Religion : LUSENET : Planning A Sky : One Thread

Do you have a religious affiliation? Do you believe but not attend church? Do you believe not in God, but in Gods? Do you believe in some other sort of deity or spirit? Do you not believe at all? Tell us about it.

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2000


Brought up COE (Church of England) in Australia, so I know all the stories and the ideology. I don't believe though, there has to be some proof for me, and some book saying it's true, and other people believing, it's not empirical enough for me.

I think I'm closest to being an agnostic, I'm not quite at the stage of definitely saying that no God exists, but that I don't have any proof that he/she/one exists.

Having said this, if I did the kidlet thing, I'd make sure they went to church, and Sunday school, the whole deal. They should have the chance to make up their own mind about religion, not base it on what I think or believe. Plus, so much of Western culture, literature etc requires a basic understanding of Christianity, I can't help feeling they'd be left behind if they didn't at least understand the theory.


-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

All my life I have had a difficult time trying to swallow traditional organized religion. My mother is Jewish and my father is Catholic. Neither of them being particularly religious, they both made the decision that they wanted my brother and I to be raised to understand family tradition. They didn't want us to live by a set of rules from some book. I thank them for this.

I cannot say that I do not believe in God. However, I do not think that God is the type of being, so commonly described. How arrogant of us to assume that he was human! To me, "God" is everything in nature. In my opinion, the only thing that is greater than us is power of the universe and nature. When I look up at the sky and become awed by it's enormity and beauty, I think to myself, "mother nature has really outdone herself".

I have nothing against organized religion, except that a lot of the time it closes peoples' minds and prevents them from accepting so many wonderful things and ideas. Religion is what people surrender to for comfort. If going to church and reading the bible is what makes you feel good, then so be it. I am a writer. Therefore, I can say that I worship daily. When I write and read the brilliant words of others, I feel an inner peace that cannot be described. Which is a feeling I can imagine being very similar to the one that religious people feel from going to church.

I have also been uncomfortable with the notion of "heaven". It bothers me that people are focusing all of their attention on what happens after they die. I try to live a moral life, not because I want to be rewarded for it later, but because I want to be able to live with myself now. I believe that people live on. They live on through the memories of others. If you live an extraordinary life, and touch peoples' hearts, you will live forever.

I guess that's all I really wanted to say.


-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

I enjoyed your entry regarding religion. It seems "fashionable" to not believe in God these days. I'm so glad that there are people out there who still do and who are willing to post it proudly as you did. Wonderful!

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

First of all, Mel, I do believe you got the entire Nicene Creed! (Although I can recite it from memory during the service at church, I'm not sure I'd be able to do it just sitting here.)

And I would encourage you to investigate Episcopalianism. I was raised Congregationalist, and I actually sought more structure and ceremony. I started going to a small, student-run Episocopal church in college, and have gone ever since.

I have been to Mass on several occasions, and I think you will find the Episcopal service to be much more approachable, understandable, inviting. Every church I've attended regularly has had a woman as an associate rector, if not the primary one. You will find the eucharists to be almost exactly the same as the Catholic one, except that communion is open to everyone, as long as they've been baptized.

I have recently been exploring other faiths, but being back in church yesterday, I can't deny how at home I felt. It's the right place for me.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

This is a tough question. I was raised Catholic -- like, completely. We actually have priests and nuns in our family. This is a Catholic city in a Catholic state.

My parents are devoutly religious, but theirs is a true faith -- they're not the kind of Catholics who show up only on holidays to fill the pews -- my mother goes to mass every single morning, and for both of my parents, faith is an intrinsic part of their lives. While they embrace most of the tenets of the Catholic Church, they don't fit the "stereotype" of being harshly judgmental and close-minded or prudish. They just believe, with all of their hearts, and they have tried to raise their four children to do the same.

I used to believe with *my* whole heart as a child and a young adolescent. I don't remember when I started to stop believing. It's just so hard for me to really, truly believe. And yet in my times of deep grief and worry and crisis, I always start to believe. Since my parents got on the plane for their business trip to Taiwan, I've been praying nonstop. I actually went searching for a rosary last night (it's a fourteen hour flight -- in fact, they still haven't landed) -- I couldn't find one, but I felt like it would help me to center my thoughts on praying for their safe journey. I guess that's a clichi, isn't it? Believe only when it makes you feel better.

I love the stories in the Bible as stories. I think they're beautiful, and there's really nothing in the New Testament that I disagree with in terms of how to live your life. Be decent, be honest, treat people like you want to be treated -- put other people before yourself. To me, this is the essence of being a good person. And the Church definitely teaches that.

It makes me both ill and angry to see how Christians are portrayed in the media -- as hateful, conservative wackos -- when most that I've known are anything but. And I wonder if that would upset me so much if I didn't fundamentally consider myself to be one of them, whether I want to accept it or not.

I don't know. I want to believe. I really do. But how? When there are so many things about Christianity that just make me want to barf and when there are so many holes in the "story"?

My dad gives regular teachings to RCIA classes, and he is a true scholar of biblical history, and he is an incredible speaker. His talks are shaped with the words of an intellectual who has faith that the words in the Bible are true, and real, and I have such respect for that. I didn't attend mass for many years, and have only recently begun to go semi-regularly. Largely, I go because it makes my parents happy. I want to find meaning there, and I do sometimes, in small ways.

To me, if there is a God, God is present in whatever blesses your life. For example, my parents went to Washington, D.C. in February. One morning, I decided to check their voice mail, something I never do, as I was preparing to leave for work. I don't remember what compelled me to do so. I just remember hearing the message from the orderly at my grandfather retirement home, telling my parents to call her as soon as possible because Gramps wouldn't get out of bed.

If I had not checked that voice mail that morning, I would not have gone to his apartment at the home. I would not have seen him lying in bed in his own feces. I would not have called 911. I would not have accompanied him to the hospital and been with him to hold his hand as he became more and more ill. He would not have been alive three days later when all of his children had a chance to come to town to tell him goodbye, because the doctor told me he would only have survived a few more hours if left unattended.

It was a sad thing that my grandfather died, but it was a blessing that he stayed alive long enough for his family to see him and tell him they loved him.

I never check that voice mail. But I did that day. And I have to think that it was no coincidence. I have to think that maybe it was God. And maybe I'll never completely understand it. And maybe I'll never be able to rationalize it or intellectualize it. But maybe it's not supposed to make sense. Maybe ultimately, that's the definition of ... faith.

I didn't mean to sit here and write an entire journal entry about this. But it's something I've thought about a lot lately, and I'm glad to have a place to write out my thoughts.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

I wish I could give a definitive yes or no answer to what I believe in.

I am Catholic, as is my whole extended family. I didn't really give much thought to religion growing up. I attended CCD, had my reconciliation and confirmation just like everyone else. I never attended church regularly though. Church just wasn't cool to me.

And then I met my now husband. He was Christian Reformed. Whaat? I had just assume that whoever I married would be Catholic as most people I knew were Catholic and it was all I was exposed too. Wrong. We ended up getting married in my church two years ago. Recently, however, we've been attending (at my husband's insistence, he really wants to belong to a church) a Reformed church that is supposedly less strict than his previous church was. It's okay. It's definitely different. I guess when you become so used to a style of a church, anything else is hard to adjust too. Of course, we've only gone two times, so I haven't really seen it all I guess you could say.

I never would have thought growing up that I would be worrying about what church I belong too.


-- Anonymous, April 24, 2000

I am trying to find my spiritual center. I believe in a higher being. I pray. I think there is a lot to be learned form various stories in the bible. However, I find my skin crawling whenever I think about going to church. We went when I was younger, but after we moved from Alabama to Germany (dad was in the military) we stopped going.

My grandmother asks me to go all the time, but I always refuse because she doens't want me to go to get something out of the service, she wants me to go so she can show me off to everyone and introduce me to half of the town. No Thanks - not interested.

One of my Uncles is very religious and would like for me to find a church. He wants me to read the bible everyday. In the darkness of midnight I can say that these sound like things that I can do, but in the light of day, it feels very fake and phony.

I am searching for whatever it is that will make me feel whole. I don't want to just go through the motions of going to church and reading the bible. I want that inner peace that so many people claim they have.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

I believe, but don't attend any church. I had a very agnostic/atheist upbringing (my mother kept the family bible on the same shelf as the Oz books, but we did have a family bible). I fell in with a fairly devout Christian church-upbringing group in high school (AV/Stage crew), and read enough of the bible to begin to believe and begin to be confused. I read through the Gospels, and liked and believed what I read, but partway through the Acts it seemed to me that people were already starting to interpret things for their own benefit, so I went back and re-read the Gospels and did my own interpreting from there. I went to several different churches to try and get a feel for how they were treating things, and everything I saw was completely foreign to what I read in the Gospels.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

How very timely... with the entry 'Changed'.

I am a Free Will Baptist. Which is VERY far from Southern Baptists and I'm not sure about regular Baptists. I think the first thing I liked about this denomination is that we sing alot. Pitiful first reason eh?

Seriously though. I love the FWB faith, I can keep all of its doctrines, I agree with 99.9 percent of them too which is a big one.

I do have that peace inside when it comes to God. I dabbled in Catholism (in which i was raised), Nazareths, Mormonism and Baptists, Wicca oh yes and do let's not forget the Pentacostal Holiness. None of these "fit" me. I didn't fit them. I wasn't sure what I was...I even thought I was agnostic there for a short period of time..until I actually met a family that was atheist and I thought "ForGET that!"

I worried forever about writing in my online journal about religion and all...I don't want to offend or preach or evangelize, I just want to share. My readers have been wholly supportive.

And now since I'm making little sense to myself..I'm going to hie myself back to work! Great entry Melissa!

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

I'm of no religion. And Sunday I found out that I'm not even considered Christian. I'd always thought I was. But guess not- why? Cause I'm not baptised. My parents are of different faiths- Catholic and United and they decided to let me choose.

Which means that I've chosen not to choose. Which is different to be from just not choosing period. I guess it means to me that I've considered it and since I can't seem to find one religion that makes sense I prefer not to be of a religion.

Which has never been an issue until now. Becasue now I'm considering getting married. To a Catholic man. Whos feels that it is important to be married in a Catholic church. Which means that if I marry him, I'd have to be baptised because the Catholic church wouldnt' marry us unless I was.

Which means I have to in a sense turn my back on what I believe in. Which feels hypocritical to me.

I went to a Catholic mass for the first time in a very very very long time on Sunday for Easter Sunday. It was bizarre.

I don't know what to do.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

Renee, I totally sympathize re: not writing about religion for fear of what your readers might think. Only one person unsubbed from my notify list, though, and I'm not even sure that's why...but it was the day after I posted that entry. Who knows. Maybe they don't like reading about being in love. :-)

I just decided though that not writing about believing in God was silly. I read lots of journals where I don't believe in the same things the writer does--but I'm interested in them. It's my site, so I want to express all sides of me.

I've been very interested in following your spiritual journey, by the way, especially now that I know you looked at so many faiths! And I understand about being attracted to the music, because I think it's an important part of worship.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000


I wasn't Catholic until I married K. When I agreed to marry him in a Catholic Church, I knew I'd have to convert. I figured...not too big a deal, since I had never been baptized. I liked what I had seen of the Catholic mass and ritual.

It was a mistake, and I'm sorry now. I'm not Catholic, and no baptism will make me Catholic. You must choose your religion, not have it chosen for you. You must be comfortable within the religion to worship, I think.

I would suggest talking to a priest, or perhaps to the person who runs the classes at that church. Attend several other Masses. Try another Catholic Church. I've been to at least ten and there are subtle differences. Perhaps a more progressive church would attract you better?

Either way it's a hard decision, but it's one you should make for yourself.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

Well.. being only 18, I don't have much of a voice in this subject. But since I follow a different path, I thought I'd post a word of two.

Up until two years ago, I had no religion in my life. The bulk of my family is Catholic, though I can't be 100% sure. When I was a little girl, I sometimes went to Sunday School with my best friend Jessica and most nights I'd pray before going to sleep. After we moved away, I no longer went to Sunday School. After a few years living here, I stopped praying at nights.

Then two years ago, I had some bad things happen to me. I needed something and I just couldn't find out what... I knew I didn't fit in with the Chrisitan/Catholic faiths. To make a very long story short, I researched the Wiccan/Pagan religion and quickly found that I felt at home and at peace.

So, two years later and only a handful of people know I'm not of a mainstream religion. A lot of people here have negative feelings toward a Wiccan/Pagan faith. But I always believe that as long as you're happy with the religion you're a part of, people should be happy for you.

Okay, I'm done now. :) *steps down*

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

"But I always believe that as long as you're happy with the religion you're a part of, people should be happy for you." --"The Other Mel"

This is the bottom line of all of this, isn't it? Search for a faith that makes you happy. Be happy for others that their faiths have made them happy, even if they're different from yours -- even if they're happy having no faith at all. Not to sound all "I'd like to buy the world a Coke," but seriously. I've never understood why some people get their undies into such a wad over trying to convince other people to believe what they do, because they think their way is the only way. Asinine!

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000

The Other Mel - I completely agree with you. It disturbs me that people think that some religions are wrong or better, etc. Who says? And does God want people to be so judgmental? I highly doubt it.

What bothers me most of all about the topic of religion is when people get all hung up on what they "should" do or how others will perceive them. My husband's parents wanted him to attend church because they looked good to their friends - they were able to make their son go to church, therefore they must be good people. Hogwash. MAKING someone go serves no purpose.

One other comment: I've been going to my husband's church (the verdict is still out) but one thing that I really don't care for is the singing. There is a LOT of singing. Much different from what I was used too.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2000


I truly appreciate you telling me that because I have just agonized over the whole thing. But how could I keep a truthful journal if I didn't include what has become the center of my life?

I suffered for so many years...dabbling in all the religions..I even took mail order classes in Wicca when I moved to North Carolina. I still remember my teacher's name: Gavin.

But I knew I believed in a God, One God, His Son and the Holy Ghost.

I grew up in the mountains of the Alleghany National Forest in NWestern Pa. I used to walk through the woods by myself, spent many hours and just KNEW that there was a could something so incredibly peaceful and beautiful beyond words just have "happened". So many things have happened to me personally that I couldn't have made it through alive or whatever.

I have always been very spiritual, especially concerning the outdoors, but I felt moved to join this church, moved by something I had never felt before and believe you me, I was the anti- establishment for religion. I wasn't going to go be preached at and on and on. I was like, the poster child for not liking organized religion.

So..There's a bit more and I'm going to bed! Thanks for this Melissa!

-- Anonymous, April 26, 2000

I'm thrilled.

I was talking to a friend of mine last night. She married a Catholic man, and converted to Catholism.

Anyways, she met my man over the weekend and I was saying that it looked good except for the religion thing.

ANd then she told me .. I don't have to be baptised. I can marry him in a Catholic church (what he wants) and not give up something that is really really important to me.


-- Anonymous, April 28, 2000

Dora, Does God really just want us to be happy??? It seems to me that finding the truth is so much more important than being "happy" with what you believe in. Everyone believes different things, so even though we might all be happy with what we believe, some of us have to be right and some have to be wrong, doesn't that seem true?

I am a Christian, but I do not follow a "religion." I follow God. I am a Christian because I have faith that Jesus died to save me from my sins, and I try my best to live as God wants me to, not because I want to seem moral or "religious" or because this will get me to heaven. I do it out of thankfulness to God, who gave me everything when I deserved nothing because I am such a truly evil person inside. Anything good that I can do is only done through God's power because I would never be able to do it in my own strength. The only way I know I will reach heaven is because I have faith that God sacrificed his son Jesus instead of punishing me for me own sins. What mercy! The reason I go to church is because I learn more about what God did for me there, and I am strengthened by the encouragement of others, not because going to church makes me right with God or gets me any "points" with God or something like that. Nothing I do can save me, only God's forgiveness for my sins, which is given freely as a gift from a loving God, not as a result of anything I do. I think if I truly understand how incredibly and wonderfully merciful and loving God is in sending his son to die for me when I deserved nothing, I cannot help but want to dedicate my life to him in gratitude and praise. I pray that none of this sounds preachy or conceited - the only reason I can know any of this is through God, not me at all. Praise God for his incredible love and mercy - I stand amazed at all he has done for me!

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2001

I have been exploring my spirituality lately.

I went to mass on Easter, and while I loved the music, as usual I felt very separated from the Catholicism and the droning responses. I've been collecting books to read to help me with any transition I decide to make. I've started C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (I think that's what it's called...I don't have it with me) and I just ordered "Conversations With God". I also picked up a book called "Confirmation", about one man's quest to find a spiritual home over the course of the year.

I've thought about taking a year and trying a different church every month, going four times to really get a feel for it. I know I definitely want to look into Methodism and Episcopalianism, and maybe Unitarism. Does anyone else have an alternative to recommend?

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2001

I don't believe in God in the 'traditional' sense. I have a hard time with the concept of some amorphous spirit floating around in the sky playing puppet master. Consequently, while I believe that Jesus was an incredible man who had some amazing ideas that were before his time, and I admire the fact that he was strong enough to stand for them, I do not believe that he was anything more just human.

However, I have a lot of respect for people who *do* have a belief (as long as they don't try to stuff it down my throat!) - just because I can't seem to find the explanations to justify it doesn't mean that there isn't such a thing - it simply means that my 'faith' is a little bit different. I have long accepted the fact that my brain tends to be a bit too scientific. I cannot often accept things simply on faith - it's just not part of my nature.

I believe that there are forces at work - whether they are Nature, God, a whole host of gods and goddesses I don't know, but I do accept that there is something out there greater than us.

Despite the fact that I cannot honestly say that I believe in God (or in Jesus for that matter), I do attend church (United Methodist) regularly and, in fact I serve on the Administrative Council. My minister is aware of my feelings and is fine with them. She realizes that we all have our own version of faith, and that that is perfectly acceptable.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2001

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