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What Was Your Biggest Religious Choice?

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posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 12:59 PM
This is a series that was brought to my attention today, and I want to share it here.
It is an essay by a former Southern Baptist who was raised in the faith.

The title of the thread is the title of The Atlantic magazine's ongoing survey of sorts in their section called "NOTES".

Readers respond to that question with a variety of personal stories and reflections. (For related essays, see our special project Choosing My Religion.) To share the most important religious decision of your life, drop us a note at

The essay in question for this OP is titled:
When a Church Spends Much More on Landscaping Than Needy Families

Folks, I go on and on, day in and day out, railing against the negative aspects of teaching little children "religion." Many of you despise my perspective...but that doesn't mean it isn't relevant or pertinent. Religion is a huge problem right now. So, remember this is not about me. I am just bringing information.
Please just read this essay, and respond to the thoughts of the author of the essay....

she begins thusly:

I was raised to be a lifelong devout Christian, a member of the Southern Baptist church from the time I was in diapers up until I was 18 or 19 years old. I went to church Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights. I went to camp during the summer, and retreats during the fall and spring. I roofed and painted houses each summer on mission trips. I promised to wait until I was married to have sex. I learned the books of the Bible and can recite them from Genesis to Revelation even to this day. I memorized a litany of scriptures. Conservative politics were espoused from the pulpit on a regular basis, and I learned to respond in typical fashion to any discussion on homosexuality or abortion—the two big no-nos according to Evangelicalism.

So - as she grew up.....she knew she would somehow outgrow it......and it was when she was 17 that she rejected the whole thing. Or so she thought.

The final blow that led to my leaving organized religion behind came when I was about 17 years old. It was Sunday night and the church was voting on the budget for the upcoming year. The money that filtered into that atypically large church astounded me. The salaries! The power bill! The juice and animal crackers for children’s church!

As I scanned each line item I came to “landscaping” and nearly gasped when I saw the amount of money we spent on weeding flower beds and pruning shrubbery.

I compared this to the category marked “benevolence,” which included services such as a food pantry for needy families, and noted that we allocated not even half the resources for benevolence as we did for landscaping.

Mmhm! Those big fancy buildings with lovely yards and gleaming windows ----- not cheap to maintain. Not done by volunteers, either.

Anyway, so - she gets married. Intends to stay married forever, under the doctrinal umbrella of "your happiness has nothing to do with it." But she was dying, inside and out. Withering away, spiritually and mentally and physically. It was a bad marriage. She wanted out, but her still-devout parents were conflicted about it. She did get out, but never convinced them she was right.......

and here's what she came away with:

My divorce presented me with some uncomfortable truths regarding my relationship to religion.

The first was that I wasn’t as liberated as I once thought myself. While on the surface I was going about my life in a secular fashion, the old-time religion was still deep down there, resting peacefully until the time came for it to pop back up and remind me of the stronghold it still enjoyed over me. Ties that bind, indeed. I was to have my work cut out for me.

The second uncomfortable truth I came to acknowledge was that religion is not innocuous—indeed it’s often, if not always, the exact opposite.

The things I was taught as a child did great damage to me and hindered my development as a self-actualized human being. I’d thought that the Evangelical doctrines were innocent enough from an individual perspective. I was wrong.

These two realizations pushed me off the fence I’d been perched on for almost a decade.

I weighed my own experiences and the things that I had read and learned throughout my twenties regarding religion and decided that it is not innocent, it is not blameless, it does not have a monopoly on morality and ethics, and perhaps, just maybe, we would all be better off without it.

Just presenting an anecdote from another person who was "raised with religion". It didn't help her. It hurt her. That same thing has happened to millions and millions of people.

I will be happy to leave if my presence offends any readers or if you all would like to take the thread and run with it; but I would like to discuss this is a factual (and all too typical) reflection on the problem with indoctrinating children into narrow dogmas.


edit on 6/20/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

edit on 6/20/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: change title

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:13 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Didn't click on the link but read through your post.

Without overthinking it, the two things that popped into my mind were:

1) About that budget, is the food pantry actually lacking? I'm not a Southern Baptiste but many of the churches I know about have their pantries filled via donations of the congregation (food drives and regular donations).

2) So she gets a divorce.... and laments religion...? I guess people need to place blame somewhere.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:20 PM
a reply to: eluryh22

Okay - let's say that the budget for food pantry is what they use donations/tithes for, as well as buildings and grounds maintenance. The entire income of the church goes to pay for everything.

What is more important? Apparently to them, it was the landscaping. At least, as far as this teenager was concerned. Whether that is true or not, it is what she came away with, and it soured her.

Yet the hooks remained embedded deep inside her, and when it came time for her to make a painful decision regarding her own well-being, those old rusty hooks acted up.

What I'm addressing here is the impact of dogma and doctrine on children....the landscaping priority over food pantry issue is an additional issue. We can discuss whichever. But I want to focus on what she says happened to her psyche and her life insofar as religion had its hooks in her.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:25 PM
The most important religious decision I ever made was to ditch it for spirituality.

I now have no limitations and am in charge of my relationship with the Infinite One.

All sacred scripture is good, and religion is a veil that forces commitment to one specifically. You can not grow spiritually if you believe in the only one religion can be true scam.

No matter the identity of GOD, we all pray to it or them because whoever GOD is still hears Hindu and Pagan and Buddhist prayers.

As the Theosophists say, there is no religion higher than Truth.

In Hinduism, the definition of Hinduism is "The search for Truth.''

Anyone who says that they know God is lying.

But searching is honest. The scriptures are full of Wisdom, inspiration and Holy.

Fear is that obstacle that leads you to seek God. But if you end up more afraid because of religion and start thinking everything is the devil, demons and that you were born evil, get out while you can.

The revelation that the epistles after Acts and before and possibly Hebrews were written by the false prophet was the catalyst of my spiritual awakening.

Good question OP!
edit on 20-6-2016 by KingPhilipsiX because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:32 PM
I, too, am a spiritual seeker. Thanks for your thoughts!

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:37 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

I can't dispute that she feels whatever it is she feels, I just don't see what the "hooks" are and how they are harming her (unless there is a lot more that you didn't quote).

As for the marriage, I've met a few people over the years that are not religious in any way and stay "trapped" in marriages for various reasons including but also not including religious reasons. I worked with a guy for a few years (up until about a year ago) that was in an absolutely horrific marriage (she would constantly verbally and occasionally physically assault him). His reason for not leaving? "It's just not what you do when you have kids." If this woman is saying that her religion kept her trapped, I can't tell her she's wrong (because they are her own reasons) but I hardly take that to mean anything in the bigger picture.

Again, what exactly was done to her psyche?
(Or, is the only acceptable response you're looking for one which degrades religion?)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:41 PM
a reply to: eluryh22

It would help if you'd read her essay.

She explains it well.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:42 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Duly noted. I will if I have a chance.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:45 PM
a reply to: eluryh22

It's quite brief. I did post most of it...but to get the full effect of her mindset, one needs to read her entire essay.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 01:52 PM
In Hinduism, the definition of Hinduism is "The search for Truth.''

I'd also mention that the Tao Te Ching is literally "The Way" and states in the first chapter "The Tao that can be told is NOT the Eternal Tao" So if You read something or someone tells You something that isn't 'it'...


I just saw a documentary re: "The Cheshire Murders" In this TRUE story, one of the guilty defendants (murder x3. Mother and 2 daughters, the youngest 11..) Stated that He was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and that His "Church" went on and on that homosexual acts were the very worse. He was 7 at the time and a VICTIM. (i'll add a link under "EDIT")
This leads to the "Abused becomes the abuser".. In the many interviewers I've had with predators, the majority were abused as children..


edit on 10/13/2014 by JimNasium because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:21 PM
a reply to: JimNasium
In my early 20s, I had explored the Book of Urantia and other mysticism "fads". Like you do. If you're a bright youth with freedom to pursue knowledge and life experiences.

I was introduced to Buddhism and Eastern thought in my early 30s, when I had 2 babies. It changed my life.

I taught my kids about daughter (who was two at the time) had been baptized in the Episcopal church at my mother's insistence....I was married in the church as well. My son was not baptized (nor was he circumsized), and recently told me he wasn't aware there were stigmas attached to pre-marital cohabitation. He was genuinely perplexed by the very idea ..... LOL!!!

Anyway, they are open-minded, bright individuals.... and not burdened with religious regulation.

edit on 6/20/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:40 PM
I think that the story of the New Testament has many hints to Hinduism like the third eye. 7 is used in the book of Revelation quite a bit I don't think it is a coincidence.

33 is how old Jesus was when he Ascended.

Plus he teaches Greco-Egyptian Hermetic traditions, Buddhist like pacifism and how to interpret scripture properly.

Plus he sent Thomas the twin to India after the resurrection. John Mark was big in Egypt. Peter's disciple the first Clement tells how Barnabas initiated John Mark. Clement ended up in the Slavic areas of Europe and died there and lo and behold besides Ethiopia and Egypt the Slavic languages are the best source for Apocrypha.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:42 PM
a reply to: KingPhilipsiX

Yes, christianity is a syncretic religion. It doesn't really have much 'original' plotting or story line at all. It's a conglomeration of stuff - kind of like how the English language has borrowed terms from every other language......

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:43 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs
Well, this thread will either be ignored, flamed, or every word of this womans story, misunderstood or intentionally perverted.

While on the surface I was going about my life in a secular fashion, the old-time religion was still deep down there, resting peacefully until the time came for it to pop back up and remind me of the stronghold it still enjoyed over me.

You don't just walk away from a cult, whether it is Christianity or other, if you've spent much of your life vested in it. Years will be spent de-programming yourself, and even then, it will pop up occasionally, to remind you the indoctrination isn't 100% gone. I know atheists who still defend their old beliefs occasionally, until they catch themselves, or it's pointed out.

Religion, especially the Abrahamic religions are not harmless. They are a great detriment to civilization, and have always been so.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:48 PM
a reply to: Klassified

Well, this thread will either be ignored, flamed, or every word of this womans story, misunderstood or intentionally perverted.

I know! Right???

But still I felt compelled. We do have lots of readers beyond the active members. I just can't help myself.....
it's all just too fascinating.

Fascinating from a psychological and anthropological point of view....but alarming in a " Really???!!!" way. Scary.
edit on 6/20/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 02:55 PM

originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
a reply to: Klassified

Well, this thread will either be ignored, flamed, or every word of this womans story, misunderstood or intentionally perverted.

I know! Right???

But still I felt compelled. We do have lots of readers beyond the active members. I just can't help myself.....
it's all just too fascinating.

It's fascinating to me as well. I find it fascinating that so much of my life was spent as a fundie, when all the information I needed was available the whole time. What's worse is, I was even aware of much of that information, but it had to be straight from the devil if it wasn't in agreement with "scripture".

Oh well. C'est la vie.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 03:00 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

If you separate yourself from the belief that it is history you can tell Jesus is hinting at and then outright saying that the teachings have more than one meaning. His parables aren't fantastic but someone is saying apply the parable method to the Old Testament if you want to know the esoteric Wisdom that was horded by the Priests but applied by the Alexandrian and Hellenistic Jews and Greeks who were very skilled in that area.

There is much to learn and Jesus is but a Compass. If you are not trying to become a Christ then Christianity is just rituals and a book .

But Jesus would never refuse Wisdom no matter who it came from. Answering his questions correctly or even countering his no with Wisdom or Faith always leads to his joy and consent. He is a Yogi.

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 03:21 PM
a reply to: KingPhilipsiX

Yes, he was. I have no doubt in my mind that he was in Eastern climes during his "lost years" and was studying under Buddhist, Hindu, and other mystical teachers. Once one becomes aware of that, it changes everything.

I have no problem at all with "Jesus" the itinerant, charismatic individual. On the other hand, nothing he said was "original."

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 03:39 PM
Here's from another entry in the "Choosing Your Religion" files at The Atlantic magazine:

12:30 PM / April 11, 2016
'The Security Blanket of Christianity Was Actually Smothering Me'

I’m 35 and was raised in a very extreme, conservative Christian environment. My parents homeschooled me all the way through high school, mostly so that they could control what I learned about the world and about religion.

This means that I spent all of my life until the age of 18 or so being not only intensively indoctrinated, but also incredibly isolated from the outside world.

Virtually everyone I interacted with believed in “scientific creationism,” as we called it, and in my history books I learned about Manifest Destiny and God’s glorious plan for America. I also learned, both at home and at church, that as a woman I needed to submit to the men in my life, and that God’s best for me was to stay at home and raise a large family.

Undoing the brainwashing took a long time.

. . .

I know that the security blanket of Christianity was actually smothering me. I am much happier now, in my secular life as a humanist.

For the first time, I can breathe freely and think honestly.

I no longer see myself as a worm with no worth apart from what Christ has given me.

I no longer have to repent of each tiny mistake I make.

I no longer live in fear of hell.

I no longer need to twist my mind to accept things that are in fact illogical and unproven.

edit on 6/20/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2016 @ 03:47 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

I would say after years of study my "biggest choice" would have to be believing The OT god was not God at all...

Now i find it obvious but it took a lot of rethinking what i was taught

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