Why are you a ____________?

I thought it would be educational for people to share why you are a Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist, Zoroastrian, Pagan, Presbyterian, Lutheran or any other faith or belief system.

If you can talk about what draws you to your community, some positive things about it, differences it has made in your life, and why you feel it is important to the world, that would be great. I’d truly appreciate personal sharing about what your community of belief means to you if you feel like elaborating on that.

I would please request that this particular thread remain free of criticism for anyone else’s faith or beliefs. Please just talk about your own journey instead of attacking anyone else’s. If someone wants to challenge anyone else’s faith because of something in this thread, please start another thread for that purpose and don’t use this thread.

Thank you.

Catholic. Cradle Catholic. In my younger years, didn’t question much, but received 12 years of Catholic education. Brother was a priest (deceased). But those years formed a belief system that helped me through my entire life.

Sometimes I took Catholicism for granted, sometimes very devout.

What does it mean to me? It grounds me to a value system that has positively helped me out of many life issues. Even when I was far away from fully expressing my faith, I somehow always knew it was there to draw on.

About 6 years ago, I was “in the checkout line”, and ready to be collected for my reward or punishment, but He made / allowed me to identify what turned out to be a birth defect. I prayed for discernment a long time over that, and without that Catholic background, I am pretty well convinced I would not be here today. It also permanently drew me much closer to God, making me happier and feeling more blessed than any time in my life. I fixed that particular problem, and goodness, what a tremendous difference in my life.

Why is it important to the world? It is my personal opinion that everyone needs to find their own way to achieve salvation, a good life, or a valid way to navigate through this rather complex world. For me it is my Catholic faith. For others, a different path may be better, whatever “better” may mean. So that may be just about the most obscure way of saying that the answer to that “importance” question is that it provides a vehicle to allow at least some people, maybe a LOT of people, to succeed in this world. You see, my belief system, the Catholic Church, gives me a point that I KNOW I can rely on, or go to. It is one thing I can rely on.

Make no mistake, many people, even those on this forum, would condemn a lot of what I had to do to correct my birth defect, yet I KNOW, I did right. But again, it is strictly and only my Catholic background and faith that helps me through the tough times.

Gosh, a short post can’t possibly explore years of background, but I hope this response helps. Maybe it’ll open the door for others to respond.

Blessings,
Stephie

A Bible-believing Christian, which is based on Scripture which states that Jesus is God, Who was crucified, & rose bodily from the dead 3 days later. I believe this because His corpse was never found, despite being buried in a sealed tomb. This is confirmed by the eyewitnesses of Jesus - some of which wrote Scriptures about the experience - eyewitnessed His resurrection, & proved that they did by never recanting their faith, despite intense persecution, torture, & excruciating deaths. Unlike other religions where people “might” die for something they aren’t sure something happened because they didn’t eyewitness it for themselves, the eyewitnesses of the resurrection wouldn’t die for something they knew to a lie…and none of them did die for a lie. They died because they eyewitnessed it for themselves. Otherwise, if they knew it was false, they wouldn’t have willingly endured that torture & excruciating deaths for something that didn’t actually happen. So, since only one thing about reality can be true (since various beliefs contradict each other), I believe in the Christian faith, because only Christianity can back up their faith in the resurrection of Jesus in this way.

I’m a natural pantheist because it’s true.

It’s not an centrally organized religion. There are some real time communities that gather, and some virtual communities. I have had opportunities to be part of these communities, but sometimes due to life circumstances I am on my own as far as meeting up with other nat pans.

In other words, it was not particularly a faith community that drew me to Natural Pantheism. Practicing my faith brings me to awareness of my place in the Universe and in the history of the human race. I acknowledge this awareness in my actions and choices in life.

My faith is the framework of my life. When I get confused by minutia it brings me back to reality. I know that without my faith and practice of it, I accomplish little, run in circles, chase my tail. I get ‘lost’ but when I practice my faith I get my bearings back and can live purposefully and productively.

Buddhist.

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 I found. 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.

rossum

Been a lifelong member of Anglican Churches. I appreciate the connection with the historic church, Sacraments and freedom to engage the best of both Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.

I am a Christian because I believe Christ is exactly what He says He is. I am a Catholic, because of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

I am a Catholic (convert) and the short answer is that it’s the Church that Jesus Himself founded and has the fullness of truth, the opportunity for an encounter with Christ at every Mass and the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.

I was raised an atheist, by atheists but there were no answers to questions of how the complexity of the world came to be, the functioning of our human bodies (a daily miracle!) or the consistency of their ethics. Most answers were your typical parent response “Because I said so!” Not very compelling to a very curious child or to a child who saw a lot of unfairness and injustice in the world. I grew up in the 1960s when Civil Rights were front and center.

I always felt there must be answers and kept looking. But my parents had so disdained and criticized religion, particularly Christianity as “myths” (Little did they know they were partially right because myths have truth even if not simple facts). So I didn’t look to religious faith for answers but kept trying to find them in science. One religion my parents did approve of was Unitarianism, which denies the divinity of Jesus …hey he was a great guy and a good role model like Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. But attending this church left me with the same questions as I had as a child. There was a lot of talk talk talk and precious little DOING anything about the ills of the world. I never heard of a Unitarian founded hospital or school or soup kitchen. It seemed like a lot of very smart, very nice people who lived a lot in their heads but I didn’t see any action.

I next explored Methodism because I was attracted to their outreach, missions and action based approach. A take off on John Wesley’s famous quote do all the good that you can do for all of those for whom you can do it for as long as you can made sense to me. Hand wringing about poor suffering humanity was pointless but realistically can you make a difference? The Methodist church did give me the opportunity to get involved at the ground level, with a number of humanitarian efforts. But I didn’t like the shape shifting, the changes in doctrine from year to year. It seemed as if the vote would be stacked to promote a new idea and they would enact it, only to change it the following year. Finally as I had transitioned from a Left leaning, feminist, pro abortion, pro women’s “rights” to becoming more pro life I became horrified by the Methodist church’s relatively strong support for abortion…women’s “rights” yet it was absolutely opposed to the death penalty That made no sense at all…inconsistency again.

Bill Hybels said “Don’t tell people your woo woo God story” but that is precisely what happened. My Damascus Road experience was sudden and life changing. Leaving the Methodist church after arguing with my pastor and a few fellow congregants about abortion I knew I could not return. As I drove home in tears, I got the distinct message “You are Catholic.” I went home, did an internet search “How to become Catholic” and never looked back. The Church has everything I searched for all of those years. The Church answers those questions I had from childhood. The Church has an AMAZING intellectual tradition. The Church’s teaching are logical, consistent with each other and based on Natural Law. The Church has that sense of mystery, of realizing we cannot know everything now but someday will see God face to face. The Church has outreach all over the world and in being a part of it I can help in places thousands of miles away. I have truly come Home.

Catholic, I was born a Catholic and I will die as one. Because of our founder our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am Hindu mainly because I was born into a Hindu family. I chose to remain a Hindu because almost all Hindu beliefs are true (including there being many Gods - see thehindugods.com).

However I believe in the validity of all major religions, although some religions may have more truth than others. Different religions are appropriate for different people depending on their own personal spiritual and intellectual development.

Hi Stephie!

Thank you for sharing the importance of your faith. I’m very glad you have healed from your birth defect and that your Catholic faith sustains and supports you!

Tazlord,

I agree with you that the early Christians would never have had the faith and strength they did without seeing Christ, resurrected.

Thank you for sharing the importance and meaning of your Christian faith to you!

Hi Schaeffer!

Thank you for sharing the beauty you experience in your experience as a Natural Pantheist.

I agree with you very much that the divine reality can be seen in all things. I am a nature photographer and the aliveness and spiritual beauty in nature always astounds me.

Hi Rossum!

I agree with you that from my limited experience the practices of Buddhism do indeed work. I have found mindfulness / presence is always important and helpful.

I’d be interested to hear more about “no soul” and what it means to you, here or in another thread, if you feel like it.

I am very glad you have found Buddhism very helpful for you!

Thank you ChurchSoldier.

Both the Protestant and Catholic traditions have much richness and beauty to draw upon. I am glad you have found a fitting home in the Anglican church!

Thank you Sarcelle for sharing your faith in the Lord Christ! I have seen the joy on the faces of Catholics receiving the sacrament, and it was very moving indeed.

Lisa,

That’s a very beautiful and moving story of your search for God and finding Him through the Catholic church!

I’m very glad that you shared it with us, thank you!

jesuspsr,

Thank you for your testimony for Christ and the Catholic faith!

One of my friends told me what he liked about Buddhism was that it wasn’t sort of just esoteric reading or theory or talk but an actual practice which he found very appealing. In some ways Catholicism has that same quality. Perhaps not all like this aspect of any faith but for some it very much helps them in their daily lives.

FWIW two very influential people in my faith life are former Buddhists, one a woman I met at a retreat who had been raised a PK, daughter of a Lutheran minister, rejected Christianity in college, became a practicing Buddhist and after about 15 years converted to Catholicism. She was very influential in my conversion in that she told me the “nuts and bolts” of how to go through the process. The other one was raised a Buddhist but was educated at a Catholic school, wanted to convert as a child but was stopped by his mother. Later he went around her, got his father’s permission and became Catholic. He has been a priest for over 50 years now and is my Spiritual Director. Again I think the practice aspect of Catholicism is part of the reason for their conversion.

openmind77,

Thank you for sharing your Hindu beliefs! I found some deep truths in my studies of Advaita Vedanta (an offshoot of Hinduism) that I still find of great value.

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.