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Paradox25's avatar

Theists, how did you come to your belief in God?

Asked by Paradox25 (9895 points ) February 23rd, 2013

Was it faith alone, upbringing, culture, personal experiences, scientific evidence, or other reasons? This question is in general so I want the thread to stay on topic, and I’m not looking for people to debate religion or God here, just to share their experiences or reasons for their belief.

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12 Answers

kess's avatar

It ia a reasonable conclusion to expect and accept an “ultimate” concerning existence.

bookish1's avatar

I’m religious but not a monotheist.
I came back from atheism through my attempts to integrate mystical experiences, lots of reading, and rational appreciation of some of the philosophies from one of the religions I was raised with.

SuperMouse's avatar

>>Deep breaths, I’m wading in – again.<<

I was raised super-duper over-the-top Catholic in a very traditional family. I was forced to go to church weekly, to go to Confession every Saturday evening, not to eat fish on Friday during lent, that I would burn in hell if I ate an hour before I received Communion, etc. etc. My father insisted that I tow the line and stick with religion until I was confirmed in eighth grade – after that I was allowed to decide for myself whether I wanted to go to church. I kept going through high school then became incredibly disenchanted with the Church and its teachings. It made zero sense to me that if I was wearing a scapular at the time of my death I could bypass purgatory, go straight on in to heaven and it was all good; but a person who lived a faithful life following the laws of Judaism was going to burn in hell. It just didn’t compute and my faith started to fall apart.

I spent most of my 20’s and 30’s searching and wanted to be atheist so bad I could taste it. I read everything by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Dang I tried so hard to shake the whole “religion thing.” I struggled mightily with all of the hatred and killing in the name of religion and what I had come to believe a loving Creator was. I could not fathom the arrogance of people saying that the only way to land in heaven and the loving arms of our benevolent maker was by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s lord and savior. How utterly ridiculous that a person could life their life in any manner they saw fit and as long as before they took their last breath they accepted Christ, they were good to go for an eternity. WTH?!

But through all of that I could not shake my belief that nothing + nothing = nothing. I don’t care if one believes in science, the Big Bang, evolution, etc. Something had to have set all those things in motion and to me that something is God.

I searched and searched and searched and never stopped believing that there had to be something greater than me, than us humans. Finally I found a faith that makes sense. A faith that believes that the prophets of all the great religions are manifestations of God and they were all the perfect manifestation for their times. That man is put on earth to learn and practice virtues such as love, honesty, faith, etc. That there is no hell, only degrees of distance and closeness to God/enlightenment. That science and religion are in complete agreement and that “If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science, they are mere superstitions and imaginations.” It all made perfect sense to me and I believe that Bahá‘u’lláh (the earthly manifestation of God for our time) got it right.

I am going to come right out and say that there are some beliefs in the Bahá’í Faith that I struggle with and some things I seriously question. But as far as I am concerned it is a faith that makes sense and I believe with all of my being that there is a God and that I am finally on the right track. My faith has been shaken again and again and no, I can not explain why bad things happen to good people, why babies starve to death, or use religion to explain away all the pain in this world. That is not for me (or anyone else) in this world to know. I just know what I believe and why.

antimatter's avatar

Oops this tread is not for Pagans….

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I was raised Southern Baptist, then began doing a lot of reading and such on my own when I was older, and decided that I am definitely not Southern Baptist, but still a believer. I think I’m kind of a bizarre cross between Christian and Pagan these days.

bookish1's avatar

@antimatter, what makes you think that?

LostInParadise's avatar

As an outsider to this discussion, I would like to tack on some other questions, which I do most respectfully. For those who have faith in a particular religion, why did you choose to have faith in that particular religion? Is your religion the same as the one that you were born to? If so, did you ever experience doubt about that particular religion or religion in general?

RandomGirl's avatar

I’m part of a fairly strong Christian family. I’ve gone to church all my life. In 6th and 7th grade, I got rebellious. I had this insatiable desire to get out. I fought against everything. Because of the culture around me, I didn’t vocalize the most rebellious feelings I had, but it was there. Every single time my mom told me to do something, I grumbled about it or thought about how I was “treated like a slave” or something like that. (I wasn’t.) If I had kept going like that, it wouldn’t have been pretty. It was all bottled up inside me, mixed with frustration at my parents’ poor parenting, and my very odd, pessimistic perception of the world. Fighting against my parents’ religious ideas was just a part of that (especially since they’ve really forgotten about why we’re Christians, and they’ve just been going through the motions for years now).

A big part of who I am is that I’m very methodical, logical, and I think for myself. As much as I wanted to rebel against everything my family stood for, I still had to get past my own reasoning. One thing my parents did right early on in raising my siblings and myself was to be in churches who really defend the faith. Ever since grade school, I’ve been surrounded with scientific evidence for a Creator. In my rebellion, I had to get past the evidence. I did a lot of reading on my own, independently from my parents. For me, it came down to a fight between my desire to rebel and my desire for truth. My desire for truth won out.

Around the time that I decided to stick with my faith and quit rebelling, I found myself surrounded by a great group of really awesome, Christian teens who encouraged me to grow in my faith, independently from my family. This was really the dealbreaker that kept me from going back, because my parents don’t really provide the encouragement, accountability, and structure that I need.

flo's avatar

@RandomGirl “I’ve been surrounded with scientific evidence for a Creator.“_
Just curious, what is the scienitfic evidence for a Creator?

RandomGirl's avatar

@flo: I don’t really have time to get into that right now, sorry…. If you can get past the name, I suggest looking at the Answers in Genesis website. They have some good stuff directed at atheists and evolutionists.

ebasboy's avatar

I also, was brought up in a Christia family forced to church every sunday. Growing int that situation made me desire what was said rivalry to what i was forced into. The reason why I desired what I was denied was because of its tempting power. We all Know sin is tempting, seeing my friends at school doing what I was taught is wrong made me grow weak in faith or rebel.
Along the way I just decided to read the bible for my self to get the logic as well. One of the things that motivated me to study it more was the misrepresentation of Christian faith by some church members even elders. I wanted to find what their justification could be for their actions. But as much as I went on reading it, finding no kind of justification of their actions, I was tempted to be a living example of every word I read that pertaining to how a Christian being should live.
Remember, I had fallen from what I was introduced to by family before I could be compelled to study the bible and have a thourough analysis of Christian behavior towards the their faith. Though the bible seemed to be influencial in my conversion than family persuation, I still cherished to have more proof or evidence that there was Supreme being behind this powerful bible scripts.
Based on some skeptics that I always heard thrown at Christians, I decided to conduct a extensive research to prepare myself for cases where I have to defend my Faith. I did not know any book to give me more insight on the issue, but what I did was just to fumble upon every book about Christianity.
But finally, I got convinced after reading one book sometime last year, the book was giving more insight on the evidence of Christ, nullifying some false arguments by skeptics that the Bible is made of furnished thoughts and imaginations of man. This book went on to proof that even accounts of biblical events and places are true with archaelogical evidence.

Actually that is how I got convinced that I am labouring in vain.

For your own persuation you can read; “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel

mattbrowne's avatar

By having doubts about a self-referential ultimate explanation of the physical world.

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