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zensky's avatar

Labels and religion aside: does anyone here avoid/object to organized religion only to secretly (or not) believe in God?

Asked by zensky (13288 points ) January 26th, 2013

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26 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I avoid organized religion for the most part, but I’m not sure what I believe in. And I always like learning about all religions.

starsofeight's avatar

I avoid churches, but I recognize their place and worth in the beginning of an individual’s faith. However, as individuals progress, they sometimes progress right out of a need for the organized. For me, a church would be like returning to grade school. It seems a bit isolated at times, but I just can’t locate my peers. Instead, I usually find myself between Bible thumpers and Bible bashers. Would love to network with free seekers like myself.

Coloma's avatar

I’m with @Adirondackwannabe

I am not religious and do not attend church, but have a VERY diverse religious background.
I embrace ALL wisdom and philosophy and have studied a lot of theology and eastern philosophies which resonate best with me.
I respect others beliefs but I cannot buy into the whole immaculate conception and other religious nonsense. I believe Jesus was a very evolved human but I do not beleive he was the son of some magical “God.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

I believe openly in God but do not attend church, and live a mostly secular normal life, praying occasionally and learning about all aspects of everyone’s spiritual journeys. I feel that I can find God in my backyard looking at a magnificent landscape, or out on the lake enjoying the life and creation He gave me.

Sitting in a structured service being judged is not my thing, answering to other Christians about what I did Friday night not is not my thing either. Frankly I think most churches are businesses that aren’t real interested in saving souls, and I won’t participate. Most of my friends feel the same, and my mom is the only person in my life who goes to church and enjoys it, but her church is pretty cool and full of really super nice, non-judgemental people. I’m still pretty scared of attending though, those Hellfire and Brimstone preachers of the Southern Baptists scare me a bit and always have.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I feel the same as @KNOWITALL. I believe in God, but I dislike “The Church.”

Shippy's avatar

I believe in God and respect all belief systems. They are pretty much all the same. I find the the basic spiritual principles good teachings. I think they bode us well.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I personally walk a thin line between belief and atheism. I’ve experienced a lot of inexplicable things so that I can’t discount the idea of a spiritual side of life. However, I utterly reject the religions we have here now. I honestly doubt there’s a human alive who knows how all of it works together.

Carinaponcho's avatar

I have been a part of an organized religion for a long time and I understand why people are turned off by it. While religion can teach many good morals and life philosophies, and can be beneficial for people who need to believe in something, it can become easily misinterpreted. People look to organized religions to interpret those things for them. I think that this hinders someone’s ability to have true faith because they are being told what to believe. Also, many organized religions have a tendency to ask for money or tithes in a less than suggestive manner.

muppetish's avatar

I was raised by parents who maintain separate beliefs from one another: one, what I would refer to, as a “non-practicing Catholic”, while the other was raised “Southern Christian Baptist”, but has evolved into having her own beliefs outside a church. I can count the number of times that I have been to church on one hand. They were incidences of “hey, exposing our kids to this might be a good idea for their spiritual exploration”, while the last time I was in a church was for my cousin’s first communion.

I do not follow a religion grounded in a church or organization nor do I believe in a god.

What I do believe is constantly shaping and reshaping itself. I’m still young. My universe is malleable.

Symbeline's avatar

I personally don’t believe in anything like a god, however, this doesn’t mean I’m right, and that there couldn’t be a, or several, deities. Or anything like them. But I just don’t believe it. Denno if that makes any sense, but it does in my head haha. But when I do imagine a god, the way I think about it is nothing like the god in organized religion. Well, I can’t really make something up, and then worship it. So while I dislike organized religion, I don’t do so to secretly believe in a god I might modify.

Rarebear's avatar

The opposite for me. I believe in organized religion, but I do not believe in God.

Fyrius's avatar

My aunt believes in God (and a whole lot of other strange things), but has no respect for the church any more, nor I believe for organised religion in general.

Personally I don’t fit this bill. I have determined that religious belief is both counterfactual and a bad influence. But a strictly personal practice thereof does less damage than organised religion does.

mazingerz88's avatar

Yes. I was too lazy to go out on a Sunday or anyday to do anything churchy or churchish. I remember the first time I looked up and stared at this huge wooden image of the crucified Jesus. It was inside a Catholic Church. Just one amongst so many occasions and events upon which they made us attend and participate. Kneel, sit, pray, sing, bow down, ponder and recite. Repeat.

It was at that moment that I looked up and started wondering, why are we doing all of these and who was really that man, whose image was hanging there on a cross all bloodied? I would guess now that at that specific point in time in my life, all my laziness and diminishing patience as a child, has started me on a long, slow and hard slog towards agnosticism.

Paradox25's avatar

I’ve put religion aside because most of them are faith based truths, which usually already claim to have universal knowledge or be the one truth. I feel that all viewpoints need to be flexible enough to adjust with evidence.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I don’t particularly care for organized religion as it often represents a narrow-minded perspective of man’s relationship to God.

I much prefer spirituality, mysticism or zen which emphasize mindfulness practice toward knowing God as opposed to belief based on any particular minister’s interpretation of the Bible.

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany, I only avoid Catholic masses run by certain ultra-conservative priests and bishops who use anti-Protestant polemics based on the Pope’s absurd view of Protestant churches being mere “ecclesial communities” and their “ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jul/11/catholicism.religion

Fyrius's avatar

Isn’t it adorable when grown-ups tell other grown-ups in all seriousness that our made-up nonsense is the only legitimate made-up nonsense and yours is fake.

mattbrowne's avatar

The view of made-up nonsense is an opinion, not a fact.

Fyrius's avatar

(That’s what I mean – tell it to them. There’s no such thing as being more ‘legitimate’ with something like religious practise because there ARE no facts. There’s nothing anyone could back such a contention up with besides traditionalist dogma and/or chauvinist supremacist thinking. Neither of which has any weight whatsoever from any point of view besides your own.)

mattbrowne's avatar

@Fyrius – I always insist that the existence of God is a belief and that such a belief is not the same as a fact. But from that one cannot conclude that this particular belief is made-up nonsense, or that a religious framework that doesn’t contradict science is made-up nonsense. A talking snake would contradict science. But a talking snake in a myth or a parable has a completely different meaning. But many vocal atheists seem to ignore that fact, because they prefer to make religious believers look like fools.

Fyrius's avatar

“But from that one cannot conclude that this particular belief is made-up nonsense, or that a religious framework that doesn’t contradict science is made-up nonsense.”

Oh, don’t worry, I conclude that from entirely different things. But I shan’t go into that here.

What I’m talking about here is the much weaker criticism of believers who mistake their arbitrary, fact-free, test-proof beliefs for something objectively more legitimate than other people’s arbitrary, fact-free, test-proof beliefs. Indeed, for something to which the concept of legitimacy is applicable at all.

In doing so, I’m backing up the point you were making yourself just now, broseph.

mattbrowne's avatar

I never said anything about my beliefs being objectively more legitimate. Such beliefs are always subjective. I just take issue with them being labeled as nonsense.

Fyrius's avatar

I think you’re getting confused about what we’re talking about. I wasn’t accusing you of that at all.

Would you like a Wiktionary link for what the phrase ‘to back up’ means again?

I was talking about the conservative anti-protestant hater clergyfolk you were saying you avoid. To be precise, I was sharing some thoughts on how full of it I believe such people to be and for what amusingly ironic reasons.

(This irony still holds if you believe being religious is not inherently silly, as long as you have a basic sense of non-chauvinist perspective – in fact it should fit right into your politically correct theological relativism deal – so there is no need to digress into that tedious quagmire with you again. I’d like to avoid doing so this time; I have other tiresome things going on right now, plus we’ve hijacked this thread enough. If my reasons still aren’t clear from the previous times, I’ll be happy to explain them again the inevitable next time.)

Fyrius's avatar

I wonder if I’ve been such a contrarian for such a long time that people get all confused when I’m not disagreeing with them.

mattbrowne's avatar

My bad. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

Fyrius's avatar

Okie dokie. No worries.

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