Robin Sedai

religion
How has being religious impacted you?

29 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Title says it all, really. I am an agnostic, (maybe? probably) and I'm curious to know how being religious has impacted the way you view things and/or the way you are viewed.

Gonna tag @Trutharchivist , @Kingsdaughter613 , and @Nathrangking, who are Jewish, and @Kaymyth, who I think is a pagan. Not gonna tag all the Sharders I know who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (gosh that's a mouthful) because there's just too many of you :P

Please keep it respectful; I deliberated making this topic for a long time because religion and politics are notoriously touchy subjects on the Internet.

Edited by Robin Sedai
better wording
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Hard to say, really. I've been religious my entire life, and I do consider it a large part of who I am. My education system was different from other non-religious people here. I sometimes find that my religion creates something of a gap between me and other Sharders, though that could most definitely be just me.

The book that I kind of want to write is essentially about a religious Jewish boy finding himself in a fantasy world, and it's going to make it hard to share it with anyone from around here, if and when I'll actually write it. 

In conclusion... Well, I can't say that much. Most of the non-religious people that I meet in my day-to-day life are not really atheists, they just were born to families that don't practice Judaism anymore (maybe their grandparents were/are atheists, maybe they just were raised by atheists. I can tutor you in Jewish history, let's not do it here), but they still kind of believe. I don't really know how they view me, though I know of a few common opinions about religious Jews in Israel.

The thing is, since in Israel we don't separate religion from the state, being a religious Jew here is also somewhat of a political statement (oh dear. But it kind of is), and there are also different kinds of religious Jews that agree about most of the things except for relations with the state. Long story short, being a religious Jew in Israel can be... weird. Though Nathrangking might disagree with me.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Robin Sedai said:

Title says it all, really. I am an agnostic (maybe? probably.) I'm curious to know if being religious has changed you and/or the way you are viewed.

Gonna tag @Trutharchivist , @Kingsdaughter613 , and @Nathrangking, who are Jewish, and @Kaymyth, who I think is a pagan. Not gonna tag all the Sharders I know who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (gosh that's a mouthful) because there's just too many of you :P

Please keep it respectful; I deliberated making this topic for a long time because religion and politics are notoriously touchy subjects on the Internet.

3 hours ago, Trutharchivist said:

Hard to say, really. I've been religious my entire life, and I do consider it a large part of who I am. My education system was different from other non-religious people here. I sometimes find that my religion creates something of a gap between me and other Sharders, though that could most definitely be just me.

The book that I kind of want to write is essentially about a religious Jewish boy finding himself in a fantasy world, and it's going to make it hard to share it with anyone from around here, if and when I'll actually write it. 

In conclusion... Well, I can't say that much. Most of the non-religious people that I meet in my day-to-day life are not really atheists, they just were born to families that don't practice Judaism anymore (maybe their grandparents were/are atheists, maybe they just were raised by atheists. I can tutor you in Jewish history, let's not do it here), but they still kind of believe. I don't really know how they view me, though I know of a few common opinions about religious Jews in Israel.

The thing is, since in Israel we don't separate religion from the state, being a religious Jew here is also somewhat of a political statement (oh dear. But it kind of is), and there are also different kinds of religious Jews that agree about most of the things except for relations with the state. Long story short, being a religious Jew in Israel can be... weird. Though Nathrangking might disagree with me.

Like Trutharchivist I have been religious from birth, and it really is a large part of my identity. Growing up in the U.S. as I did makes things interesting to say the least. I never wanted to make a fuss and being religious while still "fitting in" was part of how I lived my day to day. I have a couple of religious jewish friends IRL who are Sanderfans, but there have been times when I have felt the need to tread carefully on the shard and not draw attention to myself because of how dicey religion can get. 

For the record Truth that would be awesome! I would drop money for that. 

I have not knowingly had the privilege of interacting with atheists. I have dealt with people of many backgrounds and religions and from what I have seen I have been viewed positively. In many ways I think that being religious has opened my mind to actually seeing others. Personally, I feel as though I am as sensitive as I am because history(as Truth indicates it's a long story)  and because of my religious upbringing. At times it has given me a language in which I can talk to others about universal truths (ask me sometime about some of my experiences in university) and at others it has made me feel as though being myself could end badly. There are many masks that I have felt that I had to wear because of how complex this can be. 

Living in the U.S, as a religious jew and living in Israel as a religious jew are two vastly different experiences. In the U.S. it was part of my identity, but it was less of a statement about who I am. In Israel as Truth said a political dimension definitely exists to being religious and your flavor tends to make things more interesting still. While fundamental things are a point of agreement one of the main flash points is as Truth said how one relates to the state. Complexity is the name of the game. Though Truth as I'm only an oleh chadash maybe my mind will change.

There are times when I feel like people just don't listen. God is sometimes the only one who I think is willing to listen. Sometimes I just talk knowing that at least now I'm being listened to.

Edited by Nathrangking
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42 minutes ago, Nathrangking said:

For the record Truth that would be awesome! I would drop money for that. 

I actually meant much more recent, inner developments - the Zionists and their effects on Sephardic Olim at the time the state of Israel was funded, probably going back only as far as the enlightenment's effect on Judaism... But full history of the Jewish people (at least, around the last thousand years or so) may be somewhat called for too. I'm not completely sure. I assume you thought I meant the latter from other things you said on your post, I might be mistaken.

Also, for some reason I just thought about it now, but I know a Christian Sharder that I think would like to answer your question and does not belong to the LDS (far shorter, don't you think?). @Ixthos, are you interested?

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1 minute ago, Trutharchivist said:

I actually meant much more recent, inner developments - the Zionists and their effects on Sephardic Olim at the time the state of Israel was funded, probably going back only as far as the enlightenment's effect on Judaism... But full history of the Jewish people (at least, around the last thousand years or so) may be somewhat called for too. I'm not completely sure. I assume you thought I meant the latter from other things you said on your post, I might be mistaken.

Also, for some reason I just thought about it now, but I know a Christian Sharder that I think would like to answer your question and does not belong to the LDS (far shorter, don't you think?). @Ixthos, are you interested?

I did think that you were running for a broader view, though the specific period that you note is rather relevant now that you mention it.

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Well, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saintss.

I can't even begin to fathom how my life would be diffrent without religion, there have been too many points in my life where I have purposefully made an effort to change to conform with our doctrine.

However what I do know is that I would be far more agrssive, and far more cynical. I'd probably have become a Nihalist.

And there is a time where if I didn't have my faith in God I may have taken my life.

1 hour ago, Trutharchivist said:

The book that I kind of want to write is essentially about a religious Jewish boy finding himself in a fantasy world, and it's going to make it hard to share it with anyone from around here, if and when I'll actually write it. 

I'd be intrested in that.

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45 minutes ago, Trutharchivist said:

I actually meant much more recent, inner developments - the Zionists and their effects on Sephardic Olim at the time the state of Israel was funded, probably going back only as far as the enlightenment's effect on Judaism... But full history of the Jewish people (at least, around the last thousand years or so) may be somewhat called for too. I'm not completely sure. I assume you thought I meant the latter from other things you said on your post, I might be mistaken.

Also, for some reason I just thought about it now, but I know a Christian Sharder that I think would like to answer your question and does not belong to the LDS (far shorter, don't you think?). @Ixthos, are you interested?

Thanks for the notification!

 

This is a big topic, and responding in full will take some time - I'll try to be thorough but brief for now, and I can go into further detail later if needed.

My religious life affects me in overt and subtle ways, and likely in some ways I'm not even aware of. I was born into a religious household, though I myself hold some heterodox views on some topics, while in others I stick very close to the mainstream view, though I believe both mine and others eyes in the Church should keep our focus on God rather than on any given celebrity of the faith - people are people and will always let you down somehow. God knows my own flaws and failings better than I do.

It's a bit difficult to say precisely how being religious affects me, especially because even among my peers I'm ... odd. Decoupling what is and isn't a part of my world view from what is just because of my ADHD, odd perspective, and other parts of my upbringing, from my religious beliefs is very challenging, especially because of the oddities in my religious beliefs compared to many of my Brothers and Sisters, who are still my Brothers and Sisters even when I (seldom) disagree with them. I tend to take a simultaneously spiritual and materialistic view of the world, especially as I personally believe the two aren't necessarily separate categories - that is an aspect of Greek thinking that I disagree with, and feel is too pervasive in the Church. For a long time I had difficulty reconciling the Seven Days of Creation with modern scientific views, and there still is a little wonkieness there, but mostly or perhaps completely have that reconciled now.

 

I see God and the supernatural and spiritual in everything, but also nature as nature and governed by physics - again, the two are not necessarily separate all the time, and I think you can see the sunrise and say that it is equally the product of natural physics as it is a sign of God's love for us, just as you can say the laws of physics are the result of God's imposing order on chaos, the chaos itself formed specifically by God to produce randomness.

... and it is at this point where I had to stop myself writing for a sec before I launched fully into explaining my theological views, why God created Humanity, the nature of spiritual beings, the fall of man, and the nature and mission of Yeshua, Jesus. Needless to say, that may get a little much for the moment, but if anyone is interested PM me and I'll be happy to elaborate.

 

To try to focus in on the core question asked here, having covered a few topics now and feeling more like I understand the question a little better, I would say it mainly has affected me by granting me peace. Peace in knowing God is in control, no matter what happens, how bad things become or how badly I fail or fall or am hurt. I have peace knowing that there is a purpose to existence and to humanity, peace knowing God and science are not opposites but that science comes from the study of the beauty of what God has done and that one can worship God by studying it and seeking to understand the pure mechanics of nature as well as its spiritual side without letting either one get in the way of the other. I have peace in knowing that all things work together for God, for those that love God, and that He is just and merciful, even taking into account how dark and terrible the world is. I have peace in Him. In the past, the present, and the future, my faith and hope in Him, and the certainty of how much everyone on the planet, people in the past and present and future, and creation itself, matters to Him, gives me peace. That is absolutely something that, all other things aside, I can say with absolute certainty is something that comes from my religious beliefs and faith in God, and wouldn't be there without it. God has everything in hand, and has not left this world broken, not walked away from a damaged creation, but has stepped in to help us, to suffer with us, and to save us - that He has done the work, the lifeguard who threw the rope and is pulling us back in, not requiring further effort on our part beyond holding on and trusting in Him.

... and I was getting into theology again. Though with this topic, I suppose it is hard not to. Anyhow, I hope that helps answer the question.

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Posted (edited)

Like Narthrangking, I’m from the US. The political aspect of religion in Israel is actually one reason I don’t want to move there; I don’t believe an individual’s religion should be a political statement.

I tend to relate to God as my parent, and I’ve always felt that I could just talk to Him. When I’m upset or scared or happy, I can confide in Him.

I think the biggest way faith effects me is that it’s made it easier for me to accept things I can’t change. I believe that all things are ultimately intended for good and that someone is guiding the boat of our lives through the shoals. Having an extrinsic sense of control in that regard, while having an intrinsic sense of control regarding my own response to events, makes it easier to handle it when things don’t go as planned. (Like my oldest daughter almost dying at two months.)

Edited by Kingsdaughter613
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A better question is how it hasn't impacted me :P

I grew up homeschooled, in a Christian family, and because of where we live, that meant I didn't have a lot of friends that I saw everyday, which was okay, I'm very glad I'm learning my limits now that I'm more mature, rather than in middle or elementary school.  I wasn't homeschooled because of our faith, though.

I have noticed, in the culture shock I've recieved from public schooling, my faith has seriously shaped my morals and worldview, and how I approach problems, and life in general.  Sometimes that's just recognizing the beauty that God has made in the world, or something He's done in my life, or the lives of those around me.  Sometimes that means praying before a test, or driving, or a performance.  Sometimes that means not caring about how well I'm singing during worship, because it's the heart that matters, not the quality.

The biggest impact is probably my life goals.  I just want to be one of those little old ladies in the church kitchen who makes sure that everything runs smoothly and everyone has what they need.  I love volunteer work of that nature.

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2 hours ago, Spren of Kindness said:

A better question is how it hasn't impacted me :P

I grew up homeschooled, in a Christian family, and because of where we live, that meant I didn't have a lot of friends that I saw everyday, which was okay, I'm very glad I'm learning my limits now that I'm more mature, rather than in middle or elementary school.  I wasn't homeschooled because of our faith, though.

I have noticed, in the culture shock I've recieved from public schooling, my faith has seriously shaped my morals and worldview, and how I approach problems, and life in general.  Sometimes that's just recognizing the beauty that God has made in the world, or something He's done in my life, or the lives of those around me.  Sometimes that means praying before a test, or driving, or a performance.  Sometimes that means not caring about how well I'm singing during worship, because it's the heart that matters, not the quality.

The biggest impact is probably my life goals.  I just want to be one of those little old ladies in the church kitchen who makes sure that everything runs smoothly and everyone has what they need.  I love volunteer work of that nature.

Yeah very similar here. I'm a Christian, I've grown up in a Christian family, and been around Christian people most of my life (I'm graduating high school soon). I'm homeschooled, but I go to a Christian tutorial and a boy scout troop that is mostly composed of Christians or Catholics.

I'm very very thankful for my parents and what they've taught me, about how to be a kind and respectful person, that I should love everyone even if I don't support everything they do or all of their ideologies.

I think this is a very important in this day and age, with LGBTQ and everything surrounding that, and although I believe that God didn't mean for people to follow those lifestyles, I also believe God calls us to love everyone, including those who are different then me or disagree or even hate me. It's not always easy, but I don't have to support someone's decisions to love them and be a good friend to them. Oftentimes people will equate Christians with hate for people who are different or disagree. The Christians who hate on people for their decisions are not the majority. The majority of Christians love even when they don't agree.

I do my best to pray to God and trust in Him. Trust that His plans for me are exactly what need to happen and exactly what is best for me.

I sin. That is just a fundamental part of every human on the planet. But I know I can trust in the Lord my God to provide for me, protect me, and show me what is right, true, and holy. I try to do all things to the glory of God.

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Posted (edited)

So I'm a Protestant Christian from the US who grew up in a religious family. As with others here, its hard to find areas of my life that haven't been impacted by my faith.

I suppose one area where I can say something unique is that my parents never had the expectation that just because they were Christian that I would automatically be one too. They wanted it to be my choice whether I agreed or disagreed with their beliefs. The result was that rather than telling me things they believed, they encouraged me to ask questions to them and others about what they believe and why. Now, as I've already stated, I have come to agree with them on the major doctrines of Christianity, though there are many issues (I've often heard them called non-essential doctrines in the Christian community) that we do disagree on. But for me one of the most important stages of my life was from the time I was about 11 through high-school, where I decided that if I believed that absolute truth and reason exist, then the proper way to live was to know what those are. This started me on a journey of studying many religions and worldviews alongside scientific discoveries and theories and comparing them to Christianity to see if I really thought Christianity held the truth about the world. Long story short, after study for many years, I have come to the point where I'm not just a Christian because I believe in religion, but I'm a Christian because I think Christianity is true. Without getting too much on my soapbox, I believe there is a monotheistic God who created the universe, who exists in three separate but unified persons, and who became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ to pay the debt of sin that mankind owed to God. Its more complicated than that, but I genuinely believe all those things are true and would be true even if I didn't believe them.

Honestly, this is probably why my religion has such an impact on me. Since I believe its true, I can only view my options as living realistically, which means following Christianity, or live opposed to reality and deny a religion that I think is true, which is madness. I've said before that there is a large part of me that wishes I could not believe Christianity. As much as Christians talk about how good and wonderful our religion is, it also kinda sucks. To be a Christian is to have to admit that your heart is wicked and deceitful, completely lacking in its own goodness, and without the intervention of God it would be impossible for anyone to be a good person. That's terrifying. If I had the option to believe that everyone had some inner goodness and that it was possible for people to escape their own sin and suffering, I would readily choose to believe that instead. This has even led me to the realization that if I didn't think Christianity is true I'd probably be a Buddhist. But since I believe Christianity is true, my only option is to try and live up to its ideals.

I will readily admit that as far as the spectrum of Christianity goes, I'm probably on the more extreme end. I am a creationist who believes in six 24-hour days of divine creation and a world that's only about 6,000 years old; I do believe that people are by their nature completely evil without divine intervention; and I do believe in an eternal Hell where those who aren't Christian will suffer the consequences of their sin for all eternity. But I also believe that God loves everyone with a love so beyond imagination that if we could feel even a fraction of it for one another, all conflict in the world would end. And as such I believe that I must, while I am alive, strive to help give others the same choice I was given, to freely accept or reject the offer of forgiveness of sin that God wishes everyone would accept.

 

Ixthos is right, its way to easy to get overly theological here. Basically, my whole life is impacted by my religion because I believe the only reason I'm still alive is because God has some mission or role He wishes me to play in the world. I genuinely believe that if He didn't have a plan for me, He'd allow me to die so that I could join Him in Heaven, and we'd no longer be separated as we are now. Thus I believe that while I am alive, I need to seek out what God wants me to do with my life and do it as best I can, waiting expectantly for the day when my work is done, and I get to enter into the true life and Resurrection that will be the real world, while this one is merely the prologue of the real life I will live in that Resurrection. Yes, I fail constantly to live up to what God has asked of me. A common criticism of Christianity is that Christians are hypocrites, and I'll tell you right now that that is 100% true. There is not, has not been, and will never be a Christian who is not a hypocrite except for Christ himself. But I also believe that God is abounding in mercy and part of the reason Jesus gave his life was so that my hypocrisy could be forgiven. So I try to live as best I can to overcome that hypocrisy, and try to each day be a better person that I was yesterday. I know I will stumble, and that I will fail, but in the words of Stormlight Archive, which I believe capture the spirit of Christianity more than most realize, "Life Before Death, Strength Before Weakness, Journey Before Destination." "I will take responsibility for what I have done. If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man."

 

 

Alright, that's enough soap boxing for me. Sorry I got poetic in the end there. I hope it can serve to show how passionate I am about this. As I keep saying, to me this is more than just a belief, its truth itself.

Edited by HSuperLee
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2 hours ago, HSuperLee said:

I will readily admit that as far as the spectrum of Christianity goes, I'm probably on the more extreme end. I am a creationist who believes in six 24-hour days of divine creation and a world that's only about 6,000 years old; I do believe that people are by their nature completely evil without divine intervention; and I do believe in an eternal Hell where those who aren't Christian will suffer the consequences of their sin for all eternity. But I also believe that God loves everyone with a love so beyond imagination that if we could feel even a fraction of it for one another, all conflict in the world would end. And as such I believe that I must, while I am alive, strive to help give others the same choice I was given, to freely accept or reject the offer of forgiveness of sin that God wishes everyone would accept.

I would agree with almost all of what you said in your post, but this what stood out to me because I agree wholeheartedly.

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Basically loads of religious trauma that I have to deal with to this day. 

And I shan't say more on the matter! 

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First off, amazing thread.   I love talking about deep topics that are normally frowned upon in modern society! 

I don't know who I would be without my belief in God, I really don't.  I know it affects everything I do, from the way I speak to others, to my priorities in life, even how I think.  Yet, it's not oppressive or a burden in any sort of way.  I want to do it, I'm so grateful to be a child of God that it's all something I'm willing to do happily.  There are of course moments when it would be easier to be like popular culture says you should be, sometimes it's really tempting to dress a certain way so guys will look at you or skip your daily Bible reading session to scroll Instagram.  Yet, it never ends up being worth it, which I think is why I'll always stand by my faith.  It's never been wrong.  If I go against what the Bible says, I usually naturally regret it in the end. 

God has always been there for me.  I've literally seen miracles happen in ways that could literally only be a higher power.  It's led me to have an unshakable trust, one that I'm still building.  Everything and I mean everything, will always work out.

It's also taught me to be nice to everyone, no matter who they are.  Society often paints Christians as intolerant and judgey.  While that is sometimes true, God's Word teaches us to be the opposite. I'm supposed to love my neighbor, period.  It doesn't say I have to agree with what they do, but I'm supposed to love them as I love myself.  This is something that I try to take to heart.      

Also, it gives me permission to have very different dreams of the future than others.  My previous co-workers were truly thrown for a loop that I didn't want a "normal" career, especially since I'm such a hard worker.  I told them I wanted to run a business from my home one day and be a housewife while homeschooling my future kids.  This was basically how I'd grown up and the idea made no sense to them.  I didn't go out and get drunk on the weekend or party, I would usually just stay at home with my family and read a book, which also baffled them.  I was told, "You're young, there's plenty of time to be boring when you're old."  Although to me, that's considered a very pleasant weekend.^_^  

It can make some things harder.  Dating is nigh impossible.  I live in Europe and am very intent on finding someone who shares the same morals/beliefs I do.  I haven't found one yet! 

All in all, I really love being a Christian.  I don't know where I would be without God, as being a slightly nervous personality, I lean on Him so much for my strength.  I've never ever been disappointed.  If anyone wants to discuss any of it further, please DM me!  I'd love to make some friends, whatever your personal beliefs.

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I am one of the LDS posters, although I don't post very much so I doubt you've heard of me. But religion impacts my life extensively, in so many ways big and small I can't even identify them. And since I've always been a practicing Latter-day Saint, I don't know what sort of person I'd be if I weren't.

To start with, my username, which I use all over the internet - Arcadia, California, was where I was assigned when I was a missionary. And I also learned Spanish as a missionary, which I still use occasionally to do this day. I met my wife at church, and all of my friends. There are random things people take for granted (like drinking coffee at work) that I just don't do. When I was in college, at a university run by another faith, Sunday mornings would find me waiting for my ride to church while the entire rest of the campus slept off their hangovers. As someone who sometimes likes and sometimes hates being different from those around me (but different I am, always) these things stand out.

But the most important thing my faith gives me is hope. I believe that each person, everyone who has lived on the earth, is a beloved child of God. My religion teaches that everyone, no matter how they feel they have fallen, still carries the potential for divinity, and that everyone (well, there are a few exceptions but that's getting into deep theology) will continue for eternity in at least some degree of eternal glory. Every person I met will experience joy beyond any earthly understanding, no matter how difficult it is for me to get along with them today. And if that applies to everyone, it applies to me.

Plus, on a somewhat less serious but still important note, I am fascinated by history and the "historical" sciences - astronomy, paleontology, and so on. So while scientists are frustrated that they will never be able to tease out from limited evidence who the Sea Peoples were, or what color the skin of the Platybelodon was, but someday I'll know.

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I think that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days saints has impacted me mostly in a lot of small ways that add up. Mostly, I think that it leads me to people and friends that I have better relationships with and that help me to uphold my values. 

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Thanks for this thread. I'm an atheist so these experiences are completely alien to me, but interesting to read about! 

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Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is part of why I'm active on the shard and read good books and mostly have good grades and am not addicted to trashy romance novels.

Being a member of the Church changes the way I think. In one of my classes it was mentioned that it's very unusual for police officer applicants to have not smoked, drank, done drugs, etc. and I thought that was oddish, because I'm one of those people.

I know, because of my ancestors, that I and my family probably have low alcohol tolerance. If I weren't a member of the Church, I don't think I would know that, and I think it would make it easier for a car accident or something like that to happen at some point in the future because I was drunk.

I know that if my parents and grandparents weren't members of the Church, I wouldn't have as large of a family, as fun of a family, as much connection with my family and family history, or the same parents. I don't know that I would even have one of the same parents. If my family had been different, I probably would have grown up in public school.

Many of my ancestors were converts to the Church and, because of the Church, traveled from Denmark or Sweden or other countries to America.

If my family weren't members of the Church, I might not ever have known about Brandon Sanderson and the Shard, because they learned about Elantris in BYU, and might not have gone there if they weren't members.

These are all the bits I've thought of so far, and I can't guess at all the ways the religion of my ancestors and myself has impacted me.

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Disclaimer, I support people believing whatever they think is right and true, and I don't mean this to be a condemnation of any belief or religion, only to share my own experiences and thoughts. I'm not going to get into the negative much here, but feel free to PM me. 

I was raised LDS, and the impact it had on me was largely negative. I wrote a draft of this post before this one and was actually surprised to find that I couldn't think of much that was positive about it. My faith in God has had many positive effects on me, but not so with the organized religion I was in. I've been much happier and more sure of myself and my Heavenly Parents since I left. 

I think I am impacted for the better by knowing God(s), though not in the way I used to think I did. It reminds me to love people and look for hope and know we can make things better without bringing the ideas of sin or hatred or "wrong" ways to love or to be into it, as long as you're not hurting others. I know there's always someone who loves me and will always love me. I know that no one can choose my path but myself. I know that life is so much more than God, made richer by the fact that they want it to be. We are our own people and I love that. 

Anyway, I'm getting carried away, but yeah! Religion and faith are separate for me, and had different impacts. And I'm so happy to be where I am now. 

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I thought of another pretty significant way my faith has impacted me: How I grieve.  I've been lucky not to lose too many people I love so far, but when I have, it doesn't hurt as much as I think it does for a lot of people.  And that's because with every one of those loved ones, they were Christian, and incredibly strong in their faith.  So yes, it hurts, but it's also lessened because I know I'll see them in heaven when my time comes.  Even when it was the long goodbye, it wasn't, because in a way, it was a goodbye for now.

Just something I've mused on in the past few months.

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I'm really glad this thread is remaining so positive and open - as @Robin Sedai, these sorts of topics can get emotionally charged, but everyone here, regardless of what they believe, is still displaying that virtue regarded so highly in some faiths, being love for one another, and treating one another with respect even when disagreeing. It may be a manifestation of the particular idea behind this thread, that it is fundamentally about how religion has impacted the individual, and so arguments are much harder to make (after all, its a little hard for someone to respond to "religion has helped repair my relationship with my family / given me peace / made me a better person." with "No it hasn't!" when those are particular experiences one person is sharing, just as its hard to counter "religion has broken me" when again you can't argue against someone's pain without knowing more about them and their circumstances and hardships). I hope this thread gets more responses, this has been an interesting read, seeing the commonalities and differences of each person's experiences. Anyhow, to everyone who has posted so far, thank you guys - I personally enjoy discussing religion, and my faith in particular, and its nice to see my favourite forum having such  a discussion where everyone and anyone can contribute :) have a great day or afternoon or evening everyone!

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I agree with everything Ixthos said (thank you for putting it so eloquently @Ixthos!) and I'd like to add that I've been reading every response in this thread, and it has been fascinating to see everyone's wonderfully polite point of view.

I hope this thread gets more replies, and many thanks to everyone who's already replied for indulging my curiosity!

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One really shouldn't shortchange the moderators. They are probably watching this thread like a hawk, waiting for me to mess up... but I'm too slippery for them! They'll never make the charges stick!

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I am indeed Pagan - Kemetic, specifically. (For those who aren't familiar with the term, it is the religious tradition associated with the gods of ancient Egypt.)

I've talked about it pretty openly, both in my AMA thread and the Shard's original Religion thread. Yep, we had one. And it stayed respectful then, too. :D

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For me, as a christian, my God means a lot to me. When I mess up, I know He forgives me and will help me solve the mess one way or another. I am not a very good person, I did things that were wrong at times. Without a good God to guide me through my life, I will hate my father and mother. But after I know God, I came to love them. God's presence is felt by me many times in my life, and miracles happen, sometimes, in answer to my prayers. Jesus is my best friend, so is the Holy Spirit, and Abba Father is my papa who I love dearly. Yes, I can be confused sometimes by what it means to be three persons and yet one God, still God helps me at every stage of my life. I am thankful to God that He saves me from being a completely evil person, and looks forward to spending eternity with Him. It is my prayers that those who are not christians will come to find hope in the Christian God as well.

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