Your religion and your environment and upbringing

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Sim, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    There is a thing I noticed: Among people who hold a particular religion or faith, there seem to be two types at least -- first, those who believe (or lack belief) because that's the way they were brought up by their family, and because most people in their environment share this respective belief (or lack of belief). Then, there is another group of believers: Those who weren't raised with their religion, and don't just swim with their environment, but discovered their religion/faith later in life, and often are at odds with their environment, because of it (or try to change their environment because of their believes).

    The latter group are usually more passionate about their religion, and more rigid. They took this religious identity because they really believe in it, so they want to take it seriously. The former group is usually more "relaxed" about their religion; for them, it's more tradition than genuine conviction, and while faith may be important for them, it's more a "gut thing" than a "mind thing".

    So to which group do you belong? A few questions for you:

    1) Do you hold the same religious views as those who raised you (family, close friends) and because they raised you with these views? Or did you acquire your views later, abandoning what you were raised with?

    2) Are your religious convictions and practizes similar to those people in your environment, or is your faith maybe even at odds with most people around you?

    3) Do you think your religious views would be different, if you were brought up with a different religious education, or if most of your environment held different believes?

    4) If your views are at odds with your environment: What does that mean for you? Is it more a hurdle that makes you doubt often, or is it rather a confirmation you are right?

    My answer: I am atheist, or maybe rather agnostic (I don't think there is any reason to believe God exists, but if convicing clues turned up, I might change my mind), and that matches the views of my close family members. My parents didn't raise me with a particular religion (but sent me to Protestant Christian religion education classes in school), and they are atheists or agnostics as well; at least, religion doesn't play a role in their lives.

    Most of my environment is the same. Most people I know are rather secular, many atheists, and those few who may hold certain religious believes don't take them very seriously, at least. So I am maybe just going the easy way. I didn't consciously pick my views, but I talked with believers and read a few things on religion, yet none of it has caused me to change my mind so far.

  2. Ilus_Unistus

    Ilus_Unistus Registered Member

    As an Atheist, I hold the same views as my family and 90% of people I know. I am like you in I have read much of the Bible, listened to discussions with somewhat of an open mind, but nothing convinces me being an atheist is wrong. I have had this view since I can remember.

    The majority of people I know, as well as where I am from share my views.

    It is hard to say believing as I do. But I can not rule this out as it is very possible.

    I think IF the majority of views were different than my own around me, I would still believe as I do because to me it is what I find as the best and most believable answers. It would really not matter to me what those around me thought there are many "answers" out there, what is important is finding the right one for you.
    Sim likes this.
  3. Bjarki

    Bjarki Registered Member

    Hmmm. I think converts are actually more in doubt about their religious beliefs than people who were brought up with it. For those raised in a religious tradition the notion of God and a universe designed by God is a given; it is something that needs no confirmation. Converts on the other hand will always hold (unconscious) doubts about their beliefs. It is something that is not natural for them, but acquired. Their extreme / fanatic way of practicing religion is meant to compensate for this, both to take away inner doubts (If I believe hard enough in this or that, it will be so) ánd as a means to gain access to an institute that is in essence still alien to him.

    My parents are catholics but not really practicing. I went to a catholic school when I was young and I read the bible at home. At the same time, in high school the teachers and pretty much all students were atheists or voiced opinions that were atheist or outright anti-theist. Once I got out of university I started having doubts again.

    I'm not sure. I think a lot of people believe in something, but are afraid of admitting to it to other people because they can't scientifically defend their views. My brothers are fervent atheists, my parents like I said 'passive' catholics. I'm sure they disagree with things my brothers say, but they don't bother going against it.


    I sometimes disagree with my brothers over religious matters (I'm less a-theistic, more open-minded to the supernatural). It doesn't really make me doubt, or confirm that I'm right. I'm used to having different opinions on things (politics etc.).

    Clues such as miracles or scientific evidence?

    p.s. Hi Sim, I was trying to write you a personal note in your profile, but the site won't stop loading when I try to send it.. Everything is fine on my end, been busy lately. Currently moving to my new appartment :)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
    idisrsly likes this.
  4. generalblue

    generalblue Where is my Queen?

    1) I do hold the same beliefs as most of my family. We are all Christians and my parents and brothers go to church quite a bit and try to spread the word of God. I on the other don't go to church and don't spread the word of God because I believe it is the individual's choice in whether or not to believe. Some people actually think I am an Athiest because I never talk about my religion.

    2) My belief wouldn't of been different if I was raised by Athiest for example. I honestly did not start believing until I was 19 years old when I lost a loved one in an car accident. I hit rock bottom and one day I prayed and felt the sensation of God's presence, something that words can not explain, ever since then I have been a believer.

    3) Number 3 is a good question, if I was raised by Jews then I would honestly be a Jew right now. I pray to God, I have never prayed to Jesus. Even though I consider my self a christian, I really don't have a religion. I consider my self a christian because it is my family religion. I only believe in God and Jesus.

    4) I really don't have my beliefs affect my enviroment, so there for my beliefs does not affect my enviroment. I have never doubted ever since that one day I prayed that there is a God.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  5. Daemonic

    Daemonic Registered Member

    1. No, I went to a Cristian school and was raised that way. I would say I came across my beliefs I have now by research and what I felt I connect with. Right now though I'm in a bit of a spiritual clusterfuck and am not going to bore you with the details because it's complicated.

    2. Very much not practiced around here.

    3. I have no idea.

    4. I'm not sure how to answer this since I'm working on my spirituality now. When I do have something that works for me I'm more concerned with using to move forward. I don't care if I'm right, I care how I can use it.....
  6. Major

    Major 4 legs good 2 legs bad V.I.P.

    1. My family used to go to church when I was little, but besides saying grace before dinner we didn't do anything religious outside of church. So while my parents may believe in Christianity and taught me good morals and everything, I certainly wasn't raised in a Christian household. I never bought into any of it and I didn't have any friends who were serious Christians either. I was always either atheist or agnostic until I became a Christian earlier this year. I am the only person in my family that is serious about it.

    2. No, I feel like I'm in the minority. Seems like most people are either non-believers or believers who don't practice their faith or take it seriously.

    3. This is a hard question to answer. There's really no way of knowing. I was always kind of anti-religion growing up and I hated going to church, so I don't think my environment or the way I was brought up would have made much of a difference.

    4. It doesn't make me doubt at all. I don't let it affect me one way or the other.
  7. idisrsly

    idisrsly I'm serious V.I.P. Lifetime

    I hold the same religious views as my family and 99% of my friends. My grandfather and his father and his father are/were all pastors, so in fact, I was raised in a rather "strict" Christian household.

    I can actually count years as to how long it took for me to actually befriend someone who is not a Christian. I now have friends from all corners of this spectrum, atheists, agnostics, apathetics, etc. But as a child I hardly came in to contact with people with different believes to my own.

    This is almost impossible to answer. Who knows? That would depend entirely on what environment I was then raised? I honestly don't know.

    Neither. Maybe because I was raised and have deep routed beliefs and faith, I might be stronger in what I believe? I don't know. But I have never doubted my beliefs and never will. It makes no difference to me whether anyone close to me believes or not. I think that everyone wants to believe in something, even if that something is just believing there is no God. That doesn't change my view or my views. I wouldn't really say it makes me stronger either though. I've found lately that I've met more and more non-believers and become good friends with a lot of them. At the same time, I've found that there seems to be a new trend AGAINST Christianity. Like non-believers think we must be absolutely stupid to believe. I think as long as everyone can respect each others views, it shouldn't matter to anyone what the one next to you agrees with or not.
    CaptainObvious likes this.
  8. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Hm, probably you are right and what I perceive as extreme / fanatic way of practizing their religion in case of converts is indeed a compensation for their doubts.

    It's just my impression that many who were raised with particular religious views (and maybe do not doubt them at all, as you correctly say) are often much more relaxed about it than converts -- they may, for example, pray before dinner, go to church sometimes (some only for Christmas and Easter), maybe just because it's a tradition, but maybe not even know much about theological questions or the Bible, and not live a very religious life. Converts, on the other hand, often try to be really good Christians by taking the rules more seriously.

    It's an interesting idea that the latter may be the result of deeper doubts, and one that makes sense.

    Do you know how it comes your religious views differ from those of your brothers? Did you have different external influences?

    Both. Empirical probability may suffice: If there was a scientifically documented event of a supernatural occurance, one which cannot be explained by natural forces, or in which case a natural explanation is ridiculously improbable, that might change my mind. Coincidence must be near extinct as a possibility.

    For example, if there was a documented case of someone accurately predicting a chain of unforeseeable future events, in a unambiguous manner, before they take place: It may be possible, in theory, that this person is just a lucky guesser, but the more events are included in this chain of predictions, and not just in a case of cryptic language that may be interpertreted in this manner after the events, the less likely is such a coincidence. Of course it must be events that cannot be estimated by observing existing trends.

    Think, for example, of someone who could tell you on the date exact all earthquakes and other natural disasters (and the places where they will take place) for the next year. A lucky guesser may have one hit, but chances are continously lower with every additional predicted event he will hit all of them. Empirical probability may not reach a value of zero (in theory, it's still possible, just very improbable, he just guessed and hit all of them), but it's very, very low, ridiculously low.

    Of course miracles in front of my eyes, that can reliably be observed and repeated, standing scientific scrutiny, would do as well for me.

    Scientific evidence may change my mind, and even if it was just scientific proof for the supernatural or transcendent, I might make that leap then and embrace Christianity, even if this evidence does not explicitly confirmes the Christian religion (evidence for the supernatural is not necessarily proof for God or Jesus, after all). That's because once my rationalist worldview was shattered, I'd probably think that spirituality with a long tradition is more trustworthy than obscure esoteric ideas to fill the gap.

    I'm glad to read that! :) I hadn't seen you in a while here, so I was wondering. How's your new apartment? Did you move to another city/town, or just change the apartment within the same city? At any rate, all best wishes!
  9. Bjarki

    Bjarki Registered Member

    A combination of things I guess.. i've always been a bit of a dreamer, more interested in my thoughts than in reality. My older brother is much more analytical, down-to-earth. Something is either scientifically correct or bogus for him :)
    Add to that my education: he went for neuroscience, I chose history (and thus naturally came into contact with a whole lot of different ideas and with religion in general).. and well maybe my failure in the academic milieu also helped a little.. or my appreciation for nature and art, who knows.. :)

    I don't believe in miracles either. If such a thing as a God exists it would be one according to the deïst conception of a God that does not intervene with worldly affairs, but merely exists and possibly creates. If he does rule the universe it would be through natural laws and not through divine intervention as in miracles. In that respect, God would more closely resemble a computer or natural force, which makes it hard not to dismiss 'Him' as just another natural event.

    Hmm I dunno, those traditional religions have been polluted through the centuries with lots of unnecessary, made-up, random interpretations and commentaries. I would probably look for God in the field of metascience: it's contemporary, suits our new rational worldview (reason above revelation) and is generally more critical of things 'experienced'. Or perhaps in mystic currents where the experience of God is the cornerstone rather than trying to grasp the ungraspable..

    It's a really nice appartment. Two bedrooms, living room and kitchen. I put my bed in the small bedroom so I have a large room left to store my books and study :nod:. CPU is in the living room. It's about 15km away from my parents house, in an equally large village, but with a seemingly more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere (lots of old people live there - it makes me tempted to vote Christians Dems :lol:). It's pretty overwhelming right now, but I hope that this move will bring about a new springtime in my life :cool:
    Thanks for the wishes ;)
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  10. Hiei

    Hiei The Hierophant

    It's actually a little bit of a mixed bag for me. Growing up, my mother was pagan but never really lectured us about being pagan. She did, however teach us certain things about various herbs, how to watch the sky and the earth, and about the pagan beliefs behind most of the holidays celebrated in America.

    My stepfather, on the other hand, was Salvationist which is basically Protestant. I believed that God was the one god and that he came to Earth in the form of Jesus, yada yada yada. It wasn't until later in life that I started thinking about what I really believe that I came to my beliefs now, which are basically more pagan and cosmic.

    No, not really. What I believe isn't anything even remotely mainstream and I haven't met anyone that believes what I believe. I do, however, believe that all the various religions that recognize some entity that created the earth and everything else are all reaching out to the same thing that I believe, but they're just misguided on what it is that they're praying to.

    Probably. I don't know exactly what I'd believe in, but if the only thing that were different about my upbringing were the religious aspects of it, I think that at some point in my life, I'd still come to the same conclusion.

    I wouldn't say that it's either, really. My beliefs don't conflict with just about anyone else's so I don't really ever run into any problems with it. And just taking a look around, wherever I may be, I constantly see confirmation that the earth is a living being and that there's an energy that flows through all of us. We are but a mere insect living alongside more insects on this planet.

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