How many times have you changed religion?

A thread I recently created on proselytizing got me thinking about the phenomenon of changing religions. And I began to wonder how many religious changes a typical person might make, and about how many changes a person might make without it becoming a little weird.

So, multitudes, I put it to you – how many times have you changed religion? And what would you consider to be an unseemly number of religious changes for a single person to make?

(I’d say for this exercise that minor denominational changes shouldn’t count. On the other hand, I would count a reversion to an original religion, so if you go from Reform Judaism to Sikhism and back to Reform Judaism, I’d count that as two changes).

I’ll go first: Number of religious changes: zero. Number of changes that I’d consider normal: If you changed religions more than three times, I’d think that was a little strange.

Born into Methodism, drifted away before age 12.

Found the Unitarians about age 28. That’s where my sympathies still lie, tho I’m not real active, nearly 20 years later.

I have gone from Roman Catholic to agnostic to atheist. The agnosticism was a transition- it’s very hard to got from ‘religion has all of the answers’ to ‘religion has none of the answers’ in one stroke.

Of course, i spent LOTS of time examining other religions, reading sacred texts, histories, etc. None of this involved declaring allegiance to one creed or another. My current beliefs tend to be the good (in my mind) culled from all sorts of religions, along with a healthy dose of skepticism.

I too, am wary of the ‘religion of the week’ people. mostly, these are folks that want the trappings and ‘cool factor’ of a given faith, but are too lazy to read up on it. Without the philosphical underpinnings to go with it, religion is just a hobby.

Hindu —> agnostic ----> atheist -----> atheist Hindu.

But none of them were choices or changes. They were all inner realizations.

Number of changes: one.

Just a couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact.

A little back-story.

I’m a Methodist. That is, I was baptised and confirmed in the Methodist church. But from the ages of 17 to 40, I was hardly what you’d call a “church-going” fellow. Although, I always considered that doing good works and being a good person was better than just showing up on Sundays.

Grizzwife and I have been attending this Episcopal Church for the past four years.
GrizzCub was baptized there. I’m on the grass-crew. Help with the youth. I’m part of the Men’s group. And early this year I started teaching a Sunday School class. I’m part of the church’s long-range planning committee.

Just a few weeks ago, the priest and senior warden sat down with me and asked if they could submit my name to fill an open spot on the vestry.
I explained that I was not a confirmed Episcopalian and that might present a problem for them.
The senior warden was nearly apoplectic. “But you’re in the Men’s Group! You teach Sunday School!”
The priest was much cooler. “What’re you doing Sunday?” was his response.

So, less than a week later, I was confirmed.
The next day, the vestry voted me in.

So, now, I’m an O-FICIAL Episcopalian.


Born a Roman Catholic and will amost certainly die as one.

I have been tempted, fleetingly, to disavow organized religion, but it never lasted.
I take it very seriously that Jesus told Peter that he would be the rock upon which His church would be built.

I guess it depends on who you ask. I was baptised Roman Catholic, but we never went to Mass. Then, a family friend started taking me to a Baptist church (the kind that said Catholics weren’t Christian…who knows why my parents allowed this). Then, I went from deist—>agnostic (who can truly know whether or not there are Gods*)—>weak atheist(I don’t think there are any Gods, but anything’s possible*)—>agnostic—>weak atheist etc. Those last two flip-flop every once in awhile depending on my mood.

So, for the Baptists, I went from heathen to Christian to heathen. For people who believe that non-theist agnostics are atheists too, then the last two changes weren’t really changes at all. I’d say there are two big changes, Christian to non, then believer in God, to non-believer.

*My specific thoughts at the time. Others might use different definitions of the terms.

I was raised Roman Catholic, but I never really had faith. My parents stopped forcing me to go to church after confirmation.

Basically, I went from church-going atheist to regular atheist, so maybe I changed religions .5 times.

The notion of changing your religion seems odd to me, but maybe that’s because Roman Catholics feel like theirs is the “true” Christianity. At least that’s the vibe I get.

Well, congrats GrizzRich. Now church members will be calling you to bitch and moan about everything! You get to hear reports about leaky roofs and faulty a/c units! You get to coerce parishoners into pledging! You get to go over the budget in excruciating detail! If you have to miss a vestry meeting, you’ll get appointed to do something!

Can you tell I serve on my church vestry?

Methodist (0-16) --> Atheist (16-22) --> Episcopalian (22-present)

baptised but unconfirmed Christmas & Easter Catholic- birth to about nine,
semi-believing Evangelical Christian- nine to thirteen,
committed Evangelical Christian Rapturist- thirteen to twenty,
Spirit-filled Charismatic Christian- fifteen to present,
Assemblies of God member- twentyone to present
Evangelical Christian into Manifest Sonship doctrine- twenty to twentytwo,
Evangelical semi-Catholic Christain- twentythree to twentyfour (during Grad school it was the nearest church, all my friends went & I considered rejoining),
settled eclectic Charismatic Evangelical AoG member- twentyfour to present

This basically violated the OP no denom change stipulation but some of these were real worldview shifts

That sounds more or less like me. I went from practicing and very committed Anglican to deist (sure there’s a god but he doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother him) to atheist. The last transition was sort of sudden and painful though. Just entirely lost my faith, and I’d be surprised if I got it back.

Growing up I had no religion of any kind. In high school I finally thought about it and was extremely doubtful. By college I was atheist.

I have no idea how you’d count that.

I went to a generic Bible Thumper private school when I was a kid (for the academics rather than the religion), was scared into accepting J the C as my personal saviour and all that noise in kindergarten. It didn’t take me long to figure out it was a big sham*. Then I went through a Satanism stint when I was in middle school (which was basically just to be contrary) then shuttled off into Wicca in highschool. I’m nothing now, although it would be safe to say that I have a personal spirtuality that I’m not too sure of but it’s nice to think about it. I’m married to a lapsed Catholic. I’d have to say if I had to pick any one organized religion I’d probably go Catholic, if only for the value of the tradition and history.

*This was the result of two seperate incidents. On incident the first, we were allowed to bring a short video for the class to watch. I brought in one of my very favorites, “Donald in Mathemagic Land” wherein they discuss the Golden Mean and etc. The Venus De Milo was shown and I was accused by the school’s founder’s daughter of bringing in pornography. I remember bringing in “The Secret of NIMH” too and getting flak for that; I don’t remember why though.

Incident the second: I had a dinosaur obsession when I was a young girl and recieved one year for Christmas a poster of all sorts of dinos including a timeline of respective species’ existence, beginning with pleiseosaur(sp?) at 170 MYA (I think). I brought it in for show and tell and was loudly berated by the principal that my poster was BS because the earth was only 5000 years old or some crap. I earned my Bullshit-O-Meter at a young age because of it.

I went from agnostic to non-denominational Christian. My parents both came from small Southern towns and decided to not take me to church. I went with friends often enough while growing up. I decided to join the Cathedral of Hope after moving to Dallas.

Zero. I was born a Catholic and I have no intention of changing.

I was raised by atheists, and was an atheist until I was 37 years old. I married an atheist. I was a member of American Atheists (formerly headed by Madalyn Murray O’Hair). I wrote articles for atheist publications. I had every intention of remaining an atheist, but a series of unusual events sent me on an unexpected spiritual quest, and in September 1985 I became a Christian. I was baptized in January 1986. While my denominational affiliation has been in flux, my faith has not wavered substantially, and at this point I expect that I will remain a Christian until death. And after.

Number of changes: one.

I changed from assuming God exists as a kid (because christianity did it’s deed and made a child believe in it’s god) to believing and understanding that God doesn’t exist, and that the concept ‘God’ Is an elaborate human creation to explain what science was not ready to explain at the time.

I would like to (politely) protest this turn of phrase. It’s not about intentions. I chose to delve into my religion, and soul-search. My lack of belief…one day I just knew, I didn’t believe, and possibly never had.

I was born, baptized, and confirmed as a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a very conservative group. Official stance of the church is that the Bible is literal truth. Women can hold no real authority in church matters. They can’t be ordained or hold church office. They aren’t even voting members of their congregations.

From there I went to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Similar religious heritage, of course, but not as reactionary. Women hold equal status with men, can you imagine that! I enjoyed the congregation I was a part of, but eventually we got a new pastor(a very long story) whom I just couldn’t get on with. I visited the other two ELCA congregations in town, but nothing clicked.

Then I got a postcard, a neighborhood mailing from the local Episcopal cathedral. It was inviting all and sundry to a reception to “meet the church”. It was close by, so I went.

I’d had contacts with the Episcopal church before. Attended the Episcopal services an Army chaplain held, wihile I was in Korea, because I liked them more than the non-denominational Protestant worship services. And when one of the Episcopal churches in town became a particular target of Fred Phelps, I went to help them hold their own “witnessing” signs. I was mightily impressed when the (then) bishop of Kansas, William Smalley, came and held signs a couple of times, instead of sitting in an ivory tower office. And when I went to services at that church on time one of the priests let me know that I was welcome to recieve the Eucharist(Communion) at their church.

At the reception the people were friendly, not nosy, and BTW, the food was excellent! You ever have nicely warmed Brie, with crackers, at a church feed before? :smiley: When I started attending, and went to classes, the priest holding the sessions said “Being Episcopalian means you don’t have to check your brains at the door.”

So I switched. I love the congregation I am at. After all these years I even got roped into being a Sunday School teacher(2nd and 3rd graders). My grandmother, (still a Lutheran), was thrilled at that, so I know I’m on the right track. Last December my class helped me make her a 100th birthday card, and she still keeps it in a prominent place.

Whew! Looks at post. I guess that boils down to two changes.