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antimatter's avatar

Why did you change your religion?

Asked by antimatter (4266 points ) February 23rd, 2013

I converted last year to another religion and to be honest I have never been so happy.
My old religion “Christianity” left me with a lot of unhappiness and ever since I converted to Paganism I have never looked back.
My unhappiness was caused the way the congregation treated me during my divorce and a lot of gossiping went around and I caught the priest telling my problems to members and in return it created a lot of problems with my divorce proceedings. I started asking Bible related questions and was banned from the Bible study groups. I was even accused of blasphemy when I started asking questions about contradictions in the Bible.

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16 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

In short because I wasn’t buying what the Catholic church was selling.

ETpro's avatar

Like you, @antimatter, I started actually reading the Bible and soon realized how shot through with contradictions it was. Then it occurred to me odd that a loving, omniscient, omnipotent God would design a world that would be filled with 10 billion people or more, and that He would love them all so much that he’d deliberately design it so 144,000 would make it to eternal life while billions would be condemned to eternal suffering. It also seemed unlikely that an all-powerful, all-knowing being would reveal himself to the patriarchs of the old testament, yet forget to mention to them that their entire faith in the Law and the Prophets, which he commanded them to base their hope upon, was actually not right. He’d get around to setting the story a little more right with the birth of Christ, and keep honing it through the Emperor Constantine when the Sabbath was supplanted by worship on the Venerable Day of the Sun. You’d think an omnipotent, omniscient God could have gotten such things right on the first try.

All that led me to conclude that, since the factual evidence at had for the existence of a personal God who intervenes in cause and effect is no greater than the evidence for the existence of pixies, fairies, unicorns, and fire-breathing dragons; I count them all to be about equally unlikely to exist.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I didn’t believe in the old one anymore. Is there any other reason? I left my new one behind as well when I realized the only reason I’d switched from one to another was because I was under the illusion that if you aren’t a member of one religion, you must be a member of some other religion.

thorninmud's avatar

To put it simply, I never actually got the “faith” thing. It seemed to amount to the ability to discount overwhelming evidence in favor of stories for which there was zero evidence.

I think the only justifiable raison d’etre of religion is to produce humble, compassionate, caring people. There’s nothing about that mission that should require a willful blindness to evidence. Now, I’ve met enough impressive people from most of the major faith traditions to believe that it’s possible to be a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu and allow those paths to open and soften you without feeling compelled to reject rationality. But I’ve also seen that they are not the majority.

I’ve ended up in Zen because it concerns itself entirely with that opening and softening mission without all of the belief stuff. I recognize that one doesn’t have to practice Zen, or any other religion, to open up this way; honestly, though, few people would go that far without the support and structure that a spiritual tradition provides. There’s a deep-seated resistance to completely letting go of ego. One tends to stop the effort well short of that without the prodding that a tradition provides.

wundayatta's avatar

I started to study this issue at one point. I remember the primary reason why people change religions is marriage. One or the other of a couple changes so both can share a religion. It is a little humorous, I think that you changed religion, @antimatter, due to the dissolution of a marriage. To disassociate yourself with what had happened in your marriage.

I was not interested in that so much as in people who changed due to belief reasons. I had a theory about it, but I can’t remember what it was. I never did finish the study, either. But this is an interesting question.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hypocrisy.

burntbonez's avatar

It wasn’t that great a religion to begin with, so I changed it, and now I’m king of the world.~

Rarebear's avatar

I converted to atheism because I became a rational freethinking skeptic.

Sunny2's avatar

I found I could do a better job of behaving the way I thought I should; if I counted on myself, rather than God, to guide me in what I should do.

lindasf's avatar

I also left the religion I grew up with, but after some analysis i realized that i was going to find what i disliked in every other religion. I haven’t practiced any religion for years and it has been liberating.

fundevogel's avatar

I became an atheist when I couldn’t ignore the problems with the religion I grew up with and found the same problems in all the other religions I considered.

LostInParadise's avatar

I do not remember the thought process that I went through. I knew I was an atheist by the time I was twelve. At some point I left out the “under God” part of the Pledge of Allegiance. I told my parents that there was not much point in giving me a bar mitzvah. It helped that my parents were not that religious. My father’s explanation for why I should not skip having a bar mitzvah was that it would upset my mother, which made perfect sense to me. My parents took me to temple on the High Holy days, ate matzoh on Passover and lit Chanukah candles. They also sent me to Hebrew school. This was the right thing to do. It exposed me to the Jewish tradition and allowed me to make an informed decision. Shortly before her death, my mother told me that she came to the conclusion that there is no God. It also helped that my closest friend was also an atheist.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

I don’t have any.

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Paradox25's avatar

I was brought up Catholic, and attended Catholic churches. When my mom married for the first time (my real dad, though I knew him they never married) we started attending Protestant churches. My mom’s prior boyfriend (of a few years) was a Jehovah’s Witness, so I was definitely exposed to the concept of Christianity. Shortly before I gave up on all religion I did something on my own, something that I never did before, read the Bible (a more than century old AKJV one) for myself. I had some difficulty trying to comprehend it, and the old english didn’t help.

I guess what motivated me to research these various denominations of Christianity (trinitarian and nontrinitarian), along with the good book itself was the fact that even as young as seven I was highly sceptical of what I was taught. I didn’t even believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy at that age like other kids did. I went along with it though so I wouldn’t be seen as an outcast, or at least so I wouldn’t get in trouble for questioning my beliefs. I became convinced at about the age of sixteen that what I was taught pertaining to religion was a farce, so not only did I abandon Christianity altogether, but I became a hardcore skeptic towards anything considered mystical.

My latter trend as a hardcore skeptic continued until my late twenties when my brother got killed by a drunk driver. After some strange events that followed his death, and talking to others that had similar experiences I started looking various topics up such as ghosts, afterlife communication books, automatic writings, mediumship, Spiritualism, Buddhism, etc I shifted my stance from hardcore scepticism to open-minded scepticism. Then when I realized that there were scientists who’ve researched mediumship, esp, etc with positive results I went from being an open-minded sceptic of the paranormal to accepting the evidence for psi and survival of our egos upon the death of the physical brain. After reading even more research from doctors who were experts on the issue of brain death insist that near death experiences could not be attributed to hallucinations I had become very convinced how wrong my scepticism was.

I consider myself to be a nonreligious theist. If I had to pick any certain religion (or philosophy) that best resonates with what I’ve researched about the afterlife and our purpose of existence it would be Theosophy. I do find many teachings of various religions to have some truth to them, even Christianity. Prior to reading more about Theosophy, Buddhism was the philosophy/religion that seemed to match my beliefs the most. I’m still open-minded about these topics, and I don’t claim to have absolute truth, but I try to go with what the scientific empirical evidence tells me.

mattbrowne's avatar

I converted to progressive Protestantism, because I became a rational freethinking skeptic as a young adult, thereby leaving my childhood version of Christianity behind.

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