As seems to be the general consensus of many ATSers, I too was forcibly brought up Christian, and then sort of rebelled away from it.
I was born and soon baptised in a Lutheran church. I notice that some other kids of young age seem to easily get into the 'brainwashing', and know
all the 'right' answers the church supposedly teaches you, but to be honest, I never really understood it. Well I guess I understood it... but I
just... didn't believe it? When it came to religion, I was just sort of in an oblivious dazed stupor for about the first 12 years of my life.
Although I do recall one incident at around 8 where I had a crazy fit in church and just kept repeatedly saying I didnt want to be there, until I was
brough home and spanked for 5 minutes straight, and locked up in my room all day. (Really the religion of peace and forgiveness
. And this
wouldn't be the last incident to indicate so.)
Anyway then I was forced to become confirmed. Mostly I did it for fear that my parents would kick me out of the house, which now seems unfounded that
my parents would abandon me at the ripe age of 13. Then I became an acolyte, just to fulfill my manditory 40 hours of community service that you need
to graduate from high school here in Ontario. Slowly my hatred for the church began to build and build. At times I found it unbearable to sit and
listen to sermons and the service, and I was always one inch away from jumping up and yelling "NO, YOU'VE GOT IT SO WRONG." Eventually it
culminated in me walking out and just walking home one day. Partially I blamed it on the fact that the old people's overly applied perfume and all
the flowers on the alter closed up my lungs/throat so I couldn't breathe, but I have a good feeling my parents know how I feel about Christianity now
So now I haven't been to church for probably about 2 years. Especially since I started working Sundays it gives me an excuse sometimes, when I start
early. Almost weekly my parents still ask "Are you coming to church" or something similar though. I don't' blame them. They are still under the
influence of organized religion, and feel that it is their fault that they didn't do enough to make me believe in God or something.
Anyways... off of Christianity and into my own spiritual exploration. First I started with concepts that were loosely tied into Christianity, or that
applied to Christianity without contridiction. My first search for truth came with an interest in aliens, and the idea that perhaps aliens were Gods,
who came to Earth and mixed their genes with primitive man. Thus there is no missing link. It ties in well with the Bible, since there are many
stories of glowing clouds and disks coming down from the sky, angels and aliens are both beings of light descending from the heavens bringing peace,
etc. It's actually quite an interesting thing to look into, even if you don't believe in it. The ancient Sumarians had some pretty cool beliefs.
Although I have stopped believing in this, mainly from the scoffing and ridicule you get when you even try to defend the idea, I still haven't ruled
it out, as there is nothing within it that can really be proved wrong.
After that I decided to pursue a new area to find the "meaning of life". I have always been slightly interested in Buddhism, but I have never gotten
serious into studying it, so I just picked up little tidbits along the way. The idea of tibetan monks and buddha, chi, meditation, and all that good
stuff has always appealed to me. It's a pretty romantic idea. During my "meaning of life" period, I was basically absorbing and trying to work out
any spiritual information that anybody was willing to give me. In a way, I am still sort of in this mode, except that I haven't found anything new or
really appealing in quite a while.
My last main 'religion' was Modern Gnostic. Although I wouldn't consider this really a religion, as gnosis is latin for knowledge. The whole idea
is that they try not to make it a religion. It is all about finding out for yourself, instead of just believing what you are told. My introduction to
Gnosis came with a site called Mysticweb.org, which has since become Gnosticweb.com. When I first signed up, the site was wonderful. Full of
spiritually free people, and bright new ideas. At first they had free PDFs available with all their information, but they have since succombed to the
'dark side' of money, and now you have to buy the book to participate in the course, and the supplimentary lessons are now videos (which I can't
even get to download.) Anyways, I was lucky enough to complete all four of their main courses before the site went down the crapper: "Astral
Travel", "Searching Within", "Journey To Enlightenment", and "Advanced Investigation". At the end of AI however, I was not accepted into the
Teacher's Course based on the fact that they didn't think I had 'progressed' enough. Basically, it focused around astral projection/relaxation,
and elimination of the egos, although there were many other elements such as alchemy, etc. All of the information was based around the teachings of
Master Samael Aun Weor. So basically the website turned into quite a cult, but the ideas it gave in the beginning were quite amazing. Even if you
don't believe any part of it, gnosis/esoteric material is some of the most fascinating material I have ever read. I highly suggest that anybody
looking for their own spiritual truths looks into it. Feel free to U2U me and I will give you more information about it. Not to mention I met quite a
few 'spiritual friends' on that website, including current ATS members AkashicWanderer and Sesmo.
So anyways yes, enough rambling for me. Basically I have explored ALL of the religions and taken whatever I saw fit, and slowly encorporated them into
my own "Grand Scheme of Things". I recommend other people do the same. Don't be confined to one set of beliefs. Pick and choose how you will. When
you start really delving into religion, you will see that a set of basic principles is the same throughout all of them.
It is my belief that all religions were conveying true spirituality in the beginning, but over time they become very distorted. Spiritual leaders get
turned into Gods themselves. It is my belief that Jesus didn't come here to "save us" in the way that people currently believe, but that he came to
HELP US SAVE OURSELVES, in the same way he did. He was a teacher. If you have ever been to a church, you will see that many people don't even know
what's going on. They say words and recite things that don't have meaning to them, just because they have for thousands of years. Spirituality
shouldn't be about following along, it should be actively engaging!
And whatever happens, make LOVE
an important part of your beliefs.