Social Question

SundayKittens's avatar

Have your beliefs changed since you were a child/teen?

Asked by SundayKittens (5834points) August 25th, 2010

It’s interesting to think about what I believed (religiously/politically) so strongly growing up and how it’s evolved. Some of my friends have done total 180s, some are the exact same.

How have your beliefs changed as you’ve aged?

I’m especially interested in dramatic shifts…maybe you were born into a conservative Baptist home, and now you’re a liberal agnostic..and what instigated it. Was it gradual or sudden?

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63 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I was once an americanophile. Thank the gods that changed.

Cruiser's avatar

I went from being a naive full on Catholic believing in heaven and hell to now simply seeing the universe we live in for what it really is.

Politically I follow leaders who represent the issues that matter most to me which are night and day over what my idealistic then Democratic self once believed when I was in college without a paycheck and no taxes to pay or kids to put through school. It was nice back then getting almost everything for next to free…now it is a whole different ballgame.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I was brought up going to church every Sunday, going to Sunday school, participating in the church choir, and being part of the church youth group once I got old enough for it. I held all the beliefs we were taught. Then when I was 14, things happened that completely shattered my faith and beliefs. I decided to study other religions for the rest of my teen years and into my early and mid 20s. As I got older, I realized things and came to terms with what happened to me when I was younger. Since they I have regained a lot of my faith, but I have not gone back to church yet (but the only reason I haven’t is because we move around quite a bit and I want to wait until we get settled before I get to that level).

Jude's avatar

@ragingloli I love your honesty.

Jude's avatar

Raised Catholic. Once believed that if you offed yourself, you were going to Purgatory.

muppetish's avatar

I don’t think I had a dramatic shift in gears because I hadn’t developed a sense of what my religion or political affiliation really was as a child. When I was eight, I determined those things for myself (and I owe it to my parents for giving me the freedom to grow and explore.) I did undergo a second change in high school when I was researching the political parties outside of Republican and Democrat. I didn’t realize there were so many when I was younger.

I’m non-religious and a registered Independent who votes Libertarian.

mammal's avatar

well, i remember being taken out for a meal with my parents once, when i was young, early teens and solemnly declaring that i was an anarchist, of course at the time that was predictable and most cool, i guess i was fortunate to be in that situation… however 25 years later i am still an anarchist, so in that sense my instincts were correct, in that sense nothing has changed despite the intervening years with all the twists and turns of growing pains and such like.

Seek's avatar

I was born into a Catholic family, raised by a Pentecostal one. Now I’m atheist.

I was born and raised by republicans. Now I identify as a libertarian socialist.

I was raised by racists, sexists, ageists, and every other -ists imaginable. Now I avoid -isms (other than atheism. ^_^)

What instigated it? Separation.

Once I stepped outside the box, I was amazed at how much fresh air was out there! It’s much nicer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was raised in a beaver cleaver, redneck, republican, religous, slightly racist, homophobic family. I have no reason for the more open minded view I take of life now. I still get along with my family.

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, pretty much like the other answers: From religious to secular. I think more and more people are becoming this way just because it is so hard to believe all the religious BS. I keep seeing people my age come to the realization that religion and its values may not be very progressive. It makes me smile.

I do not know that much about politics, but I seem to have naturally chosen the left.

MeinTeil's avatar

Yes, mine have.

As a child I thought “Free healthcare, sure, why not?”

I thought “Yeah, why not take everyones guns away, that’s got to fix the problem.”

Fortunately my parents taught me to look deeper into things. Is this good for future generations? What will this do long term after it seems to have solved the problem in the short term? What are the REAL costs attached to this action. Is this truly in keeping with the spirit of the constitution?

I began to develop and apply this critical thinking to more and more things in the world.

The inevitable result was that I began to become a Conservative (matured in my observations and solutions)

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
JLeslie's avatar

I have not changed my religious beliefs. I’m an atheist, religion has little consequence in my life, except being Jewish I do some of the traditions if family or friends are getting together, and I care about the plight of Jewish people more as I get older.

My political views have not really changed too much, what has changed is I care more about politics and understand better how much politics affects our lives. I guess I have just become more aware of issues that relate to poltics.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. They have grown stronger. I’m still an atheist and apolitical, but now more willing to admit that and except it.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ve shaken off whatever religious beliefs I had, learned to think for myself politically and care far less about what other people think. I’m learning to do what’s best for myself, the only constraint being that I harm no one else.

SundayKittens's avatar

So many good answers, thank you!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have since realized that I am not immortal.and have improved my driving as a result ;)

Austinlad's avatar

Yes—including my belief that my beliefs are always true and right. As I’ve grown older and increasingly been exposed to more information and a wider range of ideas, opinions and perspectives, I’ve changed my mind about many things—in politics, religion, philosophy, science—and I believe, at least I hope, that I will remain opened minded enough to do that till the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.

TexasDude's avatar

When I was between the ages of 14 and 18, I was:

A self-loathing, yet devout Christian (I was both terrified of and extremely serious about Christianity).

A Dennis Kucinich-supporting, conspiracy theorist, ultra-liberal (I was convinced that Bush was dead-set on establishing a theocracy and stuff like that)

Very un-confident. I was depressed, angsty, and thought that I didn’t have much value as a human being. I also didn’t think I was very attractive.

Note that none of these things are inherently wrong, I suppose, it’s just how I used to be and that’s what this question is about

Now, I am:

Non-religious, perhaps a soft agnostic, yet I harbor no animosity towards religion, for the most part, and I think that people should be free to practice whatever religion they like as long as they extend the same benefit to others.

A lower-case “l” libertarian-ish/classical liberal. (Think John Stossel without the stache)

Confident to a fault, self-satisfied, and a very emotionally strong individual.

shniernan's avatar

I was born in a catholic home. And it may have been just because, but I didn’t want to go to church. And then I was forced into it. When THAT happens, it ruins all positive thoughts toward the church. Therefore, I still went to church, it’s just I wasn’t listening to them, I was finding faults in the stories. So after I had found enough “evidence” I believed in that. Have ever since. I kinda keep it to myself though.

BoBo1946's avatar

i was a Christain, i’m a Christian, and i will be a Christian.

Politically, was a conservative repubican, but now, I’m an moderate independent and favoring Democrats. Voted for Obama.

Frenchfry's avatar

I was grown up Jewish ,then Christian, then Married a luthern,.then married a athiest, then married a southern bapist. As you can see I am vey confused. One day I’ll figure it out.

Austinlad's avatar

@Frenchfry, aren’t you fortunate there’s only one God of us all?

DominicX's avatar

I was raised Christian and I have become more agnostic. That’s about it. My political orientation is still the same. I’ve only strengthened some beliefs and modified them, but I haven’t really done away with any.

ragingloli's avatar

Also I was quite apolitical until late in my life. Now I consider myself a socialist.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I was born into a rabidly Southern Baptist family. I am now not a Christian. I’m not a nonbeliever though. I think there is something more to life than merely the physical, but I don’t profess to know what it is or how it works.

My rabidly Southern Baptist upbringing taught me to loath myself at young age, because I’m gay. It instilled in me a belief that I was unloveable and not redeemable. I couldn’t be saved. I have since learned to love myself in healthy ways.

I was extremely conservative as a teenager in my political beliefs. University knocked that out of me, thank goodness. I once took an interesting political profile test and came out as leftist as you can get. I’m a socialist.

MeinTeil's avatar

Colleges = Liberal factories.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Not so much.

I’ve pretty much always believed in capitalism, free trade / free markets, limited government and that politicians are crooks, liars and buffoons.

I’ve lived long enough and paid attention well enough to know that I was right almost every time.

janbb's avatar

My basic beliefs have stayed fairly consistent throughout my life: I have always been a leftwing, agnostic but culturally Jewish identifying person. However, my understanding of issues such as self-identification and gender determination has broadened as I have aged and been exposed to more. I hope to continue to grow as I get even older.

Hey CW – you’re back!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I used to believe I was “bulletproof” as well.
Welcome back CW

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@MeinTeil : Your equation that colleges are all liberal factories is facile. I went to an extremely conservative, Christian university, yet I came out a liberal. Most of the students who went there came out just as conservative and just as Christian as they were when they went in.

TexasDude's avatar

@hawaii_jake is right. I’m attending probably the most liberal college in the south, and my conversion to libertarianism didn’t hit full swing until I started here.

janbb's avatar

My son got more conservative at a very liberal college, so go know. If they teach you to think for yourself, that is what is important.

TexasDude's avatar

@janbb, yep. That’s what I’ve always thought/hoped the goal of college was… to teach you to be an independent, logic-based thinker. That’s definitely not always the case, but it’s the ideal, in my mind. Doesn’t matter whether college makes you into a liberal or conservative or whatever, as long as you arrived at your point of view freely, independently, and thoughtfully.

Deja_vu's avatar

Yes, many of my beliefs have changed, for sure. I used to be a very stubborn, conservative Republican. Now I’m a not so conservative Republican. I grew up a Roman Catholic. I’m still a Roman Catholic, only now it’s more of a hobby :P

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I went to the most conservative of the Ivies, yet I’ve turned out to be downright Bolshevik compared to most of my family.

Sarcasm's avatar

I grew up thinking that being a Republican was good.
Either the party changed, or my eyes opened.

Winters's avatar

I grew up with a staunchly Conservative Republican Dad and a staunchly Liberal Mom (she’s not a citizen). I was also raised as a Baptist.
Now, I think that todays politicians just suck in general, too many ulterior motives and hidden agendas. And now I am agnostic.

thekoukoureport's avatar

wow I feel relatively normal reading this litany of ideologies. coming from a military Reaganite I now take a literal version of the constitution to be what government should be.I believe that’s what makes me an American. After reading the pre amble, it became my understanding that thats what the role of government should be.

WE the people in order to form a more perfect union establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare at hand, secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

That has got to make me… the biggest Barrack Obama fan on the face of this earth.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
CaptainHarley's avatar

I was raised Southern Baptist, but got away from that as soon as I could. I still believe that God or the universe exists on some tangential plane, because I know He/She/It answers prayer. I am humble enough to realize that I don’t know all the answers, yet self-respecting enough to appreciate that I have learned a LOT in my brief time here on this beautiful planet we are in the process of destroying. I have acquired enough wisdom to understand that love is the single most potent force in the universe, and that I am called to extend it to others as much as I can.

Politically, I feel abandoned by what use to be my party, but have discovered that I still believe in my Country and in her almost limitless capacity for self-renewal through her people’s resilience, creativity and perseverance.

It took me some time to understand that the real America doesn’t consist of what is portrayed in the media. The real America consists of kind, hard-working people who don’t see themselves as victims, who want nothing greater than a better life for their children. I live among them, so I know.

anartist's avatar

No, and I am old enough to be a grandmother. I had no belief from the minute I was aware it was an issue.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not religiously but socially, sure. I wasn’t raised with religion and it never seemed an issue for me to “need” it. Other than that I used to believe I never wanted to marry or have children of my own and that did change over time. I now believe in marriage.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I was raised as a Christian, and as I matured and learned more about Christianity, I slowly became an atheist. I was 18 when I started to tell people I no longer believed in the supernatural, but I was 13 when I had my first doubts. Thank goodness for the change!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Did you know that “goodness” was an synonym for God? : )

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@CaptainHarley I did, but it would be a little odd to say ‘thank God for the change’. Not that I think anything or anyone deserves thanks, since it is a matter of the probability of me being exposed to the right information, its just an appropriate phrase. Thanks for the laugh.

Seek's avatar


I’ve taken on saying “Thank the gods”. I figure if I’m going to use a blasphemous colloquialism, I might as well offend as many deities as possible whilst doing so.

Berserker's avatar

When I was little I didn’t bother with whether I believed or not. Now I believe in nothing. Man I’m so emo. :D

JLeslie's avatar

And good bye is God be with you from what I understand.

le_inferno's avatar

I was raised Catholic. Knowing what I know now, I think Catholicism is an absurd and corrupt religion. However, I still believe in some kind of God, and am still not sure how I feel about Christianity.

Jabe73's avatar

I was brought up in a conservative Catholic (my mom’s side) and Protestant (my dad’s side) somewhat religious family. Even though they were very conservative on both sides of my family my mom’s side were mostly Democrats and most of my dad’s side were Republicans. I now have nothing to do with Christianity or any religious beliefs for that matter. I am now more of a Spiritualist with a more deist view of “god”. As far as politics go, for the most part I consider myself a Libertarian. Republicans are too extremist for me and Democrats are too liberal for me. I see both parties as supporting big government to support their own agendas.

augustlan's avatar

I was raised a lapsed Christian (we went to church every Sunday… until our minister retired when I was 4). Kind of Christian by default, but not a very religious one. I read the bible, front to back, when I was in 6th grade, and had grave doubts about the book and the religion from that time on. I went back and forth between believing there was some kind of god (but certainly not the god of the bible) and not believing in any god at all. During my teens, I’d say I was agnostic. Now, I’m pretty much an atheist.

Though my family were Democrats, they were old-school southern Democrats (read: Far-Right-Republicans by any other name). Racism, sexism, homophobia… I grew up with ‘em all. But, for whatever reason, I’ve been socially liberal for as long as I can remember, and have only gotten more so as I’ve gotten older. (I’ve never been to college, so that’s not it.) I think maybe it’s because I grew up in a very diverse area just outside of Washington, DC. I had friends of every color, religion, and sexual persuasion you can think of. It was damn near impossible for my Missouri-born family’s attitudes to rub off on me when I spent time with the very people they condemned every day, and could see for myself that people are just… people.

CaptainHarley's avatar


You sound a lot like me a few years ago. I had to UN-learn most of the things I was taught when I was young, then “work out my own salvation” as the Bible says we should do. I have come to a very clear and unique place in my beliefs, a place that bears little resemblance to anything I was taught, but I am happy here. : ))

NaturallyMe's avatar

Yes, i used to be a Christian but am now no longer religious, only spiritual. And it’s such a weight off my shoulders, not having to worry about going to hell and sh1t. :)
I’m not sure where along the lines i changed exactly, but it happened slowly, first when my mum started reading about all these things and spirituality etc, and then i started also wondering about all the contradictions in the bible and other things that just don’t make sense, and how God supposedly has all these human emotions (jealousy, spitefulness, punishment etc), and i thought to myself…that’s no definition of God.
Anyway, something like that. I no longer believe in a deity sitting in heaven judging us all, instead i believe we are the creators of everything around us, deep down we are each our own God within our souls.

Cruiser's avatar

I like your answer @CaptainHarley…heart felt, strong and sure!

Akua's avatar

I grew up with an Agnostic mother and an Athiest father. God and religion was never discussed and we never went to church. Because of this somewhere in my 20’s I thought that my life had been so bad because I didn’t have god in it. I met someone who started teaching me about Islam. I became muslim and I thought I had found my place. I was shocked to discover that they are just like everyone else (the good, the bad and the ugly) and my infatuation with piety went right out the window. What a crock of shit. The Abrahamic religions were created and are governed by men to oppress and control women. I could tell you of experiences I have had that would curl your toes. My husband and I are not religious, we’re spiritual. Our culture is Rastafari (we agree that this historically is NOT a religion but a way of life, a culture). We don’t believe in going to church, nor do we revere a bible. We study religions only to prove the inconsistencies that people have been force feeding their children since time immortal. We pray/chant and know that their is a higher power and hope that SHE will have mercy upon us.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Akua Why would she have to have mercy on us? Is there any imperative for a higher power to judge us at all?

Akua's avatar

When I said ‘US’ I was speaking of me and my family. I was being sarcastic.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Akua Thanks for the clarification.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Akua's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh . No problem. I was poking fun at religion, since they are all patriarchal I figured saying “she” would offend. Sarcasm is not my strongest quality. smiles.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Akua Picking up on sarcasm online is not my strongest quality.

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