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  1. #61
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    Great thread, I've really enjoyed reading all of the replies.

    I am a Christian. I was raised in the uniting church. My parents were very committed Christians but not pushy with us as kids. We were left to make our own choices. I went to an Anglican high school. I never stopped believing but stopped going to church through my teenage years - too busy with my social life etc.

    I went back to church when I was at uni. There was no epiphany, I just felt the need to go and as a believer I believe this was the Holy Spirit working in my life.

    Since then my faith journey has been varied but continues to strengthen as I age. Dh and I work in a Christian school (our kids also go there). We go to church most Sundays. We are involved in our church, especially children and youth ministry. We are raising our kids in the faith but are taking the same non-pushy approach my parents did.

    I have Christian and non-Christian friends (fairly equal amounts). I talk about my faith if it comes up.

    There's so much I could say but I guess the bottom line is, I can see how God works in my life. I don't think life is a series of random events. And mostly, I try hard every day to live by Christian principles which are all underpinned by love. So basically, show love. Especially to the unlovable. My mum is the most shining example of this and an inspiration to me as a Christian truly living like a Christian should. I'm striving for that. It's hard work. And no, you don't need to be a Christian to be a good person!

    When I look at the exquisite intricacies of this world I cannot believe there is not a higher power at play. When my faith wavers it always comes back to this.

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  3. #62
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    I think I'm a number 7 atheist...I have no faith in anything except my own ability to have some control on my own life..by being a good person, by doing good and by putting my faith in the fellow humans around me to do the same. I'm an optimist by nature and try to see/find the best in people.
    My parents were raised in the Church..Mum the Uniting and Dad the Dutch Reform Church. My mum was sexually abused by the clergy as were many other young girls in the congregation and it was all brushed under the carpet. My dad's family were extremely strict and he says god was beaten out of him. They both left the church in their late teens, when they were old and brave enough to say no more.
    Needless to say, they didn't go back and raised me and my siblings without religion and told us we could make our own religious choice when we were older. None of us has found religion, and aren't looking.
    I don't wish I had faith in God or similar. I base my belief in science foe the most part. I don't believe "miracles" are due to a higher being but just pure luck and a coming together of all the right things at the right time.
    I think the thing I struggle with most regarding religion is how people can say they can see how God has blessed their lives and their prayers have been answered...Surely there are millions of people who pray and believe and have faith everyday that their lives will improve..but it doesnt....they have miserable lives of starvation and deprivation and loss and sadness...I just can't reconcile it. Do they just not believe hard enough?

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  5. #63
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    I'm a Christian (JW) so my faith is a huge part of my life and who I am. It affects everything I do and say, its part of my very soul.

    I believe what the bible says. That the current world conditions were foretold and that soon God will step in and transform the earth back to a paradise free of death pain and suffering. His original plan. Obedient humans will live forever on earth. This is a message I want to share with others. A positive hope for the future.

    Hell is just the grave according to the bible. Not a place of conscious torment. Heaven is where God and Jesus are and millions of angels and a select number of humans who will rule over the paradise earth to make up a heavenly government. Good government is something we are seriously lacking, all sorts of rulerships have been trialled and all fail in one way or another. The bible says we were not designed to rule over ourselves.

    My beliefs would have me refuse to take up arms or participate in any war. JWs refuse any involvement in war. Many are currently in prision in various parts of the world for refusing to take up arms and remaining politically nuetral. The bible instructs Christians to " love your neighbour as yourself".

    A bit of a summary of my beliefs and how it affects my life. Great thread BTW, has been a really interesting read 😊

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  7. #64
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    This has been a really interesting thread! I'm trying to gather my thoughts to articulate where I stand and it's quite difficult! If someone asks what religion I am, I'd say Catholic. I'm baptised, I went to a catholic school and I even work at one now. I was even part of the catholic society when I was at uni (though to be fair I was the person organising the cocktail parties and balls, not the mass or prayer meetings!). But I don't actually agree with many of the Catholic Church teachings or stances on different issues, eg assisted reproduction (my daughter is an IVF baby), gay marriage, abortion, contraception etc and find the systemic covering up of child sex abuse abhorrent. And I don't believe that God created the earth in seven days, adam and eve etc. I believe in evolution.

    I'm also of the firm belief that the Old Testament is not to be read literally, it's stories made up thousands of years ago by people (who didn't have science on their side at the time) to understand and explain their world. So it irks me when people use the OT to back up an argument like why homosexuality is wrong.

    But having said all that, I still like to believe that there's something else out there. So I'm not sure if that makes me agnostic? Someone who's keeping their options open? I just try to be a good person and be kind to others which really, no matter which religion you do (or don't) subscribe to, they all preach that as a basic tenet.

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  9. #65
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    I am Catholic, but I can't say I am the strictest of strict.

    I go to church and I believe what the scriptures say, and I believe in an afterlife. I believe in the forgiveness of sins but I don't like to think of hanging around in purgatory forever for some souls. I don't think that 'my God' or Jesus is like that.

    I wasn't a virgin at marriage and I have used contraception in the past. I don't believe gay people are sinners, and, like Pope Francis, think 'who am I to judge'.

    I kinda lost my way in my late teens but around 24 I found a lovely parish and priest, and the way he conducted his sermons really connected with me. It wasn't about eternal damnation, rather, trying to make the world a kinder place. I don't think you need to be a Catholic to appreciate that.

    As in all religions or groups, clubs, whatever you want to call it, there are bad seeds. I know that. I think that the Refoemation is a really interesting time and I do agree with Martin Luther, that you can't pay for indulgences/ your way into heaven.

    I have seen too many things in my life to consider them coincidences. For me those experiences prove that there is a God somewhere. And my own personal belief is that we all believe in the same God, we just worship differently.

    I love my faith but I am not blind to the issues that it has or the bad seeds that exist. However I am a proud Catholic and always will be.

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  11. #66
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    I wouldn't call myself religious as to me that is a set of rules that needs to be followed or doing certain things which are required to be a part of something, however I am a Christian - a follower of Jesus. I believe in a Creator ... Nothing just appears out of no where so a creator makes perfect sense to me. The detail of everything I see in nature, incredible sunsets, sunrises etc let alone the ability and function of us as humans, points me toward amazing intention and purpose in us being here, not just here for nothing and by chance.
    I believe everyone does wrong things sometimes and this separates us from a perfect God however the crux of it is that Jesus dying on the cross and being raised to life means the wrong things I do are covered by grace and no longer apply to me.
    The major thread running through Christianity is love & grace - love God and love people.

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  13. #67
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    I'm the same as Hazzy J, I am a Christian, i don't consider myself religious, my faith is based on a relationship with God, I feel his love and I yearn to please him by loving everyone the way I know I am loved.
    I have had many things happen in my life that comes down to gods blessings, I never worry about much because I know everything that happens to me is for a God given purpose and i always get validation of that through circumstance.
    I have always considered myself very fortunate to have this relationship, that it has always been this way.
    I was raised by a Christian mother and agnostic father, however when my father became ill he came to find faith on his own and it was an incredible thing to experience with him.
    I was given the freedom to come to know God myself, I walked a very secular road for a very long time, but I never really lost that relationship with God, it was always there and when I chose to re acknowledge him in my life it has been spectacular.
    I have total respect that people have their own beliefs and understandings, I actually don't have very many Christian friends I believe a true Christian is someone who is truly accepting of people, leads by example and is there when someone chooses to find their own personal relationship with God.
    It's unfortunate that there are many people who do and say terrible things in the name of God, but that's not God, that's a person using his reputation for their own personal/selfish advances.
    In regards to homosexuality, I do not think that God hates them, I have gay family members and I can't imagine God deciding they are not worthy because they love differently to hetero's, whether I am right or wrong is not important, what is important is that I love and accept them the way my God expects me to.

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  15. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busy-Bee View Post
    I'm atheist, so is DH. We'd be a 6 on the Dawkins' scale.
    I take no issue with religious people but happy to engage in constructive debate on the ideologies/doctrines, especially those of the Abrahamic religions.
    I don't believe having faith is a virtue as "faith" is (by definition) belief without evidence and I would assert this is not something to be encouraged. Beliefs should be based on evidence, not because you want it to be true.
    I take big issue with religious institutions that yield political power or assume authority over political or social issues. I also take issue with people selling me their religion at my front door. Just last month I asked 2 JWs at my front door how they feel about worshipping a deity that stands idle whilst children starve to death and/or are being tortured at a rate of hundreds per day. They said they would think about it and come back with some answers. I take issue with religious institutions asserting control over women's reproduction which results in their enslavement into poverty. I take issue with religious institutions claiming a womans' worth lies in her intact hymen, that women should dress a way so as to not encourage sexual thoughts from men, that LGBTI people are unnatural/abominations and so many other issues.

    I especially take issue with religious institutions denying established science and expecting equal respect or value in beliefs that have long since been proven false yet they wish to have their iron age/dark age beliefs taught as fact in schools.

    DH and I recently went to a Brian Cox lecture where he showed fly-through images of galaxies. It was jaw-droppingly amazing. I don't understand how people believe that there is a deity that of all the billions and billions of galaxies out there this deity sat around for 4(ish) billion years then decided to pick this one planet among the billions to populate.
    This. 100% this.

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