Good Christian Love
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29-08-2014, 07:57 AM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 07:53 AM)docskeptic Wrote:  I would like to caution us all against generalizing Christians from the very poor reaction of this particular set of parents. Secular, Hindu, Muslim and other parents may react the same way and just not be captured on camera. On the other hand, there may be some Christian parents, who while struggling with the idea may deal with it more gracefully.

Doc

(29-08-2014 06:55 AM)wazzel Wrote:  Considering religious people get taught that god comes before everything, including family, it is not surprising that some can behave like this family did towards their son.
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29-08-2014, 09:21 AM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 07:30 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  I think anger against this behavior serves a greater context, if people can be brought to realize, and recoil at such aberrant behavior, then society as a whole begins rejecting this type of behavior in greater numbers and then such behavior becomes ever more uncomfortable to be engaged in.
Perhaps in a different world, this woman would have been presented with the ugliness of this particular belief system and she never would have engaged it to begin with, thus society, and her son, benefits.

Possibly, but that sounds like a strategy of fear-based conditioning rather than education. Perhaps it has a part to play, but at the same time I think threats can often backfire.

I certainly know from my own experience that the few times I have managed to change someone's homophobic beliefs, it's been achieved through kindness and patience on my part. Getting angry with people just buys into their storyline that gays (and the friends of gays) are unpleasant, immoral people.

That's a storyline that I can only really challenge effectively by demonstrating with my behaviour that I am a good and considerate person.

Phil
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29-08-2014, 12:38 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
Phil,

In general, the two main problems I'm having with your arguments center on the developmental psychology that you are trying to apply.

1) I don't agree that this is an issue of pre-rational vs. rational thinking or one of differing developmental stages. This is what I was trying to say in some of my previous replies. There are highly religious people who are uneducated, educated, highly intelligent, not very bright, in lower stages of cognitive development, or in higher stages of cognitive development. Religious beliefs are their own entity and not necessarily related to any of those things I just mentioned.

2) I studied through to a Masters degree in Psychology before I switched fields 26 years ago. Among the many reasons I left the field is that I found people getting too wrapped up in theories. Psychological theories are useful as long as we remember that the field of Psychology has much growing to do yet and the related theories are far from established fact as yet. Moreover, there are many conflicting theories and plenty of people insisting this or that theory is "the" correct one. I always believed that each theory probably contains at least some truth for some people, but an eclectic approach makes much more sense practically speaking. I also believe that each person is an individual and not everyone fits into any theory necessarily, let alone one specific theory. So, frankly, I take developmental theories with a grain of salt. I do not deny that each of us go through various stages, but I think we have to be careful about assuming people automatically fit the theories that have been proposed to date.

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29-08-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 12:38 PM)Impulse Wrote:  1) I don't agree that this is an issue of pre-rational vs. rational thinking or one of differing developmental stages. This is what I was trying to say in some of my previous replies. There are highly religious people who are uneducated, educated, highly intelligent, not very bright, in lower stages of cognitive development, or in higher stages of cognitive development. Religious beliefs are their own entity and not necessarily related to any of those things I just mentioned.

I agree wholly with that, but then what are you saying is "at cause" here? Because the above seems to support my developmental perspective, which notes that not all religious people are bigots. I personally find those at high levels of cognitive and ethical development just as reasonable and tolerant as any atheist, but Christians at rational levels of development can step back from their bible and take a relationship to it. They see it as symbolic, or historical, rather than some moral authority which is relevant in the present day.

The only problematic Christians are the fundamentalists, and I'd say that's got just as much to do with their developmental perspective as it has to do with the facts of their religious teachings.

If you think all of this developmental stuff is essentially a load of nonsense though - what do you think is "at cause" for the bigotry that appears in some religious people but not in others? I'm certainly open to and interested in the idea of looking at this through a different lens, if you have one?


Quote:2) I studied through to a Masters degree in Psychology before I switched fields 26 years ago. Among the many reasons I left the field is that I found people getting too wrapped up in theories. Psychological theories are useful as long as we remember that the field of Psychology has much growing to do yet and the related theories are far from established fact as yet. Moreover, there are many conflicting theories and plenty of people insisting this or that theory is "the" correct one. I always believed that each theory probably contains at least some truth for some people, but an eclectic approach makes much more sense practically speaking. I also believe that each person is an individual and not everyone fits into any theory necessarily, let alone one specific theory. So, frankly, I take developmental theories with a grain of salt. I do not deny that each of us go through various stages, but I think we have to be careful about assuming people automatically fit the theories that have been proposed to date.

Yes I fully agree with all of that, psychology is a "soft science". However when it comes to understanding human behaviour, thus far it's the only science we have.

I'm quite happy to use early, experimental science if the alternative is total ignorance, which is where I was operating from before I learned about developmental psychology. The world makes far more sense to me viewed through psychology than it did when viewed through ignorance. Perhaps however it's just an illusion of sense... ;-)

Phil
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29-08-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
(28-08-2014 03:43 PM)Impulse Wrote:  
(28-08-2014 12:04 PM)phil.a Wrote:  ...
Although don't you see that for a religious fundamentalist, it's potentially as disturbing to have a homosexual son as to have a pedophile son or a murderer son? That's how "gay" can actually appear in their (rather ignorant) awareness.
My next sentence was " But I'm not sure I could disown them even then." So it doesn't matter in my mind if they do see homosexuality that way. And I also don't agree that they do. What they "see" is their god says it's wrong. Therefore, it's wrong to them (level of wrong doesn't matter) and they could possibly go to hell for not standing up against it.

(28-08-2014 12:04 PM)phil.a Wrote:  A religious fundamentalist can't do that. They lack the capacity to think rationally (examine cause and effect) so they lack the capacity to differentiate such things and simply have to go on what their religion tells them is unacceptable.
I don't agree with this either. They (more accurately "some") may lack the capacity to think rationally about religion specifically, but I don't think "capacity" is the right word. They have the capacity, they just don't use it because they are blinded by fear and emotions. The problem I'm having is why the whole thought of disowning their child doesn't become a stronger blinder that overrules the fear and emotions. They can somehow do wrong to their child that they see physically standing before them - the child that they have raised and lived with for years and supposedly loved - just to avoid doing wrong to a being that they can't see and only believe exists. I was once a believer too and lesser cognitive dissonance brought me out. How strong does it have to get for these people before they open their eyes? Dodgy I just can't excuse these people.

I totally agree with you regarding the inability to reject your son or daughter. I was trying to think of the one thing that would allow me to never love my two children ever again and even being a mass murderer wouldn't broach that bond and love.

However, when my transgender daughter came out to me and my husband I'm not going to lie, it was extremely difficult. We were cool and calm and supportive on the outside but privately my husband and I were hurting. We were losing a son and went through a mourning process which is common among the parents of transgender children. It's as if a son has died.

It's hard for people who aren't parents to understand that almost all parents have dreams for their children when they are little and the gender of the child colors everything you see. You may look at them when they're three or four and think "Oh, maybe she'll be an astronaut or he will be a teacher" but you still see them in the gender that they seem to be. And even though you don't realize it, subconsciously you see them dating the opposite sex.

With a son or daughters gender change it a double whammy. The parent has to see the gender and sexuality differently.

The thing with accepting a son or daughter as transgender is that there is a very high rate of suicide, so the parent can choose to have a living daughter or a dead son. I suspect it's similar to having a gay child. You can have a happy, well rounded gay son or a miserable, depressed gay son and the parent has the power to make either happen with a simple not of the head, yes or no.

Unfortunately religion puts extra restraints on something that is difficult for even the non religious, like myself, to grapple with. But I think the non religious have a much wider range of view and the flexibility to adapt to differences.

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29-08-2014, 03:28 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 01:48 PM)phil.a Wrote:  I agree wholly with that, but then what are you saying is "at cause" here? Because the above seems to support my developmental perspective, which notes that not all religious people are bigots. I personally find those at high levels of cognitive and ethical development just as reasonable and tolerant as any atheist, but Christians at rational levels of development can step back from their bible and take a relationship to it. They see it as symbolic, or historical, rather than some moral authority which is relevant in the present day.

The only problematic Christians are the fundamentalists, and I'd say that's got just as much to do with their developmental perspective as it has to do with the facts of their religious teachings.

If you think all of this developmental stuff is essentially a load of nonsense though - what do you think is "at cause" for the bigotry that appears in some religious people but not in others? I'm certainly open to and interested in the idea of looking at this through a different lens, if you have one?
I think religion by itself can be "at cause". People that put religion first over and above things they normally consider to be very important (like children) may do so because they believe it will all work out for the better eventually. If they please God now, God will make everything right in heaven. They even see disowning their child due to the child's "sinning" as the way to please God. They arrive at all this through early indoctrination and living in a culture surrounded by like believers.

In addition, there are those that encompass a mixture of causes where religion is only one, but there may be others combined with it. Some of the developmental differences that you have raised would fit here, but my argument is that the development differences aren't necessary in order to see the same behavior. There are probably people that would disown their child strictly due to religion, others who would do so almost strictly due to the developmental reasons ("almost" because they wouldn't disown over a sin if religion didn't play some role), and still others where both factors would have to be at play. There are probably other factors too - for example, a lack of education or worldly exposure that results in general bigotry and finally in bigotry toward ones own child.

(29-08-2014 01:48 PM)phil.a Wrote:  Yes I fully agree with all of that, psychology is a "soft science". However when it comes to understanding human behaviour, thus far it's the only science we have.

I'm quite happy to use early, experimental science if the alternative is total ignorance, which is where I was operating from before I learned about developmental psychology. The world makes far more sense to me viewed through psychology than it did when viewed through ignorance. Perhaps however it's just an illusion of sense... ;-)
I think it's fine to consider it, just as long as you don't get too attached to it as "truth". With some people it may be a correct fit, but with others it won't be at all.

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29-08-2014, 03:45 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 01:48 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I totally agree with you regarding the inability to reject your son or daughter. I was trying to think of the one thing that would allow me to never love my two children ever again and even being a mass murderer wouldn't broach that bond and love.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't for me either. I would probably see it as a failing on my part and feel like I should do all I can to help turn my child around for the better. But I also think it's difficult to be sure how I would react to such a shock without actually being in the situation.

(29-08-2014 01:48 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  However, when my transgender daughter came out to me and my husband I'm not going to lie, it was extremely difficult. We were cool and calm and supportive on the outside but privately my husband and I were hurting. We were losing a son and went through a mourning process which is common among the parents of transgender children. It's as if a son has died.

It's hard for people who aren't parents to understand that almost all parents have dreams for their children when they are little and the gender of the child colors everything you see. You may look at them when they're three or four and think "Oh, maybe she'll be an astronaut or he will be a teacher" but you still see them in the gender that they seem to be. And even though you don't realize it, subconsciously you see them dating the opposite sex.

With a son or daughters gender change it a double whammy. The parent has to see the gender and sexuality differently.

The thing with accepting a son or daughter as transgender is that there is a very high rate of suicide, so the parent can choose to have a living daughter or a dead son. I suspect it's similar to having a gay child. You can have a happy, well rounded gay son or a miserable, depressed gay son and the parent has the power to make either happen with a simple not of the head, yes or no.

Unfortunately religion puts extra restraints on something that is difficult for even the non religious, like myself, to grapple with. But I think the non religious have a much wider range of view and the flexibility to adapt to differences.
I commend you for everything you said here. As a parent, I completely understand what you mean about anticipating your children's futures and having dreams for those futures. If one of my kids came out as being gay, it wouldn't bother me. But, I have to admit, transgender would be more difficult. And it's exactly because of what you said. I have no problem with transgender people themselves, but with my own kid, it would change so many things because I would have to re-evaluate the relationship (only in the sense of relating to a child of a different gender), the dreams, and the future. I can understand how it would seem like losing one child and gaining another. I'm sure that wasn't easy for you. Kudos for maintaining your love.

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30-08-2014, 02:50 AM
RE: Good Christian Love
(29-08-2014 03:28 PM)Impulse Wrote:  I think religion by itself can be "at cause". People that put religion first over and above things they normally consider to be very important (like children) may do so because they believe it will all work out for the better eventually. If they please God now, God will make everything right in heaven. They even see disowning their child due to the child's "sinning" as the way to please God. They arrive at all this through early indoctrination and living in a culture surrounded by like believers.

OK, I am curious about this one, perhaps there is something here I can't see. Can you tell me more about how religion of and by itself can be "at cause"?

Because here's how it looks to me from the context of my zero religion upbringing (religion just simply never really came into the discussion in my childhood). From the context of my upbringing, I don't think there is any such "thing" as religion, of and by itself. Christianity is nothing more than a old book. Well a book is just a book, in it's essential book-nature the bible isn't any different to any other book, like (say) a copy of "war and peace" or perhaps - a telephone directory.

In a sense, religion "exists" not in the bible, but in people's unexamined beliefs about the bible. Because religion exists in what's not examined, religion is in a sense - a lack, or an absence, or a state of ignorance.

Because religion is about what's not, it itself can't be fundamentally "at cause" for anything. Sure it as a system is a factor, but in my perspective - not a primary factor, if that makes any sort of sense?

Quote:In addition, there are those that encompass a mixture of causes where religion is only one, but there may be others combined with it. Some of the developmental differences that you have raised would fit here, but my argument is that the development differences aren't necessary in order to see the same behavior.

Can you expand a bit on that? My personal experience of encountering homophobia is that levels of psychological development (specifically ethical development) is a far more reliable pointer to a probability of homophobia than religion itself is. I have often encountered homophobia coming from someone who shows no evidence of being in any way religious.

Religion is definitely a factor - religious people are more likely to be homophobic than non-religious people, but for myself, I don't feel it's a primary factor, more a sort of secondary factor.

Quote:There are probably people that would disown their child strictly due to religion, others who would do so almost strictly due to the developmental reasons ("almost" because they wouldn't disown over a sin if religion didn't play some role), and still others where both factors would have to be at play. There are probably other factors too - for example, a lack of education or worldly exposure that results in general bigotry and finally in bigotry toward ones own child.

Yes I agree, although education and worldly exposure are both key factors in developing thinking complexity. So again I could if I wanted turn those facts around and frame them as a developmental perspective.

I think were are to some extent debating round in circles here - it seems that we both see the facts of the situation similarly, but that we both have a different preferred framework from which to interpret those facts. I understand developmental psychology might not be a good fit for your unique perspective although I would have to say it is an extremely good fit for mine. Perhaps we should just accept that we have both got our own separate ways of looking at it!

Quote:I think it's fine to consider it, just as long as you don't get too attached to it as "truth". With some people it may be a correct fit, but with others it won't be at all.

I use it very, very heavily - but only if (due to a lack of data) the situation is not directly explainable without it. Eg if I was able to sit down and talk to the mother of the boy in this video for a few hours and discuss her reasons, I'd be able to develop an understanding of the particular unique situation in a way which probably confounded all theories of psychology and psychological development.

But, in a situation I'm not able to do that - I have found that in practice, developmental psychology leads to insights which have a very high probability of being meaningful insights.

Phil
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30-08-2014, 12:31 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  OK, I am curious about this one, perhaps there is something here I can't see. Can you tell me more about how religion of and by itself can be "at cause"?

Ok, technically speaking, there is no one human characteristic that functions in isolation from all the others. So, in that strict sense, religion cannot be at cause all by itself. But, "at cause", means to me that, without it, the other factors would not bring the same behavior. So it is the primary cause and it is a necessary factor for a given individual (certainly not all individuals exhibiting the same behavior though). This is also how I view your belief that developmental factors are "at cause". Really, that would primarily at cause. I do believe religion can be the primary factor for some people.

How? I was raised Catholic so I will explain from a Christian perspective since that's what I know best. I'm sure there are equivalents in other religions too. From the earliest age, Christian children are taught that Jesus loves you and it is of utmost importance to believe in him and love him back in order to go to heaven. On the other hand, the opposite can result in going to hell. Furthermore, there are many things that don't make sense, but that is because our limited human minds can't understand God's infinite one. "God works in mysterious ways" so don't worry about it. Just accept it, have faith, and one day in heaven it will all make sense. In addition, doubts are a bad thing. If you are doubting, God will not be pleased. God knows everything, sees everything, knows all your thoughts and desires, and so he will know if you are doubting. Don't doubt. Or, if you do doubt, pray to God to help you get through it and trust in him again.

In this way, religion becomes like nothing else that a child is taught. With everything else, the child may question. Questioning is good because it helps you learn. But, with religion, questioning means weakness and risk of sinning and you must pray to God to be stronger so that you will not end up in hell. So the child grows up doing his/her best not to doubt or question and actually re-brainingwashes his/herself whenever doubts creep in by praying for God's help, thereby also indirectly convincing him/herself that eliminating the doubts is proper.

Later, as an adult, the same "don't doubt" is in force having been a lifelong habit and practice. With any doubt that creeps in, comes fear. Fear of displeasing God and fear of risking going going to hell. Doubts are dismissed and/or squashed by praying and by weekly (at a minimum) feeding of the beliefs at church services.

Now you can describe all of this in terms of psychological development and you would be correct. The Christian environment certainly impacts psychological development, but only on the subject of religion. That's the key. This lack of questioning doesn't spill over into other subjects and is therefore not representative of the general developmental stage. That's why the developmental stage is not the primary factor at work. Developmentally, the person may be far beyond what seems to be the case when looking at their religious views. It is the religious indoctrination that plays the primary role in the lack of questioning about religion and matters related to religion.

As applied to the subject of homosexuality, Christians are taught that this is a sin and it therefore displeases God. A parent of a homosexual is therefore put into an awkward position. They can love their child, continue to accept them despite their "sin" against God, and risk that they too may displease God by doing so and maybe go to hell, or they can take a stand against their own child in order to please God. In addition, they do really love their child and so they don't want their child to go to hell. This provides yet another reason to stand against their child. In fact, they may hope that making their child feel that their "sin" has caused them to lose the love and respect of their parents will be a strong blow that will "straighten them out" and "save" them from themselves. So out of love, they disown their child hoping it will turn out well.

(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  Because religion is about what's not, it itself can't be fundamentally "at cause" for anything. Sure it as a system is a factor, but in my perspective - not a primary factor, if that makes any sort of sense?
For the above reasons, I see religion being about the opposite - that is, what is, namely the indoctrination.

(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  Can you expand a bit on that? My personal experience of encountering homophobia is that levels of psychological development (specifically ethical development) is a far more reliable pointer to a probability of homophobia than religion itself is. I have often encountered homophobia coming from someone who shows no evidence of being in any way religious.
I agree, religion isn't the only cause of homophobia. That's what I was referring to. Homophobia can exist in atheists or may be caused by religion itself or may be due to a combination of those factors. As I said in the beginning, there is no one human characteristic that functions in isolation from all the others. Some people are bigoted toward black people. That has nothing to do with religion, but those same factors can surely cause bigotry toward homosexuals too or any other group typically targeted by bigotry.

(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  Yes I agree, although education and worldly exposure are both key factors in developing thinking complexity. So again I could if I wanted turn those facts around and frame them as a developmental perspective.
Yes, I agree. That would sometimes be the case. But I would argue not always the case. It depends on whether psychological development or religion is the stronger factor and whether the weaker factor is present at all as an influence with a given individual.

(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  I think were are to some extent debating round in circles here - it seems that we both see the facts of the situation similarly, but that we both have a different preferred framework from which to interpret those facts. I understand developmental psychology might not be a good fit for your unique perspective although I would have to say it is an extremely good fit for mine. Perhaps we should just accept that we have both got our own separate ways of looking at it!
Ok, but I'm not disagreeing with you completely. I think you are correct with some people. I'm just trying to point out that it doesn't necessarily fit all people and that, with some people, religion is the primary factor.

(30-08-2014 02:50 AM)phil.a Wrote:  I use it very, very heavily - but only if (due to a lack of data) the situation is not directly explainable without it. Eg if I was able to sit down and talk to the mother of the boy in this video for a few hours and discuss her reasons, I'd be able to develop an understanding of the particular unique situation in a way which probably confounded all theories of psychology and psychological development.

But, in a situation I'm not able to do that - I have found that in practice, developmental psychology leads to insights which have a very high probability of being meaningful insights.
I'm not going to spend further time on this part because I doubt you will change your mind anyway. When I was in the field, I saw many people who believe just as you do about the importance of applying one or more preferred theories. It's entirely possible that I'm the one that's wrong. But I haven't yet seen anything to convince me of that so it's my personal choice not to put as much weight in those theories. You, of course, have a different point of view and I really can't prove that you're wrong about it either. So, I offered my opinion for you to consider and I will leave it at that.

Wow, that was long. And for my next book... Wink

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30-08-2014, 12:59 PM
RE: Good Christian Love
This is one of the many reasons I hate religion and proudly call myself an anti theist. As Christopher Hitchens said, Religion poisons everything and it clearly has poisoned his family and their relationship.

Here is a comment I posted back at someone who tried to make the it's not a choice comment in that videos comment box.

Quote:Do you CHOOSE to become sexually attracted to someone before you become sexually attracted to someone?

Lemme rephrase the question because your the fucking retard I know you are...now than. Let me give you a scenario.
Let's say there is a member of the opposite sex sitting in front of you naked. By social standards, they are incredibly good looking and naked.

DO you or do you not repeat these words in your own head BEFORE coming to the realization that the body in front of you is good looking and you will become sexually attracted to it.

"I am going to become sexually attracted to what I am looking at"

Does that happen? Do you LITERALLY think of those words BEFORE it happens...OR does it just happen all on it's own on the subconcious level which we have no control over making it NOT a choice?

Just to squash this really nice and good. Do you tell yourself that you are going to become hungry before you actually become hungry? Does this work with thirsty?

If you think the answer is yes, that would mean that all we would have to do is NOT tell ourselves that we are horny at what we are looking at, thirsty or hungry or tired and by YOUR Logic sir, we would never need to sleep, fuck, eat, or drink water our entire life times. Not even once, which means all those starving people in africa who are bags of bones and hours away from dying can just simply tell them selves that they wont die before they die and POOF immortality.

I sure hope the Islamics don't figure this magic of yours out that we can just tell ourselves something and it happens.


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