The Cleveland Freethinkers Message Board › Statement of Faith (or Lack Thereof)

Statement of Faith (or Lack Thereof)

Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 9
I thought this might be a good place for group members to share, in a few sentences, where they stand on religion & how they arrived there (family religious background, twists of faith, etc.) Anyone who wishes to participate is free to say as little as they like.
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 10
So I'll go first:

I can safely say that I've been atheist/agnostic since age 5.
I grew up in a non-religious household- I would say my Mother was Atheist, and my Father Agnostic... though neither trumpeted their labels.
I was baptized a Hungarian Orthodox Christian, though I'm not sure why.
Only 4 or 5 individuals in my extended family can be called religious- the rest are pretty much infidels! shock
Marni T.
Group Organizer
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 10
I am not really good with the history of things, but I'll say I've been at least an agnostic for a very long time. My parents are both Methodists now, with my mother being raised Catholic and my dad being raised Christian Science.

When I was about 10, I think, I came up with an eleventh commandment (and mind you, at the time I was completely serious): Thou Shalt not Sneeze in Someone else's Face". I guess that gives an idea of where I was in terms of religious belief :)

Anyway, I've become increasingly non-religious as I've gotten older, not believing in the whole "group belief" thing, and certainly not subscribing to the church, because I thought the sermons were just that - someone preaching TO us, rather than talking to us. It just seemed so pompous to me. Now granted, I taught Sunday School for a little while, I went to Sunday School (for a little while), and I was in the church choir (for a little while), as well as being confirmed, going to the confirmation retreat, participating in a church play, and volunteering to feed the hungry at my church on Thansgiving for a number of years. But I don't think any of that had any bearing on my beliefs, it was just something to do. Feeding the hungry at Thanksgiving simply made me feel good, but I never believed it was "god's will" or that my faith drove me to do it - nothing of the sort.
user 3981272
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 1
Here goes:

I was raised Jewish. My parents didn't really talk about god much - most Jews in general don't talk much about god outside of prayer and study. I had plenty of prayer and study though. I attended a Jewish pre-school and day school until 8th grade which included daily prayer and bible study. I attended Jewish summer camp where we prayed at least twice daily, and studied bible.

I've always been a curious and skeptical person, but god had been so ingrained in my head, that even after leaving behind my secluded Jewish life for the real world of public high school, I didn't even give a thought to the possibility that there was no god...

When I was 16, a couple events transpired that really changed the way I thought about everything. First a close high school friend of mine died suddenly and unexpectedly from a brain hemorrhage. He was a seriously good person, who was friends with everyone. I had a difficult time understanding how "my god" could extinguish such a bright person and cause so many of his friends to suffer in the process (to make things worse he died on his older brother's birthday)

A few months later I went on Jewish youth group trip to Poland to visit various concentration camps. While the main purpose of this trip was (and still is) to propagandize Zionism to young Jews, it had quite a different impact on me. Upon seeing the scratch marks on gas chamber walls, the ovens filled with human ash, the piles of victims shoes, I just couldn't believe in god anymore. It just made no sense that god would "choose" a people to serve him, promise them health and fruitfulness, and then let them be tortured and slaughtered (or perhaps even facilitate it). This was compounded by the fact that the trip occurred right after the passover holiday. At passover we celebrate the story of the exodus from Egypt. The story is a familiar one - The Jews are tortured and enslaved. Only in the happy bible story, god delivers the Jews from bondage and saves their lives. So where was god this time?

The change wasn't so fast - it's not an easy thing to undo 16 years of brainwashing. It took time for me to come to terms with what it meant not to believe in god, how it affected my personal identity, as there's quite a bit more to Judaism than just religion. It took longer for me to tell people about how I felt. But now I'm open, and the more I talk with people who grew up in a similar situation as myself, the more I find people who are surprisingly willing to listen to what I have to say. That keeps me optimistic
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