Why I don't bother talking atheism with older folks
Post Reply
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
01-06-2012, 11:04 PM
RE: Why I don't bother talking atheism with older folks
Its a generational thing. When they were alive I would never have dicussed my grandparents faith. They were good people, strong believers and it would have been rude. They may have suspected that I didnt share their faith but probably didnt bring it up for exactly the same reasons.
I have no problem discussing faith with my parents. Even though they believe they at least are able to discuss things rationally as long as the discussions are private...even though many of their friends are actually openly atheist (probably because of this)
The only other one is my brother in law, who I suspect doesnt believe (I know my sister doesnt) but because he is a career politician he has to attend religious services in his constituency and wont discuss the subject at all

The secret to a happy life is lowering your expectations to the point where they are already met
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-06-2012, 11:53 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2012 01:21 AM by DeepThought.)
RE: Why I don't bother talking atheism with older folks
I agree with the OP and I don't think it is ageism. My reasoning for this simply comes from utilitarianism and personal experience.

My personal experience:
I have never had elderly people try to push their beliefs on me so I don't feel the need to push back.
Most elderly people I've encountered are generally peaceful - live and let live type people.

Normative ethics (the golden rule):
My deconversion was traumatic - and given my personal experience above I don't see the need for creating that upset in others. If I was at an age where statistically I have a 30+% chance of dropping dead that year I don't think it matters much if I die an atheist or a Christian or whatever. There are more important things like family bonds, etc. Who cares what you do or don't believe in the short time you have left.

There have been studies linking religious belief to lower rates of depression and improved patient recovery:

There are lots of elderly people I respect and admire.

If it was someone like Fred Phelps from West-borough Baptist church I wouldn't be holding back. What that guy is doing hurts many others.

It's a matter of cost vs benefit. Why go up to elderly people an tell them they are deluded and when they die thats it... game over? That's just callous.
I like being around happy people and think elderly people should be given the chance to have a peaceful death. I don't believe in an afterlife. What they believe happens to them when they die doesn't matter to me. If it (for the most part) helps them and gives them comfort as the above studies suggest then great! I'm ok with it.

For me it comes down to this cost versus benefit analysis: Are their beliefs going to hurt others or themselves in the time they have left? Also will it do more harm than good to challenge their beliefs?

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes DeepThought's post
02-06-2012, 07:24 AM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2012 07:29 AM by Thomas.)
RE: Why I don't bother talking atheism with older folks
Once a world view is set, it is difficult to unset.
If you've invested your entire life to a world view what would make you change your mind at 70?

Posters who say, "Work on the youth" are correct. The religions target them and have for centuries. This is their future income. Atheist need to fight the same battle.
Marketers know this. McDonalds and big Tobacco target kids. They get them hooked on a brand and they stick with it. It becomes an identity. Beer companies target underage drinkers because this is when they choose a brand often for life.

Religion is all about marketing to the kids. I call the new "big box" churches "Chuck E Church". Visit one of these on a Sunday and see the money they spend on the kids, tweeners and teenagers. I counted thirty 52" plasma TV at one church recently. The boyscouts (now I've stepped over the line) have taken kids camping and sold Jesus to them for a century. "Isn't god's creation wonderful". It sure is. Nature is wonderful. Especially when you see it from an evolutionary perspective. It's just amaxing how it evolved.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Thomas's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: