I consider myself to be about as atheistic as one can get.  I was raised Catholic, and went through the normal steps from Baptism to First Holy Communion to Confirmation, but soon after Confirmation my faith began to wane.  I experienced the suicide of several friends and classmates, and subconsciously decided that in my mind God could not exist.  It was like one night I went to bed religious and then the next day I rose as a completely new person, one that didn’t believe in anything he had ever been told in his extremely religious education.

I want to know why religion hasn’t remained a large part of my life.  Almost everyone in my immediate and extended family are religious and have instilled in me religious ideals since I was very young.  This might be part of the reason; these so called religious people, with their racism and perpetual discontent with seemingly everyone did not seem very religious to me, and I believe that pushed me away as well.  I find that despite not being religious I still help others as much as I can, volunteering at the senior center, food bank, and my old elementary school.  I try to be the best person I can be in every situation, and yet I am still not religious.

My first main question, then, is what makes a religious person a religious person, and a non-religious person a non-religious person? Can I be religious despite not belonging to a faith? Am I spiritual but yet not religious? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_but_not_religious). My second question I ask myself quite often is why, despite being surrounded by religion my entire life, have I turned away?  I would love to hear all of your comments on this topic.

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November 15, 2017 2:44 pm

Hi Zach,
I’ve experienced some similar things to you and considering you are looking for insight, I will give you my opinion on the matter. I’m not saying that I’m right or wrong, this is just what I think. I was raised Catholic, but after Confirmation, I found that I no longer agreed with my of the things the Church teaches. I still consider myself a Catholic, but I do not follow many of the practices. I think that you can still be religious or spiritual without actually belonging to a religion. I also believe that you can belong to a religion without following it to the letter. The main reason that I think that in a group with the same background, some can be religious and others nonreligious is that people respond differently to getting a way of life forced upon them. Some indulge in it entirely (this is where many radical religious people fall), some are skeptical and reject the way they were raised for a different yet similar one (this is where I fall), while others hate the idea of having something forced upon them and reject the way they were raised altogether. I’m not sure if this helps, but in short, I am religious because I’ve found my own meaning in being Catholic than is in the traditional meaning, while you may not be religious because you haven’t (or never will/want to) find your own meaning. And that’s ok.

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