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Old 03-17-2014, 10:52 AM
 
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I was thinking about when a person joins a particular religion, does that person lose their sense of self? Religion has many set of rules that their followers must follow. I notice some christians gear their interests and hobbies towards christianity. Can you be your own person when following a religion?
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:17 PM
 
Location: "Arlen" Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pac0900 View Post
I was thinking about when a person joins a particular religion, does that person lose their sense of self? Religion has many set of rules that their followers must follow. I notice some christians gear their interests and hobbies towards christianity. Can you be your own person when following a religion?
Can religion stip people of their identity?
Yes, consider that some cults, all religions are cults btw, have people give up their family and take another name.

I was thinking about when a person joins a particular religion, does that person lose their sense of self?
Not necessarily, depends on how strongly the particular religion tries to control followers.

Can you be your own person when following a religion?
Not entirely. If you agree to be a part of a group that bases its very existence on telling you what to do in order to be saved or to be considered good, how can you fully be your own person?
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
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This is hardly unique to religion -- the same question can be raised about many secular groups too (take for example the many vociferous defenders of political parties, candidates, and platforms). Its also a bit of a cultural bias to think maintaining individuality is preferable to being absorbed into the larger group or society. Many Eastern cultures, for example, perceive the Western need for maintaining Individual identity to be one of our general social flaws, often preferring the "going along to get along" kind of philosophy as a much preferred dominant societal norm. Not to say there isn't an extreme point that both Eastern and Western sensibilities would point to as a dysfunction, but I think generally what we (as non-believing Westerners) may see as "losing their sense of self" in religion, is really a quite natural and healthy human impulse.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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This is kind of like asking if every beverage in a grocery store will get you drunk. Sure some will, but ALL of them? I haven't seen many Unitarians wandering the streets all zombified in neatly pressed white robes.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:05 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Unitarians are the Thomas Kincades of Christianity.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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I think that fundamentalism does this to varying degrees, depending on both the subgroup and the individual involved, but as HopOnPop pointed out, it's not a purely religious phenomenon.

I will say though, that I spent literally a couple of decades becoming more fully my own person after leaving Christian fundamentalism. I had gotten terribly conditioned to groupthink and conformity, more than I realized. You get conditioned not to go to certain places with your thinking and disconnect from many aspects of common sense in order to remain sufficiently blinkered to not have your faith undermined. Your worldview, your politics, your values, are never fully explored. It's rather amazing to come out of something like that, and it explains why so many fight it so mightily -- I think that at some level, they recognize the vast sea change waiting just outside their front door, metaphorically speaking. It's scary and intimidating and also rather a blow to one's ego, because life is not going to let you forget what a dupe you've been for a very, very long time ;-)
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I will say though, that I spent literally a couple of decades becoming more fully my own person after leaving Christian fundamentalism. I had gotten terribly conditioned to groupthink and conformity, more than I realized. You get conditioned not to go to certain places with your thinking and disconnect from many aspects of common sense in order to remain sufficiently blinkered to not have your faith undermined. Your worldview, your politics, your values, are never fully explored. It's rather amazing to come out of something like that, and it explains why so many fight it so mightily -- I think that at some level, they recognize the vast sea change waiting just outside their front door, metaphorically speaking. It's scary and intimidating and also rather a blow to one's ego, because life is not going to let you forget what a dupe you've been for a very, very long time ;-)
I think I'm still becoming my own person too. I wasn't in that fundamentalist of a church. But in college, being religious was a strong part of my identity, and it really was a shock about 2 years after college when I left the church for good. I'd lost a big part of my identity, and didn't know who the hell I really was.

Christianity is comforting because your worth as a person is all on one scale. The moral/Godly versus the immoral/hellbound scale. Even 9 years later, I still subconsciously think this is true. It's hard to accept that on the actual planet Earth, you're judged on many scales. Industrious v. lazy, interesting v. boring, healthy v. slobby, outgoing v. awkward, and more. Plus, even when you try your best to be on the right side of those scales, it doesn't necessarily work out that way - no impartial God will set it straight in the end.

(Those were some very recent thoughts I journaled about. Anyway, I'm only 1 decade in, so looks like I might have 1 decade to go. )
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averysgore View Post
I think I'm still becoming my own person too. I wasn't in that fundamentalist of a church. But in college, being religious was a strong part of my identity, and it really was a shock about 2 years after college when I left the church for good. I'd lost a big part of my identity, and didn't know who the hell I really was.

Christianity is comforting because your worth as a person is all on one scale. The moral/Godly versus the immoral/hellbound scale. Even 9 years later, I still subconsciously think this is true. It's hard to accept that on the actual planet Earth, you're judged on many scales. Industrious v. lazy, interesting v. boring, healthy v. slobby, outgoing v. awkward, and more. Plus, even when you try your best to be on the right side of those scales, it doesn't necessarily work out that way - no impartial God will set it straight in the end.

(Those were some very recent thoughts I journaled about. Anyway, I'm only 1 decade in, so looks like I might have 1 decade to go. )
Yep, it gets better :-)

I haven't really thought about it like you described it, but yes, you do get a lot of juice from that one simple scale. Of course you still have to impress your employer, get good grades, pay your bills, etc., but somehow you can discount a lot of critique from The World as far less valid and valuable than the opinion of your fellow compatriots in faith. And really, the barriers to respect are relatively low within the church. If you have decent attendance and participation, cause no trouble, have no obvious peccadilloes, seem interested and reasonably versed in basic doctrine, pretty much fit in, and are supportive (especially financially), you're good to go. If you're a couple notches above that like I was -- in church like clockwork three times a week, providing service music, some formal theological training, etc., you're literally golden.

I have found "the world" rather harder to impress than that.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: A tropical island
4,567 posts, read 4,436,234 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I think that fundamentalism does this to varying degrees, depending on both the subgroup and the individual involved, but as HopOnPop pointed out, it's not a purely religious phenomenon.

I will say though, that I spent literally a couple of decades becoming more fully my own person after leaving Christian fundamentalism. I had gotten terribly conditioned to groupthink and conformity, more than I realized. You get conditioned not to go to certain places with your thinking and disconnect from many aspects of common sense in order to remain sufficiently blinkered to not have your faith undermined. Your worldview, your politics, your values, are never fully explored. It's rather amazing to come out of something like that, and it explains why so many fight it so mightily -- I think that at some level, they recognize the vast sea change waiting just outside their front door, metaphorically speaking. It's scary and intimidating and also rather a blow to one's ego, because life is not going to let you forget what a dupe you've been for a very, very long time ;-)
You described life after fundamentalism very well. It was (and sometimes still is) a difficult and emotionally painful experience. Oh, to be able to go back and undo the damage those years caused me and my family.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:50 PM
 
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It sure did mine. I never knew who I was until I put Christianity aside.
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