Let's see; from the youngest up - (For anything Christian that isn't Catholic I'll mostly use the Catholic terminology and call them Protestant, even though each person is a different type of Protestant and I've never bothered to find out which kinds, because it's all irrelevant) -
Brother T. is atheist
Brother M. is Protestant
Sister N. is still Catholic (the only one left)
Brother B. is Protestant
I am agnostic* with leanings toward secular humanist Jewish beliefs
and brother E. is Protestant.
Dad (raised Catholic) is atheist,
and Mom (raised Methodist Protestant) says she belongs to her own religion which she calls WIC, "the religion of Whoever's In Charge," because she still thinks there's gotta be some kind of an entity that runs things.
*Most people seem to misunderstand the definition of agnosticism ~ I tend to subscribe to the so-called "weak" or "open" variety, with the occasional foray into "non-practicing" from time to time. It's not that I "can't make up my mind," as I hear all the time, but that I am able to accept that ANY belief could turn out in the end to be the right one! Anything from Buddhism to Atheism, from the Amish to the Wiccans, from those who pray to Allah to those who pray through Jesus, to those who believe that prayer itself is superstitious nonsense.
When it comes to the deity itself, how do we know that our god is not a vengeful sexist sunuvabitch? Or (to pay homage to sci-fi) an alien kid who's playing a game and we're just the playing pieces, so to speak? We humans cannot bring ourselves to admit that the Ruling Entity can be anything other than kindly; why is that?! Oh yeah, that's right, it would be too horrible to contemplate, that's why! Does that make it impossible, though?! Or maybe he IS Big Mr. Benevolent, as most Judeo-Christian (and other) religions like to preach.
But, listen! If we have no humanly way of knowing for sure if one of these is correct, how can I be so arrogant and presumptuous as to believe in one particular concept? People are just afraid of the unknown and cannot mentally handle the fact that we CANNOT know what happens after we die, if anything. WE CAN NOT KNOW, THEREFORE WE CANNOT JUSTIFY CEMENTING OUR TOTAL BELIEF INTO ANY ONE UNPROVABLE CONCEPT. Using my own logic, I'm most inclined to go by what Carl Sagan believed ... oblivion ... we're just a form of life like a plant, only highly evolved, so when it's over it's over ... but I wouldn't go so far as to bet the farm on it.
So I believe in everything. Including nothing. Makes sense to me.
My husband says I'd better go to church because, "Better safe than sorry" -- but how the hell does he know that his religion is going to be the "safe" one? That's stupid. I can respect all religions as long as those religions respect each other. ...and when it comes down to the wire, I see damn little of that happening, thank you.
I like to pick out things I like from each religion or secular/humanist sect, and discard the rest as bullshite. I realize I have a special place in my heart for Judaism ~ which got started for the silly reason that most of the celebs I've always been crazy about are Jewish, but also, among other reasons, because Jews don't believe in proselytizing, and the entire culture is based upon knowledge and education ... there are secular and humanist Jewish sects around, but I'm not a group joiner.
To get back to my agnosticism, George Carlin says he gets the same results from praying to Joe Pesche as he does from praying to God. About 50-50 each way. That amused me. Sometimes humor is the only thing that counts for me. So now, on the very rare occasions when I get so upset about something I can't stand it and have to "pray" to someone, I pray to Brian Epstein. You know, it works just as well for me! :) And makes just as much sense. Who knows, some people believe the dead are all around and can hear you. So what the hell. But since it seems totally ludicrous to me that any entity could ever hear you THINKING a prayer (although, who knows?) I make sure nobody else is in the house when I do it, and talk low or whisper. If the dead are all around us, I imagine that's the way they would hear you if they could. It's all a mental thing anyway; sometimes I actually feel like Brian has helped me! And if he's anything like he was in his last year of life (champion of the underdog), and if he has the posthumous ability to help, why wouldn't he? Pull some strings for me here, Eppy! Haha.
It occurs to me that it just might be that when we pray to a god (or Brian or who/whatever), we're really addressing our own subconscious mind. And to us, our subconscious is another person, and helps us straighten things out in our conscious mind. That's probably why people can "think" prayers and get "results."
Okay, that's enough. I don't usually like pondering or discussing theology. Mostly because I feel it's a waste of time and mental energy ... and that's because, in the end, it's all moot.