Old Believers, and the Young Nones
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29-05-2015, 08:38 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
Okay, time to tear into this.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I always thought the interesting part of the outgrowth of the nones and atheists is that they predominately arise from the Millennials, while the older a religious person gets the less likely they are to abandon those beliefs later on.

Yes, people are less likely (though still able) to reevaluate beliefs and affiliations later in life.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I’m more likely to find fairies under the garden before my mother ever becomes an atheists. But among the wandering young, those who are still trying to figure themselves out, there seems to be a very real possibly that they may one day not believe. I had my none phase in my early twenties primarily, and I didn’t really know much about atheism. There weren’t really atheists forums, or communities of other nones to talk to. Those who were likely nones just like me just didn’t particularly talk about it, or care to. There were no best selling books, like the God Delusion, or the constant trumpets of everything wrong with religion. My noneism was sort of trapped in a vacuum, with very little water or soil to let it blossom.

I don't know how long ago that was for you. But yeah. The tides, they are a-changing.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  In hindsight, I think if this period occurred when Atheism finally made it into the spot light, there’s a good chance that I may have been an atheists now. Perhaps I’d be attending atheists convention, or Dawkin’s next book-signing, attaching a scarlet letter to my Facebook profile, or joining my local humanist group. If religion seeks the first several years of a child’s life, as the prime age to instill religious beliefs. Atheisms most receptive audience is the millennials, in that period in which one is more prone to protest and rebel against the reigning traditions, resist the shell their communities and families have tried to cast on them, in the age in which they are trying to develop their own sense of self, and their own unique identities. At least in my opinion.

Who was it that said, give me the child for his first seven years, and I shall give you the man? ... a Catholic priest, I think.

There's probably a discussion to be had about how much of a game-changer the internet has been. But yeah, younger people are more prone to see the problems and hypocrisies of religion which their elders are habituated to ignore. Sometimes it takes a child to cry that the Emperor has no clothes.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  After this period, people just tend to solidify their already held beliefs. Those streams of doubt, those nagging suspicions, slowly get replaced by constant reinforcing. The world just begins to break down into our preconceived views of it. And the longer this goes on, the higher our walls become or more impenetrable they appear. At least in my opinion.

One way around that ... or at least to offset it somewhat... is to commit early to an evidence-based approach. If you're in the habit of reevaluating beliefs in light of new evidence, if THAT'S the wall you've built high, you will retain some flexibility into later years.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  People here seem to get offended, when I tell them that I don’t know how not to believe. Wondering how can he be so confident in his own horseshit? The truth is that it appears that I’ve already started the descent into becoming like my mother. And my children will likely think the same of me, that it’s more likely that they’ll find fairies under the garden, than their father ever becoming an atheist.

Self-reflection and seeing the patterns of the world in yourself is often the key to wisdom.

(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Belief and unbelief, those crises in our worldviews, that often lead us to create new ones, all seem to dependent on periods in our life when we are most vulnerable to it, and once that vulnerability has been closed, it all seems like a lost cause for those seeking to win converts.

At least in my opinion.

I'd probably use a less value-laden word than "vulnerable". "Open", maybe.

But wow.

I wasn't expecting to say this when I started reading your post, but I 100% agree with you.

There's probably a hell of a lot more to be said on the subject, of course. There's more to the trend in millennials than "they're young and impressionable and rebellious and atheism is more of a thing today than in the past". It would be useful to focus for at least a bit on whether the articles of faith are TRUE, rather than whether or why they are trending.

But your topic here is about the flexibility and willingness to consider new ideas or reconsider old ones, and about how the younger generation has more vitality in this regard than their elders. That's also worth talking about. And while there are some exceptions to the rule, overall you are correct. Thumbsup
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29-05-2015, 08:40 AM (This post was last modified: 29-05-2015 08:50 AM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  After this period, people just tend to solidify their already held beliefs. Those streams of doubt, those nagging suspicions, slowly get replaced by constant reinforcing. The world just begins to break down into our preconceived views of it. And the longer this goes on, the higher our walls become or more impenetrable they appear. At least in my opinion.

Your whole post is coming off, at least to me, as an honest bit of introspection, examining the "cage" of your worldview from the inside. I applaud you for looking into the mirror like this and sharing the view with us!

I will say that it's never too late to change one's mind or explore new perspectives, but I agree that as we age we feel less inclined to do so.

But you do raise a good point about being settled. Someone (the drummer in my band I think) posted an article to my Facebook wall awhile back basically saying that statistically at about age 35 most people stop looking for new music/bands. Their tastes have been determined. Mostly he was ribbing me as I pride myself on being somewhat of an enthusiastic curmudgeon about the sorry state of modern music, these kids can take their noise off my lawn, etc. but there's a lot of truth to it. In my case it's a lack of need. There may very well be newer bands out there that I would really enjoy, and I'm running the risk of never hearing those songs or absorbing that style. And to a degree that's disappointing, but I also don't NEED some new band to help articulate my feelings the way Nirvana did when I was 14, for example.

I think we do become "settled" after a certain point. I'm 36 now and while I'm always open to being pleasantly surprised by something new, I also derive a certain comfort from familiarity. I know, for example, that I prefer Chock Full O' Nuts over Maxwell House, Jack Daniels over Jim Beam, Stratocasters over Les Pauls. The experimental phase of my life is more or less over. It's not that I fear change or something new, it's that for the most part I don't really obsess over finding the absolutely "best" thing for me in every category; in most cases I've found what's good enough and am generally content with that. The hunt is less important than the meal to me now. I think it's only natural that people come to a point of getting settled in their views too. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, knowing who you are and what you like is important to forming a definition of yourself.

I do think though that it's unfortunate if taken to the extreme, going out of one's way to ignore new ideas and new perspectives, and "putting up walls" as you say for the sake of maintaining an established perspective.

I think this is one of the primary benefits of embracing skepticism over faith in general. The man of faith gains a certain comfort, but might find himself with an unnecessarily rigid or even intentionally ignorant frame of mind. On the other hand the skeptic, or the inquisitive man may never feel "sure" to the same degree, but might take comfort in being fluid and flexible in his ever-changing opinions.
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29-05-2015, 08:41 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Belief and unbelief, those crises in our worldviews, that often lead us to create new ones, all seem to dependent on periods in our life when we are most vulnerable to it, and once that vulnerability has been closed, it all seems like a lost cause for those seeking to win converts.

At least in my opinion.

There are some, myself included, who regularly question our own premises, and for myself, that means that my atheism is also on the dock. I've certainly migrated from being a gnostic atheist who scorned any discussion of "spiritual" matters to one who has a more nuanced outlook on such things.

I still don't see any evidence for a creator deity, but if you've got some, I'll take a look at it.
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29-05-2015, 08:45 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 08:34 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-05-2015 08:18 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  So when you read articles regarding science it reaffirms your belief in magic and the supernatural?

Not everything reaffirms my beliefs, and many things are just in the end neutral, have no real particular sway one way or the other.

Quote:When you read documents from the other side you get an explanation founded in logic and backed by as much evidence as possible.

When I read holy books or works of apologists I get faith and fallacies.

Usually when I read through works like the God Delusion, my eyes roll, and I cringe. It's probably the same feelings you get when you read the works of apologetics.

Quote:The biggest realization I got from entering the world of 'militant atheist position' wasn't the ridiculousness of faith, God and Jesus, but about the control and power those concepts held in the world I live in. It scares me much more than any threat of eternal torture.

I think you might be a bit paranoid, lol. I'm not particularly worried about the outgrowth of atheism, or unbelief, and I think a certain paranoia of the religious is a bit maladaptive. It's sort of like a fear of foreigners.

I'll admit I haven't seen you much or don't know much, but could I ask why these make you cringe? When I read and listen to the apologetics I don't cringe, I just find them insubstantial. While I admit that The God Delusion doesn't do the best job at presenting new information either it does make a good case for why HE is an atheist and I have yet to hear a sound rebuttal to the things he says. I really am curious, what do you think he says that is wrong or misguided and why?

As to the paranoia bit, I think you aren't looking at the same things we are. The religious have a LOT of sway over people in the US. How about the kids who are bullied, harrassed, or kicked out of their homes because of their atheism? How about the families that are forced to move because they are atheists? How about parents who are denied custody of their children because they are atheists? How about the pervasive antagonism in our government towards those of no belief? Can you blame us for feeling a bit leery?
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29-05-2015, 09:34 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 08:29 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Then how do you not understand how to have the mindset? It's easier from a skeptical approach and simply resist any urge or mental need to understand, label, or assume things.

I think there's a different between understanding a person's perspectives, and "having their mindset". I can easily see that if I lived someone else's life. That if my own life was limited to their particular body of experiences, and observations, that I may also have their mindset. But there's no particular way to have their mindset in conjunction with my own life.

A mindset in my view is dependent on far more than just educating oneself on one field or the other, it comes from the reflection and consideration of living. It's not a product of merely reflecting on the world and life in which we're removed from, but the world, and life we are a part of. If I was a white, liberal minded, professor, it might be much easier to adopt Daniel Dennett's mindset. But I'm not. We're very different people, and not just people who hold different sets of beliefs.
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29-05-2015, 09:41 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 09:34 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-05-2015 08:29 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Then how do you not understand how to have the mindset? It's easier from a skeptical approach and simply resist any urge or mental need to understand, label, or assume things.

I think there's a different between understanding a person's perspectives, and "having their mindset". I can easily see that if I lived someone else's life. That if my own life was limited to their particular body of experiences, and observations, that I may also have their mindset. But there's no particular way to have their mindset in conjunction with my own life.

A mindset in my view is dependent on far more than just educating oneself on one field or the other, it comes from the reflection and consideration of living. It's not a product of merely reflecting on the world and life in which we're removed from, but the world, and life we are a part of. If I was a white, liberal minded, professor, it might be much easier to adopt Daniel Dennett's mindset. But I'm not. We're very different people, and not just people who hold different sets of beliefs.

Then it just seems you hold to your own life experience too much stronger than some people, such as me. It is possible to gather how ideas come and relate to people apart from ones self, at least if you're not so set in who that self is.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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30-05-2015, 07:40 AM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
Much of belief or disbelief is momentum: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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31-05-2015, 08:04 PM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 09:34 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-05-2015 08:29 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Then how do you not understand how to have the mindset? It's easier from a skeptical approach and simply resist any urge or mental need to understand, label, or assume things.

I think there's a different between understanding a person's perspectives, and "having their mindset". I can easily see that if I lived someone else's life. That if my own life was limited to their particular body of experiences, and observations, that I may also have their mindset. But there's no particular way to have their mindset in conjunction with my own life.

A mindset in my view is dependent on far more than just educating oneself on one field or the other, it comes from the reflection and consideration of living. It's not a product of merely reflecting on the world and life in which we're removed from, but the world, and life we are a part of. If I was a white, liberal minded, professor, it might be much easier to adopt Daniel Dennett's mindset. But I'm not. We're very different people, and not just people who hold different sets of beliefs.

If you have a functioning brain and aren't lying about studying the material on both sides, there is only one logical conclusion.

The spiritual realm lacks evidence, logic and reason. The reasons for being a believer have been narrowed down to a list of words I'd rather not be used to describe myself.
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31-05-2015, 08:41 PM
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
(29-05-2015 07:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  People here seem to get offended, when I tell them that I don’t know how not to believe. Wondering how can he be so confident in his own horseshit? The truth is that it appears that I’ve already started the descent into becoming like my mother. And my children will likely think the same of me, that it’s more likely that they’ll find fairies under the garden, than their father ever becoming an atheist.

The sound of a mind slamming shut.

-Well, I have always believed this, too late to stop now. -

Brilliant. Dodgy

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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31-05-2015, 09:32 PM (This post was last modified: 31-05-2015 09:39 PM by cactus.)
RE: Old Believers, and the Young Nones
Losing my religious beliefs certainly had nothing to do with rebellion (unless you could consider engaging in honest introspection about MY OWN beliefs for the first time without the fear of reprisal from my parents to be a form of "rebellion"). I really tried to continue to please my parents well into my college years. I lost faith in Christianity because I realized my reasons for holding faith-based beliefs were all based on logical fallacies, not because I was trying to "rebel" from my parents.

I lost my faith because of the internet. A yearning to self-educate is not an act of rebellion. (at least it wasn't for me. I guess a lot of parents do actively discourage their children from learning facts about the world, but I was fortunate not to be in that situation.)

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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