When reading the posts of the AVs listed on SAV, I sometimes reflect on the reason for the human susceptibility to religious cults. It seems to be a very old mechanism as ancient human groups even have had their shaman or religion.
How did you grow up and how were your decisions relating to religion?
... and then there are these people which have an "awakening". May be they are the most bounded to their church.
Dad raised Seventh Day Adventist, left the church as an adult. Mom raised Presbyterian. My dad had enough religion but my mom and I went to church and Sunday school. My favorite part of Bible school was the kool aid and grocery store cookies. My least favorite part? Being told I would burn in hell if I wasn't baptized. I became a Humanist late in life after seeing so much death and suffering. Read a lot about Buddhism and saw the Dalai Lama at an event.
Came from a long line of Catholics on my mom's side and that's the way I was raised. We'd go to church every Sunday because it was expected tradition. But there was none of that religious stuff for us at home.
My mom's skeptical attitudes have influenced my shunning of the church. She had a love–hate relationship with it, especially around pregnancy. When birth control pills first became available in 1960, she wanted in, after 4 kids. The church doesn't allow it and the doctor refused her a prescription. After 2 more kids she told the doctor: "The next one I'm dropping off on your doorstep." She finally got the pills. She has also suggested abortion to various family members whose pregnancies were inconvenient.
I got my 2 sons baptized, then a few years later stopped going to church altogether. When the child-rape scandals hit, an article in our newspaper listed all the area priests who were credibly accused and told where they were moved around to other parishes to keep the secrecy. Two credibly accused priests were in charge of the family church at the time my older son was baptized there in 1976.
One thing about churches I think is valuable (if it weren't for all the harmful dogma, fantasy thinking, and risk of child rape) is the fellowship. The feeling of belonging where you can drop in once a week or so and get to know your community. My dad had that kind of experience with Alcoholics Anonymous. The concept is good, but the reality is something else, especially now that so many of the churches have been coopted by politics.
My mom was really religious but not crazy kind of really religious. My dad just wasn’t interested. Somehow I never fell into the religious thinking and ended up getting jaded over religion as I saw so many using it to grift, exert power, or get fame.
After that, years of religious scandals, cults, and scams pretty well convinced me the bigger the preacher’s following, the more likely it is just another scam.