I want to believe. I yearned for the guidelines to be laid out for me, for a line to be drawn and everything on one side is good and everything on the other side is bad, for it all to be figured out for me no contemplation necessary. You see my parents, disillusioned with their own religion did not take me to church and as a result, when I looked for the right thing to do, I had no guide. Mormonism was what my grandparents practiced, but they stopped, apparently around the same time my parents did for reasons that can't really be refuted. Why did God allow such atrocities in life? Sure it can be answered, but like faith if someone believes God should not allow such things and religion is wrong you can't really refute them.
We moved to Illinois and mentioning Mormonism meant a predictable negative response somehow involving polygamy and the lower status of women. If you look at most religions, they had incorporated many of the same ideas, besides Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, as they like to be called now, did away with polygamy sometime around 1890 (Some sects of Islam still encourages the practice).
So Mormonism wasn't the answer, I quizzed many of my peers, with the normal religious questions, and had the normal religious arguments many of which ended with the blanket argument "Faith". But faith is an individual thing, and if you don't have blind faith in a religion, nobody can give it to you. I have faith that there is a God, and faith that there is a right way to act, but do I have faith that the holy trinity is as Traditional Catholicism defines it? No. Do I have faith that Muhammad was the last and only truly correct prophet? No. Do I have faith in any of the small specifics that are frequently the only thing dividing religions? No. These things aren't really the type of thing someone has faith about, and they are what define a religion. Faith is a personal experience and no proof or justification can create it. It is a blind reason to follow whatever religion you choose as well as a justifiable reason to follow the religion you believe in. I looked into Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and while they all have fairly noble and lofty overall definitions of the world, ideas that make sense and can be readily accepted, they all contain the elements of other religions. You know what elements I mean, all those things that deep down make you think maybe the people who say that religion is just a means of mass control are right.
Proclaiming Jesus as the Savior and as also God clearly marks you as Christian, something that is important for the survival and growth of Christianity, any surprise that is why they say its the only way to eternal life? What is the more reasonable answer, God wants us to outwardly proclaim Jesus as the savior, or clearly labeling yourself as Christian solidifies your commitment to the religion and encourages its growth and acceptance. Why are there only personal visions? Because only some people (those who are slightly departed from reality) have these visions, or because that is the only way God chooses to reveal himself. Why is there so much counter-scientific stuff in the Bible? Because it was created from stories and parables or because God decided to make things drastically different in our past from what we experience now and what we can determine to be true?
Anyway my point is that any religion, when approached from the outside as a person trying to evaluate which religion to accept, and how to live ones life, none of the religions distinguish themselves and all show signs of politics, human error, and mass control. Why are most people the religion that their parents are? Because they are institutions that have survived the years by gaining members, proclaiming they are right, and saying its a sin to believe in anything else. You know I have met people who believe that people in other countries who have never been exposed to Jesus are going to hell because they haven't accepted Jesus as the savior.
I met someone, a liberal protestant who was giving a guest lecture at my university, and he answered all my main questions about Christianity sufficiently. Yet I?m still not convinced that it is the right path to follow, I mean I believe in a lot of the same ideas, and really want something to tell me exactly what is right and wrong, but I still cannot. I still doubt the necessity of constantly praising the Lord's name, is he that insecure, and of necessarily believing that Jesus was God, there really isn't that much evidence pointing towards it, and why should I. Would God really make salvation dependent on believing in someone who lived thousands of years ago and of whom we have little direct accounts? I have heard estimates that less than 100 words in the Bible are directly quoted from Jesus, and there are parts of Jesus' life missing, like the teen years. These seem like characteristics of an organization trying to expand and preserve its members rather than a religion prescribed by God as the ?right? way to eternal salvation.
So now I'm not associated with any religion still, yet I find concepts in many of them truthful and appealing. I want to believe but have nothing to believe in.