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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:33 PM

Why People Choose a Particular Branch or Denomination

Most, if not all religions have multiple denominations and sects. So, why do people adhere to a particular one?

I think the reason is that they find one that matches and reinforces their own individual world view and sense of ethical standards.

The differences between, say, a typical ELCA Lutheran Church and a fundamentalist conservative church are fairly obvious. People can freely choose where they worship, so they choose a place where they feel comfortable and that presents Christianity and the obligations people in a way that is also comfortable to them.

People choose, based on who they are and how they believe.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:35 PM

1. #1 Reason: Grew up in that particular branch. Right? nt

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Response to ExciteBike66 (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:37 PM

2. In some cases, yes.

However, I know many people who have changed their denominations, or who have abandoned religion altogether. Either way, choice is involved. Even staying with a denomination or even a specific church of that denomination is a choice. People choose, based on whatever criteria they use.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:54 PM

8. "Even staying with a denomination or even a specific church of that denomination is a choice."

But in the case of religious upbringing, the "choice" probably has a lot to do with inertia.

I still think my reason is #1, although I do not pretend to argue that it constitutes a "majority" of the choices made.

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Response to ExciteBike66 (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:40 PM

3. Reason 2, moved to a new area, went with people they met and liked

Reason 3, had kids and the kids wanted to be in a church youth group with their friends.

Reason 4, seekers looking for purity and purpose. This is by far the dumbest reason and why churches put so many people into serious problems. This is how Charlie Manson and Jim Jones hooked their followers.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:50 PM

6. There's a lot of movement these days between denominations.

A lot of churches have only a fraction of the number of people they used to have in their congregations. Many people have opted for so-called mega-churches and have left their old churches. Those appear to be doing well in my big metro area. Here in the Twin Cities, there's a Lutheran church on every other corner, it seems. Most are ELCA. Some are Missouri Synod and we have a few that are Missouri Synod. The ELCA churches are more liberal than the other two, but even within those there are major differences between individual churches and congregations.

There's lots of movement, with people visiting churches and choosing one that suits them best. We also have our share of fundamentalist evangelical churches. Some have large congregations, while others are struggling to stay afloat. Our Roman Catholic Churches are mostly struggling, and a number have closed and merged with others. We also have several Islamic churches, a number of synagogues and even Russian, Greek, and other Orthodox churches in the area. We have Buddhists here, Mormons, a Hindu community, and even some groups of people who worship in traditional Hmong gatherings.

But, people choose among those options. Some Hmong immigrants are now Christians. Buddhism attracts another group of converts. We also have a large number of non-believers, pagans and other miscellaneous folks in the area.

Choice. People choose and stick with whatever church fits their world views best.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:56 PM

9. There is also a little movement back

A coworker told me she'd been going to the local megachurch for a while. One Sunday, she was just too tired to make the drive after she'd gotten off work and went to a little local church, same denomination she'd grown up in.

She said it was like going home. I don't think she ever went back to the megachurch.

I wish we'd see more of this kind of thing.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 03:00 PM

11. I'm sure that's true. The Mega-church culture isn't for everyone.

I've been to one wedding in such a church. It was an odd experience. These days, weddings and funerals are the only reasons for me to be in a church, frankly. I don't mind, but I also don't enjoy it much.

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Response to ExciteBike66 (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:52 PM

7. You get it. n/t

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Response to ExciteBike66 (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 04:15 PM

14. I think that's it for the majority of people

I grew up going to a little rural Methodist church,
but converted to Buddhism at the age of 50.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:46 PM

4. As an outside observer to the thought process involved

I really get the impression that once upon a time people might shop around for the Methodist (e.g.) pastor and congregation which most closely aligned with how they saw that sect. It seems like religious people now are more adventurous and don't care so much if it's Baptist, Lutheran, or what. I hear "Christian" much more than I hear "Protestant" or "Catholic" and I'm not sure that was always as true as it is today.

Admittedly, I tend to work on the assumption that they're all barking mad, but that's really the impression they've left me with.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:50 PM

5. I think it's "hereditary."

I was raised Catholic, was an alter boy, graduated from a Jesuit high school.

My wife and I NEVER exposed our children (now in their mid-twenties).

Through years of Scouting (with a pastor as Troop Leader!), and school, and rural country living in the Deep South (and nowhere else), they have never expressed any interest or belief in God, church of any kind, or religion.

For religion, I don't consider it "nature." It has to be "nurture."

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 02:58 PM

10. I'm sure you're right about it being nurture.

People learn religious beliefs. Nobody is born with them. But such beliefs are always subject to change. Often additional learning causes those changes, I think.

"None" is becoming a more frequent answer to the Religion? question. And, as non-worshipers raise children, that number is likely to increase, I think.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 03:33 PM

12. I was a rebel and I started young so I was out of Catholic school at the end of fifth grade

Sometimes the injection just doesn't take. Usually it does, and that's the church people go to when they're trying to give their kids all the disadvantages they had (my mother's justification).

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Response to Warpy (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 03:51 PM

13. Just for 'shits and giggles' I sometimes bait my family with...

"I'm not going to be burning in hell like you heathens. I've been baptized and confirmed!"

Their typical response has always been: "Fuck you!"

I raised 'em right!

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 04:55 PM

15. Over 30,000 Christian sects in the world,

according to Wikipedia. All most all think all the others will fry in Hell. Except Universalist. We don't believe in hell.

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