Hi there folks this is my first post on, what looks like, an very intelligent forum. I look forward to many debates with you all and I also look frward to learning things from you all. I am John, I am 26 years old and I live in Coatbridge in Lanarkshire. I am currently working towards my degree in Journalism and at the end of it I would like to work for a publication that is not obsessed with these celebrity pains in the backside. Anyway, my opening topic for discussion is this... I have no set religion, (i was not baptised or christened or any other terms used). My mother and father allowed me to choose any religious path I wanted when and if I found a religion that was attractive to me both spiritually and reasonably. As yet I have no religion. My reasons for this are simple and it is an age old reason of: How can there be a god when he allows so much pain to happen in his name? I understand fully that certain things are out with any Gods control. However I seem to have a reason and a logic that hopefully you can understand. I think there is a "higher being" who soley believes in free will. I believe he/she watches and allows you to make choices of your own. Sometimes he/she may intervene when they feel that you are in danger or have made a choice that could be detremental to your being. i.e a child almost being knocked down by a car, only for someone or something to save them. As for heaven and hell. I believe in something different. I believe that if you live a good, honest and decent life, when you die, your spirit will roam free and happy. However, if you live a bad life, you will be a wandering spritit confused and in "pain". I hope I do not sound like a waffling child by this point ha ha. At the same time as spirits, I am confused about the whole death thing. I mean not one of us here can remember anything before we were born so will it be the same once we shuffle off this mortal coil? Well, folks thats my wee rant for today, let me know what you all think, and again, Hello, nice to meet you and lets all hope that we can embrace each others beliefs, cultures, ideas and opinions and make this a forum that can mean so little to some, but can mean so much to others. John.