Gransnet forums


return to childhood religion

(61 Posts)
frida Sun 08-May-11 21:37:58

have you returned to youe childhood religion ? I was rasied as a catholic but left the faith at about age 13/14, am thinking about going back to church and church life

Joan Sun 08-May-11 23:29:07

I tried it but it didn't take.

You leave religion, often, because you realise it is just made up stories, ancient prejudices (eg anti-gay stuff, St Paul's misanthropy etc), and impossible supernatural ideas. But church is a comforting thing, a social thing, and it seems enticing to go back.

For many of us though, logic prevails.

For others it provides comfort and a social network. Each to his/her own.

milliej Mon 09-May-11 16:14:17

I beg to differ Joan! Christianity (I can only speak for that because I'm a Christian) is not made up stories and all prejudice! Church can also be challenging, well depending on the minister but Christianity is grounded in truth which has been handed down for some 2000.
Just because people may disagree but not as much as some folk are led to believe, doesn't mean there isn't a basic grounding and common foundation in all branches of the Christian church.
I was an unbeliever until I was 44 then attended a Pentecostal church, then an Evangelical free church, then a village Mission, and am now a member of the local Methodist tradition. On occasions I go to the Catholic church (a beautiful church) and have been to the Anglican but thats a bit 'high brow' for me smile.
So there are many misconceptions but I think many people do return to their faith/church after years. No matter what we try, life has something missing without faith, some people call it a 'God shaped hole' in the middle of our heart which only God can fill, so I would suggest frida gives it a go and all the best to her for doing so after so many years.

Joan Tue 10-May-11 11:30:58

Yes, it would be best to give it a go - as I tried once.

I guess I'm rather put off by the Pope, with his stance against contraception and priests marrying. I'm put off by TV evangelists and their 'praise the Lord and pass the plastic' ministries. I'm put off by all the fundamentalists and their belief, against all the science and logic, in creationism.

Furthermore, I'm very annoyed that a local catholic bishop here in Queensland has been forced into early retirement for merely asking questions. He is a truly good person, a great believer in the spirit of Vatican 2, he's helped so many people and the locals love him, but that is not enough for those old men in theVatican. Here's the story.

Add to all this, my belief in science and evolution, a belief in gender equality, and a serious difficulty in accepting the scientifically impossible, and I guess I'm a lost cause!

milliej Tue 10-May-11 15:47:43

Hi Joan,
Nice to meet you smile. I belong to a few 'Christian' websites and finding someone who agrees with me 100% just isn't going to happen. Even my husband thinks I'm loopy at times because of my 'late conversion' to the faith.
However, you make some very valid points - we have so much knowledge nowadays (too much I think sometimes!) we just don't know what to do with it and many people think God is dead, or we don't need 'a god' any more.
I couldn't disagree more, I think we need God even more because of all the knowledge and stuff we now have. I'm not of the Catholic persuasion but I admire the present Pope for trying to make amends in many difficult areas, I do disagree with some of the teachings of the 'Roman' faith tho'.
Mind I disagree with some, like you say just about morals and everyday stuff!
That is why I like to go to the source to speak.....;)....the bible and check it out for myself. The 'bit's I can't cope with or handle because of my mindset or what life has thrown at me over the years, I leave and I pray. Hope that doesn't sound too holy because I'm not smile although I am a local preacher in the Methodist church
My battery is fast running out but I would just like to say for now that you are not a lost cause, nobody is, God is good and God is great, so church doctrine and politics aside, I wish you well, hope, peace and joy! God bless you.

milliej Tue 10-May-11 15:49:46

quick p.s. I didn't mean my personal battery! The one on my I'm not attached to a plug at the present time. lol.

deerobinson Tue 10-May-11 17:31:55

Although not a religous person, I think the Bible gives us all a good grounding in what is right and wrong - something I feel is missing these days.
I say not religous, but I do believe in something, call it God, a higher being or whatever. My reason for this is I wonder what our purpose on Earth is if we do not have someone or something to answer to.
There are many good religions in the World and people take from them what they find easiest to handle.
There is nothing wrong in believing and nothing wrong in returning to Church - each to their own!
Good luck and God bless

lionlilac Wed 11-May-11 12:28:06

We were brought up as zealous Roman Catholics. Everyday my mother would make us say the rosary kneeling down on a hard floor. My Uncle was also an Arch Bishop. One of the nuns that taught us was anything but merciful and I was terrified with a fire phobia that I would end up in Hell.
I now call myself a humanitarian but still find it difficult to forgive those who were quite sadistic in the name of their religion.

Joan Wed 11-May-11 14:24:37

Yes, the hell fire threat was very bad for many children. In America some fundamentalists run 'Hell Houses' where they put on stage performances for children, which graphically depict the torment and agony of the fires of hell.

This is child abuse, pure and simple. Always was. still is.

PS Lionlilac - one of my friends reckons she was taught by Attila the Nun.

lionlilac Wed 11-May-11 14:31:01

Love it!

marjoriew Wed 11-May-11 16:24:45

I was brought up in the RC church and spent the first 15 years of my life under the 'care' of these people.
No one asked me if I wanted to be a Catholic, it was foisted on me by a mother, who, even on her deathbed would not accept that having 16 children and not being able to care for them so that they were all in care except for one, and which led to a life of misery and across-the-board abuse was OK because at least I had a roof over my head from 'the good nuns'.
Maybe I'm a bit thick here but I don't see how kicking the crap out of kids on a daily basis and having priests put their hands and other bits of their anatomy on a child equates with a faith in God, frightening kids with hell fire and starving them to the point where they have to eat grass.
You don't have to belong to any religion to be a good person.

lionlilac Wed 11-May-11 17:53:53

Gosh marjoriew thought my mother being a bit opus Dei too much. You've had the full almighty care package. How you coped I can't even imagine.
Even thinking about it and the cruelty you must have suffered is hard to get my head round. How were these (against swearing on gransnet but its needed) bastards allowed to get away with it? Mind you, I remember even if we complained that a priest was over familiar, we'd get shot down in flames and accused of committing a sin by thinking such thoughts
I do hope that now life is much kinder to you. Thank you

Kiwigran Thu 12-May-11 13:30:47

I agree marjoriew, The abuse of children in the name of God is appalling, leaving them physically and emotionally scarred for life. Those people will pay for their deeds eventually in this life or the next.
But please don't "throw the baby out with the bath water"....God is amazing and loves us with a deep love. I believe he helps us to find healing and will help us transform our lives if we turn in "quietness and confidence" to him, and give ourselves time to be with him. This is not a religious dogmatic way, but a gentle relational day by day sharing with our creator.

milliej Thu 12-May-11 22:45:36

Fully agree Kiwigran smile the fact that people have used and abused faith (or should that be religion?) in the name of God doesn't make God a monster, it means that people are using it or God for the wrong reasons.
Where love, mercy, forgiveness, healing, caring, goodness, and other such things are seen, there is the love of God.
When I was a kid it was 'the norm' to use the strap or leather belt my dad had which was just used on the boys not the girls! Now we've gone to the other extreme and people are frightened to touch kids or even tell them off in many cases, and we have kids with no respect for authority or any discipline in many schools!
A balance is needed, one day, I believe, we will all stand before the throne of a just God and be held accountable for how we have lived our lives. That is something to bear in mind whether you have been abused or are an abuser!

Kiwigran Fri 13-May-11 17:27:24

Your right, children have been left to fend for themselves, no one is allowed to help steer them in the right direction. Consequently they believe their bad behaviour is okay and acceptable. We are in a very sad and dangerous situation in society, my heart grieves for teenagers today. I truly believe children want to be given boundaries and guidelines, they feel loved and valued. I've seen teenagers just blossom when they realise how much God loves them, they describe it as "coming home", which I think is just beautiful.

Rosannie Sat 14-May-11 00:49:52

I'm a Catholic, taught in schools by a mix of nuns and 'civies' and fortunately never encountered abuse in my schools.
My faith was assigned by parents and childhood experience, I went against it, chose other paths that suited my desires at the time and always had my own mind.
Now I am grateful for a grounding that has given me good judgement, morals and a belief in my own and others 'goodness'.
Going to church because I choose to go, celebrating a faith with a community who welcome me unconditionally, and enjoying that feeling of belonging that Jesus saught to promote works for me.

PatM Sun 15-May-11 20:29:02

I have been a member of a few different religions in my life, and now I have decided that I prefer not to belong to any, having found them all to be similar - 'Sunday preaching, Monday forgetting' theories. (This is my personal opinion and so don't shoot me down!) I once had a boss who was a 'supposed' catholic, attened church every Sunday, but he was the worst person I have ever worked for and he made life hell for those who worked in his shop.
I agree with Joan and others in what has been said against religion. I have been told of shocking abuse by monks, in schools, just because a child dared to ask a question about god.
The bible was written hundreds of years after the events, and therefore, stories were lost, changed, and intertwined with ones from thousands of years before. The bible has also been translated from the Greek, which makes me think that a lot of the stories in it have come from Greek myth, Horus etc.
I have decided to be 'agnostic, bordering on atheism'. I cannot believe, any more, that one person, who died over 2,000 years ago, can help me in any way - I am the only person who can do that, by living my life as best as I can and not by praying to someone who isn't there to listen. And, believe me, I tried that, for over 50 years of my life.

milliej Sun 15-May-11 22:58:08

I'm sorry PamM but I think there are a few misconceptions in your post which I've come across before from people who either don't know much about the faith or go by hearsay!
The bible was handed down from the very first followers of Christ, Polycarp (AD 69-155) was a disciple of the apostle John who wrote the fourth gospel and other books of the New Testament and who knew Christ personally.
Such an important work would not have been left 'for hundreds of years' but it was not written as we have it now until the advent of the printing press!
There were many very knowledgeable scholars around well versed in the Torah or Old Testament and the new converts made a point of translating it from the Hebrew and Greek so that it was correct!
Some people also say (those who have perhaps read or heard more about the gospels) that the four versions - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all different so how can they be true.
Easily, four men seeing things from their own perspective and writing from their own view point. That they were all alive at the time and made sure it was kept for future generations, makes it more logical to me, they do all tell the same story only emphasis different points as they saw them.
The bible would never have survived if it was 'a made up' story.
It has past the test of time and is the worlds best seller, with many scholars (not all necessarily Christian) taking long hours to verify the contents.
That person who died about 2000 years ago, is God, and is alive. Christians don't 'worship a dead God' but a living one.
I suggest you stop leaning too much on your own strength which may fail at some stage and then who or where will you turn? I also tried many other 'religions' and have found Christianity (my faith in Christ) to be real and true, haven't doubted that my decision to follow Him is the right one since I converted, 22 years ago.

milliej Sun 15-May-11 23:01:06

Rosannie, Good to hear some positive comments from the Catholic tradition, thanks for that! We all worship the same God whichever branch of the church we belong too! God bless you.

grannyactivist Mon 16-May-11 00:56:47

Hi Frida, can I suggest that before attending a local church you go on an Alpha Course or one called Exploring Christianity? These courses are set up to help people like you to discover (or in many cases re-discover) what the essence of Christianity is about. If then you do decide to join a local church you will have already made some contacts and If you don't it will be because you have made an informed decision.

I have run many Alpha Courses and made lots of lovely friends - some who have continued the journey into faith and others who came to the decision that, for varied reasons, churchgoing wasn't for them. Alpha is informal, usually starts with a meal together, and gives you an opportunity to ask questions relating to a short DVD presentation.

In any case, I'd be interested to know what you decide - keep us posted.

PoppaRob Mon 16-May-11 02:34:46

I was brought up C of E but always had my doubts, then came Carl Sagan's TV series Cosmos and that was the start of my path to atheism. Before anyone jumps in, back in 1999 I had a major health scare and was told I would probably be dead within a couple of weeks, and I spent a night pondering the question of life, the universe and everything (and all I could come up with was 42 smile). I had neither need nor justification for any sort of cosmic Jiminy Cricket to guide or nurture me. I was happy to return to the state I'd been in before I was born... ie. nothingness.

My dear old 88 year old Mum still goes to church occasionally, but even she says the rituals she grew up with changed and it just didn't seem the same, which makes me think maybe it's the ritual and sense of belonging that she was seeking, not the sense of the supernatural.

@milliej... It works for you that you find your religion fulfilling, and I'm not knocking that, but looking objectively at the bible I think you've taken the bits you like and that fit your vision of a loving god and ignored the rest. I agree with Dawkins: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Joan Mon 16-May-11 05:15:48

Oh, I'd forgotten that bit about God, PoppaRob. He's got a way with words, Dawkins!

I agree about people finding comfort in the ritual of church, together with the companionship and music. Also the prospect of eternal life is a comfort to many. And prayer helps a person focus, like meditation. They think about something, and when the answer suddenly comes, it is from God. We atheists simply cut out the middle man.

I take comfort in the fact we are all part of the cosmos, or like that song, we are stardust.

My parents were life long atheists, but sent us to Sunday School,so I know my bible, which is a great help when sorting out the JWs who come a-knocking at my door. They only sent us there to get some alone time: I reckon Sunday School was very influential in the propagation of the species.

milliej Mon 16-May-11 09:57:46

Dawkins may have a way with words but he's an radical atheist as zealous as some fundamental Christians! So he would say that wouldn't he? I've read his book, the God Delusion and he misquotes the bible!

You have to know your subject to be able to make a reasonable, logical and balanced judgement and Dawkins isn't a theologian so with all due respect to his vast knowledge of science how can he expound on theology?
I've also seen him give talks and his 'god' seems to be Darwin (a mere man!) smile.
We all have opinions and there are many scientists who disagree with Dawkins (and Darwin to a degree).
Most atheists/humanists/secularists think that there is nothing after physical death but how do they explain what millions of people, whether Christian or of other faiths call 'the spirit' in humankind? If we are only 'animals' is that an excuse for evil and bad behaviour? and if this is all there is, whats the point?

PatM Mon 16-May-11 10:30:37

Quote - milliej--- I suggest you stop leaning too much on your own strength which may fail at some stage and then who or where will you turn? I also tried many other 'religions' and have found Christianity (my faith in Christ) to be real and true, haven't doubted that my decision to follow Him is the right one since I converted, 22 years ago. -- Unquote...

Just to add, every religion I entered, WERE all 'Christian' - and, as I said, eventually, I realised - AGAIN - my personal opinion that none of them were right in my eyes. There are also very personal reasons for why I turned away from any faith I ever had. I didn't just 'convert' - I was taught to pray, and to go to church by my Mother, from being approx 4 years of age. I was brought up in a Christian home, taught good values by my parents, and passed these on to my own children. Even though I now do not believe in religion, I still do believe that we make our own lives, and mistakes and should still be kind to people, and help those we can, in whatever way we can. Religion has nothing to do with it. It is, in my opinion, in how we are brought up, and how we are taught as children.

Kiwigran Mon 16-May-11 10:47:06

I somehow don't think Dawkins will be remembered for his pronouncements 2000 years from now PoppaRob. I find it quite amusing that one man, Dawkins, can have such a huge ego as to presume to sweep away the thoughts, writings, teachings of millions of intelligent people (most with far more academic understanding of ancient scripture than himself) all over the world throughout that 2000 years, and have come to KNOW the presence and love of Jesus in their lives to be absolutely real. His conclusions about God from his interpretation of the Bible is so vitriolic, and shallow I would suggest there is some underlying reason for his obsession.