Loricat's Book NookCelebrating the Absurd
I was raised Catholic in an Irish-Catholic household located in an Irish-Catholic neighborhood and went to a Catholic school. There wasn't as much discussion of religion as you might expect though. It was just sort of taken for granted. It was the sea in which we swam so to speak.An exception to this was my elderly Irish grandmother who never accepted the Vatican II reforms, went to church every single day and never, ever ate meat on Friday. I remember when the topic of life elsewhere in the universe came up in discussion once that she dismissed it out of hand. There was no possibility of life on other planets because the Bible didn't say anything about God creating any other life and that was that, no discussion required.I don't know exactly how old I was when I realized that the whole world wasn't Catholic, but I was quite confused by the discovery. Kind of like the surprise I felt when I learned that everyone didn't speak or understand English. My mother was a teacher and much more open-minded than my grandmother, and to her credit she tried to explain this to me without denigrating any one else's beliefs, but of course it shattered my childish worldview and called into question much of what I had taken for granted.My mother also taught me to read at an early age and always encouraged me to do so, without trying to influence what I read. I developed a fascination with science - particularly cosmology and the origins of life and the universe, which inevitably called into question much of what the Church taught. The Church's continued opposition to birth control - particularly condoms in a time of AIDS - alienated me further. I've never really known what to think about abortion in moral terms and decided that since I don't know, I'll leave the choice of whether to have one or not to women. In other words, I'm pro-choice, and the Catholic Church's antiabortion alliance with fundamentalist Protestant groups - many of whom don't even consider Catholics as "Christians" in their view - has alienated me pretty much completely.I still consider myself a "Catholic" but more in the sense of my cultural upbringing than being an adherent to the faith. I also think that I am still scarred a bit by a Franciscan brother who taught us in fifth grade that if we ever denied the Church for a second - even if we were being tortured in boiling oil - that we would burn in hell for all eternity. He was another exception like my grandmother, but a powerful one nonetheless.I like to consider myself a rational human being, but when that kind of threat is burned into your head at such a young age it haunts you a bit. Edited by: Rich206 at: 11/17/06 7:35 pm