Absolute Faith: Religion

I can’t help but wonder what exactly makes people choose one religion over another. I was raised Roman Catholic from birth, went to Catholic school until 6th grade, had all the religious ceremonies (first communion etc), but never got hooked. In fact, by the time I was 13 I had decided this wasn’t for me. It kept coming back to the blind faith thing…how do I know my religion was the “right” one? Here I am worshiping a christian God and Christ when for all I know the Jews are right and the son of God never walked the planet. Maybe the Buddists have it right. Maybe the Hindus or Muslims do.

My real question is for those that have absolutely no doubt about their beliefs: how did you get that way? Lots of people like to say it comes from a weak mind, and to be honest thats tempting to believe because of the “illogicalness” of it all, but I think there must be more to it. Not all religious fanatics can have a weak mind…there must be more. Was it ignorance? Were you simply never told that there are as many religions as there are opinions? Dosen’t that make you question your beliefs even a tiny bit? Have you ever bothered to study another set of beliefs to see if they in fact appeal to you just as much? I’ve always been curious to see what really motivates true believers, its baffling to me. Why is your view on religion right and everyone else wrong? If you admit that you don’t really know for sure, how can you commit all your time/energy, your whole life really, to something you can’t possibly know with certainty.

My view is one I think is very logical…I have no idea. None at all. I think you’re probably all wrong and the truth will be something very different than what anyone has yet figured out, but I can still say I have no real clue. Isn’t that closer to the truth than any organized religion?

I’m not a faithful person. I was raised in the LDS church and experienced something very similar to you. AND I’m probably on the same page as you with the “I have no idea” line of thinking. Sometimes I feel there’s NO WAY there’s not a very involved higher being controling the world. Sometimes I feel we’re just the result of random rocks bouncing around in space. Most the time, it’s inbetween.

IANA Expert on Mormon Doctorine, but I can provide a little bit of an insight into the Mormon concept of faith. SOMEWHERE in the Book for Mormon there’s a chapter about how if you have just a shred of faith, meaning that you can accept that MAYBE the concept of God is possible, and that you can experiment with it, meaning based on that little bit of acceptance, you pray for whoever may be out there to further show you the way, that you can, in time be shown, through your life experiences, that you are not alone, and that you are being covered and watched.

A few years ago I went through a period when I almost fell back into the church, and back into faith. And it was a personal and private experience, with details that time have muddied, and that probably won’t be valuable to you, so I’ll keep them private…But I had read a book by the Church’s leader, LOVED the book, and felt a great love and respect for him, even if I didn’t share his faith. Suddenly, coincidence after coincidence happened where it felt like the church was trying to come back into my life. All these different emails, letters, bumping into missionaries, etc etc happened right around the exact same time. And it made me wonder if maybe that experimentation was working and that there WAS something to it.

In the end, I think I got maybe too lazy (or maybe too scared) to follow through with it, and fell back out. In retrospect, it looks more like coincidence than real “mystical power.” But it was amazing at the time.

I think, kinda, that that’s what a lot of faith is…a bunch of coincidence that people cannot accept as just coincidence, and so they assume that it must be something greater than chance.

I met a girl a while ago who was WAY into Mormonism, but had only been in the church a few months. Her story of conversion was that she prayed to God “I don’t believe I know the truth…please show me the truth.” Less than 20 minutes later her mom was bitching about the “Jehova’s Witnesses” out on the street. She ran out to meet them, learned they were actually Mormons, and she felt they were the answer to her prayer. For her, there was no coincidence. She asked, and it was answered. I dunno that I can be so accepting.
Others, of course, have no faith, but are just putting on airs because “It’s what my daddy did, and his daddy before him.” As someone said in another thread, the same reason some people buy Fords.

But as of right now…I dunno what I want to buy, so to speak.


I was raised in a Christian household, but even so I think without a personal experience with Christ I would be drifting away right now (as happened to you, I guess). I would urge you to read at least bits of a lot of different religious texts and listen to a lot of different theological viewpoints so that you can make an informed choice (even if that choice is still, “I don’t know.”).

In answer to your question, what motivates me is my personal experiences with Christ.

I don’t have faith, I have burning bushes.

I keep having experiences that fit in with only certain portions of standard religions. So I built my own that matches my experience. My experience includes events that show that I cannot properly tell what is true from this side, only what I can perceive. I even felt my son’s soul’s gentle mirth over my attempts to define the indescribable and indefinable.
I recently tried to explain it like this: Is light a particle or a wave? Depends on what you use to measure it with. Is the Divine X or Y? Each person measures that themselves. Each answer is no more accurate than the particle vs. the wave. Both can be proven to be true, according to the outputs of the device doing the measuring. Therefore there is something we still cannot grasp about the situation, and perhaps our instruments will never reach the state where they can unify the two answers. And it doesn’t matter, because light is still light, and religious/spiritual experience is still religious/spiritual experience.

So, I believe what I believe, and do so absolutely. But it isn’t a matter of faith, in the truest sense. It is more like what Super Gnat experienced - personal experience led to current belief structure. Faith, real faith with not even the evidence in my daily life to tell me I’m right? No, I don’t have that kind of faith. I’m impressed by those who do - either that or stunned, I’m not sure.

Oh, and we’re talking answers to prayers like ‘I don’t know how I’ll be able to stay home with my newborn son an extra two weeks, we don’t have the money’ and being given $2000 two days later, ‘just because’. Yeah it could be coincidence, but if so, coincidence likes me a lot, because it shows up a lot in a good way.

I choose to assign meaning to some events that moved me profoundly. Without those events, I would be happily being a member of a UU church, exploring and thinking and feeling things out, but not having any real faith in particular. It is a good way to go, IMHO, if you don’t have anything driving you to believe something specific. Not a bad one if you do have faith, too. I’ve got a strong UU streak still. :slight_smile: Have you tried them (the UUs)?

The problem here is a matter of cultural bias. Because Christianity has controlled the subject of religion in western civilization for at least the past 900 years and the fact that it’s monotheistic, Christianity has set itself up as the only religion to practice. You’re either a Christian or an Atheist. Of course, this is changing, epsecially in the past 50 years but the bias to consider Christianity as the only religion is still there.


Various incidents in my life, have affirmed for me that I’m practicing the faith that’s right for me. Your milage may vary. That ties into your last statement:


I think the truth, when and if we discover it is that what religion you practice doesn’t matter. As long as you’re an ethical, moral person by the standards you adopted for yourself (your religion or philosophy or whatever), that is what is important.

like yourself, i questioned what i was fed as ‘the truth’ from a very young age… many of the things i was told i just couldnt accept with blind faith… i had to search for the answers to my own questions, even when there have been no real answers…

for myself, i have a bunch of ‘religions’ all mixed together and poured out to become what i believe to be my own truth… who am i to say that the taoists are the only correct religion, or the christians, the jew, the american indian, or any other religion… i have read several doctrines and i have to say that when broken down they all seem to have the same basic belief… that of inner peace …

my life experiences have formed my own choices… yes, they have changed and evolved through the years and i expect that they will continue to do that until i die… i believe that is part of our spirtuality… to continue to grow and to learn… to never close our minds to others and their ideas…

there are somethings that no amount of ranting and raving at me will ever convince me is wrong for me to believe… nor those to believe those things that just dont fit at all… those things that are my truths are things i have come to learn through life and living…

i dont know how anyone could possibly claim to know just what the other side is like, or even if there is one… they have never been there that they can tell us about, nor can anyone tell us that there isnt another side… we will all find out when our times come… and until then i will believe in what i want, even listen and possibley learn from what you believe in as long as you are polite about your approach to teaching me…