I go to church, a Lutheran church, but only because it is my source of income
at the moment and I like getting a paycheck even though I'm not yet out of high school. Not because I have a problem with church, but because I am, as a matter of fact, not Christian. Instead...
I am a Witch, and have been confirmed as a Witch since I was thirteen years old, though I was raised in a mix of Christianity and the Craft. I used to be more involved in Christianity than I now am, but have since drifted from that path and settled into the path of a Witch. It just feels so much more right
for me personally - which is not to say that I have anything against other religions and/or spiritualities, because I don't. Actually, from a very young age my mom taught me the bare-bones basics of a wide array of religions, so that I would have some understanding of other faiths and have a perspective on which path was right for me. (As it happened... it was the very same one that I first started on.)
I very firmly believe in both the God and the Goddess, though I do not connect with the Christian ideal of God very well and actually tend to feel a stronger connection to my Goddess than my God, though I suspect that when the time is right, I'll be spending a few weeks or months strengthening my connection to my God. My belief in the Divine is basically "All gods are one god" - all gods, even the God and Goddess, are simply aspects and manifestations of a single Divine being/energy. This means I might call upon a single specific god and/or goddess for a specific ceremony or magick working (for instance, I might ask Athena and Odin for wisdom or invoke Thor and Artemis for strength and energy), but in the end, these are simply aspects of the Divine energy that make it easier for me to focus my mind on the working. It's half spiritual and half psychology, really.
I do believe that there is an afterlife, though I know not what form it takes - one of my favorite interpretations is that of the Summerland, the place of warmth and light where souls go to rest between incarnations. I do not believe in anything resembling the Christian Hell. I do not know for sure, but I think that perhaps souls who have done malicious things in their past life are reincarnated into a different form. I believe that life is made of lessons, and it makes sense to me that in order to learn all of those lessons, a soul would need several lifetimes - considering it can take years for a single lesson to finally stick (I speak from experience here).
I do in fact own a Bible; there are at least two and probably three or more Bibles in this house. My copy is an illustrated children's Bible, simply because by the time I would have graduated past it, I had begun to drift away from the Christian faith already. I keep my children's Bible, though, and I very occasionally pick it up and read it - there are still lessons to be learned from the Bible, as I believe there are from any faith (and, anyway, I like the pretty pictures
). I have read full versions of the Bible, though I don't think I've ever read it cover-to-cover.
I have very strong opinions on the separation of church and state. It honestly makes me angry when anyone indoctrinates children into any
religion, especially when the children aren't given a choice, especially
when they're taught that other religions are evil and intrinsically wrong. It's one of the biggest seeds of injustice, cruelty, and misunderstanding in this world, in my opinion.
As far as prayer in school, I wasn't 100% sure what you meant by that, so I didn't answer. I approve of prayer being allowed if the child wants to and to whatever god or goddess that child wants to pray to.
I disapprove of prayer being enforced
with or without the child's consent.
Needless to say if you get me started on religion I can go on for quite a while