Debates with father causing anxiety
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
22-09-2016, 11:37 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(21-09-2016 05:55 PM)ErinRH2342 Wrote:  I'll start off: I'm a minor. I still live under my parents' roof(strong Catholics, both), but I am lucky in that I felt safe enough to come out regardless. And I was right, they haven't kicked me out or anything.

Now my father's a philosophy teacher. Has had a strong interest in philosophical debate since he was a kid, as well as having been a Christian for his entire life. In contrast, I've been an atheist for a little under a year. My dad is insistent on me maintaining a "Catholic worldview" as a default until he's satisfied my beliefs are consistent. This means heavy, in-depth philosophical debate about once a week.

(mostly along the Kalam argument side of things, especially infinite regress, first cause, inability to traverse an infinite, rationalism, etc to name a few)

Now I feel, with him being my father and concerned for the safety of my soul and all, that this is a reasonable request. After all, if I cannot refute his arguments, I shouldn't be holding my position. I should be willing to accept counter arguments that might prove me wrong.

But the whole thing is causing me a ton of anxiety. I'm not a philosopher. I hate debates. I have confidence in my position when I'm not having to argue to him, but everything always just seems to fall apart once I'm actually debating him. I feel outmatched. My thoughts start to scatter, I end up falling for things I already know are incorrect and he ends up more convinced than ever that I don't know what I'm doing. And it also ends up shaking me up, playing on my already-difficult-to-suppress fear of "What if I'm wrong? What if I'm being closed-minded and leading people to hell?". This feeling takes forever to suppress. I feel the need to justify myself because of the utter importance of the harm I could do if I was wrong.

I'm tired of the cycle of fear. I'm tired from trying incessantly to understand issues like infinity and the first cause argument JUST TO MAKE SURE I'm not wrong. They're so complicated and so easy to confuse. I want to move on, but at the same time I don't feel like I'm justified in doing so. I should be rock solid in defense of my position so that nothing gives me pause, else I don't really have a valid reason to think what I think.

I guess I'm looking for advice for how to make this whole ordeal less stressful and anxiety-inducing. Because there are some stakes involved, too.

There's an emotional aspect to this, I will admit it. If I'm wrong, that means I, as a lesbian, have a severely restricted future in my own circles. It means there's something wrong with me. I thought that once, and it was horrible, and I will admit to never wanting to have to go back there. I know that's not an argument for/against theism, and it makes me worry that my personal stakes here are biasing me and preventing me from seeing something. Causing further anxiety and lack of confidence.

Ugh. Just having a rough time and needed to get this out in the open.
Welcome to TTA. I'm sorry to hear you are going through all this distress, but I think it's great that you came here to discuss it. Congratulations on having the strength and confidence to come out to your parents. It's also nice to hear that they have been reasonably accepting.

Perhaps try telling your father that, while you have strong feelings about your atheism, you are still exploring and learning. This might give you a "brownie point" with him since he will think he has a chance and maybe he'll be more willing to go along with you somewhat which may help with my next suggestion. Ask if you can make these discussions rather than debates where the main objective is for you to explore the facts and philosophies and learn from them rather than having to prove anything to him. Then ask if you can limit the frequency - maybe to once a week or whatever is comfortable for you. This will give you an opportunity to consider his input and come back with your own thoughts about it to enhance the discussion. During that interim period, you can come here and ask for our thoughts about any areas that are stumping you and/or do your own research.

Overall, this is a great opportunity for you to grow in your knowledge so that you will eventually be in a stronger position to support your position in any debate.

Please know that your being a lesbian is not something wrong with you. Nor is it biasing you from seeing anything. Unfortunately, that is how religion can make you feel. You did not choose to be a lesbian. It simply does not make sense that a god would create you as a lesbian and then condemn you for it. Because I have friends who are homosexual, this fact was the very first thing that caused me to doubt my former Catholicism. Ultimately, I became an atheist and many years later I am quite certain I was right to leave religion in my past.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Impulse's post
22-09-2016, 11:39 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(22-09-2016 11:37 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(21-09-2016 05:55 PM)ErinRH2342 Wrote:  I'll start off: I'm a minor. I still live under my parents' roof(strong Catholics, both), but I am lucky in that I felt safe enough to come out regardless. And I was right, they haven't kicked me out or anything.

Now my father's a philosophy teacher. Has had a strong interest in philosophical debate since he was a kid, as well as having been a Christian for his entire life. In contrast, I've been an atheist for a little under a year. My dad is insistent on me maintaining a "Catholic worldview" as a default until he's satisfied my beliefs are consistent. This means heavy, in-depth philosophical debate about once a week.

(mostly along the Kalam argument side of things, especially infinite regress, first cause, inability to traverse an infinite, rationalism, etc to name a few)

Now I feel, with him being my father and concerned for the safety of my soul and all, that this is a reasonable request. After all, if I cannot refute his arguments, I shouldn't be holding my position. I should be willing to accept counter arguments that might prove me wrong.

But the whole thing is causing me a ton of anxiety. I'm not a philosopher. I hate debates. I have confidence in my position when I'm not having to argue to him, but everything always just seems to fall apart once I'm actually debating him. I feel outmatched. My thoughts start to scatter, I end up falling for things I already know are incorrect and he ends up more convinced than ever that I don't know what I'm doing. And it also ends up shaking me up, playing on my already-difficult-to-suppress fear of "What if I'm wrong? What if I'm being closed-minded and leading people to hell?". This feeling takes forever to suppress. I feel the need to justify myself because of the utter importance of the harm I could do if I was wrong.

I'm tired of the cycle of fear. I'm tired from trying incessantly to understand issues like infinity and the first cause argument JUST TO MAKE SURE I'm not wrong. They're so complicated and so easy to confuse. I want to move on, but at the same time I don't feel like I'm justified in doing so. I should be rock solid in defense of my position so that nothing gives me pause, else I don't really have a valid reason to think what I think.

I guess I'm looking for advice for how to make this whole ordeal less stressful and anxiety-inducing. Because there are some stakes involved, too.

There's an emotional aspect to this, I will admit it. If I'm wrong, that means I, as a lesbian, have a severely restricted future in my own circles. It means there's something wrong with me. I thought that once, and it was horrible, and I will admit to never wanting to have to go back there. I know that's not an argument for/against theism, and it makes me worry that my personal stakes here are biasing me and preventing me from seeing something. Causing further anxiety and lack of confidence.

Ugh. Just having a rough time and needed to get this out in the open.
Welcome to TTA. I'm sorry to hear you are going through all this distress, but I think it's great that you came here to discuss it. Congratulations on having the strength and confidence to come out to your parents. It's also nice to hear that they have been reasonably accepting.

Perhaps try telling your father that, while you have strong feelings about your atheism, you are still exploring and learning. This might give you a "brownie point" with him since he will think he has a chance and maybe he'll be more willing to go along with you somewhat which may help with my next suggestion. Ask if you can make these discussions rather than debates where the main objective is for you to explore the facts and philosophies and learn from them rather than having to prove anything to him. Then ask if you can limit the frequency - maybe to once a week or whatever is comfortable for you. This will give you an opportunity to consider his input and come back with your own thoughts about it to enhance the discussion. During that interim period, you can come here and ask for our thoughts about any areas that are stumping you and/or do your own research.

Overall, this is a great opportunity for you to grow in your knowledge so that you will eventually be in a stronger position to support your position in any debate.

Please know that your being a lesbian is not something wrong with you. Nor is it biasing you from seeing anything. Unfortunately, that is how religion can make you feel. You did not choose to be a lesbian. It simply does not make sense that a god would create you as a lesbian and then condemn you for it. Because I have friends who are homosexual, this fact was the very first thing that caused me to doubt my former Catholicism. Ultimately, I became an atheist and many years later I am quite certain I was right to leave religion in my past.

What he said.

#sigh
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2016, 11:42 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(22-09-2016 06:20 AM)ErinRH2342 Wrote:  "In absence of positive proof, it's logical to accept your prior belief" he would say.
By the way, in response to this, I would say "In absence of positive proof and in doubt of the prior belief, it is logical to accept no particular belief until both are properly explored."

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-09-2016, 03:44 PM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
Quote:After all, if I cannot refute his arguments, I shouldn't be holding my position. I should be willing to accept counter arguments that might prove me wrong.

Arguments are not evidence. If he offers evidence for God then you should examine that honestly. If he offers arguments then ask for evidence.

Quote:I feel outmatched.

You are overmatched! He teaches that stuff at a proffesional level. Expecting you to be able to keep up with that is entirely unrealistic. Well-intentioned or not, this is little more than intellectual bullying. Censored Tell him he should pick on somebody his own size and that you'll cheerfully watch if he wants to go toe-to-toe with Dawkins.

Quote:I'm tired of the cycle of fear.

Refuse to engage. He can't force you to debate. It takes two.

Quote:The only issue is that he's asking me to make a "decision" of that final sort(which I probably will never make since being an atheist doesn't really work that way Tongue ) before he allows me to acknowledge myself as anything other than Catholic.

Your mind, your life, your decision. He doesn't get to tell you what you are and aren't.

Quote:"In absence of positive proof, it's logical to accept your prior belief" he would say.

That reasoning is utterly flawed. It is logical to reject a prior belief having determined that it is untrue. Maintaining it is dishonest. "I don't know," is a valid position andmore honest than most.

Quote:I want to move on, but at the same time I don't feel like I'm justified in doing so. I should be rock solid in defense of my position so that nothing gives me pause, else I don't really have a valid reason to think what I think.

Valid Reason: No evidence, only arguments.

Quote:There's an emotional aspect to this, I will admit it. If I'm wrong, that means I, as a lesbian, have a severely restricted future in my own circles. It means there's something wrong with me.

The only thing wrong with you is lingering religious teachings designed to destroy yourself-worth. What sort of god hates? One that humans invented.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Paleophyte's post
22-09-2016, 04:21 PM (This post was last modified: 23-09-2016 06:51 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(22-09-2016 03:44 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  You are overmatched! He teaches that stuff at a proffesional level. Expecting you to be able to keep up with that is entirely unrealistic. Well-intentioned or not, this is little more than intellectual bullying. Censored Tell him he should pick on somebody his own size and that you'll cheerfully watch if he wants to go toe-to-toe with Dawkins.

That was my impression. The dad should be glad he/she thinks for themselves.
It struck me as pathologically controlling. A parent who hasn't learned the basic parent lesson : "This kid is NEVER going to grow up to be another *me* (and that's a good thing) ". Very weird dynamic.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Bucky Ball's post
23-09-2016, 12:28 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(22-09-2016 04:21 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(22-09-2016 03:44 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  You are overmatched! He teaches that stuff at a proffesional level. Expecting you to be able to keep up with that is entirely unrealistic. Well-intentioned or not, this is little more than intellectual bullying. Censored Tell him he should pick on somebody his own size and that you'll cheerfully watch if he wants to go toe-to-toe with Dawkins.

That was my impression. The dad should be glad he/she thinks for themselves.
It struck me as pathologically controlling. A parent who hasn't learned the basic lesson parent lesson : "This kid is NEVER going to grow up to be another *me* (and that's a good thing) ". Very weird dynamic.

Standard religious thinking though. They spend a lot of time worrying that the devil's gonna get them/get their kids. It's a slippery slope. One moment she says she's an atheist, next thing you know she's a lesbian, and two years later she's on crack and having a lesbian baby Gasp So what you do see, you try to MAKE her think the way you do. This is not seen as abnormal in Christian circles at all, simply as a parent doing their best for the kid.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-09-2016, 06:27 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
Quote:Standard religious thinking though. They spend a lot of time worrying that the devil's gonna get them/get their kids. It's a slippery slope. One moment she says she's an atheist, next thing you know she's a lesbian, and two years later she's on crack and having a lesbian baby Gasp So what you do see, you try to MAKE her think the way you do. This is not seen as abnormal in Christian circles at all, simply as a parent doing their best for the kid.

Yup. This. Though I agree with everyone who's posted here so far, they do have good intentions and like you said it isn't a super unusual dynamic in religious homes. I kind of feel bad for them because the stakes are so impossibly high from their POV.

Embrace the chaos
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-09-2016, 01:45 PM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
(23-09-2016 06:27 AM)ErinRH2342 Wrote:  
Quote:Standard religious thinking though. They spend a lot of time worrying that the devil's gonna get them/get their kids. It's a slippery slope. One moment she says she's an atheist, next thing you know she's a lesbian, and two years later she's on crack and having a lesbian baby Gasp So what you do see, you try to MAKE her think the way you do. This is not seen as abnormal in Christian circles at all, simply as a parent doing their best for the kid.

Yup. This. Though I agree with everyone who's posted here so far, they do have good intentions and like you said it isn't a super unusual dynamic in religious homes. I kind of feel bad for them because the stakes are so impossibly high from their POV.

Hehe Shy It's always fun the day you realise you gotta bring up your parents right. Poor dears.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like morondog's post
25-09-2016, 08:42 AM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
"For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.”
--- St. Thomas Aquinas

(Maybe you should ask him why his faith is so weak that he needs all those "proofs". Laugh out load .. Laugh out load
Rolleyes

What ? He knows better than Aquinas ?
Big Grin

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Bucky Ball's post
25-09-2016, 07:19 PM
RE: Debates with father causing anxiety
Update: Another debate under my belt, and now I'm in a position where I'm much more comfortable. I think we ended in a good spot. He's agreed to leave the deep metaphysical arguments where they lie for the moment on the grounds that we're at an impasse. We're talking in circles. I say he's being too vague and making assumptions, and he says my thinking is cloudy and my definitions are sloppy. That I'm "just not seeing" the "self-evident" things he's putting out. Next time we talk(in a week or so), we're going to move on to talking about the "logical implications" of my position, namely morality. Which I'm rather excited about, because I'm confident that will be a much less difficult concept. I understand my definition of morality quite well and that discussion I think will be a less painful one. It certainly won't cause me the same nervousness.

As of this moment, I'm feeling anxious again(mostly due to the time of day probably, I'm worse at night for some reason). Same old feeling/alarm bell of "BUT WHAT IF YOU'RE MISSING SOMETHING, WHAT IF YOU'RE BEING STUPID" going off in the back of my brain. I keep wanting to be able to convince him of what I'm trying to say, as if that would validate me as correct in some way(since he's been my worldview compass for my whole life basically), but I know that'll never really happen. But anyway, I think things are going well and wanted to give an update, even if it's a slightly incoherent one. Smile

Embrace the chaos
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Unfallen_Skeptic's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: