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Why are you the religion you are?

(105 Posts)
benetint Sat 13-Apr-13 19:48:35

If you are at all religious that is! My family are catholic and I have recently started attending church. I feel the services very comforting and I find I always want to try and be a better person after going. But there's so much in the Catholic Church I worry about, particularly if I'm going to start taking my children. So I didn't know whether I should explore other options too? I just wanted to know then really, are you a particular religion because you we're born into it? Or did you spend time finding a denomination that is in line with your beliefs/morals? Thanks so much

HardlyEverHoovers Sun 14-Apr-13 20:31:59

Looks like most people who replied are of a Christian background, I am Muslim, and chose this religion at the expense of pretty much everything else in my life at the time about 10 years ago. I did that because I believed, and believe it to be the truth. That seems to be the bottom line for me, but beyond being Muslim I made other choices according to what felt most comfortable to me, such as which mosque to attend, which Islamic scholars to listen to etc etc.
Although I wasn't raised as a Christian, Christianity would be have the most obvious choice for me, based on my school, friends etc. But I never really got the theological aspects of it so never really got into it.
I wish you all the best in your journey to finding what is right for you and family OP.

benetint Sun 14-Apr-13 19:35:22

This has been so interesting, thanks so much!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 14-Apr-13 19:34:40

It's interesting (and quite telling) that the vast majority of people either follow the religion they were born into (perhaps a slightly different denomination) or have become atheist.

Says a lot.

niminypiminy Sun 14-Apr-13 17:43:15

I'm CofE now, but was brought up in an atheist, non-churchgoing family. I'm the only one of my family that has ever voluntarily been inside a church apart from going to a funeral or wedding.

I started going to church with Guides, and carried on going as a teenage rebellion. Then stopped, and gradually resumed my family's reflex atheism. Many years later God tapped on my shoulder, and wouldn't stop tapping. I walked into my local CofE church and that was, more or less, that. My reasons for staying are somewhat similar to Tuo's - I like liturgy, and I like the middle way the CofE walks between Catholicism and Calvinism.

Gingerdodger Sun 14-Apr-13 15:01:19

Christian of the RC persuasion, RC by baptism and by choice and just have a deep sense that this is the right place for me personally. Happy to openly say that there are aspects of the church I would like to see change but those parts that I see fundamental to my personal faith sit best here.

Tuo Sun 14-Apr-13 14:10:36

I'm CofE, both by tradition and by choice.

I was baptised in the CofE, although my mum's family were traditionally Methodists (my dad's family were not practising as anything, though they have traditionally done CofE baptisms, marriages and funerals). We went to a Methodist chapel for a while and then - more for personal reasons than for theological ones, as I understand it (I was pretty small at the time) - changed to the local CofE church, where I was confirmed. I also went to a strongly CofE school.

I had a long period of agnosticism from my late teens to my early 40s, during which I half-heartedly sought a church where I'd feel comfortable from time to time, but never settled on one. My children were not baptised; my DH is an atheist. I went back finally during a period when I lived in the US, when I attended an Episcopal (Anglican) church. On my return, I started attending my local Anglican cathedral (knowing that my local church was not really 'my style') and I'm very happy there and now quite involved, as is my DD2 (DD1 doesn't want to know).

In answer to the OP's questions, I could have chosen a different denomination when I went back to church, but several things were important to me, and I felt that these were best met within the CofE. I wanted a church that was as liberal as possible on issues of gender and sexuality, as well as on other 'moral' issues. The CofE is not perfect in this regard (the Episcopal Church is the US does a bit better) but at least these issues are discussed openly and things are changing. I also wanted a church that was liturgically fairly traditional... I like a service that has a clear 'shape', and above all it means a lot to me to be able to take communion every week if possible. I would rule out many non-conformist denominations and 'low' CofE churches on the latter grounds; and Catholicism (and some more fundamentalist Protestant denominations) would be out for me on the former grounds. I'm now so firmly ensconced back within my faith that I could probably compromise on the liturgical side if need be (though not on the liberal side!), but I can't see myself going back to my old agnosticism. If I weren't CofE, I'd probably be URC, because everything I've heard and seen about them has been very good.

If you're not happy with the Catholic Church's teaching on some issues, there are two possibilities (three if you include simply giving up on religion altogether...). Either you stay with the Catholic Church and accept that there are aspects of its doctrine that you don't agree with and just sort of turn a blind eye; or you look for another church (I'd say try the Anglicans for a liturgy that won't be all that unfamiliar, but a more liberal outlook...) where you feel more comfortable. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Born into a C of E family but parents stopped going to church when I was little. I went to Sunday School which I loved and church with the Brownies which I hated.

My teenage rebellion included an agnostic and then an atheist phase when I worked out that life isn't fair. When I went to university I met some people who were starting up a C S Lewis Society and as 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' had been the first book I bought I joined up. Through them I met mature Christians and I, much to my surprise found myself arguing with God, which was odd as I was pretty convinced he didn't exist! That experience was part of my journey to an adult faith. Fast forward 30 years and I'm ordained in the C of E which as a woman can be interesting.

If I hadn't been brought up Christian I might have ended up in one of the pagan/celtic circles as that is the path where I have a number of friends who look to the presence of the divine in nature.

I am also owned by two gorgeous cats...

Lilka Sun 14-Apr-13 13:02:10

Raised Catholic, taken to Church every Sunday. As I reached my teens I started questionning the Catholic Church and decided I hated the structure, the dogma and so on. I stopped going to Church. A couple of years later I began to lose my faith altogether, and by the time I was 18 I was an atheist.

I became interested in other spiritual paths a few years later. My long term girlfriend was Wiccan. I felt a need for some spiritual path but I definitely do not believe in a God or Gods. Today, I am an atheist who identifies quite a lot with Humanism, has some Pagan ideals/beliefs and celebrates some Pagan festivals/holidays, but I wouldn't say that I was Pagan on any official form because I do not fully subscribe to any particular pagan path (eg. Wicca) I just take some bits I agree with and use them. It brings me a lot more happiness and peace than celebrating nothing. I would say 'no religion' or 'atheist' on an official form.

Jinsei Sun 14-Apr-13 12:09:43

So, swapping religions is pointlessly picky and an essentially teenage act of rebellion

I disagree with this - it's actually incredibly patronising and there might be numerous genuine reasons for switching from one faith to another.

RealityQuake Sun 14-Apr-13 11:46:22

lottiegarbanzo - While it may fit you, it's quite invalidating to put your "prescription" on others and call changing and developing different spiritual viewpoints from their parents 'pointlessly picky' and 'teenage rebellion'. Your "prescription" ignores that culture and religion are not firmly intertwined for many individuals outside of an areas' main group's pairing (many people are culturally British, but not connected to the Christian grafting religiously or culturally that is now embedded in British culture). Also, it ignores the hundreds of thousands of communities dealing with the affects of cultural genocide, having ones cultural faiths ripped out and forcefully replaced with colonization with forced conversions, forced boarding schools and adoptions, and aid given only in return for conversion (and weekly lessons demonizing and degrading your culture and your previous faith). These are all within our lifetimes and currently going, people dealing with not feeling belonging anywhere or having a religious home anymore, and people having to fight officials who think it's pointlessly picky to not want holy lands paved over or want cultural and religious services not crashed by tourists. You may be with the status quo officials that people developing away from what you think is right is picky and childish, but claiming our own road is part of us, their descendants, getting back our own personhood that has been and is continuously being denied to us - being our own people and fully human as the rest are considered with our own reality acknowledged.

I'm Metis, my Christian kin are that way because it keeps them safe (even today it is far safer and many communities share this, even in the UK) and for some of them clinging to that, it means more than anything. When I was young I had people within admit that they couldn't get the logical leaps that 'proved' Jesus messiah, but that it didn't matter because it was safer to remain and I do not begrudge them that, but when I too didn't see it I wanted answers not deception and safety and was pushed down the Abrahamic line and was given praise by others that I was close enough and soothing words by a Rabbi, the whole 70 nations and Noahide as equal and intertwined bit. I lived with that for 15 years, built my identity around it, before someone trying to push Noahides to become full Jews showed me and my partner how actually we were unequal, that the harshness of our position had been hidden from us, and I again felt deceived. It was not easy, it was not being picky - I searched for days to make what I was told untrue, to revalidate the faith I'd been raising my family in and not losing all my answers. But the facts only got worse. Leaving was both painful and left me lighter in a strange way. Learning to enjoy being outside doctrine and celebrating the philosophy of a path without it is becoming better though still difficult. You may wish to trivialise this but for many people growing into a new worldview is difficult and about owning who we are as individuals and families, not because we bear grudges for those in our past.

infamouspoo Sun 14-Apr-13 11:42:12

I didnt know there was sectarianism in Scotland. I assume its catholic vs protestant?

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 14-Apr-13 11:18:23

I grew up in America, and spent the last six years or so in the West of Scotland.... The sectarianism was such an ugly shock to me, and it seemed utterly unrelated to the Catholic religion of my experience.

I am so glad to be in England, and that my children won't be raised in that environment.

bumbleymummy Sun 14-Apr-13 11:06:00

Yes please! Do you want to PM me? smile

SirBoobAlot Sun 14-Apr-13 10:47:39

Oh right smile Well in that case, if you want some facts to impress your student... grin

bumbleymummy Sun 14-Apr-13 10:32:47

Thanks SirBoobAlot, he's actually home schooled so I'm his teacher. Always happy to be impressed though! smile

SirBoobAlot Sun 14-Apr-13 10:28:35

Bumbleymummy - I used to give talks at my old school for a while when they were studying Egypt, if your DS has any questions / wants some facts to impress the teacher wink let me know, I've become quite adapt to adjusting it for various age groups. smile

Jellyhandsandfingers Sun 14-Apr-13 10:23:49

I was born to a Catholic mother and a Protestant father who lived in Glasgow at the time of their marriage. They faced awful, awful prejudice from some others who didn't like the denominations mixing. I find the way they were treated by some shockingly awful and think that the ignorance of their views only did harm. I believe the segregation of the religions only ever did harm there and am pleased to hear that things in general seem to be much better nowadays.

My sibling and I went to a baptist play group, loosely church of England schools and a Methodist church for Brownies/scouts, e.t.c... I have been to Catholic mass a few times although think my mother was a bit disheartened by the way she was treated by others in her faith when she got married so has distanced herself from the church quite a lot. We were never Christened - my parents held a strong belief that it was our decision to make our own choice over what religion we were, if we felt that one suited us and that we should learn about them all. As I got older I have learnt about so many different religions and find religious education fascinating. I love the principles of the Sikh faith. I think education about all religions is so important. Without it I feel it is likely to spread fear and intolerance of those who hold different views and that can't be good, surely?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 14-Apr-13 10:19:14


This isn't really an AIBU so we've moved it to Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality.

coralanne Sun 14-Apr-13 09:33:28

Too much overthinking here.

Where my DC went to school their school motto was "God Is Love".

I think that just about covers everyone.

Most people have a God. Doesn't necessarily have to be a religious God.

Sounds very simplistic I know but I find I cope with life best if I absolutely declutter my life and keep in the back of my mind that
"God is Love"

threesypeesy Sun 14-Apr-13 09:29:43

I never once said there was no room for anything else where we live there are 2 main religions and your one or the other. My dcs have learnt about several other religions as have myself and dh were not ignorent there are 2 specific religions though that I have previously stated our dcs are aware of know why we dont join in with anything to do with them.

Please dont think I raise my children to be ignorant this is not the case one of the religions we have a problem with is never mentioned at their school the other we decided that we were not comfortable with the participating in activly learning its a personel choice

Fanjounchained Sun 14-Apr-13 09:23:36

Was raised a Catholic but stopped going to mass years ago. There are too much that I question and that doesn't make sense to me. 99% of my family are Catholic though and tbh I've always felt as though I was a bit of a disappointment to my Mum as OH and I aren't married but have children (who have not been baptised or raised in any particular religion). For all my problems/questions about Catholicism I absolutely respect other people's rights to follow this religion or any other that they choose. I'm actually quite envious of people that have found this sense of peace and answers to their questions...

And threesypeesy your comment about being either one religion or another where you live and there being no room for anything else comes from ignorance I believe. If children are taught about different religions it can surely only lead to a greater understanding and respect. At the very least it would give them an understanding as to why their parents felt so strongly about these "2 particular" religions and they could think, "ok, Mum & Dad feel this way because of X,Y and Z".

FWIW, I live in Glasgow and have witnessed sectarianism first hand.

Weegiemum Sun 14-Apr-13 09:19:21

I live in Glasgow and in my street there are Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and atheists as far as I know. At my last church (baptist) we had friends who had been Catholic, Muslim and Hindu but were now Protestant Christians. In our current (also baptist) church we have friends from Africa who used to follow traditional tribal religion. It's just not true that people don't change!

I was christened in the Church of Scotland but we didn't go to church regularly until I was 12. Attended the CofS then, something "clicked" for me when I was 16, I stopped going because my parents wanted me to, and started going because I wanted to. After a rather wild first year at uni I decided I'd go back to church, and started going to CU at uni, where I met my now DH.

We went to an Episcopalian church, very large, students, lively, and continued to go to the Episcopal church when we moved to a rural location, though it couldn't have been more different - small and traditional, but very friendly.

By the time we had dc we decided not to get them baptised, as we wanted it to be their decision when they were older. We've both always been involved in church and para-church groups, like bible study groups, children's work, youth groups, homeless shelters, work with refugees.

7 years ago now we moved to Glasgow where dh and I both undertook degrees in Theology, after a lot of discussion he resigned from work and we went to Bible college for 2 years. It was fantastic, I was exposed to so much about my faith and that of others, spent hours trawling through the library, learned loads about my faith, came to understand why I believe what I do. We went to a large charismatic baptist church at first, and when we moved house within the city, to a smaller community based baptist church.

My extended family are no longer Christian in an active sense, though my sil is Catholic, and my nephew was baptised. Dh's mother and brother/SIL are Christian, bil&sil also went to bible college, but in Canada.

I think I am what I am (I describe myself as "Christian" but as you can see I'm happy in any denomination - and though I wouldn't be a member of some Protestant churches or he Catholic Church, I'm quite happy to worship with other Christians) due to upbringing but also due to interest and finding out about other faiths and faith expressions. Of course it's going to be culturally mediated, but the church I go to now doesn't look much like where I started out!

bumbleymummy Sun 14-Apr-13 09:18:58

SirBoobAlot - another one here enjoying the Egyptian information. dS1 is working on Egypt as a topic this month so he just read it over my shoulder too. smile

quizzywizz Sun 14-Apr-13 09:11:13

I am a Christian - christened a Methodist as a baby but not sure which denomination I would fit into now.

No one else in my family believes in God so I am kind of the odd one out there. Probably the reason why I fought against it for so long!

I am technically church hunting but mostly just reading and praying. The churches I have tried just don't feel right. In the middle of the GMG Bible study at the moment. I really love reading the Bible but it would be good to have Christian friends.

I don't really know how I ended up believing in God when pretty much no one I know does. confused

MissAnnersley Sun 14-Apr-13 08:53:40

Oh the light dawns.

I do live in Scotland threesypeesy. It is not 'just the way it is'. I am not like that and no one I associate with is.

Your attitude would not be condoned by the church you belong to.

Thank you for replying to me and answering my questions.

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