Why do you follow your religion? What influenced your beliefs?
I am just curious as to why people believe what they believe. This is not a debate, I am not going to pick on anyone for their answers, I am just curious.
I follow a non-Christian religion that includes the study of the Sound and Light of God, reincarnation and karma, dream study, Soul travel, and a number of other "goodies".
In my late twenties, deep in the middle of an intense spiritual search, I was handed a book by Paul Twitchell titled The Far Country. Having no understanding of the concept of moderation, I devoured the entire text in one all-night reading session. It made sense, fit pretty closely with a number of conclusions I'd already reached on my own...and the die was cast.
In the 37 years since, life hasn't necessarily gotten easier--but I've usually been able to understand WHY circumstances and conditions were what they were.
There's more, but that's definitely one key factor: I understand my life now.
I'll answer as concisely (and honestly) as I can; hoping the reader will appreciate that in matters of belief or unbelief, there are myriad influences both good and bad.
As a child the most influential person in my life was my mother (no surprises there); as young as I can remember she was a woman of deep faith, having, what seemed, such hope and peace and wisdom. Contrastingly my father was an unbeliever, and not a happy man, apparently angry at my mother for her faith. Of course, I made the assumption that religion brings joy.
Time went on and life matured my thinking regarding the complexity of people and truth, such that in my later teens I began to question my prior concepts of God and faith. I turned to the literature of apologists and theologians, finding again more solid footing.
Whether by providence or mere chance I was raised in the Christian faith, therefore the Bible dramatically influenced my beliefs and centred my reasoning around its teachings, warnings and promises.
Surer in my faith, I adopted several male mentors within the church I attended, men who I admired for their wisdom and integrity. Some of those have since fallen in my esteem, but their impact in my life lives on.
My wife has been a powerful influence throughout my adult life. In her I see the fruit of living for Jesus; and I am truly humbled by it.
And lastly the secular world influences me, either reinforcing or challenging my faith and beliefs.
the bible influenced me, no other book has been put to the test and survived through out the ages. Jesus Christ is the truth the way and the light.. no man come onto the father but by him,...
I am the only one in my "religion." But I have had many mentors in my past.
My maternal grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister. My father was a non-denominational minister. Reading the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita in one day was for my father not a contradiction. For half his lifetime he studied Scientology.
I too have studied Christianity, Scientology, but also Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism and the Kabbalah.
I have experienced full-blown miracles -- circumvention of physical law. I have experienced being outside of my physical body but with the ability to see everything clearly. I have remembered hundreds of past lives, and find myself far less attached to this one.
With all of my studies, I have come to a new understanding of Christianity. Many of the confusing passages now make sense. The purpose of the Bible, of humanity and of civilization now has a simplicity to it -- that of awakening the lost souls -- the true selves within each of us. We are the fallen ones, led by the master of this world, ego. Only with humility do we stand a chance at the freedom the Nazarene talked about.
For those who think their way is the only way, they may one day come to the rude awakening that their way is a dead-end, fraught with ego. If one needs to follow Christ, then what does this mean? Shoving your own ideas down someone else's throat is following ego, not Christ. And if you really find out what "following Christ" is all about, will you discover that Gautama Siddhartha Buddha was doing just that 2500 years ago? I wonder....
I believe in divinity because I've been touched by it throughout my life. I wanted to deny that anything exists outside of my understanding for a long time, but now I see that it's true (at least for me). I suppose everything is subjective and so it may not be true for some people that there is anything beyond death, or that there is meaning to the world, or that intelligences greater than our own exist somewhere.
I believe everyone is right, somehow. Some people may claim I'm highly confused for seeing truth in every religion---but it fulfills me in ways nothing else can. It makes more sense to me that an all-powerful, all-good, all-present God would be so complicated and so nimble in working with our beliefs that each idea of God is correct in some way.
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