DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to offend anyone or start any debates. This was just on my mind and I wanted to share my personal thoughts :)
[It's slightly a rant; not really any organization...Just needed to vent]
I was raised Catholic. After taking confirmation classes, or actually while I was taking the classes, I realized how much I disagreed with everything they were teaching me. I went through the confirmation to please my parents, and once I became old enough to make my own decisions, I went out in search of the meaning of religions-- in hopes to find one that I could maybe fit into. At first it was Lutheranism, then it was atheism, then agnosticism, then Unitarian Universalism, Buddhism, and Hinduism... I have done pretty in depth research on the "most common" religions, and more recently decided I just am not a fan of organized religions in general.
I fully believe everything happens for a reason; everyone has a certain path in life. I LOVE Mother Nature and Earth and deeply believe in respecting both of these things. I believe each of us should find our own personal spiritual beliefs and paths in life, we shouldn't have someone else tell us what it is or how we should live our lives. The thing that bothers me most about organized religion is the brainwashing aspect. Unfortunately, those who are actually brainwashed never really find out or realize what has happened, and they just grow to think that those thoughts are automatically right- despite never looking into anything else or whatever.
I guess I consider myself "lucky enough" to have gotten out of the "brainwashing" aspect of it? I went out on my own to learn and explore other, new options. I could have very well returned to Catholicism, or Christianity in general, but I simply chose not to as I just do not agree with it. But I can't imagine what life would be like if I just stuck with it to stick with it. My belief is that you should only call yourself a part of a religion if you're going to follow through with the whole package, the whole she-bang! For example, people who go to church on Christmas and Easter only and then call themselves good Christians? Absolutely not... You're supposed to go to church EVERY week, not just holidays because everyone else does it. But in the same aspect, you shouldn't just go to church to go to church. If you're going and spouting off random verses and "prayers" without any feeling at all, why are you even at church? You're supposed to go to FEEL God; you're supposed to FEEL involved- emotionally, spiritually, and physically. So many people have fallen into the routine lifestyle that "Well we have to go to church EVERY Sunday." It shouldn't be a chore. You should go because you WANT to! So if you can't even handle that, why would you call yourself something you're not?
One thing I really like about the UU church is that their message (at least the one I've been to here in Winona) is that each person can find their own personal feelings and path with God or whomever they want, and everyone else should just support their choices and their paths, even if it's different than what they believe. Organized religion usually has so many rules, guidelines, consequences... so many restrictions! I, personally, don't understand how someone can live with so many of those. Life should be simple: treat others with love and respect, find your own path on your own without someone forcing to do it, and don't judge those other lifestyles. Obviously I am not perfect, and I've had my share of hating on other religions- I am human after all! But I'm just trying to say that we should all become more aware of these things and look at it from a different perspective... And try not to get brainwashed or brainwash your kids ;)
There are so many complicated topics and subjects, as religion is a very touchy topic, (actually I'm surprised I'm even posting this as I'm sure I'll receive the wrath of my religious loved ones :P), but I had to get it out there!
My favorite life quote is this: