Born and raised in an atheist country? Like an "Eastern Bloc" country? But even those had dormant or quietly functioning religious practices. So an atheist country is not really a reality.
I was steeped in Greek Orthodox Christianity (which is a shame based and not a guilt based religion), but I was also educated by Irish Catholic monks (in New Zealand) and seriously considered becoming a priest until I hit adolescence where I became rabidly anti-religious. Buddhism (and Taoism) initially attracted me because its Canon (well the Theravadra Canon mainly) offered spirituality without overtly religious overtones. Later, in Vajrayana I discovered a different layer of meaning to religiousity.
By the way, we get heaps of support from the Catholic community for our temple. So they are good bunch of folks.
Not judging Catholics, but picking apart aspects of Catholicism.
...if anything I see alot of good Western religion have done for the community here in New Zealand
Well then obviously you are unaware of the role that Christianity played in the cultural and religious colonisation of the Maori of Aotearoa (and the Aborigine of Australia, the indigenous people of South American and...) Let alone the destruction of existing religious, political, economic and social structures following its arrival in North Africa and Europe.
I really can't change your mind because you probably associate everything with "America" and grudges with the hardship you've suffered in the past. But thats caused by your own karma.
This statement is just plain stupid, except for the bit about "my own karma". I am not saying that Catholicism (or any -ism) is all bad, I am saying that the guilt instilled by the religious format of Catholicism is not at all helpful and this has absolutely NOTHING to do with "America".
I am biased because of my own perceptions, don't pretend your not heavily biased as well. If someone is having trouble quitting smoking and giving up the booze, your going to tell them "chill out and don't worry about!"?
Of course I am biased. I have not pretended otherwise. If you bothered reading what I wrote (instead of just projecting) you will see that I did not say anywhere "just chill out". Though, I must admit, in any endeavour, the ability to relax before dealing with an issue is extraordinarily important and helpful.
So just chill out and look at what I am saying.
With the eye of wisdom we discover a lot of anger in us, any amount of jealousy, resentment, ignorance, desire - mountains of emotion whose existence we would never have suspected in ourselves... We recognize that most of the faults we perceive in others are only the mirror of our own negativity, the reflection of our own disturbed feelings... At the same time, we relieve the world around us of the burden of our own negative judgements."
Gendun Rinpoche Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master