My parents are nominally Catholic, pretty much just going to church for weddings and funerals. I was baptized, made my first communion, and was confirmed, but do not consider myself Catholic, or even Christian, as I am an atheist.
I grew up in a Oneness ,Holiness variant of Pentecostalism. It’s a very experiential religion, with a lot of emphasis on having ecstatic experiences, and despite wading through water uphill to participate in worship, I never felt anything. I suffered with chronic feelings that I was cut off from the mercy of God; I read the stories of Saul and Esau with a shudder. Eventually I found hope in the prospect that it was all fictional, that everyone was fooling themselves by manipulating themselves into emotional states, that the only reason anyone was a Christian/Muslim/etc was because they were raised to believe that as children, and it’s almost impossible to overcome inclinations that deeply rooted.
I left that sect and was heavily into freethought, secular humanism, and anti-theism for a while. That’s how I left Pentecostalism; the road to Christian tradition was somewhat more lengthy.
I was raised in a “non-denominational” community. I have good memories of it. Worshipping Jesus. Hearing the Scriptures. And I believed at a very young age.
God was there, where His Word was read and prayers were made.
When I became an adult, I had drifted from a real growth in the faith. I believe it had to do with a lack of depth, and not to down play my own sinfulness. But there was no emphasis on Baptism or Communion. They were down played alot.
But when I missed my faith, and realized I needed to take responsibility to nurture my own faith, I started from the beginning or from scratch. I also owe credit to a Catholic woman I worked with. She introduced me to good Catholic resources. And one day I just decided to go to Mass and pray with an open heart.
I was lifted over how Christmas centered everything is. And I felt all the Scripture being drawn upon. I then read the bulletin and saw there were RCIA classes for those seeking the faith. I went to one and met one of the most genuine Christians I’ve ever known.
Telling my parents was a bit funny. But they took it well. My mother said, “but we raised you Christian!”
That was maybe 10 yrs ago. And there have been trials all along the journey. But I learn some all the time and always appreciate the faith, Mass and our Lord’s living Spirit!
I grew up secular. My parents claim to be Christians, my mum a Catholic and my dad a Presbyterian but neither go to church, pray or engage on anything religious. They never raised me in any faith but wanted me to make my own decision concerning those things.
So if it is asked if I am still secular, in many ways I am. Slowly however, I believe God is bringing me out of that world, into the world of prayer, church and faith.
I grew up in the Episcopal church. My parents were a mixed marriage of Catholic (father’s side) and Lutheran. They didn’t really worship together as man and wife I don’t believe and converted to the Episcopalian faith after many years of marriage to have a common faith for my sister and I to be raised in - baptism and confirmation. I liked church, but we did not worship a lot as a family nor was Christianity discussed - other than we celebrated Christmas and Easter. I suppose I was raised with Christian values, but I felt a strong pull to both Catholicism and Judaism as I entered my teens.
I strayed away from church after high school when I went away to college. I didn’t go to church for 15 years or so and returned in my 40’s attending a friend’s multicultural non denominational church. It was my first experience at a full protestant church. I thought it was great at first until I realized I missed a liturgy and holy communion.
Returned to the Episcopal church for a few years as I was approaching my 50’s and they were going through a crisis so I became an anglican for a few months and finally converted to the Catholic faith at 56.
If I leave the Catholic church I will probably never join a religion again.
Pretty much the same. I would need to continue practicing ‘nominal cultural agnostic catholicism’, I still do that. But I’m more leaning to actually become Catholic! This has to do with loads of things… but I still am not sure wether there is a God. Hence I’m still really agnostic. I’d rather be a devout Catholic though.
My sister and mother did pursue some kind of Catholicism.
Mother went to church weekly. She married my father, but she stopped attending when she moved in with my father as they were married, since she wasn’t familiar with that parish.
She certainly has some belief. She prayed with me when I was young, everytime I’d go to sleep.
My sister also got some catholicism instilled in her. She doesn’t know the real differences between any of the faiths. She really likes the black churches that exist in the USA. She also believes in re-incarnation etc.
Both of them are very superstitial. Believing in mediums etc.
Not my taste at all. I’d never go for that.
My father also did a little in his late teens, but he decided being a good person is all that matered.
And lastly my brother doesn’t know anything about it. I think he’s an apatheist, meaning he doesn’t give a flying fetch about it or does he have an understanding about it.
The most they know about faith is through me, if they have questions about christianity or any religion they come to me.
I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church when I was 13 and most of my relatives have now gone to even more conservative independent Baptist churches. In addition to being too conservative for me, Baptist churches also always felt too austere and plain, lacking in ritual or tradition. We usually had communion only once a month or maybe even less and it never seemed to be a very important part of the Baptist faith. We never practiced any rituals like putting ashes on our forehead during Ash Wednesday, crossing ourselves, no special services for Maundy Thursday, Tennebrae on Good Friday, etc.
I have since found a church home in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA). The congregation I attend now has a traditional service that follows the liturgical calendar (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, etc) with readings from the Revised Common Lectionary (usually something from the Old Testament, Psalms, an epistle and one of the four gospels). We have great music (some of it classical) played by our organist. We have communion every Sunday and receive the bread dipped in the wine (by intinction) on the tongue or sometimes at the alter rail. Many people cross themselves, we have special services for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (Tennebrae), etc. I prefer this kind of traditional service that follows the liturgical calendar to the services in Baptist churches I remember growing up.
Long story short, I come from a Baptist family that only went to Easter and Christmas service. While growing up, I decided I would be baptized in a church of my choosing and that I would explore the various denominations of Christianity. My journey to Catholicism was not clear cut, and if you told me a year ago I’d be seriously considering Catholicism, I would have laughed in disbelief. But during my journey through various churches for the past year, I began seeing flaws in Protestantism: everyone claimed they were being lead by the Holy Spirit. If that was the case and Catholicism was wrong, then why, in the case of some denominations, did they have to be derived from so many along the way? How can we claim everyone is right when we disagree on minor, even important things?
What really kicked me to Rome was while I was while I was walking past the local Catholic Church at night. The lights were on, and I walked to it and began walking around. I realized I never gave them a fair chance. So instead of going to the Lutheran (LCMS) service I had been attending up to that point, I decided I would go to the Catholic one. Never before had I ever been so excited to go to church! If faith felt like a white hot ball in my chest, then finally I felt it with Catholicism. I began reading. The misconceptions I was presented as a child began crumbling. And now here I am, intending to participate in RCIA this September at that very church I first walked into. The only Catholic Church I’ve ever been in. While I don’t have all the answers, I trust the Church. I hope to gain them in the lifetime that is to come.
You absolutely MUST attend Mass at other parishes! It’s either really fun or gives you new appreciation for your regular parish!
Our pastor mentioned when I was in RCIA that the Church is universal and that every parish should be “home” to us. He encouraged visiting other parishes and making connections. I felt a bit awkward about it because I, too, had only been to one catholic church. But our pastor is a wise and holy man, so I thought I should try to be open to taking his advice.
Since we live a bit of a drive from the parish we usually attend and Holy Days of Obligation often come during the week and the Masses are at different times than usual, it was easier to meet our obligation by attending Mass on Holy Days at closer parishes. Every parish has a unique…flavor?..and I quite enjoy occasionally visiting somewhere new for Mass.
As for me, I was born to a Lutheran mother and a catholic father who was married to someone else and had no intention of ever leaving his wife. When I was 4 years old, my mother met who would be her lifelong partner. He happened to also be from a catholic family. They were together for 18 years, raised 3 kids including me, and never married. They were parted by my mothers passing.
Dad didn’t much care for church, but he did believe. My mom was Lutheran to the core and, while she supported each person choosing their own path, she disagreed with some of the Church’s teachings re: Confession and Communion. So, on the rare occasion we attended church, we went as a family to the Lutheran church. I was briefly an alter server and my younger sister and brother were Baptized at the Lutheran church nearest the house we rented at the time.
I always felt curious and drawn to the Church, but never went to a Mass. I went to Baptist and Lutheran churches here and there in my teens. By the late teens, I became a Pagan and remained a Pagan until I was in my late 20’s. By that point, I was more or less Atheist with spiritual leanings. By the mid 30’s, I was Agnostic.
My husband and I met when we were 24. He was raised catholic and from a large catholic family, but he fell away as a teen before Confirmation. He was Pagan at the time. We are the same age, just 3 months apart, and we journeyed from Pagan to Atheist to Agnostic together.
2 years ago my FIL was visiting and my DH wanted to spend some special time with him because he is elderly and it was likely to be his last trip to see us. So, DH got up super early to attend Mass with his father at a local monastery. He came home and announced that he wanted to return to the faith of his youth. He began attending Mass and took whichever of the kids wanted to go.
I went to my first Mass on Pentecost. I went to listen to DH sing in the choir and the minute I walked into the building I just knew I was home and that I was meant to be catholic.
I started RCIA, filed for annulment since I had been previously civilly married and divorced before I married my DH, and waited. My annulment was granted in April this year after 21 months waiting. Now I need to arrange a convalidation so my DH and I can be Confirmed. Then I’ll be a real catholic!
My family was Baptist…American Baptist convention…When I was around fifteen years old I began investigating other religions and recognized truth in them… I recognized that the great teachers and Prophets also taught valuable spiritual truths… When I was twenty five I found some Baha’i books in the library and told myself that if I ever met Baha’is I would have to declare my Faith in Baha’u’llah… this occurred within a year and I’ve been a Baha’i now for most of my life.
I wasn’t born into any faith; I was baptized as a baby, though (as were my sister and brother). I’m the only person in my family who’s muslim, which greatly hurts me. I don’t follow secularism because I found something better. Something that is consistent, practical and truthful. There’s no way I could go back. It’s like when Allah spoke to Moses [peace be upon him] from the burning bush; when you have an encounter with the Lord of the Universe, you will never be the same.
Long story short… because the Catholic Church has become too conservative for me and I simply lack the faith in its teaching authority. If I had faith and belief in its teaching authority and the understanding of Christ and His Church that the CC does, I’d be a practicing one. I don’t have such a faith or belief so I’m a non practicing one. I believe my spiritual home would actually be found more so in mainline Protestant denominations such as UCC, TEC, etc. But I’m also stuck with the teaching of OCAC. I don’t see myself reverting back though to the practice of Catholicism anytime soon.
I was raised roman Catholic, fell away for a while, but now converted to orthodox christianity. I couldnt be happier. There were many reasons I converted. When I was a child I had this great image of a loving, merciful, and just God. I also held certain theological views which I always thought were held by most christians. But as I started to actually study the roman Catholic theology I was very dissapointed to learn I was heretical. I could not accept RC theology because it made no sense to me in a few areas. But then I found eastern orthodoxy and that was a great relief. Everything I felt to be true about God and the faith was all contained within their theology. Some of the things were these.
I prefer the orthodox view on sin and salvation. I prefer their mystical views as opposed to the RC scholastic views. I prefer the orthodox view on original sin. I prefer the orthodox view of marriage. I prefer the orthodox view of contraception and divorce. The roman Catholic view of marriage is that the only purpose of marriage is popping out babies. Also I always thought it was very cruel to force someone to stay married to their spouse if that spouse cheats on them.
Ever since my conversion to the eastern orthodox church my relationship with God has been great. I have been able to reject all my heretical views. I am far more humble and chaste. I feel like I have a deeper knowledge of God.
The eastern orthodox church also has a far cleaner history than the RC church. No offense but the history of the RC church is rife with corruption. The eastern orthodox church never took part in state sponsored imperialism, there were no " gunpoint conversions", the EO bishops never crowned themselves emperor or claimed to be infallible. The EO church is not as dogmatic as the roman church. The EO church doesnt have as much kooky apparitions or legends about saints and angels. It doesn’t rely as much on novenas and rituals. I could go on. So I invite you OP to take a look at orthodoxy before you settle with atheism. I think you will find what you feel you lack.
If you were baptized as a baby isn’t that the same as being born into a faith? You were born and you were baptized. That sounds to me you were born into a faith.
Glad you are happy with Islam.
I am touched by your testimony. Thanks God that you have given Him a chance. Sometimes that is all that is needed.
May God bless you in your journey and welcome home.
Born Christian, now Buddhist. Why? The short answer is that Buddhism works.
The long answer is the same but takes more words. I was brought up as a Christian. When I hit my teens I dropped religion and switched to atheism. That was mainly because I objected to the rather too common, “anyone who does not agree exactly with us is damned for eternity,” attitude. After a few years I moved away from atheism, I felt that while it did avoid many of the problems with Christianity it was not itself a solution. I looked at different religions to find something that would work for me. None of the Abrahamic religions attracted me – as a hangover from my atheism I still had a problem with the concepts of God and soul. Initially I was interested in Hinduism. The background of Indian religion provides a very different world view: less exclusive – everyone achieves liberation eventually, the concept of karma and a much more relaxed attitude to other religions and to alternative variants of the same religion. Of the Hindu texts the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras were the ones that attracted me most. In particular there is hardly any mention of gods in the Yoga Sutras. That seemed to be an interesting direction to explore.
Reading round Hinduism I inevitably came across Jainism and Buddhism. Jaininsm has souls but no gods, or at least no important gods. Buddhism has no souls and its attitude to gods is very casual – like any other living being they need to become enlightened. A mere god is far inferior to a Bodhisattva, let alone to a fully enlightened Buddha. Buddhism seemed to have the elements I was looking for: non-exclusivity, no soul, morality and while it did have gods, they were unimportant and could easily be ignored. So I tried Buddhism. I studied more on it, went to groups and to meditation classes and found that everything fitted together well and it suited the way I wanted to go.
A frequently quoted Buddhist text is the Kalama sutta which says that if we are to accept something then we have to try it first to check that it is correct:
[The Buddha said:] “Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are good; these things are not blameable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,’ enter on and abide in them.”
This advice applies to the Buddha’s own words just as much as to anything else. I followed the Buddha’s advice. I tried Buddhism, found that it worked and I have followed it ever since.
There is even some scientific evidence that Buddhism works: see Buddhists ‘really are happier’.
Buddhism is a very practical religion. It is a sustained attempt to alleviate the suffering of a less than perfect world. Generally it succeeds. Buddhism works.
The Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded…
The fullness of divine revelation…
Did you choose Buddhism because you really studied the evidence and then objectively arrived at the conclusion that buddhism is the true way? Or do you just want it to be true.
Hinduism/ Buddhism are truly great philosophies and I myself have flirted with them in the past. But I noticed some errors in their world views. The main one which I could not accept is their view on suffering. Suffering does not come from our desire. The christian view is that it comes out of the wrong ways we try to fulfill our desire. Buddhism is about the elimination of desire whereas christianity is about the fulfillment of desire. Our desires for happiness are real and they cannot be denied or " overcome" by meditation techniques.
I think you have a few misconceptions about christianity. I understand though because many Christian denominations have drifted away from authentic Christianity. So they severely misrepresent true Christianity. This is unfortunately the truth about western christianity. Which is why I left it too. However I think you should take a look at eastern christianity. ( orthodox church) for example, the orthodox church does NOT teach that anyone who disagrees with their theology will be damned for eternity. In fact it does not even teach an eternal hell. Although some theologians do say it is eternal. Hell is merely a result of choosing to be separated from God. That will automatically result in suffering. So thats why it is taught that hell is a place of suffering but NOT torture. If you hate God and his goodness then he wont force you to be around him. But then he cant help you either.
Morality is intertwined with happiness. We can only have true lasting happiness by mastering our passions. Youll find that Hindus will say the same thing.
Sin is a sickness. God is the divine physician.
Also if you want evidence that orthodox christianity is the truest path just look at history. Jesus resurrection and ascension really occurred. There are mountains of eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence.
What mountains of eyewitness testimony are you talking about? How many individual reports do you know of, not just a statement in the gospels that X number of mostly unnamed people witnessed it?
Yes…found out some things, :banghead:. Also, I don’t want to share my husband with other wives in heaven.