Once a member of RMN, always a member of RMN!
I looked throughout the 'General Discussion' section of the forum to see if a topic like this has come up, and came up with nothing. I'm sorry if I'm digging up something old.

Anyway, this is a topic that I always find interesting. Not really an icebreaker, but I usually end up asking my newer friends about it somewhere along the line. I am most curious about what people believe, why, and how strongly. I have met plenty of people that say they follow X teachings, but don't practice them that faithfully. I have also met others that are very devout and believe the teachings very closely and take things very seriously.

It's also interesting to hear their history into how they came to their conclusions. Most people were brought up a certain way, while others had a particular experience at one point in their life that lead them down their current path. I want to leave my views out for the moment so I do not discourage anyone from joining the discussion or encourage negativity off the bat (not that I think either would happen, but I'd rather get the ball rolling first before I volunteer any personal views).

I realize this is a sensitive topic, and I promise I am not flaming, trolling, or grabbing for any kind of negative attention. I am just curious. Again, if this is old, please let me know.
I'm Christian because I was brought up that way. I believe in Christianity to death, but if someone says, "I'm gay" I don't say "Burn in hell". Are there even people like that left anymore? I hope not. Also, I go to church...sometimes...
I guess I'm a casual believer.
I'm a dog pirate
Various topics have turned into this sort of thing.

I understand that some people will want to pursue in them, but they can and will get heated.
I believe in fortune cookies.
I believe in fortune cookies.

More like general advice cookies.
I was raised Christian. I didn't have a choice in the matter. I was going to church every week, going to sunday school, and believing in God weather I liked it or not(I didn't!). I hated it. It became a chore. The same thing every week. It got to the point where I'd be in church and daydreaming the entire time. Oh, people are kneeling, guess I have to too. Time to walk single file to eat some piece of bread then walk up the aisle like I'm in a fashion show. Even as a kid I found it to be BS.

Then I hit grade 9 and learned about evolution. Any last shred of belief I had that god created the universe collapsed in on itself like a dying star. I saw the light! And it was coming from the big bang. But, since I was still living with my dictator parents I had to continue going to church despite my protests. I stopped going down for the treats. It pretty much became a social interaction with the town(I'm from a small town. Just about everybody could fit in the church at once.). I remember sneaking in video games to pass the time haha

So yeah, I have little to no respect for organized religion because of my upbringing. My parents tried to force their beliefs on me. Even when I was an adult, my parents objected to the fact that I didn't go to church and that I didn't believe in god. They would say "Well you have to believe in something". No, I don't.

I know there are plenty of less pushy religous people, but with knowledge of science I can't comprehend how anybody can believe in anything else. Blind faith perhaps, brainwashing even. Religion was created in a time of innocence to how the universe works. It was created to "explain" the world around them. It doesn't exactly translate to this millennium. To each his own, I don't care what you believe in or practice, but I don't think it takes wild stories about Jesus to teach kids to be decent human beings. Which seems to be the only redeeming factor of religion, or maybe just Christianity. I never bothered to learn the details of other religions.
I like such sensitive topics and share Oblic's thought about how interesting it is to hear people's stories.

In a nutshell, my awakening to science and psychology throughout the years of my existence made me add more credibility to proofs and facts than to the lack of them, and I concern myself more with the usefulness of beliefs rather than the maintain of customs.

To me religions are composed of two distinct parts that are philosophy and mythology. The former might be useful to follow depending on the values and behaviors it promotes, while the latter is just... unnecessary.

For the record I was born in a believing-yet-casually-practicing family, baptized without knowing it, and confirmed out of following the customs at that age when anybody hasn't lived enough to really reflect on the matter. Religion was still on the program during my elementary and high school years. My parents only brought me to church with my consent and it seldom happened (I'd rather play the NES on Saturday mornings, you know).

Therefore I am not a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist or anything. I just don't need religions' suggestions in defining what values and goals I choose to follow.
I don't believe in any religion because they are all fiction to me, don't define myself with religion-related terms, and it is a subject I don't give much importance to afterall. What I do believe in is freedom of belief. Anyone can believe in anything they want as long as it doesn't hinder others' quality of life.
I have met plenty of people that say they follow X teachings, but don't practice them that faithfully.


my impression is that most declarations are less actual beliefs and more ethnic or cultural affiliations. people circumstanced into a religion x and identify as x but do not have strong feelings about it either way probably just have not yet gotten around in life to examining and readjusting their spiritual identity and i detect that this is the case for most people which seems sensible since in this day and age there is little incentive to expend the necessary time/effort to be considered or to feel 'devout' especially for malleable religions like christianity

uhhh as for me i guess i worship money
Remember when I actually used to make games? Me neither.
(Warning: Everything in this post is based on bad memory of a little obnoxious person who has his own silly logic.)
I'm an atheist.
I seriously doubt that there is a godly power around (surprise surprise) and Bible seems full of fakey fakey fake magic stuff to me, written in 400th century by a drunken, deranged monk. If there really is a god, what about he/she comes out of some random place and proves everybody the existence of god/s?
But that hasn't happened? Why? It would solve at least some problems which I can't right now list due to shitty memory.
Christianity hasn't affected my life much and meh, I might quit being a member of a church. Only time it has been useful for me was when I went to confirmation, I got 1000 euros from relatives. That's actually the only reason I even did that crap.

Catholic church is probably the silliest thing in the existence ever. They preach about abortion and such being a sin, but ironically, the Pope, church, or Vatican owns an abortion pill factory. I don't know, but that's what I heard from my relatives. Pope is mostly a money-crazy person who gets to expand his religious dick by being a religional icon until he goes HNNNNNNGH and he is replaced by someone else and forgotten totally.

As for Islam and other religions, well, they of course haven't affected my life but I might as well rant out my opinions about them.

I don't reaaaally like the way how this religion sounds.
No doing stuff during daytime on Ramadan, the whole thing about Muslim women having to wear black robes, praying every day, and other stuff.
Not gonna talk about Muslim terrorists because they are just nutcases who want 49 or so virgins in heaven by blowing up their ass. It's never stated whether the virgins are male or female, it'd be hilarious to see a dead terrorist in heaven surrounded by handful of dead virgin nerds.

The way how Muslims are allowed to eat, drink, smoke and have sex only during nighttime on Ramadan sort of amuses me. I once read that the reason is that Allah can't see the people when it's nighttime. I dunno if this was written in... their book thingy, whatever it was called, but Allah is one weird god if he can create worlds but not see his followers eating, drinking, smoking or having sex in dark.

Meh. What if I accidentally crush a poor amoeba or a bug that can't be seen by human eye? Will I reincarnate as a freakin' flower because I accidentally crushed something I can't see?

I don't know much about this, but it seems least controversial and ragefest out of all religions to me.

I have no idea what is this even. I did once a see a picture where practicers of Shintoism blessed their computers. That's awesome.

Well, at last I'm done writing this silly post about my boring Atheist opinions.
Yo, Nightowl, protip: If you're not educated about other people's religions (which you're not; I've studied some of these religions and you're mostly wrong about, uh, all of them), you probably shouldn't talk about other people's religions.

I was raised a non-believing Lutheran. And althgouh I probably had some ventures into different kinds of non-believing I guess I've returned to that.

Ever since I was a kid most of the stuff of Christian (or other temporary religions) have sort of been treated more or less the same as any other myth. So as a kid I preferred Greek mythology and obviously Norse mythology (because it's almost local). In my early teens I tried to get somewhat into the bible a bit (since you have to for the confirmation anyway) and during those times we had plenty of philosophical discussions about all manner of things.

Obviously as a teen I also semi-rebelled against the establishment, but not so much that I didn't get confirmed. (and unlike my sister I didn't leave the church on becoming 18)

An example of my ignorance in all things religious is that I only thought nutcases "really" believed. Until it turned out that one of my friends apparently was very Christian, and of a different subgroup than the Evangelic-Lutheran I was. I mean I had learned about Catholicism, Orthodoxy and other protestant religions but I have to admit I sort of thought that that was something people just didn't do. Or something. It kinda opened up a whole new world when I realized that the church I belonged to wasn't the only church, not even the only church in my home town.

In my later teens (and since then) I've tended to love those weird believers. Occasionally they have like a open group thing or talking about how to join them in one of their evening prayer-and-boardgames or whatever it is they do (if it actually was boardgames I guess I'd actually go there). I suppose they want to convert people to Jesus and I just find that endearing and hilarious.

Overall though in recent years I'm pretty comfortable with where I am in the church. I don't believe but I tend to go to church about once a year (Christmas morning), because to me it isn't really Christianity that is important it's the church.

So now we get into my faith I suppose. I don't so much believe in the mumbo jumbo the church spouts out about Jesus and whatnot but I do believe in the actually church I belong to and what it does and how it occasionally helps people. I also like the tradition of it all and to me tradition is important. And although the church might have outdated ideas about many things it's like a giant steamship, it changes course but not so fast that anyone would notice. And as such it's a comfortable place to go back to, knowing that generally what the church says are good things that are sort of acceptable. The church doesn't want to be and shouldn't be the radical force in society. But it'll change eventually as previously radical ideas become the norm.

And I kinda like that thought.

Of course with church I mean the secular official Evangelical-Lutheran church of Finland. There's plenty of weird churches out there. Not to mention those foreign varieties of Christianity (like Catholicism *spit*). Though you know as long as they don't bother me...

As for my actual beliefs I also kinda believe in science. And the magical things in the natural world (as opposed to the supernatural world).

This was long to make sure no one ever read it.
@Shinan: Your points about it being more about the culture are pretty awesome! I'm not too big on organized religion (I feel like it squashes free thought to a certain extent, but that's just from how I've interacted with churches), but I never thought about the idea of tradition and community being a main draw.

I like the idea that religion might be a place for people to find something to belong to, or to discover some kind of purpose. I mean, if people are doing good because it's part of their religion, that's pretty alright with me! Any excuse for helping people is a good one. c:

So, yeah, while I'm not big on the things folks believe, I'm all for the community aspects of it. >w<d
Remember when I actually used to make games? Me neither.
Yo, Nightowl, protip: If you're not educated about other people's religions (which you're not; I've studied some of these religions and you're mostly wrong about, uh, all of them), you probably shouldn't talk about other people's religions.

Well, no wonder. I always fell asleep on those boring RE classes anyway.
I wonder why the heck there are RE classes in first place.
I read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity a couple times, and when I'm struggling with doubt it's usually a good philisophical backbone for me to fall on. I'm a Christian, and I believe that everything that the Bible says is true.
I am a Jehovah's Witness. There are tons of misconceptions about my religion, but I don't feel like this is the medium to get to deep into them, because it will almost certainly lead to an argument/flaming not because of wrong motives, just because, well, this is the internet.

But anyway, I completely believe in the authenticity of my religion. I have studied other religions extensively and I love reading science articles. While many people feel that science proves religion wrong, I think they work hand in hand together, and that science actually helps prove the existence of a Creator.

I'm agnostic, brought up by agnostic parents (my mother started as a Christian and had an anti-revelation, while my father never really cared). So, not much conflict there.

Almost all of my friends are agnostic/atheists, but I find it very fun to argue with a not-nutcase believer when I can find one.
The only thing I find annoying is when someone tells me "you have to believe in something". I do; they're called "ideals", you may want to look up on them, thank you.
I didn't have a firm religious upbringing, though my mother was a Catholic and my father is... nothing (not an atheist, just... nothing).

I always liked all sorts of religious, magical, supernatural and occult stuff. And I never had issues with "believing", because I believe in everything. But I don't practice any religion.

--weird thing---
As I was writing this, a friend who I never talked to called me on Facebook, asked my e-mail address, and sent me some religious stuff. Maybe he thinks I'm a satanist or something, because he knows me from my games. :D
Side story tangent alert!

I was downstairs when my wife's friend came by to drop off Tupperware or something and they started chatting about religion (because her friend is ultra religious) and after a bit my wife hollers down at me, "What are you again?"

I reply, "I'm an atheist."

"No, what are you supposed to be, I mean?"

"I'm supposed to be an atheist."

She was referring to the fact that I was supposed to be United (I think).

I *think* I was raised to be a christian, but we never went to church (not even for easter or christmas (which I didn't even learn was a mass people go to until I was like 10). I went through the Catholic school system here in Saskatchewan because my parents wanted me to learn French, and French immersion was only offered through the Catholic schools. So I know a fair bit about christianity. (I am also a voracious reader of history, and took Religious Studies in university (I got 95%!) because I find the human psychological desire for magic/religion fascinating)

I started questioning the existence of a god pretty early, like around grade 3 or 4, because it just didn't make sense. It really started to hit home when I was writing stories (for my RPG (I started that early, too)) in grade 7, when, as i was world building and coming up with gods and religions, it was really easy to make up plausible shit and my logical line of thinking went "If a 13 year old boy can make this up in a lazy summer afternoon, what the hell could men come up with over centuries?" So I came to the conclusion that everything about the mysticality of religions is complete and utter bullshit, and to use that as a justification for ANYTHING (good deeds or bad) is just plain stupid and ridiculous (and if you do, you should really reexamine your life).

As a organization, I recognize that religion served a purpose (cultural propagation, laws/morals, history, for example), but all of its functions have since been superseded by more elaborate and effective social constructs. So I no longer see a need for it.

I my opinion, religion needs to gfto so that humanity can save itself.

It is one of the few things I get uppity about. I get really riled up when I see religion trying to horn in on shit it doesn't have any say in, like science (evolution in particular) or people's sexual orientation. I hate it that somehow the money-printing churchs and religions are somehow tax free (so they don't even contribute to society at all). I hate it that religion can get a free pass to stifle free speech, too. I could go on...

In a nutshell, I hate religion and everything it represents, and lament its followers.
As a organization, I recognize that religion served a purpose (cultural propagation, laws/morals, history, for example), but all of its functions have since been superseded by more elaborate and effective social constructs. So I no longer see a need for it.
I couldn't agree more if I tried.

Anyway, I just remembered a fun story.
I was about 7 years old, and one of the few children in my very little town (about 4000 people total) that never went to church.
We were talking about Santa Claus and the doubts we had about his existance, when one of my classmates told me: "You don't believe in God, you don't believe in Santa Claus! Don't you believe anything?!".