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chyna's avatar

Did your parents take you to church when you were kids and did that solidify how you feel about religion?

Asked by chyna (47165points) 1 month ago from iPhone

My parents took us when we were very young, but we never went again as a family when I got to grade school. It wasn’t a priority with them. Today I am a Christian and believe but it was nothing my parents instilled in me. I found my way on my own.
How about you? Did your parents take you or force you into religion? How did that turn out for you?

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28 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Never. I can only think of one time I was in a synagogue with my parents, and I’m not even sure it was a synagogue or just a party place for the wedding we attended.

I’m an atheist like my parents. The only semi religious thing we did as a family was Passover and Chanukah.

Kardamom's avatar

My parents and grandparents were not religious, so we didn’t go to church. I am an agnostic. My parents never tried to tell us what to believe, it was up to us. I went to church a few times with friends, and I always felt like an outsider, and it wasn’t part of my life. I am, for all intents and purposes, a non-believer in any religion or “higher being, and I am completely comfortable with that.

SissyBoyFloyd's avatar

My last name is Church, so I suppose I am always at Church even though I don’t believe in religious cults and imaginary invisible gods.

My mom was deeply Catholic when I was growing up, but she came to her senses when she reached about 55 and realized what a con it was.

kritiper's avatar

Dad wasn’t Catholic so he never went to church.
Mom was a good Irish Catholic so she took us all to church, even when we had to drive 22 miles to get to the church. So we were “forced into religion,” as you say. There was nothing else to do or believe in, so we went.
I didn’t turn Atheist until the eighth grade when my science teacher told us about the “Big Bang” theory, which doesn’t jive with the Bible, so I began my own search to find what the truth really was and who it was that was trying to lie to me about how things began.

In my opinion, going to some church or belonging to a church doesn’t make one a Christian. Being a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ does, even if one doesn’t know anything about Jesus Christ or his teachings. It can come naturally if one follows the Golden Rule. And that isn’t hard to do.

gorillapaws's avatar

I was raised Methodist. It was a pretty low-key experience, and we had a wonderful pastor. I was pretty active in the church in middle school (I even did a stint as an acolyte). I got very busy with school and with the new pastor who just didn’t connect with the congregation as well, we went less and less often.

I was prone to magical thinking until college when I started taking lots of philosophy and religion courses. As my formal critical thinking skills improved, I began to see the flaws in my logic that made the bedrock of my faith. Ultimately, there is no proof or even evidence for the existence of God, that’s why it’s called “faith.” Like the parable of the house made of sand, my faith collapsed.

I consider myself an agnostic, but I do like the Gospels in particular. I think the general ideas of Christianity are positive: humility, charity, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, praying in secret instead of being “showy” with your faith, distain for charlatans, corruption and hypocrites. I do try to live my life by those ideals. I have no idea if there was a guy named Christ, whether he was the messiah sent by the invisible deity floating up (somewhere?), or just a guy with some good ideas (perhaps borrowed from other traditions), that eventually got written down by a bunch of people generations after his death who had their own interests.

I think faith is fine for those who want to engage in it. There’s real value in fellowship and feeling like you’re working together towards a common purpose. The sad thing is the exposition in extremist Christianity who are basically promoting the antithesis of what Jesus taught. I honestly believe that if Christ ever did return (assuming the stories are all true…), it would be these fucking people who would probably label him an imposter and crucify him again…

Either way, I do think my upbringing had an impact on my worldview, but learning critical thinking had a bigger one.

Caravanfan's avatar

Sure. We went to synagogue all the time and I was part of the education program there. And if anything, it has made me sympathetic to religion.

Pandora's avatar

My parents took me but I didn’t feel forced. Most of my siblings dropped out of going to church by the time they were in High School. I kept going till I was about 20 then I married my husband and moved and no other church ever felt the same for me. I still believe even when I have doubts or question things, I seem to always find my way back. I find my faith has given me much comfort when I needed it the most and when I do occasionally go to church I feel at peace unless the Priest is really an ass. Occasionally there are some like that.

filmfann's avatar

As a child, I was always bored in church.
As an adult, I feel close to my God and my religion.

seawulf575's avatar

We used to go every Sunday then slowly drifted away from it. I was not really “into” religion, but had a belief. Later on in life I found my way back through a series of unusual events.

cookieman's avatar

We lived two blocks from our Catholic Church. It was across the street from my elementary school. There were two priests and a monk that were assigned there and we saw them around the neighborhood all the time.

My parents took me to church pretty regularly when I was little, but couldn’t be bothered by the time I was in maybe second grade. I kept going on my own though, occasionally. I went to CCD classes, was an alter boy for a couple years, read my illustrated bible multiple times.

Turns out, the closer I got to my church, the more I questioned and the more I saw behind the scenes, the more I realized it was all made up.

Being an alter boy really changed my perspective. Father Gallagher was an alcoholic. Always asked me to lay off the water. “Just pour the wine, kid.” He smelled of stale booze all the time. Brother Mike also worked as an auto mechanic at the corner gas station and was very different there than in church. Heck, the “holy wafers” arrived in a large, clear plastic bag via UPS. We cut them open, dumped them into these large glass jars, and eat handfuls of them in the process.

I always asked a lot of questions and no one at the church had any answers. They’d get uncomfortable or agitated if you pressed the issue.

By the time I was fourteen I figured if there was a god, they had nothing to do with church or religion, which were clearly inventions of man. Nothing divine about them.

Later, in college, I understood the role of religion historically and saw less and less to believe in.

I’ve considered myself an agnostic for about twenty years, but I completely understand the comfort some folks get from religion. I even like churches.

MrGrimm888's avatar

First off. I think that the discussion could be far better if this thread was in Social…

I was raised Baptisr.I attended church and Sunday school every Sunday. When I was around six years old, my family moved to Germany. I lived there and traveled heavily, for several years throughout Europe. Until moving back to n America.

I was t the only one who was taught German, and English.
Back then, not many people spoke English and we spent so much time traveling , we never rejoined a church.

As the years went on, I evolved to be agnostic, and eventually I became an atheist.

I have my own, quite unique, form of ethics. I may easily fall into an undefined form of atheism. Although my beliefs do share some common traits of every religion I have been exposed to. Given my experience as a world traveler, I suppose that put me in touch with countless religions and cultures.

product's avatar

Was raised a New England Catholic, which means going to church during holidays, going to religious “education” (“CCD”), getting confirmed, etc. I was actually an alter boy for a brief period for some bizarre reason (and no – nothing bad happened). I didn’t really buy any of it, and broke with it completely right before confirmation.

While I appreciate the feeling that people find “their own way”, I don’t think that’s exactly how it works. People like to feel that they have agency, and don’t really like to feel that they are downstream from the formative influences of environment. And honestly, I don’t really care. If peoples’ current belief system affords them some comfort and they feel that they discovered or invented it “on their own”, that’s ok. Every Christian I know just happens to have found their “own way” there, despite steeping in Christianity their entire childhood (culturally and personally).

flutherother's avatar

The only time my parents took me to church was for weddings and funerals. For a time I went to Sunday School where we read Bible stories and were taught about Jesus. I suppose some of that must have sunk in and at a pinch I would call myself a Christian though I never go to church and I am not really a believer.

Demosthenes's avatar

I was raised Catholic, went to Sunday school, was confirmed, attended church regularly with my mom and siblings (my dad has never been religious), and while I moved away from the orthodoxy as I got older, I never fully dropped religion and consider myself a theist, but not tied to any specific religion. My belief in a higher power remains and I continue to be interested in various religions, though obviously I know Catholicism better than any other and associate it with my family and upbringing. Overall my opinion of religion and its value to society is fairly positive and only becomes negative when religion is used to justify bigotry and violence.

I think my current beliefs reflect the fact that I was raised in a liberal area by liberal parents who didn’t associate religion with social conservatism or a strict orthodoxy. It’s simply that as I got older, I rejected the “exclusivity” idea in religion (that there is one correct religion and everyone else is screwed). This happened around the same time I realized I was homosexual and I think realizing that you are something that your religion/God ultimately disapproves of (even if there was never any overt homophobia coming from the Church in my youth) makes you question everything.

LostInParadise's avatar

I was raised Jewish. The family attended Rosh Hashanah services. I don’t recall being particularly moved or fidgety. I also attended after school Hebrew school.

Some time around age 12, I became an atheist. I suggested that there was no need to be bar mitzvahed, but we did it anyway, because that is what people did. I am not sure what my father believed. I think he was agnostic. Some time near the end of her life, my mother said she ceased believing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Of course I was raised in church but I questioned a lot as a teen. Any beliefs I have now are purely my own.
As far as how it’s worked out, I have many issues with organized religion but my personal relationship with God is pretty wonderful.
I would love for Him to come back and scorch all the false prophets one day.

I’ll only go to churches who accept LGBTQ’s as well. If they aren’t welcome, neither am I.

jca2's avatar

I was raised Presbyterian. My maternal grandmother was baptized Catholic but she stopped going to Catholic church at some point, and started going to Protestant church. My mom, too, I believe was baptized Catholic. My mom was very against the Catholic religion’s teachings of mortal sin, burning in hell, guilt, the whole nine. For my grandmother, in the middle of the last century, church was a social place with teas, luncheons, pot lucks, stuff like that. When I was little, we went to a neighborhood church and I went to Sunday school. The church also had pot lucks and theme dinners and stuff, and it was a place where the neighborhood would be and also it was where there were my dance classes, Girl Scouts and other events.

My grandparents and my mom were not very religious, not holy rollers, not quoting the Bible or praising Jesus or anything like that. When we met people who were like that, we considered them strange.

Today I am not very religious but I do believe in God. We go to church pretty much only on Christmas eve. I didn’t get my daughter baptized. She has Catholic friends that told her that she would burn in hell because she hasn’t been baptized.

There are some people on Fluther, not very many but a few, who categorize Christians as all the same way. I see they will write “Christians say this ______” or “Christians believe that” or “Christians do this ______.” I’m always saying that Christians’ beliefs run the gamut from fundamentalist to liberal and anything in between.

kruger_d's avatar

We went pretty much every week, did Sunday School, confirmation, youth group. I have always belonged to a church as an adult, but have had stretches when I chose not to attend.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 My husband, who was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school as a child, and went to church with his parents when he was young, and he was confirmed. I never hear him say anything negative about his religious upbringing, and I assume he still believes in God. When he sees or hears the holy rollers he too thinks they are nuts, or at minimum strange as you put it.

I think most people who make generalization about Christians, just mean the particular Christians they are generalizing about, not all Christians.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Honestly people are the worst part of religion. They do a lot of shady stuff in His name.

Caravanfan's avatar

@LostInParadise We are atheist Jews also. I gave my daughter a choice at 12 years old whether or not she wanted a Bat Mitzvah. She decided to have one.

YARNLADY's avatar

My father and all the family on his side were/are very religious Mormons. My mom went along, but never really believed. I went to church every Sunday, as well as prayer meeting on Wednesday, choir practice on Saturday, week long retreats twice a year, youth activities weekly, and so on. My grandfather and 3 uncles were ministers, and one of my aunts became the first woman ordained to the priesthood.
After I married a non-religious man and left home, I realized the God concept as related in the Bible makes no sense, and I actually do not have that thing called “faith”.

Poseidon's avatar

I was raised by my Grandmother and Uncle and when I was young I was basically forced to go to Church, they never came with me.

I will say I did enjoy going and actually became a member of the Salvation Army.

When I grew up and was no longer forced to go to Church I did continue for a while but I realised that a great many, but not all, Churchgoers were hypocrites and they appeared extremely pious and sang God’s praises when in Church but when they came out they never had a good word to say about anyone and they thought they were superior to everyone else.

Added to this I realised that the Church, especially the RC and C of E were only really interested in money they made. Both these religions are constantly pleading poverty even though they have billions but they won’t spend a penny helping others who are in dire need.

Perhaps clerics, especially the Archbishops and the Pope should watch the movie the Shoes of the Fisherman. They would then see what a true Christian would do for those in need.

I am not anti religion because I class myself as a Christian even though I don’t go to Church but whenever and wherever I can help someone I do my very best to do so. My door is always open to those in need.

Inspired_2write's avatar

parents did not atke us to Chruch but rather slept in while my older sister took us ( once ) and then after we were to go by ourselves.
Mom and Dad’s alone time without five kids running around.
What I learnt was to ignore Religion.

Forever_Free's avatar

My parents took us to church every Sunday. It wasn’t forced, but we didn’t really have a choice until we were in our mid teens.
All my brothers and sisters went to Catholic Grade School till 8th grade. Then it was our choice.
It was a foundation for us but never forced on us.
I did the same with my children. I tried to attend every Sunday with them, but it wasn’t the same as the frequency as a kid. They also had a choice on what school to attend (Private or public) when they hit 7th grade. Both chose public for 7 & 8, then they chose to go back to private for High School. They both independently saw the same reason as to why to go back to private HS.
They each have their own foundation and belief system. They are free to experience different belief systems and teaching if they want. My Mother still goes to church religiously on Saturday evening.
The key is not forcing any of it from any level.

Smashley's avatar

My mom tried a few times to find a Catholic community like the one she grew up in in Europe, but I think she didn’t find it, so didn’t push. If it had any effect on me, it was to solidify catholicism as the “default” religion in my head. It was years before I heard about evangelicals or understood what protestants were.

I think this is often the case. Even if a person doesn’t come to religion in childhood, those experiences shape the religion they are likely to choose if they do go in for the seduction of religion, later in life. Jack Mormons sober up, starch their pants and move back to Utah, lapsed catholics drunkenly stumble into confession on snowy Christmases eve.

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Chestnut's avatar

Yes, and no.

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