Is anyone here not religious and not athiest? As in, just not pushy about religion? - Page 8 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-07-2011, 05:58 PM   #106
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I the conversation seems to have remained cool and level headed
I just want to say that I'm glad that everyone has been civilized to each other despite our different beliefs. Its been a while since FYM has had a calm discussion about religion, so I'm glad we're having it now.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:18 PM   #107
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i suppose one could make an argument that Hitchens/Dawkins are atheist assholes, and i suppose that could be correct. that said, it seems like they're more a reaction rather than a starting point.
That's exactly what it is. They are reacting.
Hitchens admits it by proclaiming himself anti-theist.
But that sort of thinking is more anti-religion than anti-theist.

Because he equates theism with religion, often Christianity.
Otherwise, he'd have no excuse to write a book and make boatloads of money.
He'd just throw up his hands and say "I haven't seen God, so there is no God".
And fair enough, but you can't react to and combat religion that way.
And certainly nobody is going to buy your book based upon that observation.

This is why I think anti-theism is, more or less, an anti-intellectual position.
I get why they do it, I despise most of organized religion myself, but it often rubs me the wrong way with how super-skeptical people think they are being.

It used to be 'cool' to be cynical because so few people were skeptical enough. Now, so many people are so readily cynical, it has become -IMO- the thing that 'enlightened' people should be revolting against - if only to make sure it is sound skepticism. In other words, people mistake their wry cynicism as passing off as sound skepticism, and it's usually not but especially on this specific topic.

But if we're talking about politics, we need more cynics.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:31 PM   #108
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I'm not sure what you're trying to say, El Guapo. What part of Hitchens' argument do you find to be anti-intellectual? I find him to be the polar opposite of that description
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:00 PM   #109
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I find him to be the polar opposite of that description

ditto.

if anything, i'd say he takes a too detached/intellectual viewpoint of the human experience.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:04 AM   #110
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That sort of obsession on the dogmatic reasoning about man-made rules is the ultimate turn off on religion.

good lad
Best thing was when one day the Pope came and said, "Nah, from this day on, the limbo doesn't exist anymore. Children who die before being baptised have nothing to worry anymore."
It's as easy as that.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:29 AM   #111
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Well he's gotta know, being married to God and all.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:37 PM   #112
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Indoctrinating them with fear is completely different: Telling adolescent boys and girls that if they're gay, they will burn in hell for eternity. That if they give in to the completely normal and natural urge to masturbate, they're sinners. Every major religion relies on fear to control the minds of the young (and old for that matter). Some will brush it off, but others will find themselves confused and tormented by it.
And then there are the various forms of male and female genital mutilation performed against their wishes in the name of religion.
You're changing your argument; before the problem was imposing a worldview, now it's whether "fear" plays some role in that process (and the examples I gave don't rule out "fear," either). Yes, fear of punishment and especially of social isolation is a natural and normal part of maintaining social order, so inevitably it'll be involved to varying degrees in transmission of religious 'worldviews,' even if it's something as unremarkable as felt reluctance to reject traditions we see as binding us to our families. (True story: I have a British colleague who was "raised to be atheist" as she puts it, but isn't atheist today herself; she doesn't identify with any organized religion but likes attending local Quaker meetings occasionally, and her parents were quite hostile and scornful when they visited and discovered this, so she no longer discusses it with them. I can relate a bit, because my own mother was quite unhappy when as an adult I switched from Orthodoxy to Conservatism--not because of my intellectual disagreements with Orthodoxy, most of which she shared, but basically social identity stuff having to do with being Sephardi. But she got over it after a little while. Quite likely, someday one of my own children will make some sort of 'break' with us, could be religious or any number of things, that we'll find hard to swallow at first and won't be able to hide it entirely. That's normal.)

The specific examples you gave are cherry-picking, though; I would never tell my children they'd "burn in hell" for anything, nor did my parents ever tell us that (Jews don't believe in "Hell" anyway, and many of us, my parents and me included, are wholly agnostic about the afterlife, on which our religion has no coherent doctrine and to which little attention is paid in Sabbath schools and other forms of basic Jewish education; that's a distinctly Christian preoccupation. Also, my denomination recognizes and conducts same-sex marriages and certainly doesn't condemn being gay, nor would I, obviously). I was never taught that masturbation is "sinful," nor would I ever teach my children that (no denomination of Judaism officially teaches this, regardless of what the ridiculous Wiki entry on the topic--I swear, someone from Chabad must write half their Judaism stuff--has to say; some sects and rabbis still side with the "onanism" interpretation mentioned in the Talmud, but that never had legal status even then, and by the medieval period many of the major commentators dismissed it). As for the circumcision debate, and there certainly is at least a small one in Reform and Reconstructionist circles, for me that's an issue for Jewish men--who usually have very strong opinions on the topic--to work out; I'm not personally categorically opposed to ritual body alteration, including of children (and there are dozens of forms that takes in the world, and as many 'whys', often cultural rather than religious), but, I don't feel qualified to weigh the possible functional compromises against the identity issues in this case.

One more thing, the reason I responded to your generalizations by contextualizing them within specific *debates* is because that's the approach to religion I was raised with (and one example of the experiential nuances of religion that Hitchens/Dawkins/et al.'s anthropologically illiterate approach to the topic ignores). When I think of religion in my own upbringing, my primary associations are learning, debating, celebrating and sharing, not fear, shame, hypocrisy or cruelty. The single biggest chunk of a traditional Jewish education is studying Talmud together, and the Talmud is basically a compendium of dialectical legal and exegetical arguments, so that underlined for me from an early age that making sense of our intellectual tradition is as much the preogative of the individual as the group, and the only "shame" would be to lack the ability to identify inconsistencies and inadequacies and call out pilpul (pedantic bullshit) in the text, not whether your answer sounds insufficiently "pious." There was nothing passive or submissive about it, it was fun, and my brothers and I remember studying Talmud with our father with the greatest fondness. Our rabbi was a big burly overalls-wearing Southerner named Bubba (no, I'm not joking) who'd been a civil rights worker like my parents and warmly welcomed them into the community back when everyone else gawked warily at their foreign accents, he was great fun and I enjoyed Sabbath School classes with him too. So I remember things like that. I totally get that if someone has overbearing, authoritarian parents who "shared" their religious heritage in an overbearing, authoritarian manner, that will quite likely and understandably turn them off to organized religious anything. I also completely understand that many people who were "raised religious" and don't have any particularly negative feelings towards that often become agnostic or atheist too, for their own intellectual or other personal reasons. Fine by me; I've said it before, as a parent it's far more important to me that I succeed in imparting the core values of Judaism as I understand them--chesed, tzedekah, tikkun olam (kindness, charity, social justice; yes, those are also "just" good human values, I agree)--than whether as adults they study Talmud with their own children, or choose to observe Jewish law as a spiritual discipline. But all three are beautiful, meaningful and valuable parts of our people's heritage and place in human history to me, so I will share them, and they'll take what speaks to them from it and make it their own, as all children do.

...
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:12 PM   #113
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Surely raising a child in any religion could only be considered indoctrination, if the parents punish the child for failure to continue in that religion? I was raised in a fairly religious catholic family, but there was never an issue of me raising my own ideas on the world which led to my eventual loss of faith. Me and parents may disagree but we have had some good debates.

In the end does it not really depend on how the parents raise the child in the religion rather than anything else? For all the power of religion is claimed in indoctrinating people, it has proven rather crap at suppressing intellectual curiosity, even in those who remain steadfastly devout such as Isaac Newton.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:18 PM   #114
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Surely raising a child in any religion could only be considered indoctrination, if the parents punish the child for failure to continue in that religion?
Oh definitely, that's why I gave the example I did earlier. Part of the definition of indoctrination is that critical responses to the ideas presented are forbidden.

ETA: Although, since you mentioned Newton...one does have to be careful, obviously, when applying the term to the transmission of core ideas, values etc. (religious or otherwise) in wholly culturally homogeneous social settings, where little individual autonomy as we'd understand that can be taken for granted in any arena of life; otherwise, you might wind up effectively deeming culture itself to be one giant brainwashing regimen, which would be pushing the concept past the point of absurdity. Not saying that necessarily applies to Newton specifically--he lived during the Enlightenment after all, and came from the privileged ranks of a highly developed country, though there were still blasphemy laws in place in his day albeit seldom enforced--just as a general point about using the term in some historical or anthropological contexts.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:19 PM   #115
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I think those parents who teach their kids they must believe in God or else they'll burn in hell are not doing it solely for the sake of abusing their kids. They just think they're doing what it is best for their kids. I think saying indoctrinating kids is child abuse is a bit of a generalization.

Now, if the parents punish their kids for not believing in their religion or not believing in God at all, that's going to be fruitless because it would only make the kid hate his parents.

Either way, parents who do those things aren't the brightest.
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:14 PM   #116
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You're changing your argument;
Ya, but I'm a scatterbrain and forgot to bring it up before

You make it so goddamn hard to argue with you because you're so thorough and thoughtful and downright pleasant with your responses! hahaha

I've been more or less outlining the Hitchens/Dawkins argument against religion (I think I only started doing that when Financeguy brought it up). Some of it I agree with, some of it I'm indifferent of. I agree with them that it's at best, kinda weird to refer to a child as being of a certain religion, but it really doesn't bother me all that much. It's more the fear and guilt that torment so many young minds that I find to be the most offensive. As if puberty isn't difficult enough. And you're completely right that not every religious family raises their children under those conditions.
I've always thought that religion work best on a small scale. I still don't believe in it, but if it makes a family stronger and more caring, then how could that be bad? (your examples illustrate that wonderfully) It's on the larger scale that things start getting corrupt and it becomes more about power and control and manipulation. That's where I start having a problem with it and where I find the doctrine to be so hilariously transparent as a tool of population control through fear and guilt; Everyone has sexual urges, so tell them it's a sin and they'll all come running for forgiveness.

Have I strayed from the point again? Ya, probably
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:16 PM   #117
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I think those parents who teach their kids they must believe in God or else they'll burn in hell are not doing it solely for the sake of abusing their kids. They just think they're doing what it is best for their kids.
But if it's psychologically harmful, does it matter if they think it's for the best?

Some parents that beat their kids think they're just doing what's best as well
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:24 PM   #118
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Is being baptism not, put simply, an insurance policy that your soul will ascend to heaven upon death?

I was baptised Catholic, but have since moved further and further away from the faith. I haven't been to a church for anything other than a funeral or a wedding in more than a decade.

I remember having a discussion with my ex-girlfriend a few years ago that I had always planned on not baptising my kids and letting them make their own conclusions about religion when they got mature and old enough to do so.

Her response was 'Well, what if, God forbid, your child dies at three years old? They wouldn't be able to get into heaven then! How could you do that to your child?!"

And I could not wrap my head around that idea. My response was: "What about Hindu kids that die? Where do they go? And what about others? If we're all God's children, then why would only a select few make it into heaven?"

We broke up not long after that.


I'm expressing my faith here.

It's not about a religion, it's about a person.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:43 PM   #119
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But if it's psychologically harmful, does it matter if they think it's for the best?

Some parents that beat their kids think they're just doing what's best as well
I wasn't defending parents who do that. I was simply making sense out of why they tell their children such things.

Like I said, parents who are all brimstone and fire with their kids aren't very bright.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:31 AM   #120
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I was raised Roman Catholic, converted into Christianity in college, and I am now undergoing Christian pre-marital counseling. I go to Church and have thought about getting involved with it further, but there are many issues that stand in between me and my church. The membership of this Church requires me to sign off on beliefs that I do not hold myself. I'm not sure what I am, but if anything, I most identify as an agnostic. This is hard for me because I the Church community is great and I have met really awesome people who I hope to be friends with for a long time, but I find it hard to accept the doctrine.

I'm not very religious at all, it doesn't have a huge impact in my life the way it does in others. I'm fine with that.
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