Growing up, I wasn’t taught to worship a particular god. I didn’t attend church, and my parents didn’t tell my what I “was” in terms of my religion. My mom identified as Christian, and my Dad (An Englishman and devout atheist) identified as “church of England.” On my own terms, I went through phases of reading bible stories and speaking about the all-encompassing power of God, believing in reincarnation, exploring buddhism, and mistrusting religion altogether. Everyone’s journey with regard to religion is different. Some grow up growing to church every Sunday only to declare their Atheism in adulthood, some find god later in life, some grow up with religion and though not particularly devout, are grateful for the community and morals they were taught through religion.
Here I’ve put together some pros and cons of my experience with being brought up without religion. I’m interested to know what you think in the attached poll, was your experience similar? Is it better to grow up without being taught to believe in a particular religion, or are those who don’t grow up with a god missing out on something important?
- I was never afraid of Hell.
- I got excited about the bible stories on my own, and interpreted their value for myself rather than having a pre-conceived notion that these stories represented God’s will
- When I learned that in many interpretations of various religions God sends people to Hell for loving people of the same sex, I was able to conclude that God was the one in the wrong, rather than developing harmful and prejudiced views about other people
- Alongside my explorations about the idea of reincarnation, I developed an immense empathy for all animals
- By exploring buddhism I gained understanding of the importance of letting go of unhealthy feelings of need and want, and accepting the way life unfolds more readily
- I developed my own ideas on sex, marriage, and love
- I developed a moral code based on genuine empathy and a desire to imbue my life with value, untainted by ideas of reward and punishment that go along with religion
- As a child, I was terrified of the possibility of a dark nothingness that would swallow me up after death
- I am a spiritual person and do not like being identified by others as an Atheist, but that is what many will insist I am
- When I was faced with challenging times in later childhood I had no one to pray to, and often felt alone
- I come from a small family, and when my family was splitting apart my support system shrunk even further, I sometimes think a church community of some sorts may have helped my family during those times
- As I get older I sometimes regret that I am so afraid of labels and choosing Identities, because I notice that when I do commit to something as part of my Identity, that Identity gives me direction and purpose