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Thread: What led you to your current beliefs?

  1. #1
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    What led you to your current beliefs?



    I was wondering (maybe I have too much spare time on the road) how did you come too our set of beliefs? What made you become a Christian/Atheist/ Muslim/etc, or are you still searching?
    My own belief started when I was about 11 or 12. Up to that point God was something that I believed in in some thought, but then I started reading more and more on the question of beliefs. I always had a interest in myths, especially Greek and Roman. At this time I started to ask if the greeks believed in thier Gods why do we see them as wrong in todays society? Fortunately my parents were never over religious, so it was never forced down my throat. Also at about that age you start to go into rebellious mode and you start to question all sorts of things. There was the phase of going against God and being more a devil person, but that was just as bad as being a God person. To follow a diety, whether good or bad seemed wrong to me. By the time I was 14 I was more or less an atheist. What led me here was the illogicality of religion and the way seemingly reasonable, intelligent people could lose there sense of reality when faced with what I started to see as an advanced form of superstition. Along with an interest in astronomy and some parts of physics and a mind that, despite some abnormalities, prefers logic over superstition and the natural cynic in me has led to where I am now. I have become more and more convinced on the non-existance of God and that the universe, whist being a fantasic and mysterous place, is natural. There is also a part of me that excepts the reality that the universe is so huge that only my ego thinks that humans have a special place in it (maybe something to be discussed at another time). Whether it changes as I get older I don't know and it would be arrogant of me to say that I will never change, but I am currently happy with my beliefs as they stand now.
    What about you?

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    I don't believe, and it doesn't make me any worse than somebody who does. I think I dislike religion because of the fact how they want to cram it up your throat from childhood starting.

    I love myths and have appreciation for religious things, but I do not tolerate extremism. Religion is connected to a lot of historical things, but I believe it's all a big hoax.

    That's about it.
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    I was brought up in a Seventh Day Adventist home, and attended church every week. I also went to an interdenominational school from K-10, and was taught Bible class three times a week as well as Creationism (evolution was quickly glossed over). I just accepted creationism and the beliefs as true.

    It was when I came online a couple years ago that I noticed a lot of people bashing Christianity. Some of the bashings I felt were entirely unfounded, so I set about defending my faith. During these debates I understood people's frustration with Christianity, and it was also during this time that after debating creationism, I decided to look up some facts to argue my case. I couldn't find any non-biased sites that supported creationism, and the more I looked into it, the more evolution made sense. I then gave up Creationism for a more liberal Christians view of evolution as God's entire plan.

    Upon studying the Bible, I found that some of the parables and prophecies were of zero help to me. They meant absolutely nothing, so I reasoned that regardless of what was in store in the future, or what the few mysterious parables meant, that a Christian was to act in accordance with the sum of the law and the prophets. The various passages in the New Testament that told a Christian to rid oneself of anger, clothe oneself in compassion, tolerance, humility, etc, seemed practical in fulfilling the sum of the law and the prophets. So I studied carefully how all these traits were interconnected with the sum of the law and the prophets.

    On another search, I was always reading self-help books, as for some time, I was constantly depressed. I picked up Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, and found his book to be of great help, so when I found another book written by him Destructive Emotions - And How We Can Overcome Them (a dialogue with the Dalai Lama), I was interested. I found the book went into Buddhist reasoning of the emotions, and that Buddhism made it far clearer as to the benefits and reasons one was to take certain emotions on, or get rid of other emotions.

    It also caused me to question how a God of love could send people to hell. It made no sense in a God empathising with those suffering in hell, when he had the power to end their suffering. I also couldn't connect the law of love and the law against homosexuality, and among so many other question, I thought Christianity was doing me more harm than good. I was just confuzzled through and through. So I gave it up.

    So, now I am agnostic with leanings towards Buddhist teachings (rebirth however makes no sense to me). More would I say I like Buddhist philosophy, and also Buddhist meditations, but I don't want to subscribe to a belief system. I would rather just choose what I like from the various philosophies and religious traditions, and leave those things that make no sense to me.
    "The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness."
    --H.H. the Dalai Lama

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    By the time I was 14 I was more or less an atheist. What led me here was the illogicality of religion and the way seemingly reasonable, intelligent people could lose there sense of reality when faced with what I started to see as an advanced form of superstition. Along with an interest in astronomy and some parts of physics and a mind that, despite some abnormalities, prefers logic over superstition and the natural cynic in me has led to where I am now. I have become more and more convinced on the non-existance of God and that the universe, whist being a fantasic and mysterous place, is natural.


    That's basicly where I am now...with a few adjustments.
    I only believe in things that can be proven in a controlled environment. Can you prove god exists? From what I understand (and this could well be wrong) God is the faith within himself, if you have faith in him, he exists. But the thing is, if God is faith within himself, and you prove he exists...well....you don't have to have faith in him because he exists, therefore he doesn't exist...
    [techmech] 9:48 pm: women don't know what they want
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    Now, now...Mycernius san, this is also a great question-opening thread, and an invitation for me to write another book...

    Seriously folks, I could put a whole lot of words down on this one, but then...well, I'll be brief. (some of you may know already from what I've said in the past.)

    My mother's father was a Methodist circuit preacher. Both my parents were quite into the church. (my father later became a certified lay pastor) Us kids had NO choce really. (although when in high school, I'd sometimes skip the sermon (we didn't have to sit together) and go down to the local book store and look at the latest Playboy)

    But, then, near the end of high school, I became quite involved all of a sudden in the Billy Graham movement (my grandfather was a Graham, and loved the guy.) and went to some 'One Way' movement stuff. I started reading the NT everyday.

    Now, also strangely enough (as I am just a strange person, I guess) just before that I had started looking into Hinduism and the Krishna movement. (I was teaching myself Hindi at the moment) I had accquired a MahaBharata and a Bhagavadgita, and was reading some of the Sanskit texts.

    Now after entering college, I did a paper on Buddhism, and so had to do the research for that. My Christian side weakened a bit, you could say, during those early college days--being away from home may have been part of it. I even did a little bit of the 'Namyoho renge kyo' stuff for a while with some girls and a Chinese guy from the restaurant where I had worked in Pheonix.

    After college and my first marriage, I went back into studying the Bible again after discussing some things with some from the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). It revived that old emotional high I had had back in late highschool. (maybe there had simply been some longing there?)

    But some of the things the WS (Watchtower Society) was saying rang so true to things I had earlier been enlightened to (in my way of saying it) such as the conviction that in death there would surely be no consciousness. (That idea had hit me one night when I was out in the country 'meditating' (so to speak, not really though) on the starry sky back in junior high school)

    to be continued. . .

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    If the above post of mine has not been read first, please do that for continuity

    [commercial break...Does your toothpaste taste like toothpaste? If not try...]

    Well, . . . I associated with them for some three years, going into deeper and deeper study--involving the original languages, the recensions and original language texts, biblical history, etc.

    After a while I seemed to hit upon some snags which I brought before those in charge (Brooklyn, NY). For another three years, I argued my understanding and case before them to absolutely no avail !!

    So, to sum it all up, in a few words, there were a lot of other things that went into my getting where I am, not mentioned here, but with all of this I am agnostic. I also have a concept of a scientific-religiosity, a mode in which to be religious, with all the universal concepts that can be found in the 'pool' from which all the belief-systems have gotten them, without having to affirm the elements of those old belief-systems which are not from that 'pool'. the end

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    As far as I can remember I was forced to attend church. I do come from a religious background. My family awhile back were Catholic then somewhere along the line they decided to become Baptist. However, now some members of my family are hardly religious, except for my mother. She became a member of the Penticostal denomination. I was forced to dress a certian way, I could no longer wear pants and I couldn't wear make up. And on top of that, I was not allowed to wear jewellery. I hated this, because it was forced upon me. I hated going to church every Sunday and I had to go to Sunday school with these obnoxious kids who would qoute the Bible everytime they saw another student doing something wrong.
    I didn't like how these kids already knew how to cast judgment on others. I mean, they were no more than 8-9 years old. I kept quiet most of the time. When I did say something, I was usually rude. I know I shouldn't have behaved like this, but I wanted to show how much I hated being there. I hated being forced to sing in the choir, I hated participating in Christmas plays. I was thinking, "it's bad enough you're forcing me to go to church, now you have to make me do stuff within the church!"
    As I go older, I began to see alot of hypocrisy within the church. And yet, they would cast judgment on people who weren't "in church."

    I came to the relization that, the people I met who weren't Christians weren't doing the things some of the memebers of my former church were doing. And I didn't believe certian things in the Bible. However, I knew in my heart that I believed in God. You could call me a deist. I think I said this before, but I believe that reason and logic are supposed to help mankind. Because I really don't believe in turning to a religious text to show me what's right or wrong.

    With all the hypcritical behavior I've seen, I came to believe we must follow our own conscisousness.

    Well, that's it for now.
    gAll right then, Ifll go to hellh\and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.
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    Talking Question, question, question.

    That's what led me to my current beliefs. Which, in fact, I still do question.
    Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.

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    Good question!. I already answered it somewhere else - here is what I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by me
    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Perhaps you can briefly explain how you arrived at this point in your spiritual journey. You seem pretty balanced as an individual-- and what helped you arrive at your system of beliefs?
    I just found this essay. This guy's spiritual journey is similar to mine. It differs on a few points, but some are scarily similar, for example:
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    Although there were many things that I didnft (and donft) understand in the world, none of them directly suggested that there was a magical entity controlling them. Also, the notion that a simple, insignificant creature like myself could communicate directly with an almighty creator struck me as terribly arrogant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    Later, I began to envision gods as aspects of myself – the good, the bad, the loving, the warlike, the wise, the impetuous, etc.
    In my pagan phase, my personal gods were Thoth, since my love of knowledge and learning is so important, and Hecate, since I felt that her experience and wisdom were something I needed to develop.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    I began to try to remove the abstraction that had been introduced through the incorporation of gods into my life. I accomplished this by carefully examining the gods I knew and trying to identify why I needed them...As I got to know myself better, I found that I no longer needed abstract figures to guide me through life
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    The point that we must decide for ourselves is whether suffering is part of some divine plan put in place to test our resolve, or just a natural side effect of growth.
    I read some Buddhism and Nietzsche
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    For example, it takes a less well-developed social conscience to tell the truth because God demands it than to tell the truth out of a desire to live in a trusting society.
    This was one of the first nails in the coffin lid of my Christianity. At the age of 12 I was told that if I gave my life to Jesus, he would be responsible for me and my sins would be forgiven. I wanted to take that responsibility for myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    It is those of us that believe that our roles in the world define us and that act out of a desire to see the world improve without any promise of reward or threat of punishment that truly learn to love the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Tolk
    Gods are unnecessary
    This was the final nail. I came to a point where everything I understood made sense without any need for a superior entity. Since I'm a bit of a minimalist, I thought, why hang onto something I don't need.
    A few other points that led to my rejection of Christianity:

    I simply can't believe that any design went into Nature. If so, it is shoddy workmanship. Sometimes I feel so sh1tty, and when I ask why, I just can't believe that something made me this way intentionally. But if I think, this feeling sh1tty doesn't interfere with my ability to survive long enough to reproduce, it starts to make sense, and I feel reassured.

    The idea that what you believe matters makes no sense to me. Any being capable of creating the universe wouldn't give a damn what I thought.

    When I read the whole of Genesis for a badge in Girl Guides I was apalled by it. Genesis 19:32-38, where a couple of girls get their father drunk so they could get pregnant by him, was very disturbing to me at the age of 12.

    Hope this answers your question Sabro. I'm sorry it got long-winded
    I would only add to that that, like MP, I am still questioning. But now, it feels more like fine tuning and I doubt there will be any great revolution in what I believe. For the first time it feels 'right'.

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    i was schooled in catholic schools and my parents are both catholic but they weren't exactly religious. our family have been invited to different churches but never really stayed in one. when i entered puberty, angst started to set in and that's when i started to ask the "BIG" questions. it was frustrating and i felt guilty questioning the existence of god and my religion and all that stuff since RC considers it a grave sin.

    it also didn't help when i found out that some of my relatives were shamans--another no no in catholicism. imagine my confusion.

    i love reading the bible (until now actually) but some things just don't add up.

    things only started to become clear when i entered college. fortunately, the university where i am studying ain't like any other catholic schools i've been to. our theology employs exegesis and was very rooted to reality when it came to discussing the problems being encountered in said religion.

    aside from that, i did a self-study of comparative religion and have met different people from different religious backgrounds who are open to discussions. but everything would have not come into place without the continuous reflection and analyzation.

    i still write RC in filling out the religion part in any document but i've long parted with it in beliefs. this however was not prompted with regret or bitterness nor a result of frustration. i just discovered my OWN truth.
    ***
    my classmates and i were discussing what novels are a good read. one of my classmates said "try angels and demons. it'll test your faith"

    my instructor butted in "you know what book will truly test your faith? Read the Bible!"
    ***
    i'm not anti-Christian. it will forever be dear to me but there are a lot of things i can do without.

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    God found me. Tackled me and put me in a bear hug I couldn't get out of...it was an answer out of the clear blue...to a question I did not even know I was asking. Nothing about being "responsible for me." No religious dogma, no rules and regulations, no robes or candles or tradition and no one told me I had to...It was nothing I did or found...It was God finding me...and something coming alive inside me where before it was empty. Definitely an epiphany: A living God... loving and forgiving me!

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    My mother is a Catholic, my father is a Lutheran. We never really discussed or discuss religion all that often in our household. Then, one day, I went with a very good friend of mine to a "Christian Camp." I went simply to have fun, hang around with friends, and whatnot. That week changed my life into what I believe now. I am a Christian.
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    I say power to those who have faith in a religon. They have something to believe in, something that other people can't take away.

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    Cynicism and skepicism, mainly.

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    I have a religiously diverse family.

    I have buddhists in my family, I have catholics, I have Mormons, I have presbytarians, and I have a cousin who converted to Judaism.

    I grew up in a family where it didn't matter what we believed in. My Dad is Buddhist, and my Mom is just a non-religious christian. They both believe that we should do research and decide if we want a religion or not. So that's what I did. I've tried going to church with friends, but waking up early on my favorite day to sleep in and sitting with people that I don't really want to know isn't really my cup of tea. My oldest sister ended up getting Baptized into the Mormon Religion due to Peer Pressure. But she denies ever becoming Mormon.
    I however, decided that I wasn't going to be brainwashed into a certain religion. I did my research and had my share of debates and normal conversations about God. So I don't call myself anything. I believe in God, so I guess in a way I am considered a christian. But I really am more spiritual than I am religious.

    Since I live in Utah, I am always getting people trying to convert me to the LDS. I just say NO THANKS! With a Big fat NO.
    My beliefs on the Bible are on different threads. But to be brief. I find it to be nothing but a book of morals and lessons, with a lot of symbolism taken too seriously. But that's my opinion of course.
    I fit more into agnostic, but I do believe in God. Just not the fearful God that the Bible endorses.

    But if someone wants to believe in a certain religion, I think they should at least do some research, keep an open mind, and practice what they preach.

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    With " the belief " I was born...
    I never was in need "in this or that belief ", accepted among people...
    I only " use forms of these 粢・" for dialogue...
    That there is my belief is possible to name "Zen" and it is "Zen"...
    I never preached and did not impose " my the belief "...
    I accept that "It" is for me... And all...
    I outside of any "shows"...

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    My beliefs history is fairly similar to Mycernius. I was raised in a Catholic environment. Although my parents were not very religious (and now not at all), I was made to go to catechism classes after school (when I was 6), because all other children in my class also went there. We already had compulsory religion (read "Catholicism") classes at school.

    What I heard about god, etc. at school and in catechism first got me interested. They managed to induce in me that fear of the omnisciennt and omnipotent god that watches over my every action and thought. I think that I have kept of this my utter dislike of lies, cheating or harming others, because of the fear of divine punishment I got used to at that early age.

    But the purity of my heart and my genuine efforts to behave like a saint (or better if possible ) and be a good little boy getting good grades, helping others and minding my own business otherwise, quickly led me to question the veracity of my religious education. Why would God punish me by hurting me physically or psychologically (e.g. falling while playing, being bullied, etc.) for doing the best I can and visibly be a better person than my school comrades ? Why would some teachers dislike me even when I was more attentive and respectful in class than anybody else ? I sincerely believed that if I acted well, God would reward me and avoid me suffering. It did not happen.

    I questioned God in my head, and never got any answered. This time it was God himself (I was taught he was a man at first) that was ignoring me and making me suffer. What did I do wrong ? So I tried even harder to do my daily good deeds. I remember that during Lent, we were told by the religious teacher not to eat sweets and try to make as many good deeds per day as possible. We had to draw a sheet with a path with 40 stages, representing Jesus' 40 days in the desert. We had to decide every night before going to bed whether we had been "good", "not so good" or "bad" that day, and draw the square for each day accordingly in green, orange and red (I was still 6 years old). As I did try my best, and was clearly more motivated to try hard (as for everything else) than my class mates, I got more green squares than almost everyone. This led the religion teacher to criticise me and doubt of my sincerity. She kind of ridiculed me in front of the class, which only got me more bullied later. At confession at church (we were also forced to go during catechsim), I asked the priest why God would punish me for acting well. His anwers were not clear at all, and even contradictory to the reality. The more I questioned and explained my case, the more he got annoyed by my question. So did the catechism teachers and my religion teacher. I never ceased to question the "theory" as opposed to the "reality" from that time on.

    Like Mycernius I also learned about Greco-Romans gods, then other religions' gods. As I had compulsory religion classes for the whole 12 years of my compulsory education, I had a lot of opportunities to discuss with "professional" teachers of the word of god about any of my doubts or contradictions in the learning of the Bible. In fact, I even had a Jesuit priest as my religion teachers later on. It naturally didn't take me 12 years to become at first agnostic (since the age of 6 or 7), then deist (since the age of 15). I only consider myself an atheist since the age of 17/18.

    In fact, the more I learned about Christianity, the more I found serious inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible (like strongvoiceforward loved to remind us). The more I learned about history, the more I saw a connection between religion and evil (inquisition of beliefs, fear, mutual hatred, wars...). The more I learned about various religions and human psychology, the more I understood the patterns and how man-made religion all were.

    I started my metaphysical studies when I was 10/11. This gave me plenty of time to oppose Metaphysics to Catholicism in the religion classes at school (it sounded a bit like the discussions between SVF and Sabro in the last few months). This is when my teachers stopped teaching that god was a man, but was a shapeless "entity", and that heaven was not in the sky or somewhere in the universe, but in "another dimension". It's funny to see how the more my questions became mature for a child, the more the answers changed and contradicted totally what I had been taught before. This made me understand the sheer hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. So what could be worse for the good little boy than I was then, trying my best to act like a saint, to hear that some of the worst sins I was taught to avoid, lies, deception, cheating, manipulating, hurting people's feelings, were all part and parcel of the Christian mindset ? From that time one, I decided that I didn't want to be called a Christian anymore. I refused to do my Communion at age 12 (I was the only one in my class not to do it, as the other were still indoctrinated), standing for the first real time against my family and teachers in matters of religion (I had questioned a lot, but not really opposed them vehemently before).

    In some ways, we could say that my beliefs then as an Agnosticist were closer to those of some liberal Protestant Christians. I rejected the organisation of the Catholic Church, held it responsible for manipulating people for its own profit, imposing illogical and contradictory rules, etc. I had no knowledge of Protestantism at that time yet (I was 12 at the time, and raised in a 100% Catholic environment). I quickly dismissed the Bible itself, when I started comparing the OT and the NT, then compared it to other religions. I had started my fight against Christianity, which continued during my years in secondary school. I was lucky to have the best opponent the Catholic Church had to propose, Jesuit priests (war-machine made to convert the infidels by the vilest stratagems and highest hypocrisy). Then only ended up converting from agnosticism to deism then atheism. Thanks !


    P.S. : One of the things I have inherited from the Christian upbringing is to believe that there is only one truth in matters of religion/philosophy. This is why I cannot be religious, as it would mean choosing one religion over another, despite the fact that they all contradict each others on some points, and one point wrong destroys a whole religion. A good example within Christianity is how the various denominations of Christians disagree about the Trinity and the character of Jesus himself (just a man, god himself, the son of god... ?). What philosophy taught me is that there is no universal truth regarding morals or the concepts of good and evil. Thanks Einstein on this one for his teaching on relativity (which I first came into contact with when I was 11).

    As for the question of the possibility of the existence of a god or supreme being (what made me jump from Deist to Atheist), the answer came from pure logics, as I have explained in several threads on this forum (e.g. here and here) .
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    Reflection in hearing:
    From read I have understood -
    Actually Maciamo " did not leave anywhere the God "...
    ... "Which" has kept him from " imaginary light "...
    But in "becoming" Maciamo "has taken a great interest" in this "struggle" and has not noticed, how itself began similar to from whom he " was kept by the God "...
    "Those" were at war with him, "He" now is at war with "them"...
    These are "fruits" of one tree...
    ...........................................
    When he be tired from " these wars in the consciousness " it is possible he and will hear " rhythms of the God of a life " in Chaos of their the ideas and feelings...
    I hope...

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    I was led to my beliefs by reason. I do honor all other beliefs. My belief is
    that organized religions purpose is control, ether benevolent or self-serving.

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    I grow up in a secular context, my family, my school, the background...My mother is Christian, my father is Atheist. I never went to the church and all elder people close to me let me free to think what I considered appropriate. When I was a teenager I didn't think about it so much, now I consider myself "non-believer".

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    common sense and life experience has lead me to my current beliefs......so obviously I dont believe in any organized religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Idiot View Post
    common sense and life experience has lead me to my current beliefs......so obviously I dont believe in any organized religion.
    Organized religions exist. ;)
    It is so much easier to prove existence of a religion than if their beliefs are true.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Part is natural for me. I always grew up believing in God and the Afterlife, and the thought of no God or Afterlife is horrible to me, and impractical. I see more evidence to support my beliefs as time goes on. I don't want to consider myself close-minded, but to me nihilism is so ugly that I will not consider it. I see inherent benefits in believing.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I was raised as a Lutheran and was happy with it as a boy, I was a bit naive about the world outside of my small ethnic enclave. It would infuriate me if anyone spoke ill of religion. As I got more involved in the political side of life I became unhappy with many church policies (taking care of people in nations that have no relation to my own, the push for lax immigration policies, and bringing "refugees" in themselves). I then rejected the church, I would not be involved in an organization that I couldn't whole-heartedly believe in and searched for what felt natural. I arrived at Odalism and have been happier for it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackToTheForests View Post
    I arrived at Odalism and have been happier for it.

    You cannot be serious.

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