How much does your religion impact your everyday life and the choices you make?(11 Posts)
Not a thread about a thread but I suppose inspired by another thread.
I'm an ex Catholic, my religion wasn't compatible with a major aspect of my life. I feel there's no going back for me, it's made me question my faith and the depth of my beliefs. I still feel the need for something but I don't know what.
This got me thinking of the many people who are religious and wondering if you live strictly by the teachings of your faith?
I appreciate ones faith is a very personal thing so if my musings/questions are too personal feel free to ignore.
Because I was brought up going to Church, and, as far as I've thought about it, I've always had a faith, then I always find questions like this difficult to answer, because it's difficult to know what is my faith, what is my habit, what is my upbringing and what isn't.
I also am a Methodist, which doesn't have any doctrines that I really struggle with. There are things that I would perhaps have different if I were in charge of all decisions, but the Methodist Church is very democratic, and 'people led', so has always tended to move with the times more than some other churches.
Maybe you need to practice your belief / faith through a different denomination.
The RC church is a denomination that has clear teachings on a number of a number of issues such as divorce, abortion, IVF and contraception. This is not how it works in other denominations which comes down to ecclesiology or the understandings of what church is and is not. Which is a long winded way of saying that the teachings of the faith or the church are not the same throughout all the denominations of Christianity.
As someone who does try and live a life based upon faith it isn't easy sometimes to work out the right course of action. The bible is neither a rule book nor an ethics text book. I've studied ethics at degree level and I've found that really helpful in getting underneath the emotion and trying to understand what some of the underlying ethical theories are. Asa Christian I hold the sanctity of life to be very important and this has impacted on decisions I have made. I realise that those who are not from a faith background will be bringing a different set of ethical tools to the process or will assemble them in a different way. What you find in the big ethical debates is that Christians often don't agree which makes it interesting but I suspect confusing from the outside.
I think it's a very interesting question. I was brought up in the Church of England, and was quite 'religious' as a teenager. But I wouldn't say that in fact at that age I allowed my faith to impact on my choices or decisions at all. Not that I did anything 'forbidden' by my faith as I understood it, just that it didn't come into consideration. I then became an atheist at 17.
Since becoming an adult I think my choices and decisions have been strongly influenced by the Judeo-Christian morality I grew up with, so even without faith, my childhood religion was probably quite influential. But as greenheart says, not being RC makes a big difference here - there are no doctrines of Anglican faith that are mandated in the same way - e.g re contraception, lesbianism, abortion etc - that did, or might have, affected me.
Now, in middle age, I have returned to faith out of the blue which is causing some considerable headache as I have a fiercely anti-Christian DP. I do now find myself consciously thinking 'which is the more Christian response' to this or that dilemma. But again, as greenheart says there's no rule book, and it is a judgment call in each case - and not an easy one at that.
Not as much as it should!
I try to think, in various situations, what would Christ do? And I try to treat people with the love, tolerance, kindness, acceptance etc that He would show. Sadly I think I usually fall far short!
I come from a liberal Anglican background, and my current church reflects this, so I don't feel much is actually "forbidden" to me by the teachings of my church - more I feel that my faith in an active way demands that I am good to others - and obviously this is vast in all of it's possible connotations, and sometimes very hard!
Sorry, that probably isn't very clearly expressed.
By the way, I didn't mean, in my above post, to imply that others who are not Christian don't try to be good to others. I know that most people do, of all faiths or none. Just thought I'd better make that clear!
Thanks for the replies, it's really interesting.
Religion was always there when I was growing up, although my parents are quite liberal.
I think I've always questioned how we know we are interpreting the bible correctly.
My church is quite old fashioned and stereotypical, competitive Christianity and then a good bitch in the hall over tea and biscuits after the service.
I don't know if it's just a question of finding the right church for me or if that's me done with religion all together. I believe in some form of a god but as I'm getting older I'm questioning more and more.
The current situation with isis has also made me question things. Obviously they are an extreme case but is blind faith in a religion naive and dangerous? I know what they believe isn't the same as all Muslims btw it's just every religion or branch of a religion feels that theirs is the absolute true religion/ interpretation of a religion and I just don't know any more.
I try to be a good, kind person and to think of others and I suppose that'll have to be enough for me.
Cottonflossy, your last post resonated a lot with me.
My current church, while very liberal in its teaching, can be very much like you say (quite traditional services, then a lot of bitching over tea and biscuits!) It often feels like nobody talks about God, outside of services!
What has helped me is to get involved in some children's work for the church, and also a Christian women's group, through both of which I've met some amazing friends who've helped me reconnect with my essential faith. To be honest, the best thing for me has been speaking to other (similarly liberal) Christian friends over a pint or two in the pub! We are also lucky in that our current vicars are both lovely people too, and easy to talk to.
Anyway, I know my post isn't hugely helpful, but I'm just trying to suggest that there might be other avenues to explore your faith, hopefully, if that is what you choose to do.
Good luck and God bless.
I know I'm loved. That has a fundamental impact - far-reaching. The gift that keeps on giving - practically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. ie in every way.
I know I am God's handiwork; that 'he' is directly involved in my life and what is happening in my life. That he made me to be who I am, not who anybody else is - so it follows that the best thing I can do is be myself, not somebody else (or I'd be on the wrong track and it wouldn't work). I suppose the joy is finding out who I am. If you've read The Shack, to me it's like the garden the HS is planting (or the character in the story that is the HS): at first it looks like a mess but there is order in it.
That's not to say I'm passive but it does get rid of a HUGE existential angst. But we have to have structure - perhaps culture, responsibilities and religious practise provide that. It's up to us if we engage.
I don't often think 'what would Christ do?' because the way I see it Christ was a middle eastern revolutionary living in an ancient culture with very specific cultural and political things going on at the time - all the 'gentle Jesus meek and mild' isn't what he was, or imo is, like at all. I find all that gentle/passive stuff very weird and off-putting.
I was brought up in a christian home so I have imbibed a moral framework. The choices I make now are common sense choices ie I listen to what God says works. Up to me if I listen or not - my choice.
I am Christian. I think believe of the way my Faith affects me happens on a subconscious level. As Romans 10 v17 says,
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (KJV),
I believe that as I hear more of Christ, His teachings and actions, it changes me on the inside. I pray, in faith, that God will put His desires on my heart and that I will want His will. I listening to preaching, study the Bible and engage with the ,text in that I think about it and let it affect me (not dismiss the validity of the messages contained within).
As a result, I am willingly letting myself be 'socialised' by Christ.
sorry that should say, ' I believe much of the way my faith affects me happens on a subconscious level.' Typo.
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