If you weren't raised in your faith, do you think you would have found your way to it?

I understand there are many converts here, who clearly found their way to their present faith. But for those who remain in the faith they were raised in, do you feel you would have found your way to it one way or another?

When you think of other life opportunities, encounters with people of your faith, do you feel like you would have been drawn to it? Or had the impetus or information to come to it had you already been in another faith.

This is obviously a speculative question, but I thought it might be fun to discuss.

Hard to say. As you’ve admitted some have come to the Faith with the absence of being raised in such. I myself was raised by people who aren’t the least bit interested in Religion; my brother became an Atheist and I became a Christian.

So really it’s impossible to say. Every situation is different. Had I been born in Saudi Arabia, who knows if I would have become a Christian? We do have one member here sam_777 who I haven’t seen in a while, and he’s a secret Christian from Saudi Arabia; could we have turned out like him? Again, impossible to say for sure.

I think that even in the true Church, there are people taking periodic dives off the Ark into the turbulent waters and scurry back to safety. So even in true the issue with truth remains.

I also think its similar on a larger scale only here we have a wider variety of believed absolute truth, including there is no absolute truth which is claimed as absolute. If we are to concede there is only one regardless of where one may be, then how should they proceed in this belief is where the issues reside. I can’t be in denial of God for example and hope to find God along that path, though anything is possible with God despite obstinate objection.

Seems to me there should be a universal moral obligation to the preservation of life in the meantime, but even here we have no consensus.

Since I was born and raised Catholic it is tough to speculate but I would like to think that I would end up Catholic no matter what. I did spend a few years checking out other faiths but in the end I came back as it is the only place that makes sense to me.

I would point out that are many who have been raised in their faith who have never truly found it. From the perspective of an RCIA Team Member, I would dare say that more converts are better catechized than cradle Catholics.

But, hopefully, the New Evangelization will level the playing field!

I attended a catholic funeral Mass this morning and sat in the back, since I had volunteered to help serve a meal in our parish hall for the family and friends. From that vantage point I was able to observe many people who came out of respect for the deceased who are not Catholic themselves. I was struck by how many of them were rifling through our missals and the one page handouts that outline the prayers of the Mass and those who seemed genuinely touched by the beauty of the Catholic service. Many people have an opportunity to witness the care, love and respect we hold for human life and for salvation through the love of Christ. My thought was how people could be easily drawn to the Catholic faith through an experience like this. Having been a fallen-away Catholic, I was drawn back due to the truth and beauty of the one true Church founded by Christ. I checked out other faiths, but all pale in comparison to His Church.

The faith I was raised in was atheism. I do not think I would have found my way to atheism had I not been raised as an atheist and as a Catholic, say, since the majority of pop atheism that floats around is laughable. Serious intellectual atheism is only something you find in the philosophy departments of university libraries these days, and I think it’s unlikely I would have found these books.

From my faith perspective, I cannot rule out that I believe God calls us to faith, so I would like to think I would still be Catholic at some point.

However, setting aside the supernatural consideration, I really do not know many people now who are practicing Catholics - by that I mean, to know them well enough that they would share their faith with me in an inviting way. Maybe I would come to the faith through books or some other way, but I’m not sure.

You certainly came to the right place. Many (maybe even the majority) of people here are converts.

Here is a site with people who were not only raised in other faith traditions, but were clergy, Pastors and seminary Professors before discovering the Truth of the Catholic Church:

That is a heckuva question. I read a lot, so I like to hope that I would’ve read my way to becoming Catholic.

I know though, that if I had been raised as a Christian in another tradition, it would have been extremely hard. This is because if I were searching Catholicism on the internet, there is a ton of (shall I call it?) scare stories about the Catholic Church. Many of these blogs are posted by people who call themselves ex-Catholics (some of them are, some aren’t). As a cradle Catholic, I read these blogs and laugh, but If I had never known Catholicism, I can see where I might be scared off. Listening to, and reading conversion stories, most Protestants say that it was no big deal to go from one Protestant denomination to another. But for just about every one of them to make the jump to Catholicism was tough. I am sure it would be the same for any one of us.

Fantastic question. Made me ponder.:hmmm:

I would agree with that statement, I am married to one.
Also it may be the “cradle catholic” is more guilty of taking their faith for granted, perhaps because it is all they were ever exposed to, than not truly finding it.

This is a challenging question. What do we mean being raised in the faith? I was not raised in traditional, liturgical Christianity: the sect (Pentecostalism) that I was raised in was so modern that when I ‘returned’ to Christianity, it felt as though I was discovering it for the first time. When I left Pentecostalism, I left Christianity and religion behind with it, and I was happy without them – at first. Eventually I realized a craving for something more, and I dabbled in ‘spirituality’ until finding a serious approach, that of Stoicism. It was Stoicism that opened my soul to God. After another season of life went by, I found myself feeling for the first time as though I were a sinner, and craved redemption. Recognizing this as a Christian feeling, when I decided to begin reassociating with religion, I started at a Christian church, albeit one theologically liberal (Episcopalian) enough for me to fit in, with my more or less unitarian belief. The passing of years, my desire to enter the Church more fully, has made me more orthodox in mind.

All that said, would I have felt a craving for redemption were I not raised in a Christian tradition? Possibly not, I cannot say. What I am sure of is that God would have called me to rest within him, regardless of my upbringing. It was God who called to me through Judaism, Gandhian philosophy, and Stoicism when I probed them (and in Stoicism’s case, became a practitioner). As Augustine wrote, we are made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him.

Had I not been born a Catholic, I think it would have gone one of two ways…

  1. I would have found my way into the Catholic Church through my love of history, literature, and the law. The structure and history would have been tremendous hooks for me.

  2. I would have found my way into a very ANTI-Catholic brand of Christianity. I can say that this would have happened due to a total lack of understanding on my part and a likely unwillingness to learn anything about it (Catholicism).

That’s a great observation. Along with the other responses here it suggests that people who are searching are the one’s that find their way to a faith, whether it be the one they were born into, owning it and embracing it as their own, or to another faith.

Also being called or moved by God, which puts the hunger in one to keep moving towards a deeper faith.

We sense there is something bigger than we want to connect to and experience.

My own journey has taken me hither and yon both geographically and spiritually. I’ve been exposed to various faiths, sometimes by studying them, other times by being part of their community for periods of time. Some have moved me, others I never had more than a passing scholarly interest in.

I have always been, and always will be deeply grateful to my parents for raising me in a faith, because I learned how valuable, beautiful and important having a faith is. I never had to go through an awkward or painful “religion is stupid” stage

Strong anti (your faith here) anything usually makes me curious to see if the faith being bashed is as bad and bizarre as the detractor makes it out to be.

Case in point, Chick tracts, I never took their word for it, but I did investigate some of the stuff they said because their presentations were so over the top I wanted to see for myself. I always thought it was both apt and ironic that they are basically comic books.

I think your question is, is our faith genuine, and not prejudiced by our upbringing and the following of tradition? It is true that religiosity can hamper a true encounter with the living Christ. Jesus main obstacle was not just worldly pagan disbelief but religiosity from the one true faith of the time (Judaism). He said it was easier for the drunkards and prostitutes to enter the gates of heaven than the faithful “church goers”, who were made twice the sinners by traditions. Wherever one finds himself, in or out of “church”, any church, Christ seeks a personal encounter with us. This to regenerate, to make born of the spirit that which was dead (in sin or born only of tradition- both given to you by "others’’). Having said that , no one goes to the Father except thru the Son and no one that unless drawn by the Father, for no man seeks God on his own.

Well, considering I converted to Catholicism, I did! :slight_smile:

But I was already a Protestant. If I had no faith in Jesus at all, in his divinity and whatnot, what the Church believed about him that all Christians accept, would I have become Catholic?

That’s something only God can answer.

I was raised in the Christian faith by a mother who was saved by a Billy Graham television crusade. She became active in a local church and was baptized. My dad did not like what was happening and they almost split up over it. My mom then decided to not go to church without dad.

We went to church basically on Easter and it was always in a Baptist like church where the pastor preached fire and brimstone. We attended church for a while by being picked up by a Sunday School bus. I loved Jesus and learned a lot from my teachers but there was still a fear of God. Deep down I could not believe that my God was so angry and unloving but my seed of faith was planted and fed from those experiences.

I started attending an LC-MS church as a young adult as a result of my sister attending and having her boys baptized. I learned there that God was very loving and that I was saved by grace and not by anything that I could do (what I learned in the Baptist church).

So, in a sense, I have been a Christian since I was a little girl but choose to attend my church now because of how I am taught and the beautiful worship services I am a part of.

Amen! Well stated!

I am Lutheran because I was born into a strongly Lutheran family descended from some of the Old Lutherans that came over from Northern Germany after the Prussian State attempted to force a union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches. With this background, I could hardly have been anything but Lutheran!

That said, I have been drawn to Catholicism for years as a result of studying the roots of my Lutheran faith. It just seems like a step too far to convert at this time. I have been so immersed in my Lutheranism, I fear I would always look at spiritual things through that lens or worldview. So, I pray and wait on the Holy Spirit to remove the veil before my eyes, should that be God’s will.

In the meantime, I will bloom where I’m planted. :thumbsup:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.