Saving My Family
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03-12-2011, 04:57 PM
Saving My Family
From religion, that is. I live in a family of 5. My parents tried to raise my siblings and I as conservative Jews, and thankfully it just didn't take for me, and I was able to guide my brother down the path of rationalism as well. I want to try and get the rest of my family to see the light as I have. I plan to use the argument that they tried to indoctrinate me for 13 years, they could at least give me an hour, and I need your help filling that hour. I want a video or podcast that presents a compelling argument that might plant the seed of doubt for me to grow down the road. Seth and his guests are better speakers than I so I was hoping for a single episode or video that I could pass on. Right now I am leaning towards using Aron Ra's OFC speech, but I am definitely open to suggestions. I figure this is the best place to ask.

On a related note - I do not necessarily expect to deconvert anybody, but it is worth trying. We have less regular contact with our extended family because I cannot stand religious ceremonies, but I would have no problem with secular family gatherings. But the idea won't fly while my parents cling to their traditions. Any help would be appreciated!
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03-12-2011, 05:18 PM
RE: Saving My Family
(03-12-2011 04:57 PM)HellboundHedgehog Wrote:  From religion, that is. I live in a family of 5. My parents tried to raise my siblings and I as conservative Jews, and thankfully it just didn't take for me, and I was able to guide my brother down the path of rationalism as well. I want to try and get the rest of my family to see the light as I have. I plan to use the argument that they tried to indoctrinate me for 13 years, they could at least give me an hour, and I need your help filling that hour. I want a video or podcast that presents a compelling argument that might plant the seed of doubt for me to grow down the road. Seth and his guests are better speakers than I so I was hoping for a single episode or video that I could pass on. Right now I am leaning towards using Aron Ra's OFC speech, but I am definitely open to suggestions. I figure this is the best place to ask.

On a related note - I do not necessarily expect to deconvert anybody, but it is worth trying. We have less regular contact with our extended family because I cannot stand religious ceremonies, but I would have no problem with secular family gatherings. But the idea won't fly while my parents cling to their traditions. Any help would be appreciated!

You might search YouTube for videos of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens,Carl Sagan.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-12-2011, 06:40 PM
RE: Saving My Family
Christopher Hitchens would be my first suggestion. There are so many videos of him making arguments against christianity saying it was utterly immoral and vile. You can fit alot into one hour also, given they're short and sweet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwuUKlArgps
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbOUBUVLvKw <- recommended especially
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CLjYHqfilE

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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04-12-2011, 10:27 AM
RE: Saving My Family
You can show them whatever video you want, but they will see and understand through their religious veil. You will need to present to them, not only something that represents your ideas but also something(or someone) comfortable that they can relate to and that has a future. That is after all, what most people of faith are concerned with -familiarity and security- they want it for themselves and their loved ones. They want to fit in and don't want to make waves... with anyone... especially not with God.
You will need to reconstruct their image of Atheism. And you may need to walk the line between your honesty, and their needs -which can seem quite delusional. It's amazing how image conscious people of faith can be.

If I were you, I'd break them in gently rather than provocatively. I love Hitch, but he might be quite strong for some -he might turn off, rather than turn on- the old saying that you can attract more flies with sugar than vinegar comes to mind. Like I said, I love him but he can come off as an irresponsible, hedonist to some and that can derail some people's admiration. I adore Aron Ra ... but let's face it, unless you are from a family of bikers, they won't get past his looks. As I said previously -you will need to balance honesty with their preconceived notions. Aron Ra is already the boogieman who stole their nice Jewish boy.
You need to convince them that you alone are responsible for how you live your life... and they too, are responsible for how they live their life.

Talk to them yourself in an honest, calm, positive way about what you find freeing in your non-belief. Let them know that whatever security and comfort they may find in their belief, you find just as much if not more security, comfort, and relief from your non-belief... and many millions do. You can reassure them that you are not only free from irrational fears like hell, damnation, demons, satan -whatever ghosts or boogiemen haunt them- you also feel greater responsibility and compassion for your fellow human being and life carries far greater meaning -you do indeed fit in.
Like you said, you won't expect to deconvert anyone, but you can receive greater respect and tolerance for yourself, your ideas, and non-Theist views in general. If you can accomplish understanding, it's a step toward change.

As much as I hesitate, the one video that I love showing people has to be from Phil... about 15 minutes long... should give you enough time to talk with them...



Smile Good luck.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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04-12-2011, 11:18 AM
RE: Saving My Family
Not trying to be contrary, but why do you want to deconvert them? What purpose does it serve? You don't want other to try and convert you, right? Why would they? If they are happy in their religion, why do you feel the need to try and remove that happiness? It just seems like a double standard that is often displayed by atheist that deconvert. I just don't see how it's any different than a theist "preaching".

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04-12-2011, 11:21 AM
RE: Saving My Family
(04-12-2011 11:18 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  Not trying to be contrary, but why do you want to deconvert them? What purpose does it serve? You don't want other to try and convert you, right? Why would they? If they are happy in their religion, why do you feel the need to try and remove that happiness? It just seems like a double standard that is often displayed by atheist that deconvert. I just don't see how it's any different than a theist "preaching".

The purpose is to rid people of irrational thinking. The difference is not to convince someone of an unfounded belief, but to show the power of rational thinking.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-12-2011, 01:34 PM
RE: Saving My Family
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

However...
Did you know you can be both a rational thinker AND religious. There are numerous examples of such peopole. The have something called "cognitive dissonance" where they are really rational on subjects and totally WTF on others. They don't think about god and science both at the same time.

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Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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04-12-2011, 01:42 PM
RE: Saving My Family
It's the two brain syndrome. It's why I can be a liberal humanist and a fascist dictator all at the same time. You use the side of your brain that fits the situation at hand. Evolution baby, because that's why you made me. Reminds me of a song...





Also I think the reason most of us have a double standard on the subject of deconversion or reconversion if you accept atheism as the default position, probably has something to do with the idea that believing in the bible or any holy book can lead people to making poor decisions based of of what they believe or the way they are taught to think. While this isn't a problem when it only concerns themselves it so rarely does. Also I am sure it has to do with the belief that we are right and you are wrong. So there. It's real mentality and it exists on both sides of the fence. We pretend it isn't true but we all do it in many facets of life, especially those of us who are argumentative like myself. We rationalize our behavior based off of what we think is right, so suddenly behavior we dislike in others becomes acceptable in ourselves.


But we're right and you aren't so there neener neener neener.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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06-12-2011, 10:21 AM
RE: Saving My Family
Thank you all for your posts, great food for thought here. I watched Science Saved My Soul and it was interesting, but I'm not sure it's a good fit and I am going to keep looking. I'm now leaning towards the God Delusion (the film would be an easier task, I can't expect anyone to read a whole book on demand) but I'm gonna watch it all the way through first and make sure it's the right kind of message. It's gotta be light-hearted and inoffensive but still make a strong stand against god.

(04-12-2011 11:18 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  Not trying to be contrary, but why do you want to deconvert them? What purpose does it serve? You don't want other to try and convert you, right? Why would they? If they are happy in their religion, why do you feel the need to try and remove that happiness? It just seems like a double standard that is often displayed by atheist that deconvert. I just don't see how it's any different than a theist "preaching".

Well aside from the good of humanity argument, I have a couple of reasons. They spent a lot of time trying to convert me (cheating even, as I was young at the time), so A) I want to try and impart my wisdom on them in the same fashion, and B) They put me through a lot of indoctrination, they owe me the opportunity to present my point of view. I pretty much had a sham bar mitzvah just to appease them (they knew I was atheist long before).

I think my biggest reason is a noble one though. The religious holidays have always been stressful for our family, since 2/5 of the household do not believe. It became clear to my parents that they were going through the motions for their own benefit and now they just kind of mope around during those times of the year. I think a secular gathering with more of our family where we just get together and enjoy the company of each other instead of silly rituals would be a tremendous improvement over whatever it is they are doing now. Plus I cannot say for sure whether they feel like they failed me in the religious sense, but if I deconvert them then any sentiment like that will be gone. I don't really see any happiness coming from their religion, although I admit my bias could be skewing that.

(04-12-2011 01:34 PM)The_observer Wrote:  You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

However...
Did you know you can be both a rational thinker AND religious. There are numerous examples of such peopole. The have something called "cognitive dissonance" where they are really rational on subjects and totally WTF on others. They don't think about god and science both at the same time.

I am aware of that, and I think my parents fall into that category. My parents like to tell me that they are logical people all the time, and I agree. Logic dictates a lot of their actions, and I inherited that trait as well I think. I just think they must have had a more convincing indoctrination than me, because my earliest memory is thinking "this is BS" in pre-school when we were being taught torah stories. I'm hoping I can get them to give me an hour of honest attention so I can show them an eye-opening video. My pitch is probably gonna be something like this:
"Hey, remember that time when I really wanted to use my bar mitzvah as a platform to announce my atheism, but I didn't out of respect for you? I think you owe me for that, for the sham ritual, the studying, the embarrassment and the time I spent in that temple. The least you could do is consider my point of view, which I believe to be right. I found a movie that I think better explains what I want to show you. Would you watch this with me please? What's the worst that could happen? Besides, you are already atheists with regards to Zeus, Jesus, and all of the other gods out there. Why is yahweh (spelling? lol) so special?"
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