Forum: Arts / Religion

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Were you told what to believe?
By Ballet_Baibemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Mar 10, 2009 06:31 PM

Did you choose your religion for yourself, or were you told by a parent or similar what you had to believe?

I was brought up in a Christian household and was taken to church and taught about the bible but I was never told you have to believe this, the choice was mine. I chose to be a Christian and so did my older brother. My younger brother hasn't made this choice, thats up to him.

Saying that though I wasn't really exposed to other religions as a child. I mean I had religious education at school but I did not live in a diverse community. I know where the Jehovahs Witnesses worship in my town but aside from that there are no obvious signs of any other religions.

I have a friend whose Mum used to do a youth bible study and she was a person who said this is what you belive, there is no choice, no interpretation. She shouted at me once because I had interpreted something in the bible differently to her. I have found that when like this you are told you have to believe this your more likely to fight back.

What do you think? Did you have a choice?

BTW This is not a Christian only question I would like to hear from all religions, or if you don't have a religion. Any opinion and point of veiw is welcome.


41 Replies to Were you told what to believe?

re: Were you told what to believe?
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Mar 10, 2009 08:07 PM
Edited by LeSoulierVert (121625) on 2009-03-10 20:09:00
Dont EVER let people tell you, you have to believe something!

^Except for that sentence... ha

But really, belief is personal. Always. Thats one of my biggest qualms with religion. It is usually not free thinking and open to creative ideas... I've got a big brain and I LOVE to use it, and thus my beliefs are my own. I mean that isn't to say that many people haven't inspired me to alter my beliefs, but if they did, I changed purely out of free will.

You have the choice to be your own person. Cherish it! Use it! Live by it!

Oh and I'm not affilated with any religion or philosophy.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 02:59 AM
I went to First Day School (Sunday School for Quakers) as a kid. They taught they Bible stories as if they were fact, a fact I never seemed to grasp. I thought they were just stories. When we started to move into the "now this is important, this is how we get to heaven," I got confused and worried. I told my mom that I was going to hell because I didn't believe in god and hadn't realized it was a big deal. I even started to cry, and she just said "Oh, that's just fine, you don't have to believe what they say. I don't. Just believe whatever you want. If you don't believe in god, that's fine."

I don't so I didn't. I agree with some of the Quaker concepts but I am not a Chrsitian. I regard myself as a nonreligious agnostic now. (But sometimes I identify as a Quaker because people have such a strange conception of what a Quaker is!)

There is a big Catholic church in our town and many crazy Catholics who tried to tell us that taking the Lord's name in vain was bad, and you shouldn't wear rosaries as jewelry (but they're pretty!). pshhh. do whatever.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By TheStoryTellermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 05:35 AM
No, my parents were very relaxed about religion. I think I've been to a church all of... 2 times?

Once to be baptized and once for a wedding.

My parents let us choose our own way. We have a bible around here somewhere, but we're not overly religious. My dad is Agnostic, but my mom is United. I myself am an Athiest.

It's not for lack of education on Religion (although I don't know the entire bible, or many of the stories), it's just that the stories I know are kinda WoOoOoOo(wonky) for my tastes.

I totally support those that do believe in God, because it's their life, not mine and they should be free to live it out as they want.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By fairy_dustmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:20 AM
I was raised Catholic but not hard-core (my mother isn't every practicing and my father isn't Christian). I was baptized as a baby, had my first communion, confirmation, etc but until I was a teenager, my faith was more agnostic than Christian (I was one of those spiritual-but-not-religious people). Then, when I was 13, I was "saved" and became a born-again Christian. I began to learn more about Christianity and religion in general, but I didn't remain a born-again Christian - I felt called to return to my Catholic roots. In high school, I started going to Mass again, went to confession for the first time in 4 years, and later went to World Youth Day in Rome (year 2000) the summer after high school graduation. My faith kept growing from there thanks to friends and other religious events with the Catholic Church.

I wasn't really told what to believe - just presented with info and encouraged to make my own way, and I did a lot of research myself in things concerning religion.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:41 AM
Overall, no.

I was baptised Catholic as my dad is, but my mom is C of E.

I went to Catholic primary school, who needless to say taught religion as fact, and so I had communion and was confirmed without much say in the matter.

However, we never went to Church on Sundays. My Y5 and Y6 teacher always used to say 'one merit point for whoever can tell me what colour the priest was wearing on Sunday!' first thing on Monday morning. I always used to ask Lucy in the playground before we went in, as obviously I wouldn't have known.

When I was going through catechism prior to communion, my dad was quite open about the fact that it was a drag taking me to the meetings after mass on Sunday. My mom refused to go as the Catholicism had nothing to do with her.

I *think* my dad is a lazy believer, but I'm not sure. I know my mom is an atheist. I know my maternal grandparents, who I was close to, were believers and that gave me comfort when they were dying. At least they believed that there was light at the end of the tunnel after their suffering was over.

In Catholic secondary school, we of course had regular mass and studied religion, but it was approached differently from primary school. In biology, we learned evolution. In RE, we learned creation. As we got older, we briefly touched upon other religions, but they were around us anyway as we had Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and probably Jews at the school as well - in the UK, you can't exclude based on faith, so even faith schools are mixed.

It was in secondary school that I realised I didn't fully believe.

I class mysel as optimistic agnostic because truthfully? I don't think about this stuff much. I don't care enough to have a firm opinion either way. I prefer the idea of something after death, but if there isn't anything then I'll be dead, so it won't matter. My mom believes that when you die you're just gone, and I hate that idea. It can really make me feel ill sometimes, if I think about it too much.

I don't break too many laws and I'm generally a nice person, so I think that whichever god turns out to be the real one, if any, then I'm probably okay by that god. Unless it's a complete zealot that doesn't let you drink or eat curry.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By dancinqt5013member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:19 PM
I was kind of always told that if you're Catholic, you have to believe *this*. And I guess my parents made me be Catholic, in a way, but only by Catholic standards (baptized as a baby, confirmed when I was 13). I went to CCD (like Sunday school, but it was always on a Wednesday) at my church until I transferred to a catholic school for middle through high school. And in CCD and middle school, religion was taught as fact. I honestly thought I believed it, but I think I just knew the stories and traditions very well, so it was very very familiar. But the bible and stuff only ever really felt like stories and I always wanted to believe in them the same way the more faithful members of my church did.

In high school, religion was taught in a more theological method. Freshman year brushed over the biblical stuff and traditions, so they would know we had a basic understanding of it, but most of our religion classes had a general goal of teaching us to think for ourselves and develop our own beliefs. They had a Catholic focus of course. Senior year though, they had a World Religions elective, so I took that. In the end, I figured out on my own what I believe, and I'm no longer Catholic, as it turns out. But I'm glad that I was exposed to religion in a way that wasn't just facts about the Catholic church, you know?

I guess I kind of feel like I was told what to believe when I was younger, and I still am told by my parents to go to church every Sunday. But I don't think you can ever really tell someone what to believe. Belief is personal, no matter what. You can go to church every Sunday because your parents want you to, but it won't make you believe in what they believe in.

I think acknowledging your beliefs is one of the most important things you can do. Whether you stay in the religion that you were brought up in or you decide to be unaffiliated with a religion or you find another religion to be a part of is not up to anyone else.

When I was younger, I was actually very very religious and I never wanted to be one of those people who leaves the Catholic Church or converts to another religion because I thought Catholicism was just fact and I couldn't imagine believing in anything else. But now I know what I truly believe in. I still hold some Catholic truths, but I also believe in things totally different from the church. So I'm unaffiliated with a religion. The truth is, despite being told what to believe and thinking that was what I believed in, I honestly didn't know what it meant to believe in something until I acknowledged my own beliefs. It kind of makes me feel more complete as a person.

So, don't ever let anyone tell you what to believe, and it won't make any difference in the end anyway. You believe what you believe, no matter what. Expose yourself to other religions, keep an open mind, and never lie to yourself about your beliefs. But honestly, I wish my family could figure this out themselves.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By DancingDiva736member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:39 PM
I am Catholic, I was baptised Catholic, made my First Communion, Confirmation, went to Catholic school from Pre-school through the end of high school, and got married in my Catholic Church. Up until I was in high school, I went to church twice a week-every Friday in school and every Sunday with my family. Both of my parents are Catholic, although my mom wasn't until she was baptised when she married my dad. I was brought up with prayer, and certain beliefs, but although I was told stories from the Bible and what my church stood for, but no one ever forced me to believe it.

From the time I was 5, until the time I was 18, religion was a class I took in school. I heard the stories, was informed about what the Bible says, what my religion tells me is and isn't the truth, but no where through those years did anyone ever tell me I would burn if I didn't believe it. I suppose I was lucky because even though I was raised in the Catholic church, I never understood all the stories of people being afraid of Catholics. Our church was so relaxed so I never got the strict Catholic vibe.

My family always fasted on Ash Wednesday, didn't eat meat on Fridays, went to church for the religios holidays, so I suppose those things were pushed on me. It wasn't until I became an adult did I decide whether to participate in that or not. My husband is Catholic, but he doesn't practice. He doesn't think he has to go to church to pray, which I understand. We have talked about it and have decided that we will raise our children Catholic and they will celebrate the church as I did growing up, and as they are older if they want to practice differently, they are welcome to do so.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 11, 2009 01:10 PM
My mom is a non-practicing Lutheran, and my dad is just agnostic. I was baptized and went to sunday school as a small child, but since then I've been in and out of church. At 14, I decided to convert to Catholicism, but quickly decided against that. Then I wanted to convert to Judaism. Ultimately, I realized that I despise organized religion and have since come to my own "religion." My immediate family doesn't particularly care, and I haven't shared my beliefs with any of the religious extended-family members.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By MJeanette
On Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:40 AM
I'd have to say that I didn't really have a choice, my parents made me a Lutheran before I really knew anything about God, so I just naturally stayed a Lutheran. I don't think it was really a matter of being forced, though, because in religous aspects, I've always believed the same things that my parents do. I'm not really sure whether that's just because I was taught it at such a young age or if I would have believed all the same things anyway.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By MrsFinnigan
On Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:54 PM
I was raised Catholic first in an extremely religiously diverse city and then later on in a city where Catholics were a fairly obvious religious minority. My own immediate family is also quite inter-religious, coming from a long line of Catholics marrying outside the Faith as I do. Also, in Catholic schools, I received about three years of formal education in comparative religions. I learned even more in the years I studied to convert to Judaism.

Ultimately, ever religion or philosophy has a list, however long or short, of what you must believe in order to be an adherent. I was told what I'm expected to believe in order to remain a Catholic in good standing, what to believe (and what not to believe) to be accepted in any of the various Jewish denominations, what Muslims are expected to believe, the fundamental tenets Buddhists of all varieties have to accept to be Buddhist, et cetera, and that even atheism and agnosticism have their requirements that adherents to those philosophies cannot believe in God or believe that anyone can know there is a God.

We are all told what to believe. It's as inescapable as advertising.

However, we can choose whether or not to listen.

(And, well, when my rabbi told me I should return to the Catholic Church, I found that a bit difficult to ignore!)
re: Were you told what to believe?
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Thu Mar 19, 2009 05:24 PM
Yes I was told what to believe, and did it ever backfire!
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Miyuki_chanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:53 PM
My mom was a Lutheran but converted to Catholic before she married my dad. My dad was raised in a Catholic household. Now, my mom is still Catholic..but not practicing going to services. My dad I believe is agnostic or atheist or something..I just know he refuses to set foot in a church. I am a Nichiren Buddhist, but I was raised a Catholic.

My family was fairly relaxed about religion. I was baptized after I was born, but I didn't go to church every Sunday until 5th grade, when I one time went with my friend to CCD after she slept over the night before. I enjoyed it and told my parents I wanted to go, so they signed me up. Later that year I received First Communion and I continued to go to CCD until 9th grade. I had to stop then basically because my parents couldn't afford for me to go to CCD, do marching band and martial arts. So I dropped CCD because that doesn't necessarily help get you into college. After that we really only went to church on Christmas..and one other time for the Deacon's funeral. Other than that religion was never really forced on me and I was free to believe what I wanted. I do believe in God..but I feel my core beliefs are what led me to Buddhism.

Comment #8071826 deleted
Removed by hylndlas (107168) on 2009-03-22 13:10:57 double post

re: Were you told what to believe?
By RedheadGredmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Apr 08, 2009 08:55 AM
My parents said it was up to them to make sure I was raised their religion until I was 18. They said at 18 I could choose for myself but they hoped I would stay catholic. I was forced to make my confirmation when I was completely against it. I told my parents I did not want to be confirmed but they said they thought they were doing the right thing by forcing me. I was so upset about this. I knew since I was a kid that I was not catholic. I hated being forced to go to church every Sunday and going to catechism every Monday.

Now that I am an adult I don't go to church. I stopped going as soon as I turned 18. I only go on Christmas and Easter now to make my parents happy. I am not affiliated with any religion at the moment. I am not a fan of organized religion and I don't know exactly what I believe. I use to be wiccan back in High School. Now I would say I am more agnostic.

It is not like I can tell my parents any of this. My mom sometimes cries over the fact that I don't go to church. I don't know how she would handle me saying I am agnostic.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Puss_in_Bootsmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Apr 11, 2009 08:14 AM
I was never told, "You must be a Christian!" but all while I was growing up I felt that there was an expectation to be one. I attended the local Baptist church with my parents and younger sister until I was 7, and had a brief stint with Sunday School there. We stopped going to church when Mum got sick; I found out years later that they disliked the way people carried on there, and I suppose that was a good excuse to just not go.

I also went to a Catholic school for 12 years. Of course religious education was part of the curriculum there, but I wasn't the only non-Catholic there and they weren't too over-the-top with it either.

My parents rarely talked about religion. Mum would make comments from time to time that were VERY Catholic (even though she says she isn't any more), especially when she was angry at me for misbehaving - you know, the usual fire-and-brimstone stuff, and God commanding that I obey my parents (read: her), ya di ya di da. Having said that, I always thought that Dad was even MORE conservative, mostly because his parents and brothers' families went to the Baptist church, so I was even more nervous about him finding out that I'd ditched Christianity for neo-paganism when I was 16. It wasn't until I left school and had time for in-depth discussions with Dad that I found out that he didn't consider himself to be Christian any more, and that his beliefs were more in line with mine (that there's something out there, but that no organised religion has it all right).

I think that Mum would like me to be Christian; when my darling spitfire of a sister went out of her way to make sure that we all knew that she was an atheist, she was pretty upset. I've told her on various occasions that I'm not Christian but still believe in a higher power, but she can be very obtuse when she wants to be so I'm not sure whether she remembers that. :P Dad, on the other hand, has a more relaxed attitude: he believes that faith can only ever be just that, and that it should evolve over time. So while we may not always see eye to eye, and while he doesn't agree with my sister's views, he's not crying himself to sleep over it.

In this regard, I've been lucky with my parents. And after going to a funeral at my old church, I'm SO glad that they left. That place would have made me crazier than I already am. :P
re: Were you told what to believe?
By KayEllePremium member
On Sat Apr 11, 2009 03:12 PM
My mom was raised Catholic but stopped practicing soon after my sister was born. I think she still felt Catholic, because when she died, she said she wanted a full-on Catholic funeral and everything that goes with it. My dad was raised Christian of some variety, I'm not sure which, but he was never really into it (though some of his sisters are).

Apparently I went to church as a toddler, but don't remember it. My parents never made me feel bad for not believing in God or being religious or whatever. I've always had my own beliefs, and they don't really fit into any one organized religion.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By balletgirl4God
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 01:11 PM
I went to church with my family and did biblestudy and I felt like i was being pushed a little too much. but then I started studying the bible myself and I realized that God really does exist and there is so much more to life than just living it to make money or have a good time.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By kandykanePremium member
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 01:26 PM
My parents took us to church, but we never really discussed religion. It was the church's teachings that bothered me.

I was told what to do, not do, think, etc. Believing was sort of the ticket to being accepted in the church I went to. When you announced that fact and were "saved" then you became a member of the church. I was told what was "the way" and if you believe, you'll do it.

It wasn't until I noticed that all the people who were telling me what to do, what not to do, how to live, what to believe were not following their own instructions that I began to question religion. And the people associated with the church.

I'm a Christian, of no particular denomination, tho I've attended Methodist, Baptist and Catholic congrrgations. I've taught my kids that they should believe what feels right to them and they have both grown into pretty free thinkers.

re: Were you told what to believe?
By lizzielonghairmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 04:41 PM
(This is not meant to cause any offense, this is just how I explained my ideas to my mother for her to try and accept them.)

I was sort of told... we went to church celebrated easter and God was discussed. Then as I got to about ten (please don't start arguing with my idea, I'm not trying to hurt or criticize christianity) I thought that the bible was sort of flawed.
My mum is a strong catholic could not believe what I was telling her, she had no answer for all the things that I had realized ( Terminal illnesses in relation to god stunted her)...
Her answer was
'God will always be there'

I still don't believe now, she insists that I do..." I just haven't found good yet!"
re: Were you told what to believe?
By rallyhopbackPremium member
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 04:51 PM
My parents are both religious and I attended Catholic schools for 12 years. There was no getting out of Sunday Mass. The parish priest came over for Sunday dinner at least once every two months. In our house there was great disappointment when cousins and other family members married non-Catholics, or stopped going to church. We prayed for them to return to the church. We followed all the rules of the church and said our prayers before we ate and before we went to sleep.
So when I moved out of the house and tasted freedom, I pretty much stopped going to church. I didn't get married in the church, which broke my parents' hearts. Years later I returned to church for about five years before the narrow-mindedness of it all forced me out.
Even after all my education in Catholicism, I find it impossible to follow the doctrine of the church. Gays and abortion are two big issues with me. I find myself wondering why we trust a book written by a bunch of old men, and then appended by more old men who wanted to keep power over the people. I wonder why we follow some of Jesus' teaching and not others. I think it presumptious to believe that heaven is open only to those who are Catholic or Christian, or whatever the current teaching is. I don't doubt that Jesus existed and that he had unusual powers. Or even that he was the son of a supreme being. But when I read the Old Testement God seems to be some kind of teenage alien.
I just can't believe without question the way my parents do. And in my area it is all or nothing. There is no tolerance for those who pick and choose what parts of the doctrine to believe. I can't even imagine attending a Christian church because it has been ingrained so deeply in me that the Catholic church is the ONLY true church. It somehow feels better to be a lapsed Catholic than deny its authority.
How whacked is that?
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Believemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 04:51 PM
I was raised Catholic. Forced to go to mass, Sunday school, told constantly by my grandmother that I shouldn't worry about boys, or careers- I was going to be a Nun.

Fast forward to when I'm about 12. I was always taught homosexuals were BAD, AWFUL PEOPLE who would go to hell. My best friend since I was six years old came out to me when I was 12 and he was 13. What was I supposed to do? My best friend was this awful, evil person that I was told to stay away from. But I was confused- he's such a sweetheart, so caring and loving. Yes, he's gay, but he's still the same person I played play-dough with and made mud pies with.

When word got out that Blair was gay in our church, he was essentially disowned. He was told he was living in sin, and could not receive sacraments until he confessed his sin, and stopped seeing his boyfriend. He was allowed to be gay, but he was not allowed to act on it, not allowed to be in love, for fear of going to hell.

It was then that I really started to question my faith. To question religion in general. I eventually made the choice to just be spiritual- I believe in God, but not religion. My Mum is surprisingly supportive.

Now, this is just my experience with my church. Catholicism is good, if that's what works for you. I don't believe in forcing religion on people. When/if I have children, they will be taught about every religion, and given the choice as to what they believe. I do not believe in forcing beliefs on people.
re: Were you told what to believe?
By jennalovespinkmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 05:08 PM
Well, my story is a lot shorter
Raised Jewish, told what to believe
Became old enough to question things myself
believe what I believe now :)
re: Were you told what to believe?
By Sumayah
On Wed Apr 15, 2009 07:27 PM
I was raised in a certain religion, listened to what they had to say about the bible and God and decided for myself whether I wanted to stay in that faith. I choose to stay because what was said made sense to me practically and historically. However my sister has certain issues with some things and chose not to stay. My choice, her choice. /shrug No big deal.

What you believe in and how you believe are entirely personal matters. If you want to belong to a large church than do it, if not then don't. I do believe in God and I truly believe that only God knows our hearts and only he knows our reasons for why we choose different things and only he can condemn or exonerate us. In the meantime, we just do what we can to live our lives to the best we can and serve God (or insert deity or philosophy here) how we feel is right.

Comment #8142484 deleted
Removed by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2009-04-15 20:46:59 starfarming

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