Religious Choice

I am a Religious Pluralist and a strong believer in Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Thought, and Religious Choice. That said, I wonder how much of our religious views are chosen by us versus being inherited culturally through social conditioning? I am curious about the tension between beliefs that we are raised with versus those that we choose as adults. Can we ever fully escape how we were raised? Do we really have full freedom of choice? 

I was recently reflecting on my own internal biases. I consider myself a Progressive, politically, and to a lesser degree culturally. But I had to question myself when someone recently assumed I was a Conservative. I was raised Catholic, and I think it has been hard for me to escape the implications of my upbringing. Even when I was a practicing Catholic, I always thought of myself as a more Liberal Catholic, educated mainly by Catholic Nuns and Catholic Lay Women who came out of the Vatican II Era.

So, amongst other Catholics, I tended to be viewed as Liberal. I could see this in contrast to other Catholics I have known who were more explicitly Conservative, like some of my Cousins, for example. Yet it has occurred to me that people who were “outside” of my Catholic Culture might see me as more Conservative than I view myself. This is not how I would choose to be viewed, but is how some others might have perceived me to be.

Anyway, it made me think that while I view myself as a Progressive who asserts Religious Freedom, I might still have something of a “shadow” Conservative streak that I have been trying to overcome for quite sometime. I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience yet was able to “escape” an early upbringing. I wonder how well people have been able to embrace a Religion that they chose versus the one that they were raised with. I expect that this is a common experience for many people. I am hoping maybe to hear stories about how people have been free to choose their own Religious views. I am open to any type of discussion on this, though   

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