After just celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, I have been thinking a lot about religion….
In the U.S., parents generally no longer determine a child’s profession, whom they marry, where they live, what they study, who their friends are, etc. … but parents still determine their child’s religion — arguable one of the most important aspects of someone’s life and soul. why?
there are many great religions out there — why are most people’s religion chosen by one’s parents?
and though some religions simultaneous act as cultures — like the Jewish culture — culture is much different then religion. culture is much more about your background and where your ancestors came from — and one should celebrate that. but religion is much more about who *you* are.
Now many people change their religion or convert to a new religion then their parents — but they are a very small minority. The biggest predictor of a person’s religion is what their parents’ religion is (and the only time people tend to change their religion is right before marriage). That’s not as true in profession, field of study, favorite hobbies, favorite authors, or even political party.
Why? Why don’t people choose a religion for themselves?
In large part, one’s religious committment is based on past experience — including habits formed and continuous indoctrination, but more specifically feelings felt and relationships formed (with God and others in the same faith).
Because of my parents, I am in the habit of attending church every Sunday, and because of the things they taught me, I have my core beliefs. Even the Bible itself states that your theory is true: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
However, it is the experiences that *I* myself have had over the years (in the midst of creating habits with my parents) that cause me to stay in the same religion.
I even left church altogether for several years, but eventually found myself drawn back because I missed my relationships and experiences.
Maybe that’s just me, though…
If “religion” is how one relates to God, then the very phrasing of the question as “choosing your religion” is problematic because it essentially implies the ability to “choose God”. If God IS, then the choice seems pretty clear.
That is how it struck me, when I, a Jew, became a Christian. My parents asked, “why not choose your own?” and the answer, of course, is that I did — in fact, I became MORE of who I am and was not necessarily a “choice” because it was simply TRUE (and Good).
But I suppose you can always choose to avoid or even reject what is true and good, just like you can choose to place your hand on the stove you know will burn you.
Actually, sometimes people do choose their own religion… i’d say i’ve pretty much done that. In my case it’s more of a secular humanism / buddhist / shinto combination — whatever the hell that means. non-denominational agnostic spirituality, perhaps? Actually, i guess my religion could best be described by the title of a book/musical by Marlo Thomas called Free to be You & Me.
Yeah, that’s my religion 🙂
(hmm. this is interesting. i’m gonna write more about this topic on my blog….)
I would like to find out more of what you are doing and what your thoughts are.
As you see, I’m a Bisgeier also. I didn’t think there were there was anyone else but me.
Hi Diane & Stan-
My maiden name is Bisgeier. Latey, I’ve gotten interested in finding out more about us. I live in NJ. I am a descendent of Charles Bisgeier, who had seven children in Austria/Poland. Three generations later, that was more than enough Bisgeiers for all of us! But now I’m googling our name and learnng that there so much more….
I am Stanley Bisgeier. I’m the son of Max Bisgeier who was born in Austria/Poland, in a little town called Mieletz. His father was Pincus Bisgeier.
From what I recall, Pincus had a few brothers. When they came to this country their names got misspelled. There is a Maurice Bisgeir (I think that’s the way his name is spelled). Maurice was a chess master. He wrote a few books on the subject.
You can contact me and I will try to add to this family tree. It is great knowing there is another Bisgeier out there.
THIS IS FOR STAN BISGEIER ONLY: If you lived in NJ in the ’50s and dated a Douglass girl named Gail Malovany (that’s my maiden name), I’d love to hear from you.
(Then I can explain how I came across your posting on this site.)
I have so many questions about religion. I am going to a Christian church now and this week will be my last week. I am having spiritual confusion and would like some help in choosing or not. I just believe that you should help, be kind and live your life peacefully. I guess I just will continue living that way and look into meditation and trying to find myself.