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Why A Christian Is A Christian


chosendarkness
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My personal view is that chances are if you're going to follow a religion, it's going to be the one that's the dominant religion of your society. Even when you experiment with 'foreign' religions there's a good chance are you'll return to the comfort of your culture's religious beliefs. I'm writing this because I hear Christians say all the time how the 'tried' other faiths but found Christianity to be the truth. It seems to me that it feels 'the most true' to them because of where they live.

 

Any thoughts? Also I'd be interested to hear other ideas of why people follow their particular religion.

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My personal view is that chances are if you're going to follow a religion, it's going to be the one that's the dominant religion of your society. Even when you experiment with 'foreign' religions there's a good chance are you'll return to the comfort of your culture's religious beliefs. I'm writing this because I hear Christians say all the time how the 'tried' other faiths but found Christianity to be the truth. It seems to me that it feels 'the most true' to them because of where they live.

 

Any thoughts? Also I'd be interested to hear other ideas of why people follow their particular religion.

 

Not everyone is so deeply influenced by their society. I am not. Many of my friends are not. I have a friend who is a zen Buddhist atheist. I have a couple of Wiccan friends and several generally Pagan friends. There are some religious Jews as well. And a couple Muslims. Most of these came from Christian traditions. My town/state/nation is predominantly Protestant and Catholic Christian.

 

Reasons beyond peer/social/belonging pressure involved authenticity: people gravitating to what rings true for them, or what helps them achieve their goals. While we are certainly social creatures wired for connection, it is not the whole story.

 

Phanta

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I don't plan on every going back to Christianity - I was raised in the Baptist church. I am now a Buddhist.

 

I don't believe in the doctrines of the Christian Church. This is unlikely to change since I haven't believed them for over 10 years now.

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Most christians are christians because they're scared not to be.

 

I agree, that's because they believe it. But it's not their own personal religion like they want to believe. They want to believe they've experienced it or have personally researched it and found the evidence leading to Jesus. It's not their religion though, it's the society's religion. All the experiences and evidence don't lead to the 'truth', they lead to society.

 

It's not a strange coincidence that they're Christians in a Christian country. Yet they still insist that they've checked out the other religions and found Jesus to be real, or have had some experience that they interpret as Jesus or God proving it to them. Whatever the case, they believe they have the only truth, or at least the best religion. Isn't that tribalism?

 

I also agree that not everyone does this, I'm just talking about the majority who do.

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I agree with what the op is saying. You can always find exceptions, but the reality is that the vast majority of religious people just simply absorb the religion of their culture.

 

I have had Christians try to tell me that they studied "all" the other religions and still believe Christianity. When I question them further it's pretty obvious most of them don't even realize how many religions there really are... and their idea's about other religions usually come from what other Christians tell them.

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Most christians are christians because they're scared not to be.

 

I agree with that. I think religion of the land and national affiliation have some of the same attributes for influencing the citizenry. It begins early. In the U.S. you can't swing a cat without hitting a christian church. Thee's VBS and Christmas as stimulators for young minds to assimilate the Jesus story. Bunnies bring candy at Easter. Prayer or "a moment of silence" is observed at a lot of public events..........everywhere you turn it's something affiliated with Chrisitanity. So for most, shunning Christianity would be similar to betraying your country of birth. Sure, you'll get some that view themselves as "world" citizens but on the whole I think people have a strong bond with where they're born and the dominate religion prtacticed there.

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Most Christians are Christian because everyone else around them are Christian. Unless someone actually uses their own curiocity to explore the faiths, then they will just fall back on what everyone else is doing.

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I have had Christians try to tell me that they studied "all" the other religions and still believe Christianity. When I question them further it's pretty obvious most of them don't even realize how many religions there really are... and their idea's about other religions usually come from what other Christians tell them.

 

And Christians have mostly a biased and distorted view of other religions.

 

Most Christians, and indeed, the public at at large, seem to have little or no understanding of what other religions say. They are not taught this anywhere unless maybe they take a class in college.

 

A person must do a great deal of studying on their own to get an idea of what other religions are like.

 

Religion as a whole is not a subject of burning importance to most people, unless something bad happens to them.

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Not everyone is so deeply influenced by their society.

 

Their subculture, perhaps? Trust me, there's always a way to pigeonhole people sociologically. :HaHa:

 

One person was a hardcore Catholic who broke away and eventually became a part of an eclectic subculture. She is a Pagan. I am not. I am a part of that same subculture.

 

I think things are complicated.

 

Phanta

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I agree with what the op is saying. You can always find exceptions, but the reality is that the vast majority of religious people just simply absorb the religion of their culture.

 

 

Well put.

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Most Christians are Christian because everyone else around them are Christian. Unless someone actually uses their own curiocity to explore the faiths, then they will just fall back on what everyone else is doing.

What about those who were NOT brought up in a religious family and never went to church, then have some kind of spiritual experience that they interpret at Jesus visiting them?

 

What about those who DO explore other faiths and come to the conclusion that Christianity is true?

 

These are the kind of people I've been talking to. They see themselves as different than the majority, and refuse to believe that their conversion has anything to do with living in a Christian country. It's a very personal matter to them that most other Christians don't understand because they haven't experience 'the truth' like they have.

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Most Christians are Christian because everyone else around them are Christian. Unless someone actually uses their own curiocity to explore the faiths, then they will just fall back on what everyone else is doing.

What about those who were NOT brought up in a religious family and never went to church, then have some kind of spiritual experience that they interpret at Jesus visiting them?

 

What about those who DO explore other faiths and come to the conclusion that Christianity is true?

 

These are the kind of people I've been talking to. They see themselves as different than the majority, and refuse to believe that their conversion has anything to do with living in a Christian country. It's a very personal matter to them that most other Christians don't understand because they haven't experience 'the truth' like they have.

 

Was everyone around you (the society at large) Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or Christian?

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It is exceedingly rare and difficult to convert someone to Christianity if they had not previously had some prior exposure to it, be it from familial or societal interactions.

 

Even if someone doesn't grow up in church but still grows up in a Christian nation, whenever the god-gene flares up or whatever happens, they'll often interpret it as Jesus. I had seen a people like that, who became Christians and had no idea what it was at first. I was one of them. It seems like it's real at the time, but isn't that because of the part of the world we live in? It seems like Christianity is 'in our blood'. How could it not be with such a strong heritage?

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It is exceedingly rare and difficult to convert someone to Christianity if they had not previously had some prior exposure to it, be it from familial or societal interactions.

 

Even if someone doesn't grow up in church but still grows up in a Christian nation, whenever the god-gene flares up or whatever happens, they'll often interpret it as Jesus. I had seen a people like that, who became Christians and had no idea what it was at first. I was one of them. It seems like it's real at the time, but isn't that because of the part of the world we live in? It seems like Christianity is 'in our blood'. How could it not be with such a strong heritage?

 

It's a form of allelomimetic behavior (don't worry if you can't pronounce it; even the vet who taught me that term couldn't)

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I grew up in christianville christianland Alabama. I found my spiritual experiences to be ANYTHING but christian. Christianity was always pretty dead to me.

Guess I'm the insane anomaly. :shrug:

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I think you make a very valid point. imprinting from parents and society is one of the automatic ( everyone suffers it) parts of life. As we grow older and hopefully wiser we get the opportunity to question that imprinting and find our own truth. Often those who are most attracted to religion ( whichever one) need that little bit of cussioning against the big dark unknown world. People do tend to make religion out of just about anything. I say let them use whatever cructh they need, as long as there is respect for everyone's crutches :D

 

But Yes I agree, fear does tend to rule the majority of those attracted to religion, which in turn would keep them scared to go against the majority of their community society and family. Conformism is a very ingrained human psychological concept.

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I think you make a very valid point. imprinting from parents and society is one of the automatic ( everyone suffers it) parts of life. As we grow older and hopefully wiser we get the opportunity to question that imprinting and find our own truth. Often those who are most attracted to religion ( whichever one) need that little bit of cussioning against the big dark unknown world. People do tend to make religion out of just about anything. I say let them use whatever cructh they need, as long as there is respect for everyone's crutches :D

 

But Yes I agree, fear does tend to rule the majority of those attracted to religion, which in turn would keep them scared to go against the majority of their community society and family. Conformism is a very ingrained human psychological concept.

 

I just think this idea of imprinting from society would be helpful to those trying to deconvert. If they realized WHY it seems so real to them it would be easier to let it go. I didn't have any help deconverting so I had to pretty much figure it all out myself, so it took a very long time.

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Unless someone actually uses their own curiocity to explore the faiths, then they will just fall back on what everyone else is doing.

 

Actually, the Christian homogeneity all around them may do a great deal to amplify the "grass is greener on the other side" effect. Level of formal education may also amplify the effects of whatever innate curiosity they may possess. Furthermore, to go with the old functionalist line about deviant subcultures, alternative solutions are often sought if social needs can't or aren't being met by conventional means (could be used to explain why some kids gravitate towards the punks/goths as opposed to the preps/jocks because of exclusionary practices by the latter group, though that's not the whole story).

 

There is no escaping from sociological factors! No escape! Mwahahahhahahaahahahha!!!!!! :fdevil:

 

 

 

 

 

 

*tongue in cheek

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It is exceedingly rare and difficult to convert someone to Christianity if they had not previously had some prior exposure to it, be it from familial or societal interactions.

 

I once met a former Muslim who claimed to have converted to fundie Christianity after finding out about it on the internet.

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It is exceedingly rare and difficult to convert someone to Christianity if they had not previously had some prior exposure to it, be it from familial or societal interactions.

 

I once met a former Muslim who claimed to have converted to fundie Christianity after finding out about it on the internet.

 

That brings up another discussion because Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are interlinked and derive from one another, but if a Christian were to try to mission in an affluent Hindu community, they most likely aren't going to have too many baptisms; their odds are better of coming back with baptism numbers if they targeted a poorer community, but chances are the converts would just slip back into their former mode once they figure out that they aren't really getting anything better.

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[i once met a former Muslim who claimed to have converted to fundie Christianity after finding out about it on the internet.

That probably happens all the time. Christianity offers something people want and they can relate to it. Obviously it does, it's the most popular religion in the world.

 

You have to hear about it first. but It just takes one time hearing it and then you can become a convert. Why not? Jesus is portrayed as the hero, the people's god. That formula works. It's like a pop music formula, it sells. Christian rappers and Christian teen fiction.

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