Did you CHOOSE your religion or were you born into it?

@James72 (26829)
Australia
July 10, 2008 1:17am CST
Regardless of whether you practice it or not; did you exercise the free will that God ultimately gave us all; and make your own personal decision regarding what religion you fall under or practice? Or did you enter the religion you follow by default? I was born into a Christian family (although they are not active or practicing Christians) so therefore I too am deemed to be a Christian; I did not however choose this path, it basically chose me I guess! I am interested to know if most members fall under the same category as me? Have many religions been studied by some to see what is the best fit for them in terms of their ideals and life choices? Or do we all just "fall into line"?
35 people like this
140 responses
@aseretdd (13732)
• Philippines
10 Jul 08
I was born into my religion... and i do not have any misgivings about that... i was born a Catholic... studied and taught in Catholic schools... Even though i am not practicing my religion by the book... and there are so many bad things going on with my religion... i have no plans of transferring or forsaking the religion that i was born into... it is in the matter of acceptance... belief... and being content...
5 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Fair enough. What it all does come down to is the level of personal comfort and guidance found. My perspective I guess is in relation to wondering how many people DO get the chance or take the opportunity to look outside of what they have been brought up to follow? Or do they even feel that they can do so? Most of us I think accept what we were born into and never really question beliefs or doctrines outside of it to any deep level. Thanks for responding.
6 people like this
@cbreeze (1206)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Aseretdd, in most religions you will find bad things going on. But it only matters what you are doing. If you follow the beliefs and don't bend them to manipulate people or hurt people. I think that because Catholisism is so big, and has such a structured heirarchy that stretches the globe, of course the bad things are going to make the media more often.
@goretz (72)
• Malaysia
11 Jul 08
I was born as a Catholic too.. Frankly speaking, in the first place I just did what everyone else~in my hometown~did. Go to church, attend mass ~having to bear hearing the boring sermonts~, say the rosary, fast during lent, celebrate Good Friday and be super excited when Christmas is just around the corner. But as I grew older, questions started to fill my curious mind ~I am sure most of us did. But I am thankful that I met priests and brothers from Jesuit ~they are very intellectual, they opened up my mind ~having questions or doubts don't mean you are in the wrong lane but rather it is what we should do in order to understand the religion better and to really believe and feel. And I am proud to say I am a Catholic, very very proud.
3 people like this
@shlooper (309)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I was born into one religion then chose another one. Well, I chose to be without religion, but I still have a lot of spirituality. My family expected me to enter the religion I was raised in by default, but I believe that it negatively impacted me to attend there. I took a course offered by the Universalist Unitarians called designing your own religion, and I also explored a lot of online possibilities to try to find what sort of spirituality I really believe in. Although I certainly haven't learned about all sorts of religion, I have defined my own beliefs a lot more.
5 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I too have somewhat defined my own set of beliefs. And I can definitely agree with you that a person can have spirituality without being tied to a particular faith as well. Life is a journey and there are many things to be learned along the way. An open mind and an open heart and soul can certainly make the journey more rewarding! Thanks for responding.
6 people like this
• United States
11 Jul 08
The only thing I don't like about Catholics is that they say, you have to go to church. I don't, I won't. if I need to pray, I could do it in the my own house, while I'm laying down, taking a shower. Even when I'm walking. I believe we all have our own ways of believeing in God.
3 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
13 Jul 08
i agree with you 100% that we can seek and find God without being in a church. I do however also appreciate that many religions have a component to them that involves drawing others to their faith and to what they personally believe is the right way. I ultimately have the ability to make my own choices so the only time I have an issue with this is when it becomes fanatical!
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 08
I chose my religion. I wasn't born into any religion. My parents saw fit to let me make my own decisions and they never pushed their religions on me. My mother is Southern Baptist, my father is Catholic. When I was very young, my mother was active in her church and I went to Sunday school for a little while, but when I was about 3 I thought it was ridiculous and asked to stop going and I never went back. I now identify myself as Celtic.
4 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
"Celtic"? Interesting. It seems that your family are very open minded and I have to admit that this is great to see! To have a family with three different religions as such is not common! You are a perfect example of true tolerance and understanding! Thanks for responding.
5 people like this
• United States
11 Jul 08
Well, we're not really a "family" in the normal sense. My parents have been divorced 4 years and I don't talk to my father about my life or religion. My mother is very understanding, though. She helped me and my sister when we wanted to know about religions. She took my sister around to all the churches in town and she took me to the New Age/occult books stores and helped me look through books. My sister ended up being baptized into my mother's church but eventually stopped going.
4 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
13 Jul 08
To be honest my family dynamic is far from normal as well!
1 person likes this
@goldeneagle (6773)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I was born into the Christian faith, and I have remained a Christian over the years. I have gone to churches of different denominations, but have never considered another religion. I know the truth, and have never needed to look elsewhere. There was a time in my life when I got away from practicing my religion, but I have always believed, and have never had a problem telling someone what I believe. I have started going to church again in the years I have been married, and have even helped out in a couple of positions in the church on occasions. I will not say that I am a model Christian by any means, but I still have no problems telling people what I believe if they ask.
4 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Good for you for experiencing different denominational churches etc. It broadens the mind and does not necessarily mean that you run the risk of abandoning your faith; it can actually move to strengthening it! For me it is all about understanding and tolerance and how else can we gain this without experiencing the "other" side? I too am certainly not a model Christian either; nor do I follow the Christian faith by the book. I do not even attend church. I was born a Christian and believe wholeheartedly in God; just not under the definitive guidelines put forward by most mainstream Christian religions. Thanks for responding.
4 people like this
@goretz (72)
• Malaysia
11 Jul 08
I was wondering what you would be like in person? Hehe. You know the truth? What is the truth then? I agree with what you said that 'there was a time in my life when I got waya from practising my religion, but I have always believed and have never had a problem telling someone what I believe'. But can I ask you whether it is just a matter of not practising or plus doing something else that is against the religion? Well, to make it clearer something like cohabitation. Christian prohibits cohabitation, does it not? ~I don't know why a lot of people in my country don't know that, they keep asking me~ I know people who are good Christians, well they are not saints or angel, they don't show off, they just do good deeds but at the same time they do something they are not suppose to do. Like cohabitation. But frankly speaking, for me I still respect them ~eventhough they will split up later. Its the friendship that matters and what we do to help the community. Help the poor, help the needy, the marginalized, those who are left behind. Its more important than some affairs.
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
13 Jul 08
What am I like in person? I am just ME! lol. I actually don't know the truth; and nor do I actively seek it to be honest! I just try to live my life as best I can and as positively as I can with a number of different ideals sourced from many different faiths and experiences. I expect to spend the rest of my life trying to improve this balance!
1 person likes this
@bbsr13 (4197)
• India
10 Jul 08
Hello,james! I was born in a Hindu family in India and following the doctrines of Hinduism.what I have studied the essence of all religions are somehow one and alike.thanx.
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I agree that the essence of many religions are similar in many ways too. I just wish that the inter-religion battles that exist could be more aware of this also. I have had some exposure to the Hindu religion after living in India for a year or so and now am living in a predominantly Muslim country. So I am fortunate to have experienced multiple perspectives. Thanks for responding.
3 people like this
@anndocs (249)
10 Jul 08
I was born with Catholic Family styles and culture. my parents impart different beliefs as a catholic member. One day, I was invited to a Christian service , then it follows.. follows... i have learn a lot from there, and totally changed me and my belief. I decided to be converted as Christian and Living with it. I found a Christian man which is now my husband; we both in service. Our goal is to set our family with Godly discipline specially to our child. We are not perfect Christian but with Christ mercy and grace he made us his children perfect in his eyes, and that's all that matters. Thanks! ans have a good day ahead..
4 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Well Catholicism and Christianity follow a very similar structure in my opinion; so the apple certainly didn't fall too far from the tree so to speak! I am happy to hear that you have managed to find peace with this in your life and wish you a good day ahead as well! Thanks for responding.
4 people like this
@vanities (11409)
• Davao, Philippines
10 Jul 08
i was born to be roman catholic and i dont have any issues on this..since from the very start..i mean when im still young..im a practising one ..active in the church activities..since when im still in school and at present ..and even my children are the same but fortunately they remain as it is..although i dont know what i will feel if they change religion but i guess since they are already a mind of their own..and think that its where they found peace and everything ...then i guess i will respect them for that..
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I feel that it is definitely important to respect your children's decisions once they are adults themselves. We can all only hope that we raised our children to be intelligent and well rounded; so if we achieve this; then we should have little doubt that they would make smart decisions for their own lives. Thanks for responding.
4 people like this
@Tetchie (2932)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I was born in a Catholic family and was schooled catholic all through till graduation. I found religious studies uninteresting and they did not make any sense to me. Perhaps it was my level of intelligence, but I couldn't understand the myth behind the stories. In fact I didn't know the stories were myth and so had a very difficult time believing what was being taught. That together with the behavior of the Nuns left me confused about the Love of this God. I don't believe in a fearful God, yet I was in fear and somewhat guilt ridden. That trait is passed on in school from generation to generation and so was passed to me. I didn't ask for it, it was passed. I do not align myself to this religion. I understand the basis of true Christianity and find it is far removed from today's Christian Fundamentalists. I used to want to align myself to Christianity but found the true meaning tainted by the movement. Though I do know there are some 'truth' abiding Christians, I respect that. So when I began spiritual practices I aligned myself to nothing but my self and a teacher who 'demands' alignment to no belief, but experience and inward discovery. So I no longer have a religion (I don't think I ever did). I can't fall into line with many things, religion is on top of that list. I think I am a better human being because of it.
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Hi Tetchie! I can relate to everything you are saying here..... I was not made to attend Church or Sunday school at all. But religion was a subject taught to me one year in High School. What I could not understand was why I was only being taught about Christianity? I wanted to learn about ALL religions. So I read about them myself. I am "officially" a Christian; but I too consider myself to not really have a religion as such. Certainly not in the mainstream sense. I try to be honest, God fearing to a degree; and a good person overall. I don't feel that I need to attend mass etc to achieve this standing. Yes, in specific terms it may make me less of a "Christian" but it certainly does not make me any less spiritually aware than anyone else! It IS all about self discovery and internal reflection. I find the commercialization and rigid structure of mainstream religions too limiting to be honest. So I embrace aspects of Christianity that I can relate to personally; and couple it with aspects of many other religions etc that I also feel an affinity with. Thanks for responding.
2 people like this
@Tetchie (2932)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
There's a book called Putting on the Mind of Christ written by Jim Marion which I found a breath of fresh air. It was referred to me in regard to the Dark Night of the Soul (a place of deep reflection that can bring up very difficult emotions). There were parallels in it I could relate to and I was very pleased this book came from a Christian perspective. Marion was able to relay in layman's terms levels of consciousness, which explains why one person is unable to 'relate' to another in understanding knowledge as relayed by teachings, particularly those teachings of the Bible which we know are misinterpreted. You may like it.
3 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I will keep an eye out for this book then. Thanks for the referral!
2 people like this
@cupid74 (11388)
• Pakistan
11 Jul 08
i fall in ur category i am Born Muslim and u said very well, Relegion choose U Very true Take care
3 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
We are all generally born into one way of life or another! Thanks for responding.
@cupid74 (11388)
• Pakistan
11 Jul 08
u r welcome takecare
1 person likes this
• Ireland
11 Jul 08
I was raised by a Roman Catholic Family so exactly as you said, they chose my religion. By luck, I got ill at 19, and after memory loss for awhile, I had to educate myself. After a few years I had a more open mind, and I looked for my own beliefs. Today many years later, I now have a mixture of beliefs from nearly all religions thus I became more spiritual and much more happier in myself, even though I have no particular religion. So in my own opinion, it is more beneficial for one to learn for oneself and not from others, preachers and organised religions.
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Jul 08
I agree 100% that embracing an open mind across all religions allows one to basically "mix and match" for a sense of completeness. I feel I have somewhat done the same. I like your attitude concerning getting ill "by luck" too! Thanks for responding.
@balasri (26546)
• India
11 Jul 08
I was born a Hindu an raised as an Hindu.Though my parents are not that pious I started to like my religion and there was no need for me to change my religion.You can always take the best things from other religions without changing into them.It saves your time to do more constructive works.
3 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
I agree with you that there are positive aspects to be acknowledged from ALL religions that do no necessarily have to be focussed on as a whole. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@dinxcarin (595)
• Singapore
11 Jul 08
I was born a Roman Catholic. My parents weren't so active in the church then and so I was. I knew God exists and we were meant to follow the 10 Commandments so we won't go to hell and stuffs. Must do good things so we can also get good things in return from God. That thought scared me and made me stay away from God for years!But now, with all the religions complicating my existence. I have come to decide to just follow and have a special relationship with Jesus. I was in a bondage! And Jesus has set me FREE!It's my choice. And I'm so glad I made it:) Being with Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me . There's no turning back!:)
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
You are fortunate to have found such a strong connection with your faith and chosen path! I have had responses from a number of different religions and faiths here and it is interesting to see that many are Roman Catholic and have chosen to stay loyal to their faith in one way or another. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@raclie (1732)
• Singapore
10 Jul 08
born a christain but fighting all the way... against christainality i just hate it...
3 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Hmmm. "Hate" is an very strong word! It is obviously not a good thing to feel this way about the religion you have been born into. I hope that you find your path and let go of the ill feelings. Thanks for responding.
3 people like this
@DonnaLawson (4032)
• United States
10 Jul 08
My family were Christians but no church goers.. I did go to church on my own when I was growing up.. I accepted Jesus when I was 8 yrs old and heve never regretted it.. I never had the desire to look for another religion, as I am completely happy with my own..
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
That is a young age to make an acceptance such as this! It is also rewarding to see that you have continued to embrace a decision that you made so young in such a positive manner. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 08
I have held fast to it for 52 years and haven't regretted it one time.. have a great day..
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
Wow! That is even more inspiring to hear that it has been so for so long! You are truly blessed to have found your path in life in this regard. We should all be so lucky.
1 person likes this
@Harley009 (1420)
• India
10 Jul 08
I was born in a Muslim family. There exists some traditions and many things added or changed and they call it Islam. When I was grown and I began to analyze and learned myself about other religion as well, they I understood Islam is the truth and it much differs with our local people used to do. So I started learning it from the Quran and scholars. Now I'm confident in my belief, and proud of it. I'm a Muslim!
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
10 Jul 08
I am happy that you have such a strong affinity to your faith. Muslims especially face a lot of criticism globally and in my opinion this is mainly due to a lack of understanding and tolerance overall. There is unfortunately a stereotypical view placed on Muslims that I do not feel is even close to being accurate. It is the actions of a minority that have defined Islam in the world rather than the actions of the majority. Living in a predominantly Muslim country at the moment has only furthered my opinions in this regard. I feel though that it is important for everybody to learn as much about other religions and cultures as possible as well. Yes Islam is the path you have chosen; but it does not mean that any other path is less right. (I am not suggesting that you personally think this; it is a generalization). Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@Harley009 (1420)
• India
10 Jul 08
James, Thanks for the compliments. All people should understand about different communities and religions over the world, it will greatly help for the tolerance. Islam is heavily criticized, because the westerners know very less about Islam, and there are only few Muslims, all they hear about Islam is some thing with terrorism and forget about the actual Islam. Egypt is very much modernized though you can feel the difference in rumors and the actual feeling with Muslims. Islam is the path I have found right and that doesn't mean to disrespect others. I cant say everything is right as many beliefs conflicts with Islamic Ideas, I would say Our belief is to us and their belief is to them. Islam teaches to respect others regardless to the religion.
1 person likes this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
13 Jul 08
Yes we ALL should try to understand each others differences. And I agree that it is a lack of education of your religion that causes the stereotypical views to gain strength. I am fortunate enough to be living in a predominantly Islamic country so have had first hand experience of the "Other side of the fence" so to speak. The problem is that a vast majority of people have not had the same exposure and never will. My tolerance and understanding of Islam is based on experience; not what I have read or seen on CNN or the equivalent. Yes I have come across what people may term "fanatics" but this is honestly a rarity and I just ignore people that choose to belittle me because of my differences to theirs. Life is to short to be concerned with people like this and it is these people that are only further fueling some of the negative opinions concerning your faith. The fanatics need to be silenced by the majority in my opinion!
• United States
11 Jul 08
I, too, was born into a Christian family--a preacher's daughter am I, no less! That faith has served me well. Different events in life have led me to question, to doubt, to seek and sometimes in a very broad way--but I have returned to the 'faith of my fathers' every time. I believe my seeking has led me to a broader spiritual life and have decided that forevermore I am simply a seeker. So, while I was born into my religion so to speak, I have chosen it as well. ~~
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Jul 08
A Preachers daughter! It would be interesting to know how open your Father actually is to you exploring other faiths? Thanks for responding.
• Philippines
11 Jul 08
i was born into my religion as well. im born roman catholic like my dad and mom. we used to go to church every sunday when we were younger. my dad truly believes in the religion. for me though even though im born to the religion im in, i still accept it even though im not that active. but i also try my best to learn other religions because its interesting. but as to transferring to another religion, i havent thought about it yet. i do know of someone as a catholic who chose another religion. she finds the other religion more suitable for her i guess... but for me, religion is a personal matter. it doesnt matter what religion you are in as long as you believe that there is someone out there be it jesus, god, alah, yaweh, buddha and etc. or if you believe in heaven and hell, good and bad and etc.
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Jul 08
Religion for me is definitely a personal choice as well. Although we may be brought up to believe in a certain faith it does mean that we cannot at least educate ourselves about other faiths. This gives us tolerance and understanding of others as well as allows us to really determine which path is most suitable for us personally. Thanks for responding.
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
11 Jul 08
I was born into my religion...I was taught it all of my life and i was raised that way so i have always believed that way..Now that i am older i still believe the basic's of my religion but sometimes i wonder about the rules and stuff and wonder if it is all necessary (the rule part ) of it...........that is
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Jul 08
Some people may argue that faith in your religion removes the need to question aspects of it. I disagree. As far as I am concerned, questioning things can either strengthen your faith OR allow you to seek a path that is more complimentary to your life. Thanks for responding.
@kittenmc (464)
• United States
11 Jul 08
I was raised to go to church. Even thou we were non denominational church, I was always free to visit others and see which one I felt was more me. About 6 years ago I switched to Church of God. (They are very much a like, thou.) But, I do have a brother that decided to go Baptist. So, I guess you can say I have chose to follow what I was raised in, but my mother never had a closed mind about others. She let us taste a little here and there, then when we were older, we were able to follow our own path. My main goal has always been to follow Jesus.
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Jul 08
It is positive that your Mother has been open to you exercising free will. And the fact that there are different paths existing in the same family is proof that tolerance allows harmony! Thanks for responding.
• United States
11 Jul 08
Hello All! I just wanted to respond bit. I've thought about this too before about how and why we believe what we do. It's so hard to comprehend sometimes. But I was born Christian, and I guess it's just a learning thing. I grew up with it, and am ok with it. Just basically the same way you were. I love it, but it was implimented in me to love it. I know that I have the free will to change it if I wish. But Just remember, you're the one who chooses to accept what has been taught to you. Just like in school. yes they teach you things, but its up to you to get it inside your head and believe it and understand it. Hope this helped
2 people like this
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
Yes, free will allows us to make many choices that we feel best suit our purposes in life. Some choose to stay on the path they were brought up on and some don't. As long as we have the freedom to make our own minds up then all is good. Thanks for responding.