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My father and mother were both Jewish. My father was raised Conservative, my mother barely Reform. As she got older my mother shared with us that she was Agnostic, although she still held on to tenets of Judaism, she was Agnostic and raised us in a Jewish house which is what my father wanted.

I've often wondered how friends, of which I consider many of you, were raised, and grew up. Did you follow the religious (or non-religious) tenets of your parents?

If they were Christian do you find yourself as Christian today? If they were Atheists, do you find yourself as an Atheist today?

I know that atheism/agnosticism is not a belief, so I am not trying to argue it is....I am just trying to see how one was raised vs how we turned out in adulthood, in regards to religion/theism/atheism/etc.

Please use the comments section if you would like to expand, as I know the topic can be one in which wording is very precise and each term filled with meaning.

Originally posted to BFSkinner on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists and Street Prophets .

Poll

The religion/belief/lack of religion/ system of my parents is my current religion/non-religion/belief system

20%104 votes
71%370 votes
8%43 votes

| 518 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (132+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsGrin, ZedMont, kerflooey, SpamNunn, Nebraska68847Dem, Polly Syllabic, JeffW, GreenPA, illinifan17, terrybuck, pucklady, Shockwave, jbsoul, tiponeill, Matt Z, ncarolinagirl, mrsgoo, Hey338Too, blueoasis, postmodernista, tharu1, Sister Havana, ChocolateChris, Naniboujou, chicago minx, 2dot, apimomfan2, hulibow, pierre9045, Cassandra Waites, kkkkate, wenchacha, Jack K, SuWho, realalaskan, yoduuuh do or do not, DaveinBremerton, karmsy, David54, Aunt Pat, 2thanks, texasmom, ZenTrainer, OleHippieChick, thenekkidtruth, Catte Nappe, seefleur, HoundDog, funningforrest, Jollie Ollie Orange, LillithMc, sharonsz, glb3, Bridge Master, oceanview, Prinny Squad, psychodrew, Lefty Ladig, TheFatLadySings, KrazyKitten, blueoregon, Eileen B, LynChi, rebel ga, sawgrass727, laurak, alwaysquestion, blackjackal, dougymi, janis b, badscience, Sharon Wraight, greengemini, pat of butter in a sea of grits, jacey, ORswede, Paddy999, Windowpane, Wee Mama, oldliberal, on the cusp, SherwoodB, quill, la urracca, ruleoflaw, edsbrooklyn, cville townie, sfbob, ItsaMathJoke, madmsf, Debby, virginwoolf, kishik, Mokurai, kjoftherock, Lonely Texan, stevenaxelrod, Paul Ferguson, tegrat, Liberal Thinking, outragedinSF, tardis10, Unknown Quantity, GAS, kumaneko, rat racer, worldlotus, isabelle hayes, old mark, Cadillac64, VaBreeze, ATFILLINOIS, lexalou, Kingsmeg, BYw, Patango, tuesdayschilde, NancyWH, leeleedee, Risen Tree, pvasileff, dandy lion, radarlady, oortdust, Bendra, Batya the Toon, PSzymeczek, Ginny in CO, AaronInSanDiego, Oh Mary Oh, susans, amyzex

    I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning.

    by BFSkinner on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:04:01 PM PDT

  •  I am still an observant Roman Catholic. (26+ / 0-)

    I am not quite the Shiite Catholics my parents were, but I think I understand the reasons why we do what we do better than they did, courtesy of my Augustinian and Jesuit higher education.  

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:13:30 PM PDT

    •  Roger That (23+ / 0-)

      I dropped out of church in college like everyone does, did quite a bit of soul searching over the years, and to my great surprise discovered that what the ELCA teaches is pretty close to what I had come to believe anyway.  Either my Sunday school teachers implanted some disturbingly subtle engrams when I wasn't paying attention, or the Lutherans are sensible mainline Protestant folks with comfortably germanic traditions.

      o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

      by tarkangi on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:33:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not just Germanic... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tarkangi

        But Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and Baltic. There's also the English Lutheran tradition. All of them have their own subsects as well. For example, our German Lutheran congregation formed in 1856 primarily because our parent German congregation's pastor was a slave owner. We were abolitionists. We joined the Ohio Synod (anti-slavery) while they remained in the Virginia Synod (pro-slavery) even though our buildings were on the same street, 6 blocks apart. It was a full century before we were rejoined to the same Synod. Funny how these things work, huh?

    •  I still hold my ELCA membership. I went there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner

      after I finally realized the RC church was impossible for me. I'm not active anymore but that's me, not the congregation. For those who want a church, it's a good one - not too hung up on doctrine on the whole, although we did get a pastor who was a bit prickly on the subject after the retirement of a long time pastor but she didn't last long. The membership at this hold a wide variety of beliefs & opinions & folks are mostly good with that, though some parishes are more accepting than others I have found, which I guess in only human nature.

      "Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié" Balzac

      by gelfling545 on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:18:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sort of. I am still a Baptist, but my (25+ / 0-)

    current Baptist church has two pastors, both women, one lesbian.  Not quite like the Baptist churches my parents took me to.  I voted "other."

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:19:43 PM PDT

  •  Former Catholic, like my parents. (20+ / 0-)

    I'm now not religious at all, can't speak for my family…I know they are lapsed, etc.

  •  My mother was raised Methodist (27+ / 0-)

    My father was a seeker of Eastern and native religions. By "native", I mean he was willing to look at Polynesian, Native American, Middle Eastern and other religions in order to hone a belief system that worked for him.

    Between the two of them, my father's customized religion really worked for him. He was the most godly person I ever knew, because his God was the god of everyone. My mother was more reserved, but her faith worked for her, too.

    I went with both parents to church. Or "church" in the case of Dad. Out on my own, I explored other religions and faiths as well. I went to Mass for a year or so. I studies Sufiism and Judaism. I went to a fundy Baptist church for a couple of years. (That one was the least useful, but I did learn about radical GOP-ism)

    Right now, I am atheist, but I understand where everyone is coming from. I get why each niche religion suits people differently.

    I guess I got that from both my parents.

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:20:16 PM PDT

  •  No. They were Catholic and now I'm certainly not (29+ / 0-)

    My husband and I were married in the church but that was about the end of it.  We had our kids dedicated in the Unitarian church when they were born, but we haven't raised them in any religion and we don't practice any religion.

    the woman who is easily irritated

    by chicago minx on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:23:12 PM PDT

  •  Heya BF! (26+ / 0-)

    You getting settled in well in the new digs?

    I was raised in a "Catholic" home.
    Back up a bit. My father was some sort of conservative christian order... (Pentecostal ?) before he met Mom. He converted to her "belief" system.

    Mom was raised in a very Catholic situation. Yet, she spent a lot of her formative years with Jewish people. I recall her going to temple on High Holy Days.
    But, we were all baptized (I often wondered why I had to get a bath just to go get a bath).

    So, yeah... we got the crap beat out of us by nuns, priests, Mom, Dad, the dog, all the neighbor's parents... we were extremely Catholic.

    In the last 30 years of Mom's life, she abandoned all "belief" (I think she saw how us kids turned out and declared, "There can be no God!").

    But, before Mom got there, I had already decided that all the make believe stuff was too much to believe.

    Did I answer your question?

    Can I have what's behind door number 2?

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:24:48 PM PDT

  •  Oh, no. No, no, no. (29+ / 0-)

    I am neither religious, nor superstitious.

    I was raised in the Church of Christ, although neither my father or mother attended while I was a child.  They sent me with my aunt.  As they got older, though, they both got more involved with Church.  Dad stuck with the Church of Christ, although he married a Baptist after the divorce.

    My Mom, on the other hand, has decided she is Catholic, although she informed the priest that she would NOT be praying to that Mary woman, that she has a direct connection to the Lord.  That might seem odd for a Catholic, but my stepfather is Catholic, and becoming Catholic was the only way they could go to church together.  Otherwise she would have never done it.

    Mom insists that an angel with white hair wearing bed-ticking coveralls intervened in her family's life with a miracle during the 1930s (I personally chalk this up to a prank on my grandfather's part.  I inherited his wicked sense of humor as well as his attitude toward religion. Ironically, he married a Nazarene preacher's daughter}.

    And when we got into a "discussion" of how Noah could have possibly gathered all the species of animals all over the earth and put two of each into one boat, Mom had a ready explanation.  "God miniaturized them," she said as sure of herself as if that was a verse in Genesis.

    No, I left that way of thinking (imagining) a long time ago.

    But although I am not religious per se, I, like Gandhi, do very much admire the Jesus who taught the beatitudes.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:25:10 PM PDT

  •  Born Catholic, raised Catholic, still Catholic. (16+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:26:24 PM PDT

  •  My father was once going to be a Jesuit priest (20+ / 0-)

    But he didn't.  Eventually he broke relations with the Catholic church although he prayed every day.  About the same time my father broke away I did too.  I was gong through catechism towards confirmation when I got into an argument with a priest over the Theory of Evolution.  That got me thinking and I slowly became an agnostic.

    My mother was not very religious but she eventually became a devote Catholic.  She got along fine with my father.

    I have drifted around my agnosticism.  Sometimes I called myself a neo-gnostic pantheist sometimes a weak atheist.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:27:11 PM PDT

  •  No and neither were my parents (17+ / 0-)

    My mother - not raised in any faith,United Church of Canada as a young adult, Unitarian for a brief period, Quaker in middle age, not member of any religion but deeply religious in New Agey way later in life.

    My father - raised in United Church and in the church as a young adult, after a period not in any faith he became a Buddhist.  Not sure what he considers himself now although he has spent some time studying shamanism.

    Me - United Church of Canada for the first six years of my life - nothing since then

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:29:07 PM PDT

    •  similar story here (5+ / 0-)

      Both parents were not very religious (despite coming from very religious and conservative families). At the time I was born, they decided to try Unitarianism, which in my experience was kind of like the social aspect of church but without the ritual and religious commitment. I, and my sibs are now athiests, Mom is some kind of new agey pagan, and Dad was kind of spiritualist when he died. I haven't believed in anything supernatural since about age 10 and I'm so thankful now for my parents inconsistent and half-hearted religiousity.

      An acquaintance told a story of how her parents introduced religion.  They were not religious but wanted their two daughters to make the choice for themselves.  So they took them to church for a year.  Lots of churches and temples: Baptist, Catholic, Santeria, Buddhist, Jewish... At the end of the year, the girls chose: both selected no religion.  My friend explained that when all those religions were presented together, they just seemed ridiculous and unbelievable.

      "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

      by quill on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:12:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nope - sent to Catholic schools (29+ / 0-)

    which made me an atheist by Freshman HS year.

    You can't believe (literally) the crap they taught in religion class

    If altar boys could get pregnant, contraception would be a sacrament.

    by tiponeill on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:31:28 PM PDT

  •  Sort of. Raised Episcopalian, married a Catholic, (18+ / 0-)

    did a superficial kind of conversion in order to worship as a family and raise my daughter in the faith, but a nasty divorce left me unchurched - as there is no place for divorced folks there.  So now, I'm loosely back to being Episcopalian, when I need to attend church, but mostly just a combination of trying to adhere to radical Christianity - which is NOT fundamentalist.  And alternating those beliefs about how we should live together and love one another unconditionally with some Eastern beliefs about reincarnation, all the while dealing with questions from my scientific and rational brain about how any of this faith stuff can be true, anyway, because it's all so... un-prove-able.

    So, I'm a muddled spiritual mess, mostly - but it's not my parent's fault.

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." - United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Republican) -8.12, -5.18

    by ncarolinagirl on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:31:50 PM PDT

  •  My folks were Methodist (16+ / 0-)

    Although I grew up in a combination of post chapels, each with a chaplain of a different denomination, or a local Methodist church. As an adult, I spent 10 years in tongue talking, chandelier swinging, pew jumping (independent charismatic) churches, then 3 years Presbyterian, then 3 years Southern Baptist. Then I came home to the United Methodist church. I like the combination of the liturgy and the social action. Like my parents, I am politically liberal and there is a place for liberals in the Methodist church, even in the South.

  •  I converted to Judaism as an adult (17+ / 0-)

    My paternal line had at least six generations of American Presbyterians and I was also raised Presbyterian; my mother was raised Methodist in her father's tradition. My father's mother was raised Roman Catholic but was excommunicated for marrying a non-Catholic; my mother's mother was from a long line of Southern Baptists (but from when Southern Baptists were still sane) and if you go back 200+ years they were Church of England (early Virginia settlers).

  •  Logic did it (37+ / 0-)

    My father was Presbyterian.  My mother was Catholic.  When they married, they compromised by becoming Episcopalian.  We were not fundamentalists, but rather just liberal Protestants.  That said, I was definitely a Christian.

    When I was in college, I took a course in philosophy, and was introduced to the dilemma of Epicurus:

    If God is willing to prevent evil, but unable to do so, then he is impotent;
    If he is able, but not willing, then he is malevolent;
    If he is both able and willing, why is there evil?
    If he is neither able nor willing, why call him God?

    I became an atheist that day.

    •  Same here. Except my folks were not church goers. (13+ / 0-)

      They did send us kids to the Baptist Sunday School up the road on Sunday mornings. LOL! That didn't take. I'm not a church goer. Does not mean that I'm not religious. But IMHO I do not need to sit in a pew every Sunday to live my life under the principles of Jesus.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:40:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course the assumption underlying all that is... (6+ / 0-)

      ... that God must be just a big human being;  and that our human values, perspectives, and definitions of "evil" -- and even human logic -- must necessarily be the objective, universal standard underlying all of creation.  And if God isn't a big human being who shares our standards, values and perspective ... well then, he -- "he" -- can't possibly exist in any form.

      That just seems pretty arrogant and species-centric to me.

      Given that the limitations of my five-year-old human niece's consciousness render her definitions of what is "wrong" and NOT FAIR!!! radically different from those of an adult human's ... I imagine the leap from "adult human" to "consciousness underlying all the universe" must be even a bit more radical.

      •  How naive of me to call it "evil" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, BYw

        If all that we call “evil,” the suffering and misery caused by war, famine, disease, and cruelty, is not regarded as such by God, since he has different standards, then when you die and go to heaven, don’t be surprised if it stinks.

        •  As I say ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BFSkinner

          My niece would have considered it "evil" that we wouldn't let her roam the neighborhood by herself and drive the car, or give her all the junk food she wanted whenever she wanted ...

          Teenagers think all kinds of things aren't fair or right, which, with a later, wider adult perspective, they can then understand as making sense in the bigger context, and being not at all as big a deal as they thought.

          If we continue to mature and gain wider perspectives just in this limited human form, if there is a "soul" continuation of some sort, why shouldn't that process continue?  Maybe in the big scheme of things, where time and space become less important ... from the eternal/everything point of view, where one individual human life (maybe among a series of many, many lives, as most of humanity believes) ...

          Maybe the temporary misery you're talking about doesn't seem such a big deal either -- once you realize the bigger picture, and that that little, limited thing you thought of as "you" isn't really the real you at all ... any more than the dramas of a five-year-old reflect the real, full you as seen from the perspective of a full lifetime.

          Frankly, maybe you are being as naive as we, from our perspective, would consider a five-year-old or a fourteen-year-old.

          (And why are you assuming there is a "heaven" that we "go to" anyway, still conceptualising in the terms of the limited human experience of space and time?)

          •  Then let me always be naive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BFSkinner, BYw

            My reference to Heaven, which being an atheist, I certainly do not believe in, was a way of making a more general point.  Once you accept that our notions of good and evil cannot be trusted, then all things are possible.  Viewed sub specie aeternitatus, murder, rape, and torture might really be good things, but we just don’t see it from our limited perspective.  Perhaps it would please God if we participated in such activities ourselves.

            I hope I never achieve the kind of maturity and wider perspective you speak of, the kind that would make me regard the suffering of mankind as just a childish drama.

            •  Being an atheist ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... you shouldn't be leaping to the same conclusion that atheists are constantly and wrongfully accused of:  

              Namely, that just because there is no absolute right or wrong given by an old man on a throne, and things are thus relative ... that must necessarily lead to an amoral state in which "anything goes" -- "all things are possible" as you put it -- and there is no morality.

              Most religions I know that talk of that greater perspective still emphasize doing the best you can with the level of understanding you have ...while still recognizing that we're not all-knowing and our level might not be all the level there is.

              Native American and shamanistic societies tend not to think in terms of "good" and "evil" but what is healthy vs. unhealthy for the universe.

              Viewed sub specie aeternitatus, murder, rape, and torture might really be good things, but we just don’t see it from our limited perspective.
              Yes, while not "good things," there may indeed be a greater purpose we can choose to learn from such horrible things -- such as compassion, empathy and that it's probably better not to do them.  Things needlessly hurting other things probably isn't healthy for the universe, because ultimately it is the universe hurting itself.
      •  John Wesley said, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        niemann

        It is as easier for a worm to understand man, as it is for man to understand God.

    •  How fragile is human thought? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner

      If God is willing to prevent evil, but unable to do so, then he is impotent;
      If he is able, but not willing, then he is malevolent;
      If he is both able and willing, why is there evil?
      If he is neither able nor willing, why call him God?

      Replace god as a male , with god as a "female" , and observe how views change about the word "god "

      Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

      by Patango on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 07:06:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So Epicurus didn't believe humans should have (0+ / 0-)

      free will?  

      To quote an eminent theological work (the movie "Oh God"):

      Grocery worker: if you can stop all the horrible things like war, why do you let them happen?"

      God:  the question is why do YOU let them happen?

  •  Sort of for one of em... not really... (24+ / 0-)

    Dad identified as an Agnostic, but he was indeed an Agnostic Atheist - he did not believe in any gods.

    Mom lapsed for a while when I was young, but resumed attending Roman Catholic services when I was 10ish, and hasn't missed a Sunday to this day. At that time she enrolled me in CCD (Catholic Sunday School). I didn't have a great experience there; at first I entertained the idea for awhile, but ultimately I just couldn't accept it. Perhaps part of it was that I was interested in Ancient Mythology from a young age and just never figured out the difference between Zeus, Ra, Odin, and Yahweh as far as correspondence to reality goes.

    So I turned out as 99.999% Gnostic Atheist, leaving just a little sliver that there really might be a god or two or a billion out there somewhere for the sake of keeping an open mind. The "god existing" part of religion isn't as hard to believe as the "god cares about this speck of mud" part.

    I try to respect the beliefs of religious people - it's easier when they are able to interpret their beliefs in a way that respects secular government, LGBTQ folks, and women - it's really quite difficult if they don't meet that bar.

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:37:59 PM PDT

    •  This (17+ / 0-)
      The "god existing" part of religion isn't as hard to believe as the "god cares about this speck of mud" part.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, worldlotus, nicteis

        Again, that's a limited human assumption and value -- that if any god is out there, it must be so big that it can't possibly care about any small part of the whole.  

        What is that based on?  The fact that as humans we find it hard to care about things much smaller than we are?  Again, that strikes me as a projection that is pretty species-centric.

        If there is a field of consciousness underlying and enveloping the whole universe, and intricately woven into the weird laws of physics that start to render the concepts of "size" and "space" and "time" pretty fuzzy, if not meaningless ... maybe it is able to be in tune with all parts at once -- as the Eastern view tends to be: that it has both universally impersonal and intimately personal aspects at once.

        Rationalists tend to say of the religious, "Your god is too small."  But what if their concept of what a "god" must be like is also too small ... not accounting for the possibility that something that incomprehensibly immense might indeed be able to relate, and even care?

        •  Here's the way I see it: (5+ / 0-)

          Religious folk say stuff like "The universe has a purpose." and "God created the universe." and "God has a plan."

          Adding all this together would lead one to assume a mechanistic universe. It was constructed like a machine to produce the results that the god desires in the same way that a toaster makes toast. It would be discreet and not contain superfluous features. You do not need a machine the size of a galaxy to make toast, and you don't need a universe of this size to do anything on a human scale.

          Back in the old days when the gods were invented by people, they had a much smaller vision of the universe. They imagined that the world was a big sorting machine designed to send the good people up and the bad people down, that sort of made sense at a time when the universe was imagined to be as large as the Middle East.

          Our speck of a star system (not to mention our speck of a planet within) is such a small part of the galactic superstructure that nothing that happens here can possibly effect the operation of the rest of the machine. So why would an engineering god want to tinker with it?

          Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

          by GreenPA on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:19:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why are you thinking in terms of machines and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BFSkinner

            ... engineering?  Why not in terms of something immensely more sophisticated, like an organic living entity?  Maybe the "machine" and "purpose" model puts one on the wrong track from the start.

            In just my one human body, the activity of just one single cell can have immense consequences for the health and state of the whole.  The activity of that one cell in my body can then ripple out and have effects among other people, which can then ripple out and have effects among more people ...

            As we know, what happens to one tiny invisible bacteria can lead to enormous consequences for billions of people.

            SOME religious folk say stuff like what you say.  SOME have views of the world as a "sorting machine" and "dividing good people and bad people".  Not all, by a long shot.  Some have a much more sophisticated, organic view.

            Again, you're thinking in terms of relative size necessarily relating to relative importance.  From the eternal/everything happening-and-existing-at-once-in-a-singularity perspective -- (which someone recently posted a science diary on here, saying that, based on the direction the evidence is pointing, some physicists are now starting to conceive of the universe that way) -- it might well be that the tiny micro things are as equal in "importance" and significance as a whole galaxy.  

            It's all equally a part of the whole, with all parts, no matter the size, equally connected and related and making "sense."

            •  I don't think the metaphor holds up (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BFSkinner, niemann

              The cells of an organism have functions that effect other cells but our star is isolated and there's nothing we can do here to affect the whole. A better metaphor would be to say that we are like one quark in one proton in of one atom in one molecule in one of those cells.

              Hey, you're free to have your opinion, but mine is that people that themselves far too seriously.

              Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

              by GreenPA on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:44:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would definitely agree with this. (0+ / 0-)
                people take themselves far too seriously.
              •  I forgot to mention this thought ... (0+ / 0-)
                A better metaphor would be to say that we are like one quark in one proton in of one atom in one molecule in one of those cells.
                You're still thinking in terms of "relative size equals relative importance" though ... and in terms of space at all.

                Your metaphor reminded me of a bizarre quality that has been observed with some subatomic particles:  if two interact, no matter how far apart they might subsequently be "space"-wise ... even across the universe ... a change in one leads to an immediate and simultaneous change in the other.

                In other words, they are not bound by space and, in a sense, are occupying the same "space" and identical ... though to our "space-perspective" they appear to be two separate things and far, far apart.  Given that we're actually made up of the damned things, on some level we -- and everything else, of course -- are intricately interwoven into spacelessness and interconnectedness.

  •  I think I'm agnostic (17+ / 0-)

    But there's no way to know for sure and no one can prove it to me one way or the other.

    My dad was a churchgoer up through high school, but I don't think mom was.  Dad was northwest Washington farm boy, and mom was a somewhere-north-of-Aberdeen hillbilly.  He quickly dropped the church habit when he began working in the logging camps, and mom became religious later in life.  She also became an alcoholic.

    We made occasional stabs at church when I was growing up:  Methodist, sometimes Baptist.  Church community in a logging town stratifies into the poor, and everyone who is just well enough off to feel entitled to engage in poor-punching.  Big turn-off.  Since one is known by one's works, I tend to hold God accountable for the behavior of His parishioners and haven't had much use for buildings where I find His people packed in close quarters for the length of time necessary to endure a church service.

    That is not to say I am not spiritual, I am very much so.  However I have my own copy of the Bible and I learned to read in the first grade, and the thing is printed in English.  I figure these are not coincidental occurrences.  I take it as a cue from the Almighty that reading is an acceptable way of seeking understanding.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:38:58 PM PDT

  •  My Mom is a recovering Catholic - (18+ / 0-)

    still, at 96. You never entirely lose the inculcation of your youth, I think, especially one that strong. She is pretty agnostic in her actual beliefs. Dad was raised Methodist, but stopped saying the Apostles' Creed at the age of 10. I think that's it - the one that starts "I believe in..." but he realized he didn't. Dad chose the intellectualism of a Unitarian church, and when I was in sixth grade, we joined a church for the first time. I gave up church in college, and Mr pixxer (former Episcopalian altar boy) and I raised pixxer-son unchurched - for which he is thankful.

  •  My father was a minister/missionary. (13+ / 0-)

    He and my mother belonged to the Church of the Nazarene (holy rollers) and her sister and brother-in-law were missionaries in India, along with their 4 kids. I don't know anything about the religious preferences of other relatives.

    I was forced to attend church Sunday morning (Sunday School and main service), Sunday evening and Wednesday evening prayer meetings. I was forced to attend a "christian" something or other after school once a week.

    I waver between agnostic and atheist. I haven't set foot in a church since I was 20 (my sister's second marriage). I attended 1 funeral when I was 18 and haven't attended one since.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:41:38 PM PDT

  •  Faith, not religion (13+ / 0-)

    My parents where quite insistent on us children attending church. Their own attendance was spotty. I have no love of religion of any stripe. I believe they are all just a method of people control. However, I do believe they all are bastardizations of core a truth about a "higher" spirit. So I have faith, but it is my own and I don't want to push it on anyone else. Nor do I want them to push theirs on me. Live and let live.

  •  My Mom was SDA (Seventh-Day Adventist) (19+ / 0-)

    and Dad was vaguely United Church, but was not particularly passionate about religion. My mom was, though, so I grew up in an SDA household: no TV (or homework) on Friday to Saturday sundown, and no buying anything either; no meat (most SDAs are vegetarian); and going to church/Sabbath school once a week. Actually I quite enjoyed the routine and the once-a-week lull in an otherwise full schedule, and I'm grateful to my mom now for raising me vegetarian (though I grumbled a LOT as a kid.)

    Later I moved away from the SDA church due to their stances on seven-day creationism and homosexuality. I also disagree now with their (extremely literal) approach to Scripture, though I have that approach to thank for my in-depth knowledge of the Bible now, so there's a silver lining. Instead, I find myself in the non-denominational/emergent Christian camp. However, I still do keep the Sabbath as best I can (for my own sanity more than anything!) and am vegetarian -- so I guess I'm still a "good" SDA in practice, if not theory! :D

    "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

    by Eowyn9 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:43:05 PM PDT

  •  my particular religious stuff (12+ / 0-)

    is too complicated to write tonight (it has been a very busy day), but your question makes me think of my dad's parents' religious history.

    When they married, Granddad was Catholic, Granny was Baptist- I'm sure that was something to talk about in the 1920's small town.

    They settled on being Methodist, because they and the ensuing children could walk there.

    Pretty practical, I think.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:44:00 PM PDT

  •  My father was raised in a Conservative Jewish... (15+ / 0-)

    ...household. My mother's father came fro a line of Baptist preachers, but as far as I know, my mother's family weren't church-going. When my parents met in college and fell in love, my mother resolved to convert to Judaism, but there were disapprovals on both sides. My paternal grandmother was the worst, having prevailed on the head rabbi of their synagogue to try and talk my father out of marrying my mother.

    The result was that my parents were married in another schul, and my father refused to take part in any Jewish religious ceremony other than Hanukkah from that point on. He left my and my siblings spiritual instruction to my grandparents, who had not been very active in the schul until we were old enough to start Hebrew school. Result: we were considered second-class Jews, and all three of us dropped out.

    I consider myself a Jewish agnostic, bordering on an atheist.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:44:38 PM PDT

  •  nope. i'm an atheist (20+ / 0-)

    they are not, although i am not quite able to define what they are. But we attended a Baptist Church growing up and yes, I was baptized (coercion from cousins and grandmothers is really some good shit, you know. I didn't believe then either.)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:46:16 PM PDT

    •  This (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, terrypinder

      If this follows terrypinder's comment, then it's right. I had a similar experience. I don't think either parent was religious but my mom thought my siblings and I should attend a church for socialization reasons, I guess. She picked the biggest Baptist church in our small Missouri town for us to attend. I was also coerced into being baptized. It took with my siblings, but not with me.

  •  Very interesting (13+ / 0-)

    question. I go to the same church as my childhood....my mom used to stay home and do laundry and my dad would drop me and my siblings off on his way to make rounds at the hospital. So we were all confirmed...but it was not a family thing. We never talked about God or the bible or any of that at home. At my father's funeral the minister said "he loved this building, he loved these windows, he loved these people" - it was interesting. As an adult I gravitated to the UCC because I could do the same and be accepted and loved and know it was all about being brothers and sisters no matter who we all are or what we believe. Plus, social justice.

  •  I am. (16+ / 0-)

    My parents are Jewish - I was raised Conservative and that's what I still consider myself today. None of us are particularly religious, though. We do go to synagogue on the High Holidays - I guess we're kind of the Jewish equivalent of the Christmas and Easter Christians. : )

    Blueschewy1 is Reform and I go to synagogue with him on occasion. (And yes, my parents are thrilled that I'm with a nice Jewish man. : ) )

    Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

    by Sister Havana on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:48:28 PM PDT

  •  My father leans towards animism, (21+ / 0-)

    while my mother never showed any indications of spiritual belief. Both come from Christianized Native American backgrounds.

    Myself I would call an agnostic - I know I don't know, and I'm pretty darn sure you don't know either. I figure it doesn't matter, as I would not live my life any differently if there is or isn't a "higher power" or whatever one chooses to call it, life after death, etc.

    That said, I do find that in my deepest core I am still an animist, and speak to the spirits in the things around me. Although they don't speak back to me, I have had any number of inexplicable experiences that I don't discuss because people will think I'm nuts, but I will say that I am firmly convinced that there is a lot more going on in the world around us than we generally are able to perceive, or perhaps open to perceiving.

    •  Re: "nuts" (6+ / 0-)
      I have had any number of inexplicable experiences that I don't discuss because people will think I'm nuts
      I have heard this sentiment from so many people -- and can strongly relate to it -- that it makes me think that a lot of really strange things are happening out there that people aren't telling each other, simply because they all think they're the only ones.

      Because I'm willing to listen nonjudgmentally, I've heard so many -- very likely hundreds -- of really bizarre stories from really normal people who are afraid to tell them.  It really makes me angry that our "rational" society basically bullies people into shutting up and denying their own experiences, and I think people would find a lot of comfort in realising these experiences are not only normal, but common.  I wish all those people would just say, "Hell with it" and just start talking, unashamedly.

      •  I read of an experiment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, niemann

        where apparitions that contradicted our normal views of reality were projected via hologram in the lobby of a museum. Interviewed upon exiting the museum, the vast majority of people reported seeing nothing in the lobby, even though there were in fact holograms there.

        The point was to show that we filter out much of what we see, in order that what we perceive conforms to our conception of reality. But a small percentage of people actually see what is there, or more of what is there. I think these are the people you are referring to.

        •  "I'll see it when I believe it" ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris

          ... as someone once put it.

          That's an interesting experiment.

          I saw a funny example the other night.  I watched Terry Gilliam's first movie, Jabberwocky, and in one shot a medieval night crashes to the ground from his horse in slow motion.  

          Right there, in the background, in plain view, you can quickly see a big white modern crew truck, and off to the side a man in a modern tweed cap and coat.

          And in the commentary Gilliam says that no one ever sees it.  It's like our minds determine, "There couldn't possibly be a modern truck back there in medieval times!" -- and so erase it out from perception.

          But a small percentage of people actually see what is there, or more of what is there. I think these are the people you are referring to.
          That's my thought.  And from the number of stories I've heard, I think it's not even as small a percentage as we would guess.  It seems to happen a LOT ... and maybe just once or twice in some people's lifetimes.  But then those people don't talk about it because of it only happening once or twice.

          I wonder about cats and dogs I've known and heard of which seem to see things that we can't.  I had a cat once who seemed to interact with an invisible person in a positive way ... but at several other times would hiss and act scared of something toward the front of the living room, and then run and hide under the bathtub.  (It was an old house with a legged bathtub.)  

          And, no, he wasn't an emotionally disturbed cat!  At all other times he was completely normal.

  •  Grew up Pentecostal and So. Baptist, but agnostic (10+ / 0-)

    now. Churches tend to be very cliquish and hostile to outside ideas.

    PASS

  •  It’s a bit complicated. (12+ / 0-)

    I was first knowingly exposed to religion when I was hauled off to Sunday school at the age of four or five, and I thought that it was preposterously silly; I’ve never had any use for religion.  I’m fairly certain that my father was also a lifelong atheist.  My mother’s parents were immigrants from Norway, so she was brought up Lutheran, but she turned away completely sometime in adolescence.  I think that she was still an atheist or agnostic when I was first exposed to Sunday school, and to this day I don’t know whether our church attendance was protective coloration (in the early 1950s), an effort to give us kids a choice later on, or an effort to expose us to an important part of our (potential) cultural heritage.

    Some years later, about the time that I was getting into junior high, she came to wonder whether her rejection of religion had just been adolescent rebellion and spent a few years reading a lot of serious religious philosophy — basically giving religion an honest chance, if I understand correctly.  In the end she decided that it wasn’t for her, and for the last 50 or so years of her life she was, so far as I know, an atheist.

    As a sort of coda, neither of my parents had (or wanted) a funeral.  (I’m almost 66, and I’ve actually never been to one.)  Each of them did want a few hours set aside for family and any friends who were interested to get together for music, food, conversation, and companionship; we managed it, albeit some months after their respective deaths.  (Scheduling was tricky: I’m the oldest of seven, several of whom have families of their own, and my father in particular had a lot of friends, colleagues, and former students who wanted to attend.)  There was one very funny note in connection with my father’s celebration.  He had taught at Ripon College for many years and was quite good friends with the college chaplain — whom he had charged with ensuring that there were no religious observances in connection with the celebration of his life!

    •  Dawkins was talking about this this week (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, BFSkinner, blueoasis, pvasileff

      in San Diego.
       

      I’m fairly certain that my father was also a lifelong atheist
      .

      Isn't it astonishing that many so-called Christians, who would say they were Christians if asked, are actually non-believers.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:38:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wouldn’t apply to my father, though: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont, BFSkinner

        to the best of my knowledge, he would never have claimed to be a Christian.  When I was very, very young he might have allowed that to be tacitly assumed — it was a very different world — but even then I very much doubt that he’d have made a positive assertion that he was Christian.  And I’m certain that this was the case by 1960, say.

  •  I became atheist at age 7. (9+ / 0-)

    My father was raised Catholic. My mother converted to Catholicism to marry him. I never had much patience for church or religion and had had enough by my 7th year. They made me go to church for 2 or 3 more years but eventually I was able to just stop going.

    If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

    by edg on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:54:59 PM PDT

  •  My mother committed suicide (15+ / 0-)

    So I grew up in the households of a bunch of relatives. My faith journey began in Catholic school. It took a turn through the Lutheran Church, made a stop in the Southern Baptist Church, veered back to Catholic College and finally landed on agnosticism. I was struck by how each religion claimed to be the only way to reach heaven. Over time it became too much to believe.

    I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures. ~Earl Warren 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969)

    by Road to1 Escondido on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:55:59 PM PDT

    •  I had to give up on that "reaching heaven" thing. (12+ / 0-)

      I had a couple of problems with it.  First of all, I would be bored to death singing praises for all eternity, and second, if it exists (it doesn't) most of my friends would be burning in hell, and there was a disconnect between that and eternally praising the god who put them there.

      No, I finally had to peel away all the layers of "hope" covering the truth, and come to terms with the idea that I am going to die and rot and become just another bit of used stardust to blow wherever the universe decides for me to blow.

      It's a comforting thought in a strange way.  It also helps to remember that I really wasn't too concerned about my non-existence before I was born either.  How different could it be?

      And then my brother pointed out that it is impossible to experience your own death.  While you're alive, he says, you're not dead, and when you're dead, you're not alive.  There is a nano second between the two.  

      While I agree with him, I'm afraid it can seem like much longer than a nanosecond depending on your circumstances, which is why I make it clear to all my doctors and my wife that at my impending death, there will be drugs.  Lots of drugs.  Drugs and hugs.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:14:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ex-Catholic here (8+ / 0-)

    My father was baptized Catholic but didn't go to church. My mother went to church faithfully and was involved in it. I went to Catholic school from first grade to 12th grade. I'm agnostic or sometimes pagan now. I think that maybe the world would be better off without any religion. Oh, I'm an ex-Detroiter, too (east side). Hope you're safe there now.

    Kathy

  •  Neither of my parents were (11+ / 0-)

    church goers but I would go to church with my dear old grandma. The best part was that she would take me to Ray's Cafe for a cheeseburger and a chocolate malt after church. Oh, and she let me put the dime in the offering plate. I kind of liked doing that. But the cheeseburger at Ray's was worth sitting through the service, which I found pretty boring.

    It didn't take, though. I can identify with this line from the Bruce Beresford movie, Breaker Morant]. It is a dialog between Morant and one of his soldiers as the executioners are preparing to stand them before a firing squad.

    Sentry: Do you want the padre?
    Harry Morant: No, thank you. I'm a pagan.
    Sentry: And you?
    Peter Handcock: What's a pagan?
    Harry Morant: Well... it's somebody who doesn't believe there's a divine being dispensing justice to mankind.
    Peter Handcock: I'm a pagan, too.
  •  boy, is that a complicated question! (11+ / 0-)

    And an interesting one - thanks for asking!
    To be very honest, I don't totally know what my parents believed.  Both were raised as fairly mainstream protestants.  My father's parents' probably pretty devout - I know his dad was a fairly well known church singer - enough so to be paid small amounts to sing with church choirs in 1920s Kansas.  Both my folks were very smart and had problems with the hypocrisy of typical church communities.  They were largely driven out of the church in which my mom had grown up for the crime of suggesting that it might make sense to integrate the church. That was 1950, just before my birth.  From an early age, I was taken to whatever mainstream protestant church was close and convenient - Methodist or Presbyterian, mostly.  But, as was probably more common in the 50s than now, it was mostly a thing of social norm and convenience than of actual belief and was never much talked about at home.  Going to church was just something one did.
    Then, for a while we started going to a Church of the Brethren congregation - not as big or well known, but part of the Anabaptist movement - Amish and Mennonites.  With a pacifist teaching that, I think, attracted my dad.  My dad never wanted to tell me what to believe - any time I asked him a question - "Is there really a God?" - he would always turn it around and try to make me define my own beliefs.
    Then no church for a while, then Unitarian churches - the church for people who want to go somewhere on Sunday but don't really believe in anything.  Then, for the last 20+ years of their lives, no churches at all.  Though I think my dad was always a sort of religious leftist.  I still remember a phrase from a letter he got published in the LA times in about 1960 in response to some Bircher -"better Godless Communism than Christ-less Christianity".
    Me?  After some flirtation with Quakerism, I settled into what I think is properly termed "hard" agnosticism - which is a very short step from atheism.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:05:17 PM PDT

    •  addendum (10+ / 0-)

      I ought to say that I am agnostic with overtones of strange sort of animism - the belief that certain inanimate objects have spirits.  For, example, a mechanical device that was designed and built with love and passion for an exciting purpose, clearly has a soul.  Example: racecars and old airplanes.  I feel a deep emotional pain when I see one of either locked up in a museum and never allowed to move - clearly its soul is being violated in a really distressing way.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:16:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up in the Lutheran Church because that (8+ / 0-)

    was my mother's denomination.  Dad's side was Southern Baptist and neither he or my paternal grandfather ever seemed to have much use for them, if the Grandma-mandated Sunday church attendance on our monthly visits is any measure (since Dad and Grandpa always seemed to have cows to milk or chicken coops to repair on Sunday morning). On all those other weeks of the year at home we all (mom, dad, me, and my siblings) attended the local Lutheran Church...

    ...I am still a Lutheran today...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:06:10 PM PDT

  •  Yes and no (8+ / 0-)

    I'm still a Protestant, but I've been a Unitarian Universalist for most of my life.  My parents were mainline Protestants.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:10:23 PM PDT

  •  My parents were both Catholics who had gotten (8+ / 0-)

    divorced before marrying each other, and became Episcopalians because that was what divorced Catholics mostly did in the 1940s.  By the time I was old enough to understand religion, it was apparent that by then my father was agnostic leaning heavily towards atheism.  My mother was mildly religious, and in later life would sometimes attend church, mostly if someone invited her to come with them, but she never had any significant participation and from what I could tell she rarely thought about religious / spiritual matters.

    I was raised in the Episcopal church which my parents attended mostly because they thought it would benefit me.  I stopped attending in college while I rethought everything I had been taught about everything.  Eventually I had a deep religious experience, but by then the Episcopal church was too conservative for me.

    I wound up in Metropolitan Community Church which had been founded just a few years before, and my spouse became a clergy person in that denomination.  As a clergy spouse, church has been a huge part of my life for almost 4 decades.

  •  Not even (12+ / 0-)

    I was a religious Catholic kid who became disenchanted at an early age, so I went to the library and read everything I could about world religions.

    Through that process, I became Zen Buddhist at the age of 13, and I've been Zen-jin ever since.  And, for me, I made right decision.

    Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:22:59 PM PDT

  •  I had a nutty religious upbringing (13+ / 0-)

    in a conservative, basically fundamentalist sect. I heard all about the inferiority of women. I heard all about the evil of sex. I had the supposed inadequacy of human conscience against the wiles of satan, drummed into me at every possible turn. I had to attend hours and hours of church each week. I left that scene behind in college. Now, I am wholly agnostic.

    I guess my biggest religious "awakening" in adulthood has been self-acceptance over my lack of belief. Healthy agnosticism is fine, really. It's a life's "destination." It doesn't have to be a "stepping stone" to anything else.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:25:31 PM PDT

  •  Atheist, in a non religous Jewish family (21+ / 0-)

    My family never saw the inside of a synagogue while I was growing up, yet insisted that I get religious training at age 10.

    I became an Atheist by observation, that no known facts are explained by religion, that is, the existence of god was not necessary. I later refined that to a firm belief that if you believe in science, then you cannot believe in religion. Science is predicated on the idea that everything is knowable. That which we do not know yet will be explained by Science. There will be no unanswered questions that can only be explained by the presence of a supernatural being. It's a very difficult, but brave conclusion. It's very comforting to believe that there is a god that makes sense out of everything and looks after us. The absence of that belief requires that individuals accept responsibility for their actions. It also requires us to have a good understanding of the chaotic nature of the universe, and that it does not have intent and that it is not mean. It also opens your eyes to the incredible beauty of life and the universe, and how a few basic laws can create unending variation that is at times totally coherent.

    •  People who don't know the difference between (7+ / 0-)

      an atheist and an agnostic should read your comment.  You make if clearer than anyone I've ever heard.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:34:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to hear what you think about that... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont, BFSkinner, Debby

        ... because I don't see how The Wizard's (very rational and interesting regardless) comment particularly illuminates that distinction.

        I see it like this:

        Gnostic Theist: "I know for a fact that god(s) exist(s)!"
        Agnostic Theist: "I have faith that god(s) exist(s), but I don't know it for a fact."
        Agnostic Atheist: "I have not seen any evidence that god(s) exist(s), so I don't believe it. Show me evidence if you want to change my mind."
        Gnostic Atheist: "I know for a fact that it's not possible for god(s) to exist(s)!"

        Unless someone is right in the midst of a transition from one of these four groups to another, they will cover all bases for everybody. You either know or you don't, you either believe or or you don't.

        Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

        by GreenPA on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:28:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A little too hair-splitting for my purpose I'm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BFSkinner, The Wizard

          afraid.  

          Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

          by ZedMont on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:52:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Except (0+ / 0-)

          you won't find too many self-professed atheists who buy these distinctions. Maybe professional philosophers use these categories, I don't know, but it seems to be primarily theists who insist on this hair-splitting.

          I wish I had a dollar for every time some god-believer tried to corner and trap me into calling myself an agnostic, as though somehow they would win a prize if I did.

    •  Really? I find being a Christian has (0+ / 0-)

      not been comfortable at all.

  •  Well, it's complicated. (11+ / 0-)

    My mother was persecuted by superstitious fundamentalists and by atheist psychiatrists. She was a Matthew 6 kind of Christian. She said her prayers every night of her life.

    She introduced me to Buddhism by explaining the pictures I was looking at in the Book of Knowledge before I could read.

    She didn't believe that good people of other races, societies, nations, etc. were deprived of "grace".

    She often sang gospel songs when she was working, but she also sang "It Ain't Necessarily So". and tunes like St. Louis Blues, etc.

    She didn't believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible as the "inerrant word of God." (i.e. she wasn't stupid).

    I believe in doubt.

    She worried about my lack of faith, but we discussed it
    and she understood my perspective.

    She was not the kind of person to be caught up in an authoritarian political cult substituted for Christianity.

    We weren't that far apart.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:35:04 PM PDT

  •  My parents were atheists as am I. My grandfather (9+ / 0-)

    too. My grandmother was a Methodist, but I don't know when she became one. She came here from Scotland in the late 1920's.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature. If I had Bill Gates money, I'd buy Detroit.

    by ZenTrainer on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:35:50 PM PDT

  •  Basically yes (10+ / 0-)

    My father grew up in a Congregational church (NACCC rather than UCC), and I was baptized in that church.  My mother mostly grew up Methodist, but her family attended a Congregational church in one town they lived in that had no Methodist church.  I believe they were married in a Methodist church, but attended my father's church once they settled down.  Differences among mainline Protestant churches are of course rather subtle.

    We moved when I was two and found a Congregational (UCC) church based on the then Music Director being recommended by a friend.  Music has always been an important part of my family's church experience.  I was confirmed in that church and remain an active member.  In fact I currently serve as Moderator, not only of that church, but of the local Association of the United Church of Christ.  Because of my denominational involvement when I was away for awhile and church shopped I remained loyal to the UCC when in other circumstances I might not have been.

    When people ask me why I'm Christian the most honest answer is in fact because I was raised one, but then I see no reason to give it up.  In liberal Protestantism there is no need for faith to conflict with the more rational aspects of this world, and you are alot less likely to be driven away by inflexible doctrine.  In fact I often say I'm progressive because of rather than despite being Christian.  Also, church is like family, especially when you've grown up in the same local congregation basically all your life.  Something pretty extreme would have to happen for me to disown my church just as it would take something pretty extreme to make me abandon my literal family.

  •  Parents Southern Baptists (8+ / 0-)

    Husband NYC Jewish.
    We pledged not to be religious due to the shock when we married from both our families.
    As a military brat the segregated south was unacceptable to me.  I could never be a Baptist due to that.
    A few years after marriage I found a yogic church that has worked for me for over 40 years.  All religions are welcome, but all are encouraged and taught to meditate.
    Our children are not very religious but take their kids to Protestant churches on major holidays -  sometimes.

  •  Never had a father, mother was Jewish (17+ / 0-)

    So your reference to "parents" overlooks someone like me whose father abandoned my mother when she was pregnant with me.

    That said, I rediscovered my Judaism in the Navy, being in an environment for the first time in my life when I was away from home and most of my fellow sailors had never known anyone Jewish.  I became a Jewish lay leader - sort of a substitute lay chaplain, and have been studying my faith ever since - which is for 40 years.

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:42:33 PM PDT

    •  This (4+ / 0-)
      being in an environment for the first time in my life when I was away from home and most of my fellow sailors had never known anyone Jewish.  I became a Jewish lay leader - sort of a substitute lay chaplain, and have been studying my faith ever since - which is for 40 years.
      I can understand how your experience of others being curious about you stimulated your desire to know more and share it, and in the process discover a deeper kind of respect or sense of belonging for your religion. I was raised Jewish, but don't practice it, although I am very conscious of my roots as they apply to family tradition and culture.

      'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

      by janis b on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:24:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was raised Evangelical. (8+ / 0-)

    I've attended mostly lefty Protestant churches as an adult.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:43:11 PM PDT

  •  My background is as an (15+ / 0-)

    adoptee, Asian child circa late 1950's (overseas) by Caucasian medical missionaries who were working for the Lutheran mission board in SE Asia.  Grew up in the Lutheran church - was even the President of the Youth Council for my church as a teenager. Fast forward 30 some years - my kids are pretty much agnostic, my husband is more aligned with the "spiritual, but not in the organized-religion sense". For myself, I don't understand how aligning with a set religious group makes one more "moral" than someone like me who just tries on a daily basis to live in a manner that benefits my small corner of the world.  I guess my thinking that what we put out on a daily basis determines what shapes our communities is the closest I have to a "belief system".  So perhaps I should call myself a sorta-Buddhist? I hate being put into a "classification"...

    The rest of my family (large in numbers) is solidly church-bound Lutheran, and we have learned to not discuss theology/religiosity at family gatherings.  It's kind of sad, especially since both sides of my parents' families tend towards pastoral careers. They tell me that they "pray for [me] so that I'll find the true path to everlasting life".  Nice gesture, but I can think of other things to exert energy on...

    When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

    by seefleur on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:44:05 PM PDT

  •  No and Yes. (9+ / 0-)

    My parents were both Baptist. My dad was raised first in a "hard shell" independent church, then Missionary Baptist. Mom was Southern Baptist. We attended a Southern Baptist Church, I think by default because there were no Missionary Baptist churches in or close to our neighborhood. My mom in her later years switched to a congregation affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

    Oldest brother became a Roman Catholic when he remarried. #2 brother had nothing to do with church for probably 20 years. Then went back to the Baptists. My sister is Mormon.

    I didn't do church at all for awhile during my young adulthood. Then I took up with the Episcopalians when I was about 25. I'm 48 now and still attend and sing in the choir. But really I'm agnostic. The Episcopal church is still attractive to me as a community working together for social justice.

    As far as how to treat people, I do still believe a lot of the things I learned in Southern Baptist Sunday School. When I was a kid, the nutters hadn't taken over yet. I still like some of the hymn tunes, too. But not so much the words.

    Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

    by susanala on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:50:53 PM PDT

    •  What's the difference between Southern Baptist (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion, ZedMont, BFSkinner

      and Missionary Baptist?

      •  Southern Baptists are governed by the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZedMont, BFSkinner, susanala

        Southern Baptist Convention, which meets yearly. Missionary Baptist is smaller and independent.

        "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

        by surfermom on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:42:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Different kinds of Baptists ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, cville townie, worldlotus

        Hard shell Baptists are more commonly called Primitive Baptists these days. They are Calvinist, subscribing to unconditional election, irresistible grace, and limited atonement (the possibility of "falling from grace" after being saved).

        Missionary Baptists reject Calvinism. They are of the free-will tradition. Their primary emphasis is preaching with a goal of converting the unsaved. Repentance, then faith, then baptism, then the Lord's Supper (Communion) is the proper order of things.

        Southern Baptists are known primarily for Scriptural literalism and strict moral rules (no drinking or dancing). A lot of Calvinism has crept in since the right-wing took over, but that is controversial within the denomination. Historically, Southern Baptists believe that Christ died for all, and one is free to accept or deny salvation. Faith or "accepting Jesus" is the first action.

        Your question reminds me of a story ... At Sunday dinner one time, my father told the story of how his father became convicted that the family should change from the hard shell church to the Missionary church. My then-husband asked what the difference was.

        My dad said the hard shell Baptists believe you are saved by grace through faith. Missionary Baptists believe you are saved by faith through grace ... like it says in the Bible!

        The look on then-husband's face was priceless.

        Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

        by susanala on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:04:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nope. (12+ / 0-)

    Born, baptized, raised, and confirmed Roman Catholic.  Now a hard atheist.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:51:36 PM PDT

  •  Yup. (7+ / 0-)

    Raised an atheist and never saw a reason to change.

  •  Dad was a Freemason. Mom was Methodist. (8+ / 0-)

    I was a Jesus Freak (in my late teens and very early twenties), but I don't believe in any form of supernaturalism, whatsoever, today.

    Dad eschewed and derided any and all organized religion, but Mom was a faithful attendee at our little Methodist church in town.  Dad joined the Masons here back in the early '60s, and that's the closest he ever came to acknowledging a "Supreme Being".

    When I was very young I attended church with Mom, but by the time I was seven or eight I asked to be let out of it, and Mom was o.k. with that.  It wasn't until I was a senior in high school that I got religious (following one particular LSD trip), and went Jesus-freak for a few years.  It didn't take long for me to realize I was deluding myself; none of that religious mumbo-jumbo was real.  "Ain't no such thing as magic, ain't no angels, ain't no elves."  (A line from a song I wrote.)

    In the years of my adult life (I turned 59 last November) I never found any need to seek "spirituality" of any form.  I have attended Unitarian Universalist congregations, and that even recently, but my reason for doing so was to socialize with freethinking people outside of my regular sphere of friends.

    I find the natural world so completely full of wonder and awe and mystery that I have no need to look elsewhere to seek some sort of "inner fulfillment".  I certainly do not believe in an afterlife.  I believe this life is the only one we get, and so we need to make the most of it we can because it's short enough.

  •  Catholic parents sent me to catholic (8+ / 0-)

    school for 7 years, after the divorce, I was allowed to explore, now I'm a pagan.

    Poverty is the worst form of violence. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by blueoregon on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:58:42 PM PDT

  •  My father was Catholic, mother a Lutheran. (9+ / 0-)

    In 1946 when they married, unless my mother converted, there would be no church wedding, only rectory, no flowers or music. She refused and they were married in a Lutheran ceremony. He regarded himself as lapsed.
    We attended Messiah Lutheran Church LCA (Not Missouri Synod!!!), Flushing, Queens, NY. I was baptized, confirmed and married there.
    We grew up hanging around that church. I quit attending around age 16 when I got an invoice for donation envelopes not turned in.
    After studying comparative religion on my own for many years, I was weary of comparing male deity to male deity. There was no diversity and I know it takes both male and female influences to create life.
    I feel there's a higher power or guiding intelligence, a force, more feminine than masculine but containing both. I think life has a definite purpose as school. But, whatever gets me and thee through the night, right?
    OHD had gone to the astral for a second during a car accident. He was floating above the scene. It was to orient himself, which he did, and he was back in his truck, braced properly for the crash. I've been with the man almost 48 years and know it wouldn't occur to him to exaggerate something this important. There's something to it all.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:00:02 PM PDT

  •  My parents that I was raised with were (9+ / 0-)

    atheists although they liked to celebrate anything and everything. When I was little we had a Christmas tree with a Jewish star on top. We celebrated the eight days of Chanukah and the twelve days of Christmas. They believed in hand-making gifts and ornaments. But they divorced when I was still pretty young.

    My mom was Jewish and my step-Dad was a Scottish immigrant.

    My biological father and maternal grandparents were Jewish. After my parents divorced, I bounced back and forth between my grandparents and mother and was primarily raised as a non-religious Jew. Oddly, I drove everyone nuts with questions about Jewish law and requests to go to Hebrew school. Nobody could figure out why.

    I didn't meet my birth father till I was an adult. He is a Kohein and conservative in his thought. It was very odd to find out that I look and think much like him, although I was not raised with him. Except politically. My mom and step dad and grandparents were so far left on the political scale that they fell off and my father is right wing. I'm relatively conservative in my religious practice but way off to the left politically.

    I am not orthodox in my practice but I keep the holidays and went to great lengths to get my children a solid Jewish education and Bar and Bat Mitzvahed.  I like to tell people that Mom and Dad were so radical that the only way I could rebel was to one day decide to keep the Shabbat and keep kosher.

    My husband isn't Jewish so I've relaxed my practice but it's still recognizably Jewish. I love to write D'Var Torah and put them up occasionally on DK.

  •  Made My First Communion & Was Confirmed..... (7+ / 0-)

    in the Catholic Church.  However, my parents used to drop my brother & I off @ the church door & pick us up later.

    That lasted until I was about l4.  I started paying attention to the sermons & couldn't take it anymore.  Especially the abortion sin message.  They stopped making me go after I said I'd go out the back door as soon as they drove off.

    But, by then it was too late.  Parts of the Catholic Church are deeply ingrained.  I was married in the church, but lied right to the priest's face about not using birth control.

    When I'm dying, watch.  I'll ask for Last Rites, & suddenly start cleaning up my act.  Maybe a prayer or two.

  •  Still United Methodist, but attend one of the more (5+ / 0-)

    progressive United Methodist Churches.  My church now in not like the conservative UM church of my childhood.  The umbrella of the United Methodist is very large.

  •  Not even close. (6+ / 0-)

    My parents were protestant, ensured that I attended Sunday school as a child (I suspect that was their "alone" time because my dad traveled a lot). I don't even recall the name of the church (so long ago), but it didn't make much of an impression on me. My father was a Mason who regularly attended church later in his life.

    As a teenager, I began exploring other churches: Catholic, Mormon and a bit of Buddhism. I studied and set my alarm for 3 a.m. to meditate. :) Later, one of my children died and I put all religion aside until my midlife crisis when I explored again, joined a New Age church then a Jewish group, dabbled again with Buddhism, and then immersed in mysticism for several years.

    Some of the best of those mid years was comparing the similarities across all beliefs. Today the closest label for my beliefs would be deist.

    Recently updating my advance directive/living will, one of the questions is about religious belief. My answer is that I'm not religious and any solace given to me in illness should be by a Buddhist. I feel strongly about that. One of my treasured books was The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Yet, I still take pleasure in the rituals of a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony and mass, or a Jewish ceremony, and gained so much from my affiliations.

     

  •  Norwegian Lutheran (ALC) (7+ / 0-)

    The Swedes were LCA Lutheran and the Germans were Missouri Synod Lutheran. After I grew up, the ALC and LCA merged into ELCA. We're the liberal branch. Those German Lutherans don't like abortion, gay people, or masturbation. We're more tolerant than the Germans.

    In fact, if you look at Michele Bachmann's district in Minnesota, it's full of German Catholics, German Lutherans, and Evangelical Christians. It's a dark red blotch in a mostly blue state.

    I'm not especially religious any more, but I graduated from St. Olaf College, and I have a great-grandfather, grandfather, uncle, and cousin who were Lutheran ministers of the Norwegian ALC Lutheran branch (my uncle taught at the seminary in St. Paul). All of my ancestors came from Norway -- 7 of 8 great grandparents, plus the other one had a parent and two grandparents from Norway. I've done a lot of research into my family tree. Somewhere, way back in the 1700s or 1800, there's a Finn and a Frenchman in the woodpile. I guess they added a little variety. Which is the spice of life.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:16:16 PM PDT

    •  I grew up in the ELCA - (5+ / 0-)

      because at that point in time my parents thought that the Missouri synod was too "out there conservative". I even went to a Swedish-based Lutheran college out in the blah fields of KS - Bethany College: great musically, but dire in every other way.  Fast forward by several decades, these same people had some sort of epiphany and decided that their participation in a small Lutheran church in suburban Overland Park Kansas was too radical liberal.  So they joined a MO Synod church that wont' accept gays, abortion etc.  Their oldest grandchild is gay - and married (who coulda knowed that Maine would be a hotbed of gay rights?!?!) and yet they still opted for a church group that denigrates members of their family.  Religion in and of itself is complicated; tossing in family-traditionalism just makes it 10 times more complicated.

      When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

      by seefleur on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:29:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Missouri synod Lutherans [shudder]. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, BFSkinner, worldlotus, Dbug

      I briefly went to a Lutheran church as a kid because my folks thought it was appropriate for us to learn something about church-going although we are not religious. It was fairly liberal congregation, and a good experience. Met good people, got a cat from the pastor's family, was best friends with the pastor's daughter and got into all kinds of trouble at the church as only the pastor's daughter and friends can do. Good times. :-)

    •  Spicy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, BFSkinner, cville townie, Dbug

      I'm part Danish (1/4th)
      I grew up in the Southwest and we grew habaneros in the back yard.  We joke that spicy to our Scandinavian relatives was anything with dill.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:34:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a friend of mine (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner, cville townie, worldlotus, Dbug

      went to St Olaf.  He said it wasn't enough to be a WASP there--to fit in, you needed to be a white, Norwegian Lutheran. He's now a chaplain of some denomination or other on the east coast.

      Even at the age of 17 I was somewhere between agnostic and atheist so I stayed in the Cities for college, where we had much greater diversity and a lot more bars.  

      There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

      by puzzled on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes and No (5+ / 0-)

    My father never showed any sign of religious belief until he got caught in an adulterous affair and got right with Jesus because he could tell he wasn't going to get right with Mom. I'm pretty sure he was a nominal if unobservant Protestant all along.

    My mother also avoided the topic for the most part, but we have discussed it, and she's a pretty much classical agnostic without any strong feelings about what anyone else chooses to believe or not believe.

    After trying on several eastern and western religions when I was young, I eventually stabilized as a scientific agnostic. I usually describe myself as an atheist to avoid confusion. Strictly speaking, though, it's not that I believe in the non-existence of a god or gods. It's just that there is no evidence for for them, plenty of compelling circumstantial evidence against them, and therefore I don't think it's worth serious consideration unless and until some extraordinary new evidence comes along.

    So while both my mother and I are agnostics, we occupy different ends of the spectrum. I'm sure she'd be comfortable with some kind of vague Jeffersonian deism, while I consider deism to be utter hogshit, even if it is relatively harmless hogshit.

    And the bright side of the downward thermodynamic spiral is, um...

    by eodell on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:19:58 PM PDT

  •  Born into a family of non-religious liberals. (5+ / 0-)

    We don't talk about faith, so I don't know whether my folks are atheists or agnostics or closet people-of-faith, but they don't practice, don't go to church, don't read the bible.

  •  One of the more interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, ZedMont, BFSkinner

    beliefs of certain Orthodox Jewish groups is that it is not necessary for a woman to believe but simply to be observant.  Your comments about your mother reminded me of this idea.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:30:21 PM PDT

  •  raised christian reformed (5+ / 0-)

    but lost it after high school. At that time I really didn't like the social cliques of the church and how they treated people who were going through personal trials.  Very judgemental. I was also disillusioned that my grandmother almost disowned my sister for marrying a catholic. I just couldn't understand how a person who claimed to be a believer in the love of her god could do such a thing over something so insignificant.  At that point I became quite irreligious, but didn't quite lose the basic  christian faith.

    I suppose I'm pretty much agnostic now, 40 or so years later (or at least apathetic), but I know I'll never be an adherent to any religion made by humans, which pretty much encompasses them all. I tried again after getting married for the second time to a Eastern Orthodox believer, but that didn't work either.  Far too obsessed with ritual is that particular sect. The precepts of christianity are good, but the religions (and the leaders of those religions) pretty much suck. Especially those of the calvinist variety.  I have absolutely no use for calvinism.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:32:43 PM PDT

  •  Mother was a devout Baptist; Daddy was nothing (4+ / 0-)

    Daddy never mentioned one word about his beliefs, but I have always thought he was an atheist. Mother had my sister and me in church every time the doors opened. We attended Sunday School, the morning service, and Sunday evenings we were in Training Union and evening service. We sang in the choir for the evening service. We attended Wednesday night service and Thursday Bible Study. I got a degree in zoology from a major university but still never questioned my faith until soon after I finished a masters in education. I became a biology teacher in an excellent school district and sang in the choir at a Baptist church. One day while I was getting ready for church I suddenly questioned what I believed. It took me a long time to actually say out loud that I did not believe and stop going to church. Over the years I have attended church in just about every faith and I still do not believe. I want to. I do not talk about my lack of faith to anyone except my husband and my sister, both of whom feel the same way. I respect my friends who sincerely believe. I try to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to a god. But now that the Baptist Church has become so hateful and so political, I am glad I am no longer a member of that denomination.

  •  I would expect the comments here (5+ / 0-)

    ( and the DKos community) to be VERY unrepresentative of the world at large, since questioning is de rigor here.

    Worldwide, it is an almost sure bet that someone is the religion of his parents.  that's how religion works, as an infection from parent to their children,.  Many have argued that we are predisposed to believe lies our parent tell us- since those who didn't didn't survive.  So we believe in the big bad wolf, given that for centuries most of Europe was covered in dark forest.  We believe in the tooth fairy and we believe in Santa Claus, until our parent tell us it is ok to disbelieve.

    I heard Richard Dawkins speak the other night (Full disclosure- I was Richard's graduate student back in the 1970s when he was a full time ethologist)  . He made the important point that we are all really agnostic.  No one can say for certain that there is no god or gods (thousands have been described).  But that doesn't make it a 50:50 proposition.  We cannot be certain that there is no Easter Bunny or tooth fairy either, but we can live our lives as though there is not.  it is not 50:50.

    ( For BF Skinner, I was raised Methodist and then Episcopalian. I am now an atheist, my sister has converted to  Judism, My father is a Unitarian and my brother was a Baptist, and is now (at 62) studying to become an Anglican priest!)

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:34:00 PM PDT

  •  Former Catholic. Now Presbyterian. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, BFSkinner, worldlotus

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:44:17 PM PDT

  •  I am Unitarian-Universalist (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, BFSkinner, Debby, worldlotus

    My parents were Presbyterian.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:44:36 PM PDT

  •  Parents were Mormon, I am Militant Atheist n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, BFSkinner, worldlotus
  •  Parents were raised Presbyterian (9+ / 0-)

    They became Unitarians when I was 6. Since HS I haven't gone to church. I do have good memories of Sunday school and very interesting sermons.
    Mom dabbled in Wicca for a few years including with the UU pagans. Finally said, "I can't believe in ONE god; how am I supposed to believe in many?" She's 89 now and still feels that way. She's going to the Unitarian-Universalist church again after a detour with the Quakers.

    Dad felt that visiting Muir Woods was like going to church. His ashes are there at his request.

    I'm an atheist with cancer. Expect I'll become compost, probably at Muir Woods, too. Hopefully not too soon!

    Barbara Lee and Howard Dean Speak for me! -9.25 -9.18

    by laurak on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:59:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm a more observant Jew than my parents (4+ / 0-)

    but the observance to me is a ritual that ties me to my history.  My husband's parents are Holocaust survivors, so continuity is very important to us and, I hope, to our children.

    I identify as a Jew, but I don't believe in God. I do believe in connection. The same is true for my parents.

    Remember. Bring them home. ● And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here … and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once -- Michelle Obama.

    by edsbrooklyn on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:39:25 PM PDT

  •  Yes and no. Or no and yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, stevenaxelrod, worldlotus

    So in your poll I answered "other."

    I am Jewish on both sides of my family though the two sides were quite different. In fact I know little about my dad's upbringing because he never discussed his upbringing. At all. He was raised nominally Orthodox (at least by education); was bar mitzvahed. When he passed away I inherited his tefillin as well as the tallit he got for his bar mitzvah (identical to the one I got for mine). At the same time I never saw any evidence that my grandparents ever attended shul. I'm reasonably sure my aunts and uncles never did, though once again both of my first cousins on my dad's side were bar mitzvahed.

     My mom's family was very assimilated though my grandparents would have been appalled if either of their daughters had married a gentile.

    My parents did not work on the High Holidays; nor did they drive a car until I was in my mid-teens. The fasted on Yom Kippur. But the only time I ever saw them at services was when a relative got married or was bar mitzvahed (or bat mitzvahed). That was my story as well when I was a kid. We did not belong to a synagogue.

    I came out of the closet in the early to mid-70's assuming that no branch of Judaism would welcome me. Still, I identified myself as Jewish then and still do now. What happened instead was that I ultimately discovered that there were gay-friendly synagogues and that presumptions I had had about Judaism's acceptance of homosexuality were well on the way to becoming outdated. And then I entered into recovery. The idea of religion and spirituality was somewhat alien to me but to the extent that I decided to embrace both it only seemed to make sense that I was approach them from a Jewish perspective. The result was that I became the first in my immediate family in at least two generations to belong to a synagogue and to attend Shabbat and High Holiday services. I can hardly claim to be especially pious. I attend services only occasionally (though I have come to really enjoy the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services) and I certainly do not keep a kosher home. My sister, before she passed away, became a Tibetan Buddhist. Some of her public school friends went the other direction and became very Orthodox; in in fact they were HORRIFIED when they found out she was going to be cremated rather than buried and that she absolutely did not want a religious funeral.

    So there's the story. It's simple and yet at the same time complex.

  •  No. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne, BFSkinner, worldlotus

    I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school when young.

    As I got into my teens it didn't make sense to me and was leaning toward atheist ... until I was hit with a huge mystical experience when I was 18.

    Spent the next bunch of years exploring various world religions, philosophy, psychology, neurology, etc., trying to figure out what the hell happened and make sense of reality again.

    Found that the Eastern religions/philosophies, and the worldview of shamanistic societies (much more sophisticated than we realise) -- the cultures that have studied and experimented with consciousness for millennia -- knew full well what I had experienced, and could point me in a life direction that made sense.  

    Studies related to consciousness -- death, near-death experiences, hypnosis, meditation, etc. -- and all the weird things related to that were what seemed to relate the most to what I had experienced (and continued to experience as I actually tried their methods).

    I don't believe in faith.  I believe in experience.  My experiences have led me away from organised religion and rigid theology but into a deeper spiritual sense that is comfortable with ambiguity and not knowing.

  •  My pop was raised Catholic from birth, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    Mom converted when they married. Mom held on tighter to the church's tenets over the years, insisting that whatever was "wrong" in the lives of their children would be made "right" again by showing up at the church every Sunday. Pop was more involved with whatever good the church was doing in the community (soup kitchen, etc.)

    Of the 11 of us, their children, none attend any church, tho some continue to struggle with the left-overs of Catholicism.

    I have a sense that competing forces exist in the human aspects of the universe - the cumulative goodness in humankind that some people call a "god," and the cumulative evil in humankind that some people call a "devil."

    I have faith (overall) in humanity and believe that our collective good (appreciation, consideration, understanding, compassion, goodwill, etc.) is more powerful than our collective evil (hostility, derision, judgmentalism, castigation, etc.)

    I like to think that my existence is not limited to my years on this Earth - and want to believe that the core of my self will continue to exist in some way - and continue to experience life of some sort on some level - but I have no idea what that might be - guess I'll find out when I get there, if I get there.

  •  Um. No. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    My great grandparents followed the teachings of Confucious. But then the Missionaries came to their village. But my grandmother didn't really embrace fully Christian beliefs. But no one had much choice and she was baptized.

    When she immigrated to the US, the missionaries also descended in the neighborhood, determined to ensure the heathens remained saved.

    My parents pretty much were both agnostic, but made sure we at least grew up with some religious upbringing. Especially in light of cultural and literary reference. We would be dropped off and picked up from church on Sundays. They did not attend.

    These days I try to follow the way of Buddha.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:05:48 PM PDT

  •  No. My parents were protestant, and we (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    attended a pleasant presbyterian church every Sunday, with Sunday school.  

    When I was six, I couldn't understand why Santa and the Tooth Fairy were pretend, but we were supposed to believe forever in an imaginary god.  Haven't changed that belief since.

    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

    by mumtaznepal on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:10:02 PM PDT

  •  I'm essentially an athiest in all but name. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    My mom is Catholic while my dad considers himself agnostic but siding on the side of some kind of all-powerful deity/power exits - just not that described in the bible. Dad's perfectly OK with where I'm at while Mom understands my position, but really doesn't accept it. That works for me.

  •  Parents are/were (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    (Dad is no longer with us) fundamentalist Christians. I followed that until I was not quite 30. Now I'm atheist.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:23:09 PM PDT

  •  I was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    raised Catholic but am agnostic/atheist now, though I go to a UU church. That's a recent development. I hadn't attended church for over 20 years and now I'm quite regular.

    You're gonna need a bigger boat.

    by Debby on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:24:05 PM PDT

  •  Half Reform Jewish, half Catholic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, janis b, worldlotus

    Both parents went over to Christian Science, while I became a Zen Buddhist priest in Japan and at Shasta Abbey in California, which I helped start.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:27:29 PM PDT

    •  Christian Science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner, worldlotus

      At first, as an adolescent/teenager, I didn't understand why my grandma, who was devoutly Jewish, had the Christian Science Monitor delivered to her apartment. My mother explained to me later on, that my grandma, who had almost simultaneously lost both her sister and my grandpa, found peace after being helped by a CS practioner. She couldn't afford to see a 'therapist', and I guess her rabbi wasn't particularly helpful. Like my grandmother, I think I am open to finding the support I need from varied sources and people.

      'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

      by janis b on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 12:49:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The CS Monitor used to be the best paper (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BFSkinner, janis b

        in the world on foreign affairs, and you could ignore the daily religious article. It could do that because it had a guaranteed audience (and thus funding) that believed that God is love and frequently, even if not universally, believed in putting that notion into practice in ways other than faith healing. It has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory, like almost all other newspapers. Instead of being a daily paper, it is now a weekly news magazine and a Web site.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 08:33:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  nope, not close... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    both of my parents were nominally Roman Catholic -- I'm a Wiccan-Discordian-leaning pagan, and both sisters are some sorts of non-catholic Christians...

  •  Was baptised Lutheran (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    and ended up going through several religions with my mother and sister, none of which I was very comfortable with (Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist, and Church of Christ)

    Am now, and have been for the last several years, a self-practicing Wiccan...and I don't get many phone calls from the  family because I don't hew to their belief system.

    "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." - Winston Churchill

    by Dingodude on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:50:48 PM PDT

  •  I'm a mixed bag, I suppose. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    My parents were both lightly religious, mother more than father, she of Catholic provenance. I have wound up as a Unitarian, quite active in the congregation (board or trustees vice-president), but I see my personal "religion" in the original sense - as relating to other human beings in a way that betters the world without the baggage of dogma.

  •  How Close Qualifies as "The Same"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    How do I know that someone with the same religious belief system actually has the same beliefs as I do?

    But, beyond that philosophical question, if you just narrowly define this as nominally the same, I would say that neither I nor they have the same religion as they did when I was growing up. Although, my father seems to have stayed more narrowly focused on one system than either my mother or me.

    So, I voted "Other".

  •  Taken to a Baptist church weekly as a child. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, laurak, worldlotus, dandy lion

    And now this sums up my feelings perfectly.

  •  Thank you, BFSkinner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus, pvasileff

    for your genuine sense of curiosity and community.
    I hope you're settling well into your home.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 12:56:00 AM PDT

  •  Raised Catholic. Am anything but. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    I consider myself Agnostic, Buddhist, Wiccan, and just generally Spiritual.

    None of those is especially contradictory or excludes the others.

    Catholicism, on the other hand, permits no heresy. Which is probably why I spent so much time in the parish pastor's office, with him telling my parents I might be under demonic influence. Not because my beliefs were wrong -- and I don't believe they are -- but because I wasn't compliant.

    "Don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine. They fall right out of the sky." -- Kaywinnit Lee Frye

    by Technowitch on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 01:12:52 AM PDT

  •  Raised Catholic... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    Catholic School, Confraternity in High School, and went to mass as long as I lived in my parents' home.

    Had a real hard time with all of the belief system, so much so that I did nothing but argue with the deacon who taught our senior year Confraternity class, and who thanked me for giving him "the sign" that he was meant to be a priest.

    Married another quasi-Catholic, baptised both kids but only one took communion...got divorced and subsequently remarried (and became excommunicated according to the rules back then).  My husband is pagan, I'm agnostic, my kids are more secular humanist than anything, but the younger one still practices occasionally as a Wiccan.  Both kids are in their 30's so my job is done.

    We're all pretty good people and like to help our fellow man when we can.  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

  •  the only word I can use to describe my upbringing (4+ / 0-)

    Is secular.

    My grandparents were mormon and when I was seven my mom came out of the closet. She had stopped going to the church long before my birth, I have only ever been to a mormon church once and that was with my grandparents when I was very young. After my mom came out, she was excommunicated and my grandparents stopped talking to her. There was barely any religion Iin the house before that, but afterwords we were raised 100% without any religion. IT wasnt that it was discouraged, just never really brought up again

    And for the second question: yes I still lead a very secular lifestyle. Some would call it atheistic, I say its post theism - I dont know or care about what happens when we die. We will find out when we get there. And we certainly shouldnt let the supposed words of a possibly existent god shape our political, ethical, economic and other decisions.

  •  Folks: Yes, there's a god. Me: nuthin' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus, Calamity Jean

    Although my folks believe in god, they were never a part of any church and so I never attended any. Since I had no formal religious training other than, "Shut up, there's a god", I don't buy any of it. And now my kids are outspoken atheists to the point that they engage in debate in the school yard. In this day and age, they don't get their ass kicked for saying it.

    Good diary.


    Every time my iPhone battery gets down to 47%, I think of Mitt Romney.

    by bobinson on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 02:59:34 AM PDT

  •  Raised Baptist, now agnostic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, worldlotus

    Mom believed in religion when I was younger.  I think some of her fellow Baptists irritated her, though, and the preacher announcing "We're glad to have the so-and-sos back!" when we'd been away for a week or two embarrassed her.

    Dad always seemed indifferent to religion, except he takes Fox Propaganda as gospel.

    I was dunked at age 12, at my own request.  A good little Bible thumper until college and a good little wingnut until george w. bush started his bull-in-a-china-shop act.

    Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 03:08:18 AM PDT

  •  No. M & D were catholics, and as the oldest, I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner

    was sent to catholic school K-12. I stopped believing in any of it around age 11, and repeatedly asked to go to public high school, but was kept prisoner against my will.

    I have made an informal lifelong study of various religions and believe none of them...I do not consider myself an "atheist" because that strikes me as too formal, like a club, and I don't want that, either. I DO believe there are plenty of things going on that we do not grasp or understand, but I doubt the old man in the sky in her/his various forms. But I do know that my dogs are very aware of things that I have no clue about, and that things exist that we can not explain.

    I have even seen a "ghost" though I do not believe in any of that stuff at all...but there she was...

    You are the product of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success - Act like it.

    by old mark on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:01:47 AM PDT

  •  Raised Democrat. Still Democrat (nt) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, pvasileff, hayden

    "Woe unto ye beetles of South America." -- Charles Darwin, about to sail on The Beagle, 1831

    by Katakana on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:18:11 AM PDT

  •  my mother was an oklahoma methodist, but i was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner, pvasileff

    raised in holy roller churches after she married my stepfather...i became a non-religious entity after attending holy roller church camp when i was nine

    i remember coming home from that hellish week in prescott, arizona and telling my older brother, "i'm an atheist now"

    that was 1965, and my brain is still a religion-free zone, thank god

  •  Mom Jewish, Dad Catholic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner

    Neither practicing.  They weren't Atheist, necessarily, but they were 60's hippies... it just wasn't a thing for us.

    I consider myself Jewish, with a mostly traditional practice, but I'm in a Reform school studying to be a Rabbi.

    "If you don't stick to your values when tested, they're not values! They're hobbies" - Jon Stewart

    by LivingOxymoron on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:59:39 AM PDT

  •  Raised in the LC-MS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner

    I'm probably the only practicing Missouri Synod Lutheran on the whole board.  My Dad was an LC-MS minister and I got most of my religious beliefs from him, as well as a fondness for science fiction and POGO cartoons.

    But although I go to an LC-MS church, my beliefs might be closer to ELCA's.  I don't like my church's hardline stance on a lot of issues, including homosexuality.  (This last is why my eldest daughter has left our church; she has many gay friends, and feels uncomfortable when our pastor denounces gays.  This is something my father never did).

    So why do I stay with the LC-MS?  German Lutheran stubbornness, I guess.  And I do like my church's teaching on the Gospel, when it forgets about all the Republican crap and remembers Jesus.   I like to think that the discussions I have with people in our Bible Class provides a small witness for Progressive Christianity.

    I've gotten away with it so far, anyway.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:01:52 AM PDT

  •  Nope, I learned where too much of it came from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner

    Raised Missouri Synod Lutheran now atheist. The first challenge that meant anything was learning some history that trashed what I had been taught. It's amazing they teach things are miracles that were just literary devices of the time: Like Jonah & the whale.

  •  Other times 6 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner, hayden

    I can offer more than one data point.

    My parents were strong evangelical Protestants, and my father was a lay preacher. I banged my shins against the intellectual constraints of standard evangelicalism, but always admired the way the two of them lived out their faith.

    They had six sons. One is now an evangelical in the modern mold and a Fox watcher. One an agnostic, one a New Ager. Three of us are evangelicals in the Sojourners vein, theologically conservative with some caveats, and culturally/politically liberal. The Fox watcher brother, I gather, has never been quite able to decide whether we qualify as "Christian", but is willing to let God sort it out. The youngest of the Sojourners contingent is pastor of a southern church.

    On the whole, I think you'd have to say that our parents' religion proved pretty sticky, largely because they lived up to what they preached.

  •  While very active............. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner

    in a segregated, fundamentalist Christian Church both my parents were liberal Democrats.

    My Dad was a union member who work in a large plant with a diverse workforce and my Mom worked for a State Agency which was also diverse. I still call myself a Christian and was, when my daughter was young, a Deacon and active administrative board member of a large congregation from what would now be considered a very, very liberal Denomination.  

    However, I part from my parent's beliefs in one area. While still holding on to the basics of Christian belief; I would more accurately call myself a Von Daniken-Christian-Agnostic.

    It is hard for me to not believe in God or higher powers as it is impossible for me to believe that mankind is the most advanced example of intelligent life in the Universe(s).

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:33:02 AM PDT

    •  Speaking strictly from my own view (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BFSkinner, cazcee

      It is interesting how views evolve over generations , my mother heard catholic mass in Latin until she became an adult , she says they did not even get to read the bible , and she went all the way thru catholic school , the catholic kids world completely transformed for kids 5 to 10 years behind her

      While me and her still share our faith together , my view of "god" and "this world " are completely different than hers

      Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

      by Patango on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:46:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My parents (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner

    were catholic liberal anti racist non judgemental and open minded , I am proud to say I carried that on

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 06:33:27 AM PDT

  •  Atheist, raised by atheist grandparent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, BFSkinner

    After a bout of Episcopalianism.

  •  My parents were nominally religious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BFSkinner, MKSinSA

    We'd go to church on holidays, say grace at table, and go to Homecoming. I never paid much attention beyond the music, which I loved. Sunday school was wasted and I hated that church would take hours of my life. I paid so little attention that I still don't know which religion belongs to which parent. One was Baptist, the other Methodist. It would be easy to find out but I never have had enough interest.

    I'm atheist. I read the bible, listened to church and family, and didn't could never make all the contradictions work. You should be a good person who lived a decent life because that was the right thing to do, not because you were afraid that you might suffer after you died. As also believed that if you were a good person of another religion, or lack thereof, you shouldn't be punished for believing in the "wrong" god.

  •  First I rejected religion.... (0+ / 0-)

    ... because of the way religious leaders acted.  So I wandered around as an agnostic for many years.  I then ran into the statement, I think it was from Joseph Campbell, that "man makes god in his own image."  After considering that as a motivation for the presence of a god in the first place, I rejected the need for a god and became an atheist.  Only then did I appreciate just what an infinitesimal probability there was of my existence.  That is when the universe opened up to me and I stood humbled and in awe.  That is when my spiritual journey really began.

    “The aim of mankind should be to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”--Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)

    by cinepost on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 11:44:57 AM PDT

  •  I was raised Orthodox Jewish (0+ / 0-)

    and still am, though I differ from my parents somewhat in minor points of practice and in philosophy.  So do my brother and sister; we're all in slightly varying branches of Orthodoxy.

    My parents used to tell a story about when my brother was in high school, and he came to them and said that he wished they hadn't raised us religious -- because how could he ever know whether he was religious himself because he'd been indoctrinated with it in childhood or because he really chose to be?  They told him that once the question occurs to you, whatever you do with your life after that is a deliberate choice.

    I'm inclined to believe they were right.

  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

    Raised atheist by two atheists, never been anything else, couldn't be if I wanted to. I strongly believe it's in my genes.

  •  Mother Presbyterian; Father Agnostic. I am LDS. (0+ / 0-)

    My dad had virtually no spiritual guidance to provide to me at all, while my mom had only a few general platitudes and such.  She tried, but she hadn't been provided with much herself.

    I set off from an early age in search of truth for myself.  It was an epic journey.  I climbed many lonely mountains in search of my guru, and howled at many a full moon - metaphorically speaking.  Along the way, a funny thing happened:  I began to find answers...in the form of extensive personal revelation - and a personal prophecy that foretold of major events yet to occur in my life as an adult.

    At length, in October of 1978, in response to an urgent, desperate prayer, I heard the voice of the Lord speaking to me.  He commended me for my diligence and faith in seeking the truth, and promised that I would soon find it - if I persevered.

    Six months later, a good friend who had recently converted to the Latter-day Saint faith, came to my home to tell me of his conversion experience.  In teaching me about the doctrines of the Restoration, he mentioned nearly every one of the doctrines that had been taught to me over the years by the Holy Spirit.  It was a paradigm buster!  It was also a fulfillment of the promise the Lord had uttered to me six months previously!

    Three weeks later, I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That was 31 March, 1979.  Last Monday, 31 March 2014, marked the 35th anniversary of my conversion.  To this day, it remains the best decision I've ever made - by far.

    My faith has never wavered.  And I remain passionate about LDS theology - an astonishingly progressive theology that stands in stark contrast to the conservative church culture that has developed around it - and remains one of the best-kept secrets in this world.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of the Right is that progressives do nothing.

    by Mystic Michael on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 08:02:43 PM PDT

  •  I grew up an a Conservative Jewish household (0+ / 0-)

    with mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions. I still identify as a Jew, and still go to my parents for Shabbat dinner most Friday nights, and will go there for the first two nights of Passover. But I am an atheist, and I no longer believe in many of the tenets of the religion, and I rarely go to the synagogue. I think my father may also be an atheist, certainly and agnostic, but he observes many religious practices, including keeping kosher (which he didn't grow up with), and is a leader in his synagogue community.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 08:16:13 PM PDT

  •  I've gone further in direction my parents headed. (0+ / 0-)

    My parents were liberal Republicans and liberal Christians. I think I still share most of the values of my parents, but those values are certainly not represented by today's Republican Party. Today I am a proud and committed Democrat, as is my sister. My mom never changed her registration, but was voting D in her later years.
      While privately an agnostic, I comfortably attended church services during my three decades in New England: Unitarian/Universalist, and "Open & Accepting" Congregationalist. Theology aside, those congregations were filled with compassionate people committed to social justice. Now I live in Oklahoma, and while I would not stigmatize all my fellow "Sooners", the most outspoken "Christians" here espouse hateful and bigoted views quite contrary to the teachings of Jesus as I understand them. I no longer attend church or identify myself as Christian. Did I change, or did these institutions? A little of both, I'm sure, but on the whole the party and the church left me.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

    by Blue Boomer on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:09:57 PM PDT

  •  I voted "Other" (0+ / 0-)

    Neither of my parents goes to church today, but when I was 15 my mom introduced me to the church I now attend.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 07:10:51 AM PDT

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