Coming to terms with my past
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28-10-2013, 01:21 AM
Coming to terms with my past
I've said this on my introduction thread, but just in case you guys missed it:

I was raised in a Hindu family but by mostly secular parents who didn't really care much for all that nonsense. My extended family did, however, so I got my mild blasts of religion and superstition. Other than that, I was largely religiously ignorant as a child. I went to school in a largely fundamentalist country in the middle east and was physically and mentally bullied most of my life for being a religious ignoramus. I can't count how many times people told me I was doomed to hell, directly or avoidingly.

When I did find out about religion, I read all that I could about all the popular brands. I've read nearly all there is to read, or so it feels. And I just don't buy it. But my driving factor here is that if religious faith can make something as innocent as a child wish eternal torture on one who doesn't believe, then it is a poison and should be eradicated.

I don't wish ill on those who bullied me. That wouldn't be nice. But are my other feelings justified? I treat religion in any discussion with hostility and with disparaging tones and come off as rude to the faithful when I am just being honest about how I feel about their delusions. I'm always careful not to be hostile towards people, but I never hesitate when being hostile towards any sort of pseudoscience or religion.

Is that wrong? If so, then what should I do? I feel conflicted.
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28-10-2013, 04:53 AM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
Its not surprising that after a lifetime of negativity being thrown at you through religion that your not exactly going to be happy conversing with people about it.

I would say it is better to attack the idea, not the person.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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28-10-2013, 05:23 AM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
Sounds good to me.

Carry on.

The only limit to consider is personal safety but even then, there are rewards for martyrs... I'm told.

The conflict comes, in part, from the desire to be a social animal ... what like we evolved to be at.

Find allies... people who believe as you do (and not just online) with whom you can share ideas. No conflict there.

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28-10-2013, 05:37 AM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
What Bemore and DLJ said.

It struck me that you refer to the different religions as 'brands'. That is quite appropriate, I think. I had never looked at it quite like that.

Perhaps talking about it here will help.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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28-10-2013, 06:32 AM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
I think all of us have that issue to a degree.

I have taken to just avoiding such situations. My time is too valuable and spent better in other ways. I excuse myself and disappear when religion starts looming too heavily in a social situation. Neither biting my tongue nor arguing with people has anything to offer to me or them.

I make some exceptions - my aunt can talk about her religion all she likes and it doesn't bother me a bit. She is a sweet old lady and what I would call a good Christian. Religion is what holds her lonely life together and I have no issues with that at all. She takes pride in doing good deeds and church gives her companionship and peace. Who am I to take that away from her?

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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28-10-2013, 05:07 PM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
Firstly, thank you all for replying.

Quote:I would say it is better to attack the idea, not the person.

That's what I always try to do. Ad hominem attacks are never my intention but people usually go about with the feeling that their religious beliefs/ideologies/objects/rituals are to be "respected" and not criticized because they are holy or sacred. That is horse manure of the finest kind.
A lot of people just say "I believe it because it makes me feel good" or "I believe it for no reason whatsoever, I just do." (near-verbatim from my ex-girlfriend). And then I tell them that it doesn't make it true, and if you believe it to be true for no reason whatsoever then that's just stupid and then they get mad. I know calling someone stupid isn't really tactful, but what else am I supposed to say?

Quote:The only limit to consider is personal safety but even then, there are rewards for martyrs... I'm told.

Man, I've heard those stories. I don't even like raisins.

Quote:Find allies... people who believe as you do (and not just online) with whom you can share ideas.

That is unbelievably difficult IRL. Most people are still pretty uncomfortable with either coming out as atheists or discussing topics like this. I hunt around for atheist communities but I've only found a few where I live.
I've also pretty much given up on dating for the same reasons. Given my history, I doubt I would be comfortable being with someone who I knew harbored some sort of deep internal faith-based delusion.

Quote:It struck me that you refer to the different religions as 'brands'.

Oh yeah, I made that analogy very early on. Even as a kid I used to think of it like some people believe Religion A, some believe Religion B, some like Coke, some like Pepsi. And it really is that simple. All religions offer various versions of the same spiritual salvation stuff under a different name. Terms and Conditions Apply.

Quote:I have taken to just avoiding such situations.

I agree. Some people are beyond reason. But I'm always driven towards conversations and arguments like these. I am legit curious about why people believe all this stuff. It makes no sense to me and I used to think (still do sometimes) I was abnormal because I couldn't understand the need to believe in the flying space carpenter or the monkey lifting a mountain or whatever. So far, no one's made a convincing case (shocking, innit). Maybe I'm being unreasonable about it, but it's hard for me to let go of this topic when it does arise in conversation.

Quote:I make some exceptions - my aunt can talk about her religion all she likes and it doesn't bother me a bit. She is a sweet old lady and what I would call a good Christian. Religion is what holds her lonely life together and I have no issues with that at all. She takes pride in doing good deeds and church gives her companionship and peace. Who am I to take that away from her?

My mom used to say something very much like this. My dad's parents are quite religious and my mom would play along just because it would bring them happiness and she used to think that their happiness was worth more than her standing up for something as harmless as this.
On the face of it, I'm inclined to agree with you both. But what do you think of the anti-theist argument that the same faith that gives some people solace and peace is the same sort of faith that makes radicals fly planes into buildings or riot in the streets or cause an Inquisition?
I mean, I see that one has to make a moral judgment call on when a display of faith crosses the line but I have a feeling you can elucidate the reasoning here better than me.
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28-10-2013, 05:40 PM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
(28-10-2013 05:07 PM)TheNegativeZone Wrote:  
Quote:I make some exceptions - my aunt can talk about her religion all she likes and it doesn't bother me a bit. She is a sweet old lady and what I would call a good Christian. Religion is what holds her lonely life together and I have no issues with that at all. She takes pride in doing good deeds and church gives her companionship and peace. Who am I to take that away from her?

My mom used to say something very much like this. My dad's parents are quite religious and my mom would play along just because it would bring them happiness and she used to think that their happiness was worth more than her standing up for something as harmless as this.
On the face of it, I'm inclined to agree with you both. But what do you think of the anti-theist argument that the same faith that gives some people solace and peace is the same sort of faith that makes radicals fly planes into buildings or riot in the streets or cause an Inquisition?
I mean, I see that one has to make a moral judgment call on when a display of faith crosses the line but I have a feeling you can elucidate the reasoning here better than me.

You pick your battles is what I think of the anti-theist argument.

With an old person, you destroy their life. And for what? They are not movers and shakers anymore, they are just trying to live out the few years they have left. Who do they harm? No one. Think twice before you destroy someone's life, you need to have some empathy.

Pick people who do harm with their religion, like teachers and parents who indoctrinate children. You and I both had secular parents and religious families. We came through all right.

But when it comes to children where the parents indoctrinate, and the teachers indoctrinate, that is where you can prevent harm. These are the people perpetuating things. That is where your discussions may (or may not) do some good. That is what needs to change.

The most fertile discussion partners are young people, before they start procreating. The most important people to change are the ones who influence children.

The little old ladies who trundle to church and who pray that god give them another nice day, or week, or year, they are harmless and it is all they have left in life. You take that away, you destroy the person, for absolutely no good reason. You fix nothing in this world, and you destroy an old person's remaining time. They crush easily if they lose their faith. They are fragile.

So if you are going to be an activist in this, hit where it counts. Hit where it will generate change in society. Hit the people who influence children, and the ones who are getting ready to do so. That is where you will do good, that is the seed of change.

Personally I think the very worst are teachers who reinforce the indoctrination kids get at home. It takes just one good teacher to open the eyes of kids. That would be my focus.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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28-10-2013, 05:52 PM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
(28-10-2013 05:40 PM)Dom Wrote:  Personally I think the very worst are teachers who reinforce the indoctrination kids get at home. It takes just one good teacher to open the eyes of kids. That would be my focus.

One of my primary life goals is to teach a middle school science class at some point. I know only too well how much of an impact a good teacher can make. Smile It's too bad teaching isn't seen as a desirable career by a lot of really smart people.
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30-10-2013, 07:38 PM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
(28-10-2013 01:21 AM)TheNegativeZone Wrote:  I treat religion in any discussion with hostility and with disparaging tones and come off as rude to the faithful when I am just being honest about how I feel about their delusions.

Honestly I've never felt that way. My deconversion was quick and rapid going on some 35 years ago now when I was at Uni taking a PHIL class entitled "The Mind-Body Problem". Once I realized that dualism is not only implausible but utterly and completely untenable, any promise of some postmortem preservation of identity became utterly and completely bullshit. ... crickets chirping ... There was no reason to talk of religion any further. They were cut off at the knees. ... "Now let's go drink some beer and watch the game!" And so we did. Big Grin

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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30-10-2013, 08:05 PM
RE: Coming to terms with my past
(30-10-2013 07:38 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Honestly I've never felt that way. My deconversion was quick and rapid going on some 35 years ago now when I was at Uni taking a PHIL class entitled "The Mind-Body Problem". Once I realized that dualism is not only implausible but utterly and completely untenable, any promise of some postmortem preservation of identity became utterly and completely bullshit. ... crickets chirping ... There was no reason to talk of religion any further. They were cut off at the knees. ... "Now let's go drink some beer and watch the game!" And so we did. Big Grin

I'm always surprised at how a lot of people find it easy to coexist with the religious despite the crazy stuff. I guess it comes down to the fact that I've always associated religion/faith with people believing stupid things and bullying me. Maybe I just won't understand it but what, then, do I do about it? I don't want to go around treating people with hostility all the time. That'd be me being an asshole.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian."
- J. B. S. Haldane on what evidence would be required to falsify evolution
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