Religious debate. In which I ask your opinion.

This post stems from a conversation I had recently and its got me thinking quite a bit.  There are so many stories out there of people being opposed or for it, but I thought I’d open up the debate to my readers.  First time ever, I believe, as a blogger willingly inviting religious chat onto this here blog…

I’m curious, what are your thoughts on changing/embracing/adopting/converting to a different religion?  What would your reason be, if you were to consider it?  If not, that’s okay too.

Here are a few questions I’d like your opinions on, please:

  • Is changing religions a cop out?
  • Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs?
  • Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person?
  • Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory?
  • If you’re opposed to the whole idea, please tell me why in the comments.

Please be respectful of each other’s beliefs.  If you’re going to debate and/or be rude to people, at least make it witty and hilarious.

Discuss in the comments.  Aaannnnnnnnnnd, GO!

21 comments

  1. Tara says:

    No
    No
    No
    No

    Helpful ain’t I? 😀

    But really, it’s all a personal choice as far as I see it. People can do what they like as long as they aren’t trying to push anything on me.

    You thinking of becoming one with the Jewness? I hear good things. Would probably be my first port of call if I ever suddenly found some faith.

  2. acidicice says:

    I wouldn’t change my religion, for whatever reason. I have no desire to and even though I don’t understand how people can, I do not judge them. I was born and raised in my faith. I will raise my children in the faith and lay that foundation, but will not disown them if they change their beliefs or choose not to believe. I do not believe in forcing your religion on anybody (teaching your children about your faith is not forcing it on them), hence me not pressuring my husband to be officially adopted into our faith. He comes with me to church and has no objections to us raising the children in the church. I don’t denounce or judge any other religion or denomination. People are free to choose how they worship and I do not have the right to judge them. Live and let live.

  3. Nic says:

    Is changing religions a cop out?
    I argue no. Sometimes something will happen that opens your eyes to the fact that the religion you are following just isn’t worth following anymore. For me, moving to an evangelical Baptist church turned me into an Atheist because I just refused to accept the “The Bible is all you need because the Bible says so” argument. By Christian standards, I wasn’t “good enough” to be a part of the community if I believed in science and evolution, condoned same-gender marriage and gave in to fact-over-faith. So, I left.

    Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs?
    Tricky question. Biblically, the gift of salvation is only God’s to give. Once you are “saved” it is impossible to become “unsaved”. The real question you have to ask is if you renounce your faith or you start “backsliding”, where you originally saved in the first place?

    Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person?
    No. We’re all human and even the most religious person on Earth still has flaws in the eyes of other people. But the religious would argue that you don’t act the way you do to “be a good person”, but that you act the way you do “for the glory of your god”.

    Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory?
    Wow, very sensitive question. As an Atheist, I say let them choose when they reach the appropriate age to make rational and educated decisions. But my religious friends and family will have their kids shouting AMEN straight after that first “mama” comes out. There is no right or wrong, but it is a decision and a challenge that parents will have to face at some point. If one parent is religious and the other isn’t, I don’t think it’s the non-religious parent’s duty to keep the children away from experiencing religion for themselves. Maybe, like me, after 29 years of religion, they’ll be able to make a decision that they’re comfortable with.

    If you’re opposed to the whole idea, please tell me why in the comments.
    I don’t oppose religion practiced by other people and I certainly do’t make it a personal mission to belittle any religions or people who follow religions (except the Scientologists, but they bring it upon themselves).

    If that’s what makes them happy and what they use to define their lives, good for them, that’s their business. I don’t impose my Atheism on others, but if I am approached by someone with the hope of “converting” me or speaking religion with me, I’ll respectfully decline and walk away. Arguments about religion are as stupid and pointless as they are nonsensical in most cases. A live and let live policy is best for all IMHO.

    But that’s me.

  4. Karen @ MiriMoo says:

    Is changing religions a cop out? – Depends on your reasons

    Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs? – no, its about love, respect and acceptance for everyone no matter their religion or lack there of.

    Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person? – It would if its taken seriously. Any major life decision would.

    Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory? – I believe you need to give them the grounding and education of your religion. If they choose another later in life that’s fine, at least they are making an educated choice.

    On a side note, I grew up in a “Christian” home but was never taken to Church or given any education about any religion, even Christianity. I spend most of my youth trying to figure out what belief fitted me and eventually came back to Christian (Anglican). I now know that if I had been taught about the community and peace that comes with a healthy church life, things would have been a little easier for me.

  5. Kevin says:

    Ha! I’m sure you know my stance on all these matters. However, let me add my 38c.

    It’s really good to see you questioning beliefs, but not so good to see you wanting to substitute one superstition with another. Religion is anachronistic, antiquated and irrelevant in today’s society. It offers a false layer of hope for those who don’t really need it, and absolutely no hope to those who really do. Sure, the philanthropic efforts of the religious cannot be ignored, but this can be achieved without the superstition behind it.

    Changing religions isn’t a cop-out, it’s merely a shift of superstition. I think the whole concept of religion is a cop-out. It makes this life seem less precious, and more of a “training-ground” for “what’s to come.”

    Jesus isn’t the most loving figure around. He forms part of a pretty nasty trinity, and yes, if you denounce him, you won’t be in his good books and you’ll burn forever.

    Religion does define a lot of people. There are “casual” believers, and those who actually define their values and morality around their beliefs.

    I believe passing on your religion to your children is akin to child abuse. I know this sounds harsh, but you do not pass on your political beliefs to your kids – you let them make up their own minds once they understand politics. I believe the same should be done for religion – how is it fair to ram something down their throats when they don’t really understand what they’re believing? It is not right!

    I think I’ve covered why I’m opposed to it. Religion is unnecessary and its existence relies on parent-to-child transmission. There is a very low conversion rate for people from non-belief to belief when it is not forced on them as a child.

  6. Vibeke says:

    Well, I don’t have a religion to begin with. At age 8, I decided I wanted to go to church. My family was never religious (unless you consider being a total hippie to be a religion), so I went to church every weekend with my best friend’s family. Until they told me that I must be nice to, BUT CAN”T BE FRIENDS WITH, non-christians. So at that stage (age 10), I stopped going. I grew up in a school of 43 nationalities and possibly just as many religions. So to me, that was a deal breaker. In hindsight, it was probably a priest that was preaching his own agenda.

    A couple of years ago, before I had my son, I started yearning towards having a god. I felt like life was missing something and I was searching for a greater purpose. In a sense, I found that by having a child.

    But I must admit, I have read everything I have got my hands on about different religions. If we’re going to talk about Judaism, (and I have read SO much on the topic), I can honestly say that it is one of the most positive, happy and forgiving religions out there. Forget Catholic guilt. Forget the notion that we are all inherent sinners. It is a religion that focuses on praise, forgiveness and positivity in praise. And I say this as a non-religious person who has done the research.

    That being said, I would NEVER put any religious belief (if indeed I had one) on my child. Currently, my son’s father is dating a very religious woman and they all go to church together. My son comes home from Sunday school with pictures he’s drawn saying “God created the fish” etc. I’m not comfortable with it. Parents say that they are “laying a foundation”, but that “the child is welcome to accept any other faith or belief”. Bollocks. The child believes what you believe, at least for their formative years. It is a difficult practice, as a parent, to give your child a neutral view on religion if you believe one way or another.

    Okay, I think that’s my rant, over.

    • Karen @ MiriMoo says:

      eish I experienced the same thing. At age 12 I was going to Youth Group at the local Full Gospel Church and the minister said all other religions were wrong. That was the last time I went there. You’re right though, I believe he was preaching his own agenda.

  7. Bergen Larsen says:

    I think I’ve aired a few of these views previously. *cough* But here goes:

    1 – Is changing religions a cop out? – My answer. No. Beliefs change over time.
    2 – Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs? – You mean the one who forgives everyone for everything? Right?
    3 – Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person? – Yes, from a psych point of view, people are made up of their experiences which involves interacting with people of all verities. The more you hang out with people of a particular culture (which lets face it, religions are all the same, just the cultures vary with some minor changes here and there) the more you start to adopt their values. If the values didn’t gel with you, you wouldn’t be there in the first place hanging out with them folk.
    4 – Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory? – I think its right to show your children your beliefs and give them the opportunity to decide for themselves when they are older. I think giving them a chance to be part of a more closed religion is better from birth. If they follow through with it or not is up to them ultimately.
    5- If you’re opposed to the whole idea, please tell me why in the comments. – Erm. See above. Neither for nor against. But I’m not the worlds biggest believer of religions. More wars and deaths have been had over religion than anything else. The values that the cultures bestow on us sure. In this almost all religions are identical. Be good to your fellow man. Be kind. Don’t kill. etc..

  8. Linda says:

    Is changing religions a cop out? No, unless you’re a person looking for a religion that suits your unstable personality and expectations.
    Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs? – No . Free will is free will.
    Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person? – Yes, as religion or your God is supposed to be seen through your character. What’s the use of calling upon on a God if people cant your God through you?
    Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory?- As a parent you do you bit to teach and bring up your child according to your religion because you belief it is whats best for them. However as you are not responsible for what a person chooses to be in their life, forcing someone into a religion benefits no one. This is where unconditional love comes in.

  9. Louisa says:

    Is changing religions a cop out?…Mmmm, depends. It’s about what you believe, and if you start believing something else then it’s just a change. If it’s just SAYING you believe something else in order to fit in with what someone else believes then yes.

    Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs? No idea

    Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person? If done properly it should certainly have a strong-ish influence, otherwise why bother?

    Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory? I think that you rear them in whatever fashion/religion you believe in, but ultimately every person has to decide for themselves what they believe in or don’t. You only get to show them your top choice.

    If you’re opposed to the whole idea, please tell me why in the comments. I wouldn’t change my religion for anyone else unless I came to the conclusion that I was wrong about it to begin with, but I also wouldn’t try to make them take on mine. It’s a personal thing in my opinion. I don’t really care what other people believe in, as long as they give me enough space and respect for my own beliefs too. I think it complicates matters a bit when two people of not the same religious backgrounds have offspring together and now have to decide which one the child gets to experience or in what combination do they try to apply both. Luckily I have not had to run to run that particular gauntlet myself.

  10. Brenton says:

    I’d be a full blown atheist but for one thing, if Jesus isn’t real why are vampires afraid of the cross?

  11. Angel says:

    I reckon that if you are going to convert from one religion (or no religion) to another, it must be because you feel strongly about it and you’re going to embrace it as a life choice.

  12. po says:

    Hmm, well as a full-on atheist, all the religions are worshipping the creator, right? And there is only one creation. So you are all worshipping the same side, just using different names. And the Jewish God and the Christian ate the same anyway. But there is one major issue, the Jews believe that Jesus was a liar and not God’s son, that is a pretty hectic belief to forsake.

  13. Chan says:

    Religions are a man made construct to control people. I will refer to the higher power as god here. god is in everything, just look at nature. You do not need to attend church or synagogue etc, it’s bullshit, just be a good person with a good heart, focus on becoming spiritually awakened. Most people are born into their religion, it’s all a matter of circumstance, they follow their belief system simply because it is what they have always known, and I consider them brain-washed, unable to think for themselves. Some people need this guidance, but most are hypocrites who apply religion when it suits them, show me one christian who was a virgin on their wedding day. Anyways, I digress, do not worry about what religion you follow, they are all meant for good and it doesn’t matter, as long as you think pure and do good.

    I take it you are considering converting to judaism because of your boyfriend, if you feel it is right for you do it. If you have to this point called yourself a christian does it make sense to change now, how strong was your faith…although the two religions are very similar. Did Jesus exist, yeah, was he the “son” of god I don’t think so, he was very in tune with energy and could use it to heal. I do not think it matters if you convert, to me I think its more like embracing your partner’s customs and traditions, making life together more harmonious and if you have kids it’s easier. But if you do have kids raise them jewish or whatever but also make sure you expose them to all beliefs and let them decide for themselves.

  14. Hilary says:

    Is changing religions a cop out? As someone who did change religions, or rather left the religion I grew up with, I would say it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Cop out – no!!!

    Would the baby Jesus in a shopping basket smite someone if they had to renounce their original beliefs? According to the religion I grew up with, he would. But based on the myth surrounding him, he shouldn’t!

    Do you think that religion defines who you are as a person? The religion I grew up in defined my childhood. Finding the courage to leave it defined my adulthood, so !Yes.

    Do you believe passing on your religion to children is mandatory? I think offering them the resources to discover different beliefs is mandatory. Disowning them as a result of their choice is cruel.

  15. Irim says:

    I converted from Islam to Catholicism (some of my friends might argue I’m more Cthulic (esp the Gods play poker version) than Catholic, but that’s by the by) via a four year stint teaching at a Modern Orthodox Jewish School along the way – and yes, I considered Judaism.

    For me, it’s about integrity. Your religion is meant to be an outward expression of your inner spirituality. If the religion you were brought up in isn’t, then it makes sense to me to change. You wouldn’t use the same wallpaper or carpet in your house because ‘it was what I grew up with’, so if your religion doesn’t reflect your heart, doesn’t reflect what you believe, why hold onto it? I understand that much of it can be about memories, family, the ructions it will cause, comfort but…losing yourself is too high a price to pay.

    What is central is your relationship with G-d/Divine/Spirit/Love/something greater than yourself – humanity, the universe, whatever. Keep that healthy, strong. If your ‘greater’ is sentient, keep talking to Him/Her as you would to a beloved friend. Pray, if that’s your thing – whether it’s traditional prayer, through yoga, through transcendent moments of love, beauty, being fully present. Work that out. In our lives, everywhere is holy ground.

    Then, if you want structure, a community, find a religion that is an extension of your relationship with G-d, that feeds it, whose rituals nourish your soul and that doesn’t put G-d in a box for you; that delights in that mystery that is so much greater than we are.

    G-d and Jesus (as part of the Trinity) are immense, so far beyond our imagining, that there is no way they are threatened by our choice of worship. There’s a Hindu scripture that says something akin to ‘Each according to his own way and his own temperament, O Lord, like rivers to the sea shall come to thee.’ The form of your path to G-d doesn’t matter. My friend posted this:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/269071_471768602854761_1070861526_n.jpg

    I totally believe that. And if that’s not enough evidence, look at the universe: G-d created *diversity*, not uniformity. If He only wanted one religion, why create a universe where that was impossible? G-d created a dynamic universe, one constantly in motion, one in constant change/evolution (albeit one that comes back to a dynamic equilibrium) – so changing your religion, if that is what is in integrity with you, is you being part of the universe. What is in creation must reflect the Creator.

    “This above all: to thine ownself be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

    Or G-d. G-d is truth, so if you’re in truth with yourself, that brings you closer to G-d, closer to what’s real.

    Whatever choice you make, blessed be – and know that you are loved.

    xx

Comments are closed.