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Old 11-18-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
Have you ever heard of a born again christian who HADN'T transitioned from a miserable situation? Hasn't just about everyone who "Found Jesus" previously been a drug addict, a prisoner, an alcoholic, a sufferer of depression or something like that?
Yes, many. Claiming to be born again around here is as common as dirt around here, from people whose toughest route in life has been anything but. Never a drug addict, prisoner, etc., but merely went to a snake oil tent revival.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Yes, many. Claiming to be born again around here is as common as dirt around here, from people whose toughest route in life has been anything but. Never a drug addict, prisoner, etc., but merely went to a snake oil tent revival.
Severe depression would be one reason they became become born again and depression isn't always noticeable. That's my suspicion.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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trained from birth and fear of hell
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
I think one huge reason has to with psychological survival. Have you ever heard of a born again christian who HADN'T transitioned from a miserable situation? Hasn't just about everyone who "Found Jesus" previously been a drug addict, a prisoner, an alcoholic, a sufferer of depression or something like that?
That's a good point.

My Atheist father was a farmer and had to hire a good number of temporary workers during the harvest. I suspect the people he hired did not have good jobs outside this temp work and may have had other problems like alcoholism.

He said several times that he had seen religion help a lot of people. Even though religion was not for him personally, he always saw religion as a positive thing which can really help people who need it.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Someplace Wonderful
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Originally Posted by mhans123 View Post
What are in your opinion, the main reasons for people to turn to religion? I'm interested in this.
After typical teenage rebellion, one reason might be a need for direction.

As someone facing my mortality due to illness (and maybe attitude), one might be looking for hope.

Many things are possible.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
problems like alcoholism.
religion help a lot of people.
religion as a positive thing which can really help people who need it.
Is "Finding Jesus" a good thing in those cases? Probably.

Happiness trumps reality.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
I don't think many of the posts above address the question in the original post which uses "turn to" as in a transition towards. He isn't asking why people are religious. He's asking how they became religious - excepting religious brainwashing from birth.

I think one huge reason has to with psychological survival. Have you ever heard of a born again christian who HADN'T transitioned from a miserable situation? Hasn't just about everyone who "Found Jesus" previously been a drug addict, a prisoner, an alcoholic, a sufferer of depression or something like that?

I think "Finding Jesus" is a psychological survival mechanism as an alternative to suicide.
An over-simplification IMO but not without merit just the same.

You have only to listen to gospel ditties often sung in such churches, authored by Bill Gaither and the like, to get a sense of the self image and back-story that members of such churches tend to relate to. Lyrics like:

"He (Jesus) made something beautiful out of my life" -- in other words it was ugly before and I kept screwing it up and couldn't get my own act together -- god did it for me. This leads to the sentiment expressed by songs like "Overshadowed":

Quote:
How desolate my life would be,
How dark and dreary my nights and days,
If Jesus' face I did not see,
To brighten all earth's weary ways
People are encouraged to think of themselves as helpless and dependent upon Jesus. Any notions of competency or self sufficiency or personal responsibility are decried as arrogance, proud independence, and rebellion.

So it is not just people with life-and-death or "to be or not to be" issues; it is people who feel inadequate within themselves. People who can't acknowledge and own their own strengths and so need a god to project them upon and to take the responsibility for their own lives that they are afraid to take themselves or no longer have faith that they can pull it off.

Another theme centers around the fear of death, and, at the same time, the problem of suffering. People who have not fully dealt with the fact of their own mortality and are uneasy thinking about it are comforted by the idea of a linear afterlife of sheer bliss. People who are actively suffering (emotionally, existentially, psychologically, physically -- whatever) and who aren't making progress in that department can also tell themselves that if nothing else "every tear will be wiped from their eye, pie in the sky, by and by".
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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You gotta admit this video shows some people who seem VERY happy.


Rock of Ages [Live] - YouTube
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by chuckmann View Post
After typical teenage rebellion, one reason might be a need for direction.
Or just teenage angst / directionlessness / alienation. My eldest brother (no longer upon this mortal coil, alas) was "saved" in his youth from drunkenness but he was mostly looking for something to belong to. He found welcome in the fellowship of a local church which scratched that itch for him as well as carousing with his Navy buddies did. He was not an addictive personality and couldn't hold his liquor in any event, so giving that up was no great loss.

Superficially his carousing looked like "teenage rebellion" but it was simple insecurity. He actually wanted a more socially acceptable way to deal with his loneliness, and religion was perfect for him.

He remained a faithful Christian all his life, served as an elder in his church, etc. It worked for him (at least until it didn't -- when he got that pesky fatal bone cancer diagnosis despite a life of not smoking, chewing, or going with girls that do) and I never had a problem with that. He was a simple guy, always sporting an amiable smile, and I never saw a reason to disabuse him of his illusions.

Churches are full of people like my big bro was, who are essentially good, kind people who don't think deeply, aren't terribly curious and just want to be told what they should do and what is expected. With that settled, they just want to live uncomplicated, untroubled lives. But I think those folks are largely aging away now. Another thing about my brother is that he was probably one of the last vanguard of folks who worked at the same blue collar job their entire lives and retired with a gold watch. For the young these days, life is nowhere near that stable or predictable, nor is their world nearly that homogeneous and simple. It isn't as easy to live in a bubble or echo chamber anymore. Most people of necessity have a higher education and are exposed to too much knowledge of the Real World to evade it to that degree.

So then the question becomes: is religion sufficient to the task of living in the modern world such that people will continue to turn to it in the same numbers as in the past?
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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That was a great post, Mordant. Thanks for writing it.

It sounds like religion was very good for your brother. That's the way it should be.
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