1239 His Destiny.

I was wildly amused when Jo gave Mike the six guns. Pew pew!

Well, the pizza thing took us to a lot of places in the comments. I don’t understand what it is about pizza that makes how you eat it so important to people. Are there any other foods like that? Maybe pizza is the only one that’s contested in any real way… Anyway, it’s strange. I almost never encounter pizza that I feel can be eaten without tools. I choose not to risk my clothes and hands getting greasy whenever possible. I’m a little obsessive about having clean hands since I use them with sensitive electronics.

A few people mentioned Jewishness in their comments. Those were interesting since I rarely encounter for real Jews. They are still pretty rare in the Midwest, plus you can’t pick them out of a crowd by looking. Unless get see an ultra rare Hassidic Jew. They are the shinies of Jewishness. Anyway, if any of you want to tell me stories of your not Christian upbringings I would be interested in reading them. That also goes for Catholics and what have you too. I was raised some in some kind of generic version of Christianity that didn’t have a lot of line dancing, or whatever it is Catholics do. Honestly I think I met more Mormons than anything else. At least in so far as people who wanted desperately to tell me about their belief system. Of course they never told me tales of actually being raised Mormon, which I would have found more interesting, in all honesty. Anyway, tales of your childhoods, whatever your faith, or not faith might be. I would like to read them please.


I guess if you have Roman Catholic questions, you can ask me. I struggle a lot with what I do and don’t believe in, but I’m “cradle Catholic” with very religious parents(dad almost became a priest), so I know a lot of basic theology. I don’t really mind questions but occasionally I feel awkward trying to explain anything on the internet.

I remember being sent to some sort of Sunday school as a child “so he can make his own decision about religion”. I was invited not to come back after my first visit — apparently I asked too many questions? I vaguely recall being somewhat puzzled about why asking questions in school wasn’t ok, but happy that my Dad was so pleased — decades later he still occasionally tells the story with distinct paternal pride.

I had some sort of surgery on my penis on the kitchen table as a child that stopped me from wetting the bed.

Another more coherent set of random memories (I don’t have many from anything that could reasonably confused with childhood). Perhaps more interestingly, I had heart surgery when I was about nine and, skipping over the little physical traumas in the interest of brevity, I was asked to talk to a bunch of medical students about the experience after I had recovered. First question was something brilliant along the lines of “What was the surgery like?” to which I responded with “I don’t know I wasn’t there”. I can see the humor of it now, but having a lecture hall full of people laughing at me was … searing … I did not stay for further questions. I don’t think I even started to get over the fear of public speaking or other forms of being ‘on stage’ until I was in grad school … thank Tim Berners-Lee for the web … sorry about the incoherence – I should be asleep, but I hope that was of some interest … a tiny return for all the entertainment you’ve provided over the years.

Welp, since Jewishness got thrown in, I’ll take a stab at it. Hopefully I won’t make myself look like an idiot…

Family and I are Modern Orthodox, and as far as I can remember I’ve kept kosher all my life.

There isn’t much explanation about the guidelines of kashrut, especially in the Bible/Torah, other than there being a concept of “unclean animals” (Mr. Bruceski gave a good practical explanation of that in his comments on the previous page), but there’s a great deal of discussion (when is there ever not with Jews :P).

My own personal idea about it is that giving yourself restrictions gives you a certain mindset of self-restraint, if that makes sense, that comes from avoiding stuff that one might consider decadent. I realize you can ask how, say, bacon or a cheeseburger qualify as decadent, and I get that I have a different perspective on that than many people reading this probably do, since I didn’t grow up eating those. I imagine it’s a little like how someone who became a vegetarian might feel about meat, if they did it on something other than moral grounds.

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I REALLY wish I could try some food or other (e.g. I’m curious about shellfish), but it’s just not important enough to me.

Also, seriously, if you’re eating pizza that is physically impossible to eat without utensils without making a mess, then maybe you’re eating the wrong kind of pizza.

I’ve eaten of the forbidden fruits. I don’t think we are missing much on pork. It tastes all grimy and if left to sit too long the juices can get inside the noodles or whatever you are eating as the side and then it sorta tastes like the back of your throat after a nap that makes you want to brush your teeth. Ham and ribs probably aren’t like that, but turkey ham and beef ribs are better, IMO. Clams and breaded shrimp were good, I think I had those about 9 years ago? That kind of sucks. I’ve had crab about a decade ago, too. I probably haven’t had pig for the same amount of time except a couple mostly accidental incidents where little was ingested. So I’m going off of long memory here, but there you go.

I only keep soft Kosher, though. I’ll eat meat in restaurants and meat+cheese and I don’t use a different fridge from my pork eating roommate or anything and while I wouldn’t eat an animal I knew wasn’t drained or something like that I don’t really check the cut. But I stay away from unclean animals.

I think the self-restraint thing is likely part of it. Sometimes it is a reminder of living under covenants, maybe. Like how people rely on tzitzit to remind them of the law, (which
I own, but don’t wear.) Part of it was probably health, too. A lot of the food banned have various diseases and parasites that are far less of a problem today than they would have been in the past.

For pizza, I take my first bite on the tip where you normally start. Then I eat the corners off the crust. Then I go back to the thin end where I started and work my way up.

Well, if you’ve never eaten certain foods it’s entirely possible that you will get sick because your stomach doesn’t have the enzymes to break down that particular food. My girlfriend used to eat chicken, pork and beef. But now that she’s been vegan for a few years, if she eats anything that has chicken, beef or pork in it she gets sick. So approach with caution.

But if you’re gonna take the plunge, do it right and try some bacon-wrapped scallops. NYOMNYOM.

Beware ye all who enter the Internet.

Isn’t that what it said over the Gates of Hell in Stig’s Inferno?

If not, close enough. Anyway, go thou and be damned:

More like Dr. Seus from the original Planet of the Apes, the one with Charlton “Moses” Heston.

Actually, I was referring to the quotation @the man who knows all paraphrased above. I believe you’re thinking of Jo’s MQotD of (not Dr. Seuss who wrote and illustrated children’s books), which I defined below.

I am a Mormon, and I was raised Mormon. My parents didn’t make a huge deal of letting me choose what religion I wanted to live, but they did make me aware that it was a choice and it was something that I had to feel.
I remember going to Primary, which is Sunday School for children aged 3-12, and then going to Sunday School once I turned 12. This was in addition to a big meeting with the entire congregation called Sacrament Meeting.
Honestly, being a Mormon (or LDS as some people prefer to be called) is not the easiest religion because a lot of people give us a lot of crap because we don’t believe in a lot of the ‘popular freedoms’ of today’s world. But I know what I believe, and I honest to goodness know that it is true. This doesn’t mean I’m going to condemn you for belonging to another faith or having a different set of morals from me (though it does break my heart whenever people bring up the Mormons who do condemn others for believing differently). I have friends who are not Mormon, who are gay, and who drink alcohol and smoke and do all the things that I have been taught not to do. And that’s okay.
I know what I believe, and I know that it is true. My only wish is that people would just be more tolerant of each other, especially when it comes to religion.

So, yeah. I suppose if you have questions, you are free to ask. I’ll answer to the best of my ability.

If it helps, I’ve never had a negative run in with a Mormon. Catholicism is another one of those religions people hate on, and while I’m not as certain in my faith as you are, I’ll hardly fault you for believing differently. A lot of people hide behind religion as an excuse to be hateful and judgmental of others, that’s the only sort of “religious” person I have issue with. I personally will never give someone grief over what they do or don’t believe in so long as they don’t make life harder on others because of what they believe.
(Up until recently, I actually really hated other Catholics for the most part. Before I changed churches, I was stuck in one of the most vicious, ill tempered, and unkind churches I’ve ever encountered. Didn’t help I’d gone to elementary school there. They still look at me like I’m some sort of disease when I go there.)

I have some problems with Catholicism, but for the most part there’s a lot of respect there. It is by far the most charitable organization on the planet and that gets a lot of traction with me.

A lot of people find it to be the greediest religion, and I won’t say that there isn’t some merit to that, at least when it comes to some dioceses and parishes. My current parish had organizations that work rather constantly to help those less fortunate, both within and outside of our parish. I find them to be a much more loving and charitable bunch than the parish I mostly grew up in, which made me to feel like an outcast and a freak for not being from an upper class “Stepford” family.

Pizza’s going to be a popular topic because it’s relatable: everybody eats. Moreover, although most pizza places aren’t kosher, it is possible to make pizzas that are kosher – to use a specific example to illustrate that pizza can be made universal. It’s something everyone can have an informed opinion on. And you can have a different opinion than me and I won’t even be mad!

Personally: if I don’t want grease, I go thin crust. If I’m going to use utensils I’ll head to Uno’s for a deep dish, or just suck it up and get a calzone. If I want regular, chewy, filling, and good pizza, I have a couple local options and a couple options in each of the cities I’ve frequented over the last decade or so.

People have different religions, races, ethnicities, philosophies, cultures; but everybody eats. If you want to start understanding someone different from you, eat with them – or at least ask them about food.

I mentioned Hungry Howie’s pizza in Pensacola, FL. In all reality, their calzones were what really impressed me. I have yet to find another calzone that had vegetables, such as they were, baked into it.

No other kind of place I’ve been to had calzones prepared like that.

Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick, NJ did (maybe still does? It’s been 30 years since I was there) amazing strombolis, with all sort of fillings including honest-to-gosh veggies. They would put similar fillings into their calzones, which were marginally smaller. *sigh* Oh the nostalgia.

If you ever find yourself in Cleveland, Ohio, look up Sainato’s Pizza. Their veggie calzone is AMAZING. Lots of big pieces baked in a chewy crust with cheese inside, no sauce, and a piece of broccoli baked on top so you know it’s a veggie. It’s pretty close to my house, and I don’t go nearly enough for my taste.

A little more generic, but I think I could eat cardboard if you put enough of Papa John’s garlic butter on it.

Our local Chabad rabbi makes the best (and only) kosher pizza in town. It’s amazingly delicious. I’ve heard he makes sushi too but I’ve yet to try some

“And you can have a different opinion than me and I won’t even be mad!”

Pineapple on pizza is still a hot topic for some.

I grew up for a while as a common christian deal, but eventually decided that I wasn’t about that life anymore.
then I come to find out my mother used to be real into Paganism. so I was into that for a bit. it’s actually pretty interesting, even if you don’t think it has any impact on real life.

Grew up pretty much the epitome of über-Christian / stick on the mid / asshole you could imagine.
Deserted it as soon as I turned 18 and my dad kicked me out.
You want more detail(s)? Ask.

I was raised Catholic, and we stuck pretty well to the traditions up until my brother and sister and I were in high school, when we kinda did our own thing. Of course, it was a Catholic high school, so that just means we didn’t go to mass every Sunday anymore. Our folks always made sure to give us answers for any questions we had about practices or beliefs, and since they treated us like we could understand them we got the mature, grown-up, well-reasoned answer, most times with historical background. As such, we matured faith-wise more quickly than the other kids our age. We were all interested in other beliefs and cultures and histories, and as such we’ve all read and researched the main religions and quite a few of the smaller ones along with some denominational differences. So, it should be evident that when I say we all chose to be confirmed as Catholics (with zero forcing from our folks), we knew what we were doing. So, any questions for a Catholic, ask away.

As far as pizza goes, my mom’s folks are from Boston, so we learned to fold our pizza like yankees. However, very deep dish pizza definitely gets utensils. And pepperoni and pineapple are the best toppings. I completely agree that Papa John’s is gross, and their breadsticks are even worst. It’s straight up stale crust! Awful! I prefer Domino’s generally, though the Pizza Hut deep dish pizza is really good. Of course, I much prefer making my own, but if there’s not enough time/money/motivation Domino’s or Little Cesar’s are my go-to places.

My parents are both atheists/agnostics, so religion has never been a big part of my life. A few years ago I started reading the bible (possibly OT, not sure), decided it wasn’t my thing and stopped reading. At some point I intend to get round to reading the texts of various other religions. What I’ve heard of Buddhism sounds appealing. My only personal experiences with religion were the times when i stayed with my born again christian grandma over the weekend, and went with her to church on Sunday. I didn’t like that we only got a little glass of red cordial (I was young, I vaguely understood the symbolism thing, but I was thirsty). Oh, and one time some guys knocked on the door while I was home alone and gave me some pamphlets, they didn’t seem as bad as everyone makes out.

The Bible is a really awful book to read if you’re not really trying to get it. Genesis is a decent book to start with, but it has its flaws. Once you get past that, it’s a real slog until you get to, say, Esther. After that it becomes a slog again. If you’re really searching for something, or really willing to find out the meaning, everything has its place. It’s completely meaningless to those who are just picking it up early on.

The New Testament is a really easy read, by comparison, and the first four books feature Jesus, who is the Christian star of the show. I guarantee if you just go over the first few books of the New Testament, there’s a good chance you’ll know more about Jesus than a lot of Christians who, for whatever reason, never pick up their Bible.

WWJD, indeed… I am more interested in knowing what Jesus DID do.

I will mention that Job is one of my all-time favorite Old Testament books. Once you get past the part that you’ll likely know from Sunday school, it becomes really interesting. I love that book.

One of the key things to remember when reading the Bible is that the Old Testament is a history of a people. Some people bring out obscure references from the laws of Moses or things different leaders did to “prove” their point (whether that be “gays are going to hell” or “religion is stupid”), when really i’s just a record of what happened. If you really want to understand it, keep up with a history of the area at the time as you’re reading. Keeps you aware of the underlying meaning of what is happening. Moses and Joshua get really interesting when you start looking up what was going on in the region at the time.

Well, it’s kinda half that.

Jewish scholars hold the opinion that the Torah should not be taken as a literal account of what happened (e.g., parts are not in chronological order), and is largely full of lessons to be learned, so to speak.

There’s no denying that the Old Testament is confusing and that taking it as-is is asking for trouble. It’s full of hints, odd phraseology, names that don’t match up, and probably contradictions I can’t think of at the moment. Which is why there’s a crap-ton of “Oral Torah” (the Talmud, and the tons upon TONS of commentary on the Torah, the Talmud, etc.). The Old Testament was, according to us, never supposed to be taken as a word-for-word.


Reading your English Bible won’t help you REALLY learn any Torah.

My mom was from a strict Catholic family/town/community, catholic girls’ school, etc. She married an agnostic and was ex-communicated. I was disliked by all of my cousins because I *didn’t* have the dogma to deal with. They’d be stuck in sunday school, attending catholic schools (however there was more sex and drugs at them than at mine, go figure), attending mass, whatever. I …. didn’t. No church, no religion. I have waivered between calling myself agnostic and atheist and pagan and a bunch of other names. It’s never been because I actually believe that I am pagan/buddhist what-have-you, but rather what was more likely to either get me out of something I didn’t want, or into something I did.

Ever since I was a small child I’ve always thought, and was raised, to believe that IF there is a God, he’s too busy for me, and I won’t worry about him if he doesnt’ worry about me. Growing up I always thought I was too smart to fall for that whole “God thing”. Then I met my wife, dated her and found myself going “God… IF you exist, I could REALLY use some help here…. we don’t NEED a kid right now.” :p

If anyone is wondering, Brooksie’s MQotD is from the original, 1968 release of Planet of the Apes:

Taylor: A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer.

Zaius: Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.

There are three (or) more things you should never discuss on Interwebz Forumz: sex, religion and food. Never discuss, that is, if you never want to get any hits. Pizza is Purina Geek Chow, which probably says a lot about this audience.

Mom was raised a member of the United Methodist Church, Dad was brought up Lutheran. I was raised as a Unitarian Universalist, which in the Liberal Northeast is about as far from Christianity as you can get and still be considered Christian (and a lot of religions and sects consider it anything but Christian). It’s probably been 45 years since I’ve been to a service, but I don’t recall much discussion of God or Christ. What I do recall is a lot of politics and finance (Dad was the treasurer). In the late 1960s they moved from a borrowed elementary school to a brandy-new church. I don’t recall when we stopped going, but I think I was in my early teens and my middle brother and I had declared ourselves atheists.

Yes, I’m one of those awful excuses for a human being. I’m the soulless bastard, devoid of conscience or morals, who defiles your daughters and corrupts your sons. Only, that’s not me. My moral compass probably points to a truer North than that of most people. I do have a conscience, one that bothers me and won’t let me sleep if a clerk gives me too much change. I live by the Golden Rule — Do unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You. I consider the consequences before I do almost anything; cause and effect rules my life. Which isn’t to say I’m blameless, but I think I have less to regret than many. What I don’t have is a tenet that says I have to forgive and forget. I carry grudges for decades. If you wrong me deliberately or carelessly, in my book you’re an a$$h0le for life.

When I was in College (the second time around) some Bible-thumping moron insisted that I had to believe in something. After some argument, I told him that I firmly believed that he was an idiot. He left, delighted that he had made another convert. Anyway, Robert A. Heinlein created a fictional near-immortal named Lazarus Long in his novel Methuselah’s Children. Living so many years, Long became quite a philosopher, and Heinlein created a number of quotes attributed to him. In a riff on the Lazarus Long meme, novelist David Gerrold (ST: TOS, The Trouble With Tribbles) created his own philosopher, Solomon Short, who became Gerrold’s voice. To him I attribute this quote, which reflects my own philosophy:

“Frankly, I’m an agnostic. I believe the Universe is innocent until proven guilty.”

Movie Quote of the Day.
Because I know someone was wondering.

I am not regularly on the comments page but I figured I’d post this.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or as the more common slang term, a Mormon.

I think I grew up pretty much like most people, my main difference being I am an Air Force Brat more than being Mormon. As far as “cultural” differences go, the main thing I can remember is that we are not supposed to smoke, drink alcohol, coffee or tea & not use drugs. The coffee/tea thing gets alot of head scratching from non-members but it is part of avoiding addictive substances & such. How strict one is depends on the individual. I drink Pepsi & Dr. Pepper (my Texas roots showing) from time to time but I try not to make a habit of it. I know the pain of Caffeine headaches & try limit myself or stick with caffeine free.

Unlike other members of my faith I tended not to talk about it because I was already picked on in school for being fat & nerdy. The few times I mentioned I was a Mormon aside from snickers I’d get comments like “your the guys with the weird commercials”, “I heard you build spaceships under your temples”, I thought you guys wear black clothes & can’t eat cheese”, and the ever popular “How many wives does your father have?”. Yes, those were real statements. Even now I cringe at the multiple wives comments because of how many people connect those wacko perverts out west that marry 13-14 year old girls with us. It’s like comparing some anti-government militia group with the Boy Scouts.

Since I stepped on that land mine I might as talk briefly about it. Now this is as know it & I might get details wrong but here I go. The multiple wives thing started when the early LDS church was fleeing to Utah. Missouri had enacted what I have heard called the “Extermination Order” basically saying you can beat, kill or steal from a Mormon & not get prosecuted in court. In addition to being viewed as religious heretics, we were abolitionists. So many men had been killed that we had alot of widows & orphans to take care of. Looking through the scriptures found nothing against polygamy & examples of people practicing it. Widows would be paired up with someone who could support her & her kids. If ANYONE in the situation wasn’t ok with it, it was called off. When they got to Utah & settled down the practice continued, with out it being for widows. Eventually, when the Utah territory came under US direct control, the US government tried to stamp it out. Polygamy has been against church rules for over 100 years now & is an excommunicationable offense. Some splinter groups still practice some mutant form of it, but it is NOT something the LDS church now tolerates.

Other differences are that we generally try to hold ourselves to a stricter standard so R rated movies are right out. Some types of music (because of dirty or violent lyrics) we try to avoid. Dress a bit modestly. Stuff like that. So some cultural things we might be a little outside on. We think the Boy Scouts are cool & so most young men in our church join them. We usually have several other voluntary church activities (usually for the youth) during the week, not just on Sunday. We generally believe the Constitution of the US is a document inspired by God & are generally flag waving patriotic, in fact I have heard that you will find a higher concentration of Mormons in the military than in civilian life.

We are not supposed to go around pointing our fingers & “condemning people to hell for their sinful ways” or some such thing. I guess you could say we try to be the “Goody goody, Leave it to beaver” Christians. HOWEVER, please remember we are HUMAN. This is the ideal we strive for but like all humans we fail & we have our bad apples & our indefferent people too.

As Bill S. Preston & Ted Theodore Logan said, Be Excellent to One Another.

I don’t know if this helps, maybe I just did weird rambling rant that did more harm than good?

Basically if I didn’t tell someone I was Mormon I really didn’t stand out as that unusual. In fact I surprised my RPG gaming group when I mentioned that I was Mormon once. Anyways, this is my experience, as they say Your Mileage May Vary.

I’m a mormon too, Utah raised, born in the religion. Not really sure what I should say, but just thought I’d mention it.

On the pizza thing, the only food I’ve found that has anywhere near the number of hangups on how you eat it, what is correct is spaghetti.

I was raised in an uber strict catholic household but I never ever ever even once believed any of it. I was skeptical from the moment I could understand speech. I was forced to attend church and catechism classes. I was forced to learn lies such as the reason for my existence being “to know love and serve god”. In the very same lesson I was told that god was unknowable. The last time I was in church save for weddings and funerals I was 12. One day I had enough. I bolted out of the car at the top of the driveway and ran. My father chased me for a few moments but realizing that they would all be late for church left without me. I recieved a severe beating upon thier return. (which I would have gotten for something or other anyway) Next Sunday I did the same thing with the same results the third Sunday they did not even bother waking me up. I had won. I have been a free thinker, questioning everything ever since. I have great respect for both the art you share and the manner in which you share your life perspective with us. I wish you happiness.

I was raised with my parents’ take on atheism…which was – there is no god, but reincarnation is totally a thing, and karma, and a few other things. I never thought much about any of it until I started school and kids stopped talking to me because I didn’t pray at lunch, or, if they forgave the fact that I don’t pray, it was shakily walked around and ignored, or they would still be my *friend* but would sit me down at every possible opportunity and tell me all of the reasons why I should accept Jesus into my heart as lord and savior.

I did think about it, from a pretty early age…I thought about the concept of a god, thought about heaven and hell, thought about what I did know, and did go to church with a friend once to see what it was like. I thought about everything that I don’t know. I tried, honestly tried, to feel the presence of some greater power. I think I was about eight when, thinking about it, I went back to what my parents liked to tell me, about past lives and that’s totally why you have water/drowning paranoia, you died in water recently – and decided that I didn’t think that there was any sort of god/all powerful being, and if there wasn’t anything like that, how in the world could something like reincarnation happen? Karma…that’s just how you define it. Your actions define you and the world around you, I believe, so take responsibility, and sometimes, that comes back around to bite you in the ass, sometimes it opens good things – but then, I think that sometimes, shit happens. Because of every other little thing that has ever happened, shit happens.

So, from about eight years old, I was…not religious, really, in any way. I couldn’t discuss with my parents, or be open about how I don’t go in for reincarnation and such, because that would set me up for having to listen about all the reasons why I’m wrong about that, except from my mother about how many lives she has lived instead of some other person about how awesome the bible is.

I have always been very, very quiet about my beliefs and the reasons behind them. I don’t bring it up, and when pressed, or in a situation where I feel like I absolutely must say something (manager: man, wtf do atheists say after people sneeze? it must get so weird and complicated. me: …….I say bless you? *shrug*) I feel incredibly awkward about it.

I’m 27 now, and after life experiences and these conversations, I don’t like using the term ‘atheist’ very much. I tend to term myself, when forced to do so, as “non-religious.” I am not a militant atheist; I know many who will go right back at the people trying to convert with all the reasons why they’re wrong and how cruel his/her god may or may not be, think outside of the box, man!, blah blah blah. Not my thing, and I honestly don’t like people expecting me to be like that. I think you can have your spiritual side…and I’m open to changes. I am not agnostic or actively questioning, but if anything ever came up to show me, in my life, 100% that there is some higher power, I’m all right with that. I have moments where I try to feel for a god or some power, because of whatever other bs is going on in my life, but…I just don’t feel it. Don’t experience it. And this is where I am now. I am a pile of meat and electricity, stuck on a rock that is whipping through space, and one day, I will die.

I am okay with that.

And you can say “bless you” when I sneeze without me getting all sorts of offended.

So, there’s my background with the whole thing.

I was raised Lutheran, and for a Christian faith, they’re decently liberal. I’ve heard that at least one of the Lutheran sects in the US has ordained LGBT clergy and whatnot, and that’s the sect that my childhood church belongs to. Anyway, off topic. Since I’ve been in college, what with Sundays being the high holy homework day and Saturdays being football and usually work and all, going to church just hasn’t really been a priority. I go to some services with my parents when I come home, but for the most part church just isn’t a thing in my life anymore.

I think that should make me sadder than it really does. Honestly I think it’s been good for me, like, I’ve had a chance to form my own opinions. I’ll refrain from sharing those in detail because I don’t want to start those shenanigans, but I’ll just say that I have ended up so far in the agnostic range of things. I have kept the basic moral code that religion taught me from a young age, which is the entire point of religion I believe, and I don’t get all upset if people say “bless you” when I sneeze and whatever, I’m just not as Christian as I once was.

But yeah. There’s my religious background.

I was raised as a Baptist Christian, and have pretty much stuck to the Christian part. I have somewhat walked away from the Baptist aspect, but I am still convinced that my God is a real person.

Religion, to me, is a tool. It is a thing that man created for the sake of keeping himself in check. Religion is not what “saves” a person.

Anyway, let me back up and start more with my experience. I would go to church regularly. There was never really a time when I disliked it outright. I was sort of an outcast growing up, though. I never really thought of it as anyone’s fault. Part of it is because I used to pick my nose and eat my boogers. Because of this, I just never fit anywhere. Even so, I was always scared to tell people about Jesus, even though I believed in him. I felt like I was doing something wrong because I was scared to do so.

I also felt like I was missing something. I never could quite put my finger on it. For all of this stuff I was doing, I should be feeling better, right? I think I had more hope than anything tangible.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of the biggest positive things in my life was my family. My parents are both still together, and my brothers and I get along. We used to fight quite a lot. We eventually matured out of that. I’m the only one of us three that isn’t married, but we all like who everyone married, as well. There is a tremendous sense of inclusion within our family, and it really helped me, even though I was being a teenager and was particularly given to my impulses of independence as I was growing up.

So, I suppose who am I was, on some level, formed by the church. Nevertheless, there came a point where I had to make a decision on my own. I have a similar outlook on sex as it relates to marriage, so let me explore that, since I think it will be easier to relate to.

I am 35 and am still a virgin. Did I choose this because of religion? Yes, and no. No, because I know many of my friends and peers chose to have sex before they were married. They had just as much religion as I did, but I made a different choice. So, does that make me more righteous? The short version is, “No.” This is already a long post, so I’ll forgo that discussion for now.

So, what exactly is it that I gain by being a virgin if not righteousness? Honestly, I’m not sure. I only have other people’s stories to relate to in this regard. So, why stick with my conviction? Because I want to find out. I am willing to sacrifice having a sexual experience in my youth to find out if there is a greater benefit to saving myself for marriage. Having given my age, some of you are chuckling to yourself, “Lol! Hate to tell you, bro. Your youth is already spent!”

So, again, why stay so close to my convictions?

Again, my answer is because I want to know. Since you asked twice, I’ll also give you a little bit more, by asking you a question. What if I don’t know best?

I’ll close with this. I’m not making decisions based on having nothing to work with. To say more is to begin to preach. That’s not the point of this post. I think I have found something, but it’s not necessarily an answer. I do believe, however, that it points to an answer. For me, my “religion” is a journey to understand who the God of the Bible really is.

Raised Catholic, albeit pretty loosely. My parents’ idea of a deity was always closer to a Buddhist one than anything else, actually.

After a certain event in my life, I gave up believing in anything. It was out of pain and anger, but as I got more and more interested in the sciences (studying genetics nowadays), the more I came to realize that, logically, it made no sense TO ME that there was a deity looking out for us.

I can see why many people believe, and that’s fine. I respect your right to believe in what you want. Unfortunately, I live in a primarily Catholic country, in a state where if you’re not religious, you’re a sinner and a pariah.

Makes it hard to be tolerant sometimes, but I figure if I can’t tolerate a few overly religious people, I might as well get out of the healthcare business. These are among the people I’ll try to be helping, after all.

Another food you could argue about how to eat is spaghetti..

All those blasphemers that use a spoon to help twirl– or cut it up should not be allowed to touch it. :)

There was a girl I liked in high school (not really accurate to say dated) who had REALLY long hair. She invites me to her house for supper. When I get there, I see she’s making spaghetti. I didn’t say anything, but my first thought was, “Oh no. I am going to be the one who finds her hair in my food. I just know it.” I didn’t say this out loud, though.

Sure enough, as I’m eating it, I start to chuckle. She asks, “What?” I take my fork, hook it on her hair, and slowly pull it ALL the way out.

I don’t think I would make such a big deal of it now that I’m older and more mature.

I grant you that they don’t go running around with big name tags that say “Hi, I’m Jewish” but I think there are a lot more jews in the midwest than you realize, Especially in bigger cities. Saint Louis and Chicago as examples have looooooads of them. I might suggest you go look for a temple near you online, and just go before a service, and just talk to the rabbi and ask if you could be allowed to attend a service just as a spectator. Most of them are usually very open to visitors learning about their faith. They usually ask you to wear a yamaka (yes I know that aint spelled right, I don’t pretend to be good at yiddish), and they ask you to be quiet (a given), but other than that they’re usually ok with it. I honestly recommend it. I did it once as a requirement for an exploring religions class and found it very interesting.

That all being said, presbyterian (protestant) raised, not terribly religious, my father is agnostic my mother is a regular church goer and active as a volunteer. I was always cool with presbyterian as a religion because they’re all pretty laid back. They like many other christian religions aren’t so big on homosexuality, but the less hard conservative branches have been opening up more and more to that too in recent years. So that’s cool. I dunno presbyterians are kind of the 1970’s laidback hippies of christian religions, at least to me. We’re like hey maaaaan, we like, believe in god and stuff mann he was one raaaad dude. but science is cool too man, why can’t we all get along man? lets just chillax and enjoy the gospel…… lol.

I’m in the Midwest. They had a kosher meat packing plant up here so we got to see some plus some of the more obvious “shiny” ones. I think they got in trouble for bringing in illegal aliens. Which was kind of obvious of them since we are way north, in the interior and very rural so the neighbors will know your boot size in short order let alone your illegal status. I doubt the authorities care all that much considering how long they got away with it and how much of that goes on other places but if you stick it in their face like that then they are probably gonna do something about it…

I still see some of the shinies around so maybe it wasn’t fatal, they had other interests, or they just like the area… why I have no idea. (the trees and hills are nice I suppose)

I laughed a little when you called the Hasidic Jews “ultra rare” and “the shinnies of Jewishness” as where I live in New York, I’m right in the middle of a big Hasidic community. Everyday I see whole families coming and going on the street to their own shops and such. Seem like nice people, though I can’t say I’ve had too many interactions with them.

Anyways, got to say, these are some of the most kind/polite/interesting comments about religion I think I’ve ever come across on the internet. Didn’t expect the topic to come up here.

I was raised Christian. My dad is a Lutheran Paster and my mom comes from a family very centered on faith. Two of my uncles are Christian based Family Counselors, two of my aunts married pastors, and another two from the family are missionaries. (mother’s got a big family) The church and God and faith are all just very natural things to me. My parents raised me in the church, though I did have a time when I had to do my own soul searching to discover if I truly held the beliefs myself. I went on to be a camp counselor at a nature/outdoor ministry church for a few summers.

Being raised Lutheran, we didn’t focus on the condemning of others. I always felt our message was focused on the forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus Christ. I don’t hold the new testament as exact stories of how things went down. There’s a lot of things I don’t think we know or will ever really know about spirituality and the afterlife until we get there.

Sorry, mind is rambling, lot of things I could discuss, but trying to focus in on a few. I remember when the evolution debate was in full swing. The news made it sound like it was “science vs religion” and I then I actually learned about evolution and I thought to myself, “Huh, this doesn’t really challenge anything I believe. Guess evolution is how animals have changed over the years, cool.” Probably also helps that I loved animals and dinosaurs as a kid and was never taught the earth was 5,000 years old or anything.

A lot of my friends had bad experiences with religion, whether from family or hypocrites or the nut jobs on the news. I always felt terrible about the intolerance of other people and how that so often flies in the face of how they should be treating others. IDK, I try to live my life as best I can and set an example for others without forcing people to believe what I do.

Opened a hot topic on a forum without a flame war, Crave I think you broke the internet. In the best of ways of course!

On the pizza topic, I usually use my hands to eat pizza. There are a few exceptions, like the time I attempted to make a home made taco pizza. That was a very tasty mess! I required the assistance of a sturdy metal spoon.

On the religion topic. I wasn’t raised in a very religious family, mom and dad had roots in Catholic stuff( at least mom did) but they didn’t really like it and opted for a more Wiccan or Pagan approach to things. They enjoyed learning and encouraged us to learn and seek out answers. They told us kid that it was ultimately up to us what to believe in. I haven’t found my way yet, and I kinda like it like that. It’s about the journey, not the destination after all!

I was raised Catholic by my mother. My father is a born again something or other, but that didn’t happen until the mid 90’s, and he has been out of the picture since the mid 80’s so for me it never had much of an impact. My mom actually had my brother and I in Catholic school through the third grade for me/fifth for him, but when we moved we got to go to public/secular school. That meant CCD on Sunday for both of us, which I guess stands for Confraternity of Christine Doctrine, but we always called in Central City Dump. It’s a few hours of religious education after church on Sunday, taught by volunteers. A total waste of time for a lifelong agnostic like myself. I daydreamed and ignored most of it, and pretended to care until I went through confirmation, which meant CCD was over, which was a huge cause of celebration in itself.

Growing up we did the whole no meat on Friday in Lent, and giving something up (which I always cheated because it felt stupid, because I didn’t believe in any of it). But we weren’t hugely active in our church, and if it had any extra social events, we never went.

In college I happened to see the movie Dogma, which I loved (as I do most Kevin Smith movies), and used many quotes from there to convince my mother that she should stop giving me a hard time for no longer going to church, which amazingly worked.

My fiancee is as Athiest as one can possibly be, as is the friend who is performing our ceremony next year. My mom freaked out when she heard about our friend, but mellowed once I assured her that meant no God bashing during the ceremony, just that God would not be mentioned at all. She’s not yet aware of my plans to somehow involve my lightsaber, though…

The movie Stigmata is also amazing, and resonated pretty hard with me. It always seemed funny that my mom just assumed I should magically believe what she believed because I was told I should, when it all seemed like such BS to me. I’ve always thought religion and faith are really personal things, and should be each persons decision whether they want to be involved in the whole church/organized faith deal or not. I feel like while it’s a good thing to raise a child to know what is right and wrong in a moral and societal sense, and to teach them that there are many different sets of beliefs that people follow, it’s not necessary or even right to force any set of beliefs on them. I know I don’t need some mystical magical invisible sky friend wagging his finger at me from thousands of years ago to know what is right and wrong. I feel I’ve always known to be nice to people, and not steal, and not kill, etc., and I don’t remember at all anything having to do with God or religion instilling those values in me. Those values are just part of me, and feel like they have been from the get-go. I know many super religious people who are total douchbags, so I don’t feel like being religious is any sort of guarantee that someone is going to be full of awesome. I’m one of the few people I know who will risk highway traffic to try to help an injured animal, while tons of cars with religious themed license plates (very popular in Cleveland) zoom by and honk at me. So yeah, be nice to people (in general) and animals (in particular) and you’ll be cool with me. After that, worship a goat for all I care. As long as it doesn’t bruise me, why should I bother myself? But seriously, hurt an animal in my presence and I WILL DESTROY YOU.

Have you ever done the right thing, the moral thing, the hard thing without a thought (however fleeting) of, “How would FILL IN THE BLANK feel if I didn’t do the right or moral or hard thing?” You’ll say no, of course, but really think about it. Whereas doing the wrong, the immoral, or the easy thing, we have only to consult our own nature. Courage and sacrifice inspire others- where ever they are reported. You can say, “I can be a good person without faith.” Probably so, but you probably go about it by emulating others who may well have faith, or themselves be emulating others who had faith. Otherwise, one has to ask,”Good compared to what?” I know I would have to hope people graded on a curve.

“How would THE PERSON AFFECTED feel if I didn’t do the right or moral or hard thing.”

“How would I feel if I didn’t do the right or moral or hard thing.”

“How would MY MOTHER feel if I didn’t do the right or moral or hard thing.”

So, surprised nobody mentioned it…

Ok, I know what you mean, and the comparison to rarity in Pokemon. I get it.

But seriously? Don’t refer to a Jew as “shiny.” It is VERY similar to an ethnic slur, and possibly has similar derivation (discussion of the origin of “sheeny” is heavily varied, there’s some opinion that it derives from the Yiddish “shayner” meaning “beautiful,” either in an ironic form (towards the fresh off the boat immigrants) or as a class dvide (“You’ve never done an honest day’s labor in your life” to those Jews who had time for in depth Talmudic study). It might also have been meant as a compliment in-culture (shayner yid can mean “a Jew of whom other Jews are proud”) but repurposed as an insult.).

Atheist there, raised in an agnostic country, and living in the only christian area of the country. Religion never wore any imortance until I moved there.I have to say that as a child, then as a teen, I ‘ve had a few muslims friends, even if at the time, except during the ramadan (cakes!) and for a few words (“halouf”) I couldn’t see the difference… The few really involved christians (catholics, mennonites) were a bit estranged, a bit vanilla and arrogant in the same time. My parents neighboors used to teach catholic rules (catechism) to children, and I always saw their own children as intolerant, arrogant and spoiled individualists. As I don’t believe in any afterlife, I find it honest to take reponsability for what I do in the eye of the community, so to be as little selfish as possible, as righteous as possible. I am not gonna be rewarded for that, not today neither in a future time, so it’s my sole choice to live among other humans that makes my humanity. I see it now that I live in the center of a christian area: people were raised as catholics or lutherians, and first expect to live with people with the right belief in god. What they do is secondary to them. First church (not god, just the church system), then the village, then work. Art is no use, thinking is no use, there is not so much to do to avoid hell, just be “chosen” (I mean from this church, this village, and pretending to work hard). I find it sometimes hard, because whenever I speak with anyone, it’s on their terms, not mine. I am the stranger. I used to be the majority. Just because I can’t think of anything that would make me believe. But I can understand: I entertain their point of view, and therefore, their whole existence. Well it won’t stop me to make my own pizza and find it better than the industrial one.

Well, I’ll give a stab.
For my family, the whole denomination thing was avoided whenever possible.
I was always told that the important part was belief, and if anyone wanted to rip on that, well Fuck ’em. (Paraphrased)
Yeah, live and let live pretty much.

Greasy food… I vary between squeamish and fine with it by mood. It’s been worse lately. Have to try to moderate it to reduce the amount by which cleaning up destroys me. I do wash my hands too often.

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