cuchulain

How has family affected your religious beliefs?

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The question seems very basic I suppose.  I thought I would share a little story, kind of an interesting thought to me.

My mother died about a year ago.  Throughout her entire life with my brother and I, she never brought up religious matters that I can remember.  She never took us to church, but if we wanted to go she would give us a little money for the donation box.  She never discussed the fallacies of any one group, she never brought anybody else's religion into anything that I can remember.  She never talked bad about Atheism, Satanism, Paganism, or Christianity.  I really had no clue what religion, if any, she was.

I found out about an hour after her death, when we were discussing what kind of funeral service to have with the funeral director, that she was a Druid.  

Now, through my entire life, I had never considered she might have been what I was.  My Grandfather was a devout Christian, non denominational.  Meaning whenever I would stay at his house, I went to whatever random church he decided to go to on Sunday.  So I rarely stayed over on Saturdays, needless to say.  My Grandmother, I realize belatedly, was much like my Mother.  She never discussed religious matters, but always went with my Grandfather.  I assumed she was Christian, but maybe not?

My Father was basically out of the picture for large portions of my life.  He was an Army Sergeant for twenty years, and divorced from my Mother from the time I was five.  I didn't see him at all between the ages of nine and fifteen, and when he got back I stayed one weekend and decided not to go back due to extremely abusive talk.  When I grew up a bit more, I visited occasionally.  He was devout Christian.  My brother had become a Christian.  I ended up an ex Druid, Stoic Atheist.  

It just all got me thinking about how family influences our religious choices, even when we don't quite realize it.  I identified with my Mother for most of my life, probably a lot because she was the one who raised me for the most part.  She listened when I talked about religion, she would interject historical perspective to the discussion, and never bad mouth anything.  She never piped up and said she agreed or disagreed with my decision to be a Druid.  I just find it somewhat remarkable, and amazing.

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9 hours ago, cuchulain said:

The question seems very basic I suppose.  I thought I would share a little story, kind of an interesting thought to me.

My mother died about a year ago.  Throughout her entire life with my brother and I, she never brought up religious matters that I can remember.  She never took us to church, but if we wanted to go she would give us a little money for the donation box.  She never discussed the fallacies of any one group, she never brought anybody else's religion into anything that I can remember.  She never talked bad about Atheism, Satanism, Paganism, or Christianity.  I really had no clue what religion, if any, she was.

I found out about an hour after her death, when we were discussing what kind of funeral service to have with the funeral director, that she was a Druid.  

Now, through my entire life, I had never considered she might have been what I was.  My Grandfather was a devout Christian, non denominational.  Meaning whenever I would stay at his house, I went to whatever random church he decided to go to on Sunday.  So I rarely stayed over on Saturdays, needless to say.  My Grandmother, I realize belatedly, was much like my Mother.  She never discussed religious matters, but always went with my Grandfather.  I assumed she was Christian, but maybe not?

My Father was basically out of the picture for large portions of my life.  He was an Army Sergeant for twenty years, and divorced from my Mother from the time I was five.  I didn't see him at all between the ages of nine and fifteen, and when he got back I stayed one weekend and decided not to go back due to extremely abusive talk.  When I grew up a bit more, I visited occasionally.  He was devout Christian.  My brother had become a Christian.  I ended up an ex Druid, Stoic Atheist.  

It just all got me thinking about how family influences our religious choices, even when we don't quite realize it.  I identified with my Mother for most of my life, probably a lot because she was the one who raised me for the most part.  She listened when I talked about religion, she would interject historical perspective to the discussion, and never bad mouth anything.  She never piped up and said she agreed or disagreed with my decision to be a Druid.  I just find it somewhat remarkable, and amazing.

 

 

How very sad.  You might have shared being Druid with her.  What a wasted opportunity for bonding.  For closeness.  If only she had said something.  

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My condolences for your loss cuchulain.

 

If I may ask, how was it determined that she was a Druid?

 

I think family has a large role with religion. Mine certainly added their share of influences on me.

 

There is an indigenous/family/tribe/familiarity thing that rings pretty loudly for me on this topic. It's a great question.

I am not one for statistics really but an interesting point came up regarding being creatures of habit that may be something to ponder:

They say over 50% of the population in the US lives within 50 miles of where they grew up. (Something like that.)

If true, it is a strong case for living within the confines of familiarity, and perhaps a fear of venturing outside of it more permanently. There are other factors involved of course. There always are. ;) 

 

That said, religion is also known to be similar in that respect from what I understand. Many are the religion they are because they grew up in it. And they will stay in it because it is familiar, and may perceive religious association as requirement to stay friendly with the "tribe."

 

My mother was set to be a Catholic nun. She was raised in a convent. Catholicism is huge where she grew up. Things changed of course, and she isn't a nun. She met my father (who is not Catholic) and made a life. I have one younger brother.

 

Growing up, my father was pretty much hands-off when it came to any religious stuff. With my mother, we learned the Catholic prayers and devotions. Read the Bible if we chose to. The local church still held mass in Latin for certain holidays which we would attend in proper dress and we would also attend midnight mass. We learned the rosary and about absolution. We said Grace at the table. And, went to Vacation Bible School wherever it was being hosted nearby during the summer if logistics allowed for it.

 

Perhaps having parents of two different ideologies made a difference. My father didn't practice anything. My mother was teaching us about Catholicism but it did not seem like being Catholic was a "have-to" as much I perceive that it was an introduction to tradition she knew. I don't recall her teaching us from the Bible offering verses. If I had questions, she didn't go deep into interpretation. I never went to catechism. Actually, one day in church when communion was being given, she asked me if I wanted to take communion and I said I don't know what it is. She explained it and pushed me out to go get in line. I got in line to go through the process. That was my First Communion experience. :huh:

 

So I'm not really sure where she was at with Catholicism. But she has always claimed it to be her belief system and still does. To this day she still prays to Saints etc. But just because she claims to be Catholic and is rather...unorthodox about it, does it make her a Catholic to other Catholics or does it just make her a practicing Christian? What if 10 years from now she abandoned the Catholic ideology for something more Messianic without me knowing and she gets a Catholic burial?

 

Had she been proactively engaging and reinforcing practice and ritual, it might have been a different story early on. There was an acceptance within our environment for this one thing at least, that if we did not choose her religion we would still be considered family and not be suffering any repercussions for choosing differently. I think that made a huge difference. I don't identify with the religion, and don't recall that it was a requirement to "or else."  Even when it was the only thing I knew and was being taught and had no real resources to go to and even explore with at a young age, I decided for myself. But also, my relationship with my mother was often strained. That could have had an effect with some of my decision making. I doubt it, but that is something that might be factored in as a possible influence.

 

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while i don't have religious beliefs,my following buddhist teaching and not converting to my ex wife's church(she was a morman) were the reasons for our divorce(so i found out).i think there was much more to it,but time has a way of erasing that which is not important,or not worth caring about. 

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I found out a bit about her religion after she passed through journals.  I can understand the idea of living within a certain radius of where you were born being a comforting thing, my Mom lived within fifty miles of where she was born in the end.  However, she was a military wife for a good number of years and traveled extensively.  I think this may have been a strong contributor for her beliefs and ideas.  She simply went back to where she started from, in the end.  I myself live currently in Georgia, was born in Fort Hood TX, and resided most of my life in Southern Illinois.  I have been from Washington state to New York, south from Texas and North as far as Buffalo, and many points in between.  My Grandmother came from the stix in Missouri, and ended up in Southern Illinois.  

So far as sharing religion and bonding, I think we did that anyway without my knowing what her religion was.  It's after the fact and it still feels like that bond was there.  

 

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5 hours ago, mark 45 said:

while i don't have religious beliefs,my following buddhist teaching and not converting to my ex wife's church(she was a morman) were the reasons for our divorce(so i found out).i think there was much more to it,but time has a way of erasing that which is not important,or not worth caring about. 

 

In the end, congratulations.  Clearly, you traded up.     :D   

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My parents are Roman Catholic, though it's been years since they attended Mass regularly.  My siblings and I grew up Roman Catholic as well, and attended Catholic school as children.  The family went to church weekly while we were in school.  My sister is now in the vague category of spiritual but not religious, a calling she found in addiction recovery, and to her credit it seems to have helped her regain control of her life.  My brother is an atheist.

 

I think my immediate family became disenchanted with Catholicism for various reasons over the years.  My mom faced a lot of criticism from her priest over getting a hysterectomy due to medical issues.  That issue, in combination with pressure to tithe even when the family was facing financial difficulties, caused my father's church attendance to drop.  My own break from the religion of my childhood came gradually, as I discovered the reality of who I am ran counter to church doctrine.  I couldn't reconcile many of my own beliefs about myself with Catholicism, and I eventually turned to the Greek gods that I had previously studied.  I can't speak for the reasons my siblings likewise turned away.

 

Many of my paternal extended relatives practice Buddhism and Shinto.  These religions, combined with the Catholicism of my mother's family, gave me a great appreciation for ritual religious practice.  When I visited Japan after high school, I got to witness my grandmother's sister make offerings of food and incense to our ancestors on her household shrine.  It had a profound influence on me.

 

My immediate family knows about my religious practice, though we don't really get into theological conversations and debates.  They know I keep household shrines, and that I perform my ritual practices on behalf of our home and family as if I were the head of an Hellenic household.  When my father worked at the university library, he would check out books for me on the subject of Ancient Greek religion and culture.  They're all very supportive of what I do, even if they don't understand it or personally agree with my beliefs.

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My parents were raised Catholic. Sometime after they were married, (my dad was 20, and mom was about 16), they converted to Mormonism. I was never told the why of this.

At some point my father was told by an elder, (don't really know what they were called in the hierarchy of their church), that he was to give up smoking and stop drinking Coca-Cola if he was to advance. Well, he was willing to stop smoking, but not the cola part. LOL  Said he walked out of their assembly right then.

He had said it was the part of them telling him what he could or could not do with something as simple as drinking soda that didn't sit well with him.

They stopped going to any churches or assemblies after that. My mother continued to explore her mind a bit over the years via school and eventually computers. She has lately settled on the idea she is deist.

Since my family stopped going when I was an infant, (the last of three), I would tag along to some Christian church/Sunday school with neighborhood friends growing up. 

There have been great blocks of time since where I would stop going, then feel like something would be missing and go back again. But never did I feel like I completely belonged, nor agreed with everything they would teach or try to moralize.

I always had an open mind, greatly to the tolerance and acceptance of my parents. So, when I discovered the ULC during the demise of my first marriage, it opened doors enormously.

I have always had an eager and intrigued head for psychological and religious subjects, always seeking to learn. I can't help but feel they really are merged, science and religion, without conflict somehow. Just not sure of the path there.

Edited by Key
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22 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

In the end, congratulations.  Clearly, you traded up.     :D   

indeed.

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Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers,

 

My mother and father were both Roman Catholic.  My mom was born in the Catholic church, and my father converted from (gasp) Methodism in 1946 so that he and my mother could be married in the Catholic church she attended.

 

Needless to say, I grew up Roman Catholic. Like most Catholic boys, there was a time when I wanted to be a priest.   I used to talk about my dream of entering the priesthood to one of the assistant pastors at the church I grew up in.  Unfortunately, about the time I entered puberty, I made the mistake of confessing to him about engaging in typical boyhood acts of self-love, figuring he would give me a typical penance of saying a rosary or two.  I was very shocked and ashamed of myself when he seemed to take my confession as a personal insult, telling me he could not give me my penance right then, but that I had to go and wait for him in the basement of the church where he would assign me my penance.  That penance consisted of submitting to a beating, then being raped.  Afterwards, he told me if I wanted to save my soul, and ever be able to enter the priesthood, I would have to come only to him for confession every week, and that I could never tell anybody else about our arrangement, as no one else would be as understanding and forgiving as he was.  

 

This situation went on for close to a year. Finally, I was mad enough about the whole situation to tell him off and stop coming to church altogether. I never gave up my basic Christian faith, but I did reject the Catholic church as full of hypocrites.

 

A couple of years later, I was blessed to meet my future wife, who was and is a faithful member of the United Methodist Church. I began to go to church with her, at first as a joke because at the time I considered all ministers as out and out liars. As I got to know my pastor tho and realized that he was an honest and truthful guy, and as I began to understand the teachings of John Wesley, my faith began to blossom once more, and my early desire to enter the priesthood returned, just in a little different form.

 

So as they say, the rest is history.

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

 

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On 7/20/2017 at 7:39 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

My extended family has disowned me.  Religion was not a core issue.  

Greetings to you my brother,

 

Well, at least we like you:)

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

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7 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

What an awful thing to have endured.  You're a survivor.  

Greetings to you my brother,

 

I don't consider myself a survivor as much as someone who has been very very lucky.  Lucky I have a wife and family who helped and supported me during my dark times.  Lucky for the therapists who taught me to overcome the PTSD and the other manifestations of the abuse I suffered, and gave me the courage to hold the church of my youth accountable for what happened to me.  Lucky for my friends who stood by me and supported me, and lucky to have the church I serve that didn't turn away,  and continues to give me the opportunities to serve.

 

Fred

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7 hours ago, Rev. Calli said:

Greetings to you my brother,

 

Well, at least we like you:)

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

 

Thank you.  There is a P.S.

 

After about five years of exile from my family, I got an e-mail from a cousin.  He had tracked me down with Google.  He wanted me to know that he didn't approve of my religious activities and thought I should give Judaism another chance.  He might have asked about my health, my employment situation, my love life, my state of mind.  No.  He didn't approve of my religious activities.  Not that he understood what they were.  Or how I had pursued my family religion.  He didn't approve.  

 

It gave me a warm gushy feeling.  I managed to keep it down.  Oh, family.  Truly an affliction.  Well, my family.  

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Greetings to you my dear brother,

 

1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

Thank you.  There is a P.S.

 

After about five years of exile from my family, I got an e-mail from a cousin.  He had tracked me down with Google.  He wanted me to know that he didn't approve of my religious activities and thought I should give Judaism another chance.  He might have asked about my health, my employment situation, my love life, my state of mind.  No.  He didn't approve of my religious activities.  Not that he understood what they were.  Or how I had pursued my family religion.  He didn't approve.  

 

It gave me a warm gushy feeling.  I managed to keep it down.  Oh, family.  Truly an affliction.  Well, my family.  

Greetings to you my dear brother,

 

At least he didn't ask you for money.  I've had that happen to me.

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

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4 hours ago, Rev. Calli said:

Greetings to you my dear brother,

 

Greetings to you my dear brother,

 

At least he didn't ask you for money.  I've had that happen to me.

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

 

My cousin's piety seems to be genuine.  It's his Humanity I question.  :mellow:

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