Ha ha, the religion thread. I wonder what kind of monster you have released, Cyb3r. The last time we had one of those, it went 16 pages, and that's 16 pages without ANY OT posts in it, more or less.
Anyway, I've already stated my viewpoints many other places on this forum, so I'll keep it short in this thread, let others do most of the talking. *ahem*
I've always found that other people who believe in God is at once the biggest reason why I don't want to believe in God, and also the biggest reason why I do. Why?
I'm not going to sugarcoat some of the terrible things that have happened in the past. Nor will I claim that all the terrible things done by the Church throughout history was done by people who "weren't really Christians", because many of the people who, say, participated in the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition *were* devout, and possibly even well meaning. I've seen religious people do quite evil things, including myself.
I've come to understand that, Christianity, or *any* religion for that matter, is made up of human beings. And like any organization of human beings, it's fallible. Humans, by nature, are prone to lies and jealousy and murder and theft and betrayal, and just belonging to a group doesn't change that.
But, another thing I've seen, is that for one evil thing the church has done, I've seen 10,000 good things. And while I've been shunned from church groups before (mostly preppy youth groups, where they care more about looking good than Jesus), right now I know few greater joys in my life than being in fellowship with other Christians. Honestly, I absolutely love meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ (and many of them I know like brothers and sisters, that's how deep the bond is) to pray, to study the bible, or just to enjoy a good meal and a good evening with.
For example, right now, every saturday night after church, me and a group of people (more or less random, though a couple of the "regulars" every time) meet at one of our houses and share a communal meal, which we buy and cook together. It's really incredible to see Christ draw people together who would otherwise never dream of sitting in the same room with eachother.
Also, I volunteer at a homeless organization run by a church, and I've never seen a group of people donate more time and money to helping the sick, poor, bereaved, and marginalized than the Christian Church. Seriously, this organization has so much food and clothes donated to it by churches that it has to turn down most offers, because there's so much.
So yeah, that's why I'm a Christian, more or less. Of course, there's the massive issue about why I believe in God as well... but this thread isn't about God, is it?
Maybe another day. Suffice to say that Jesus Christ is my Lord, God, and Savior, and that through his birth, the example and teaching of his perfect life, his death, burial, and resurection I am both saved from sin, and given the gift of a full and meaningful life here in his Kingdom, and an eternal life after this.
And for people like Gamer, who respect the church but don't really want a part in it, I also respect you, and understand your distrust of religion and by no means intend to condemn you. I do hope and pray you'll be able to find a community where you can fit, though, and hope you already have.
To people who make fun of religion, or think all religious people are ignorant: I pity your lack of understanding, but maybe you have a good reason to feel how you do. Maybe this post will be a small part of changing your mind on the issue.