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Thread: Atheist & Agnostic Family

  1. #301
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    Sure welcome
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    Alrighty, if I may ask you guys, what are your opinions on the idea of memetic evolution? Richard Dawkins initiated the theory that memes (ideas) serve as a sort of immaterial analogue to genes, and like genes, undergo replication, alteration and nonrandom selection, thereby competing for survival in the environment of human minds. For example, Dawkins suggests religious faith is a particularly competent and virulent meme, which once having gotten a grip on a human mind resists its demise by undermining the effective use of reason and evidence to shape and/or correct the collection of beliefs and ideas in that human mind.

    I'm not sure I endorse the theory. It does seem to accurately describe at least some qualities of thoughts and memes (in the traditional sense), but after reading some other authors on the subject there is a convincing case that memes don't really analogize to genes well, nor cultural/memetic evolution to the process of biological natural selection.



    If that's a bit too obscure (it sure took me a while thinking about it @_@), then may I ask what kinds of science, politics, or philosophy books/articles/blogs you folks have read recently? =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Profesco View Post
    Alrighty, if I may ask you guys, what are your opinions on the idea of memetic evolution? Richard Dawkins initiated the theory that memes (ideas) serve as a sort of immaterial analogue to genes, and like genes, undergo replication, alteration and nonrandom selection, thereby competing for survival in the environment of human minds. For example, Dawkins suggests religious faith is a particularly competent and virulent meme, which once having gotten a grip on a human mind resists its demise by undermining the effective use of reason and evidence to shape and/or correct the collection of beliefs and ideas in that human mind.

    I'm not sure I endorse the theory. It does seem to accurately describe at least some qualities of thoughts and memes (in the traditional sense), but after reading some other authors on the subject there is a convincing case that memes don't really analogize to genes well, nor cultural/memetic evolution to the process of biological natural selection.



    If that's a bit too obscure (it sure took me a while thinking about it @_@), then may I ask what kinds of science, politics, or philosophy books/articles/blogs you folks have read recently? =)
    I have read a philosophic book about Emotions and several theories about it. Quite facinating!
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    Hello, everyone. I would like to join this club. I am an atheist, I suppose, though I haven't always been. I was raised to be a Christian, though we didn't really go to church or anything. I only did a few times with my dad, then I went to a Sunday school type thing for a while, not because my parents made me (they didn't) but because I wanted to. After a while that church said something I was uncomfortable with and I left. My parents were understanding about it and agreed with me. Basically the church tried to force me to get saved and had me fill out a card or something and that bothered me.

    I stayed a Christian for years after, but when I was 12-13 I started questioning it. This scared me because I did not want to go to Hell. What's more was that I started feeling like I might be bisexual. When I found out The Bible was against homosexuality I freaked out and worried a lot about Hell. I finally was able to let go of that and it felt like a huge weight was lifted.

    After that I kind of went back and forth between atheism and other beliefs. Some of those beliefs were just regular religions like Christianity and Paganism, but others were just plain idiotic. To give you a hint of just how idiotic, there's a four year old thread on these very forums that I posted in called "Pokémon Are Real!". *Headdesk*

    I've had some very bad experiences with beliefs, especially Christianity. My most recent trial of that particular religion was an absolute nightmare. I'm so glad I'm free from it now.

    That said, I do find religion interesting and like some Christian and New Age Music. I recognize that it can be good for some people, just not everyone. I just don't like it when people force their beliefs on others and make me feel like I'm "wrong" for not believing. Ceremonies that involve religion can feel rather awkward for me. Like at my step-grandmother's funeral, when the pastor started going on about how there are probably people in the room who don't believe and that it's bad and blah blah blah. I found it disrespectful and unnecessary for the funeral service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7 tyranitars View Post
    I have read a philosophic book about Emotions and several theories about it. Quite facinating!
    Hey, that's pretty cool! Learning about how emotions work is interesting, I've gotten to read a bit about them in some of my psych classes. Do you remember what book it was? I might like to check it out. ^_^

    Quote Originally Posted by EmeraldLeafBlade View Post
    Hello, everyone. I would like to join this club. I am an atheist, I suppose, though I haven't always been. I was raised to be a Christian, though we didn't really go to church or anything. I only did a few times with my dad, then I went to a Sunday school type thing for a while, not because my parents made me (they didn't) but because I wanted to. After a while that church said something I was uncomfortable with and I left. My parents were understanding about it and agreed with me. Basically the church tried to force me to get saved and had me fill out a card or something and that bothered me.

    I stayed a Christian for years after, but when I was 12-13 I started questioning it. This scared me because I did not want to go to Hell. What's more was that I started feeling like I might be bisexual. When I found out The Bible was against homosexuality I freaked out and worried a lot about Hell. I finally was able to let go of that and it felt like a huge weight was lifted.

    After that I kind of went back and forth between atheism and other beliefs. Some of those beliefs were just regular religions like Christianity and Paganism, but others were just plain idiotic. To give you a hint of just how idiotic, there's a four year old thread on these very forums that I posted in called "Pokémon Are Real!". *Headdesk*

    I've had some very bad experiences with beliefs, especially Christianity. My most recent trial of that particular religion was an absolute nightmare. I'm so glad I'm free from it now.

    That said, I do find religion interesting and like some Christian and New Age Music. I recognize that it can be good for some people, just not everyone. I just don't like it when people force their beliefs on others and make me feel like I'm "wrong" for not believing. Ceremonies that involve religion can feel rather awkward for me. Like at my step-grandmother's funeral, when the pastor started going on about how there are probably people in the room who don't believe and that it's bad and blah blah blah. I found it disrespectful and unnecessary for the funeral service.
    Welcome, EmeraldLeafBlade. I'm sorry to hear that some of your experiences with Christianity were upsetting for you, but it sounds like you have some great parents! Looking from the outside in, you'll be able to recognize how a moral system that uses intimidation and threats of eternal suffering to coerce people into believing its metaphysical claims can thereafter claim neither moral authority nor an autonomously faithful following. =P

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    Well shit has hit the fan with Chick-Fil-A

    L.F.D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmeraldLeafBlade View Post
    That said, I do find religion interesting and like some Christian and New Age Music. I recognize that it can be good for some people, just not everyone. I just don't like it when people force their beliefs on others and make me feel like I'm "wrong" for not believing. Ceremonies that involve religion can feel rather awkward for me. Like at my step-grandmother's funeral, when the pastor started going on about how there are probably people in the room who don't believe and that it's bad and blah blah blah. I found it disrespectful and unnecessary for the funeral service.
    Welcome
    I find overly religious ceremonies awkward too. Both my grandparent's funerals were heavily religious and they pretty much went on about how god loves everyone and that non-believers will one day see the light etc etc. But like you, there are some religious aspects I like (especially the music side); I just don't choose to believe or follow any of it. If I ever get married (if ever), there prolly won't be any references to god :P

    This whole Chick-a-fil thing (whatever it's called, we don't ahve them over here) is dissappointing. I couldn't care less what the manager's views on gay marriage were but the whole motivation behind the "appreciation" day (at least, people who were supporting C-A-F for it's stance on gay rights) is sickening. It's like some people were taking pride in being homophobic. That's my perspective anyway
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    Since I'm doubtful there's a useful point mid-discussion to post this in the Debate forum, I'll instead bring you guys a link to a very appreciable article concerning the relationship between Christian ideology and conservative politics in the US. It's a safe bet that most of the American (and probably some non-American) atheists here are also interested in politics as part of their worldviews.

    Imo it's always pleasant to be reminded of the better characteristics of the person of Jesus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Profesco View Post
    Hey, that's pretty cool! Learning about how emotions work is interesting, I've gotten to read a bit about them in some of my psych classes. Do you remember what book it was? I might like to check it out. ^_^



    Welcome, EmeraldLeafBlade. I'm sorry to hear that some of your experiences with Christianity were upsetting for you, but it sounds like you have some great parents! Looking from the outside in, you'll be able to recognize how a moral system that uses intimidation and threats of eternal suffering to coerce people into believing its metaphysical claims can thereafter claim neither moral authority nor an autonomously faithful following. =P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darato View Post
    Well shit has hit the fan with Chick-Fil-A

    L.F.D.
    KFC is better tbh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Profesco View Post
    Since I'm doubtful there's a useful point mid-discussion to post this in the Debate forum, I'll instead bring you guys a link to a very appreciable article concerning the relationship between Christian ideology and conservative politics in the US. It's a safe bet that most of the American (and probably some non-American) atheists here are also interested in politics as part of their worldviews.

    Imo it's always pleasant to be reminded of the better characteristics of the person of Jesus.
    Interesting read, I also read some of the comments posted, some people are really butthurt about it. But she is right, most Europeans are astonished with the way Americans deal with healthcare and gun controll.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7 tyranitars View Post
    KFC is better tbh.
    This charity event I do every year where we take little kids who don't have a lot of money Christmas shopping, part of it is we get breakfast; last year Chick-Fil-A gave it to us. I hate to say it, but the breakfast sandwich was good, it was even better than when I got laid on that new years by a girl I wanted to bone since we were in JR. High, but lost touch with after I was expelled. Still not sure what it was over. Could have been the time we were watching Napoleon Dynamite and the teacher said Kip is ugly, and I said he still gets more ass than you, the time we all went down on the kid who call my friend the nigger, the time I said one teacher was better than another and made a kid have a freak out fit, the time I wouldn't give the 500 pound girl my pudding, the time in 7th grade when I beat up 4 9th graders, the time I kept on telling dumb blond jokes till one kid had enough and bit me on the head, the time I ran in the middle of the freeway on a filed trip and danced, or many more thing.

    Also new topic

    How would you feel if your child came out to you about believing in a God

    I'd really just be happy that they were happy, as long as they didn't force it.

    L.F.D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darato View Post
    How would you feel if your child came out to you about believing in a God

    L.F.D.
    I would try to understand. I do not mean that only in the sense of being supportive, but also largely in the literal sense. I would engage my child in frequent and pointed conversations in an effort to figure out just what arguments, experiences, or reasons he or she had to actually believe that a divine being existed. Either the reasons would not stand up to scrutiny, and I would have cause to discourage my child's folly, or they would and I would have cause to re-evaluate my own views. Either way, it would be an opportunity to engage my child's critical thinking faculties (as well as my own).


    In other news: Shameless opportunism or light-hearted satire? You decide!

    I'll be honest. I do not find the above particularly entertaining. =x

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    I probably want to join. I am a gnostic atheist. I'll try not to sound disrespectful but I can't understand how people can believe in most religions at all.

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    How would you feel if your child came out to you about believing in a God

    Prevention is the best solution: don't have kids!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Profesco View Post
    I would try to understand. I do not mean that only in the sense of being supportive, but also largely in the literal sense. I would engage my child in frequent and pointed conversations in an effort to figure out just what arguments, experiences, or reasons he or she had to actually believe that a divine being existed. Either the reasons would not stand up to scrutiny, and I would have cause to discourage my child's folly, or they would and I would have cause to re-evaluate my own views. Either way, it would be an opportunity to engage my child's critical thinking faculties (as well as my own).


    In other news: Shameless opportunism or light-hearted satire? You decide!

    I'll be honest. I do not find the above particularly entertaining. =x
    I wonder how many people tried that out :')
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilasc View Post
    How would you feel if your child came out to you about believing in a God

    Prevention is the best solution: don't have kids!
    This guy got it right.

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    Welcome all new family members, let me know if I missed anyone on the list.

    Sorry I really haven't been posting in here much my loved ones. My pills really messed me up for a while, I was having hot flashes and everything.

    So here's a fun little thing to discuss, not really going to be a topic, but more of an open convo.

    Since religious stuff in schools goes by state to state and country to country. We're all around the same age Apart form Profesco who is like older than Jesus.

    What was it like with your school. With me, we had some small Mormon stuff going on there, and students in JR. High, and High School could chose to take a class located off campus that was an LDS class, I did take this the first part of 10th grade because i got put in it, but it was just for a few weeks, then the rest of the time was me another student and her friend ditching and having sexy time fun in the bathroom.

    L.F.D.

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    We have classes of Religion and ethics in our school.
    It gets funnier when you replace the word "state" with "Satan"

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    Hey, I'd like to join if that's alright? :3 I'm an agnostic atheist, although I make an effort to remain tolerant. x3 No stories from me - raised in an openminded household, went through the british schooling system where morning hymn practise was just the way it was (at my school at least) until secondary school and then a few years of 'religious education' classes (about a variety of religions, although christian focussed), but it was never really forced down your throat. A teacher that happened to be a reverend did end up doing my sex ed class, which was hilarious, but it was still the standard 'here's how you put a rubber on a banana' thing. xD

    I believe I've read the article you linked before, Profesco, or at least something on the same subject matter - and as a british-raised american, I've certainly found the response of the state's to the idea of a way of ensuring health care for the poor, and indeed the tight ties between religion and politics, bewildering. The wedding of Conservatism with, at times, extremist christianity particularly. I shouldn't be surprised that cold war tensions are still prevalent in US politics, I know, but to hear open smear campaigns about obamacare being a battle for socialism vs capitalism is surprising. I'm not used to the overtly sensationalist nature of a lot of American news, as well - but that's a different kettle of fish. xD That said, we are certainly not 'saints' here - we have our newspaper conglomerates and tabloids, class divisions still run rife, as does homophobia and racial tensions, albeit occasionally more subtly then in American politics. All too easy to become disillusioned, haha.


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    Wait, why didn't I join this version of the club? O.o

    Anyways, I've pretty much always been an atheist, sometimes an anti theist. I always try to respect others but if they come up with extreme ideas or push it too far I explode. To me religion is something from old times used to explain things that people didn't understand back then. Also something to turn to during bad times or by others (mainly extremists) a medium to spread fear and terror. The last reason is why I see it as humanity's biggest curse.

    So yeah, I went to a christian school because my mom's aunt is a nun, but most of my other family members are either atheists or agnostic so at least I have no problems with that. I also liked to discuss with my religion teachers, but respected their opinions. It was just fun to do.

    I'm also obsessed by the prehistory since I was a little kid. It started with dinosaurs, then everything else during that age and then everything before and after then. Some years after that I also became really interested in space and how everything in nature works (ranging from evolution to spacetime and nuclear fusion)

    So yeah, this was my short intro, you can count me in Darato ^^;

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    Well, we had some religion classes in high school and below, but it was never about 1 single religion. We learned about all of them , their similarities, diffrence, what they belive in etc. Not because we are to become religious, but for us to be able to understand how religion works and how it affect society. Was pretty okay classes to take although the amount of bull**** i found in each religion was quite frustrating.
    Last edited by Pokemon Geek; 24th August 2012 at 6:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon Geek View Post
    Well, we had some religion classes in high school and below, but it was never about 1 single realigion. We learned about all of them , their similarities, diffrence, what they belive in etc. Not because we are to become religious, but for us to be able to understand how religion works and how it affect society. Was pretty okay classes to take although the amount of bull**** i found in each religion was quite frustrating.
    Similiar here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNN News
    Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in a bomb attack and gun rampage just over a year ago, was judged to be sane by a Norwegian court Friday, as he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

    Breivik was charged with voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror in the attacks in Oslo and on Utoya Island on July 22, 2011.

    The issue of Breivik's sanity, on which mental health experts have given conflicting opinions, was central to the court's ruling.

    Breivik, who boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway, wanted to be ruled sane so that his actions wouldn't be dismissed as those of a lunatic.

    He says he acted out of "necessity" to prevent the "Islamization" of his country.

    But prosecutors had asked that Breivik, 33, be acquitted on the grounds of insanity, in which case he would have been held in a secure mental health unit.

    Suspected Breivik sympathizer arrested, arms seized

    The unanimous verdict was delivered at Oslo district court by a panel of five judges.

    Breivik, dressed in a dark suit and tie, had a slight smile on his face as the decision was given.

    He was sentenced to the maximum possible term of 21 years and was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years in prison.

    The sentence could be extended, potentially indefinitely, in the future if he is considered still to pose a threat to society. Norway does not have the death penalty.

    Breivik has said he won't appeal the verdict. The chief prosecutor also confirmed Friday that the prosecution does not intend to lodge an appeal.

    Bjorn Ihler, a survivor of the Utoya Island attack, told CNN he was glad the trial had concluded and that justice had been done.

    "It's been an amazingly difficult process. It's been a constant, constant reminder of why we have to fight extremism in every way possible," he said of the trial.

    "We have to make sure nothing like this ever happens again."

    The court's judgment that Breivik is sane means that the far-right views he espouses can be confronted in Norway without being dismissed as those of a madman, Ihler said.

    "There are extremist people around, they are not insane, and we have to be able to take a proper debate with them," he said.

    Asked whether the verdict meant closure for him, Ihler said: "This case is going to live strongly with me for the rest of my life probably."

    Reading out the court's ruling, Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen spoke of Breivik's "manifesto," a document published online in which he set out his ultranationalist political views.

    Breivik claimed to belong to a far-right group called the Knights Templar but the court found no evidence of its existence, the judge said.

    He described his actions as a pre-emptive attack in defense of ethnic Norwegian people and culture, the court heard.

    Breivik trained for his attack by working out in the gym, running with a backpack filled with rocks and practicing at a shooting club, the court heard.

    He was under the influence of ephedrine, a stimulant, at the time of the attacks, and the possibility that this contributed to his behavior cannot be ruled out, Judge Arne Lyng said. He used meditation techniques to cut off his emotions, Lyng said.

    In the course of the 10-week trial, which wrapped up in June, the court heard chilling evidence from some of those who survived Breivik's shooting spree on Utoya Island, in which 69 people died -- most of them teenagers attending a Labour Party summer youth camp.

    In his own testimony, given without emotion, Breivik recounted firing more bullets into teenagers who were injured and couldn't escape, killing those who tried to "play dead" and driving others into the sea to drown.

    His fertilizer bomb attack against government buildings in Oslo also killed eight people and injured many more.

    It was only luck that more people were not killed and hurt in the blast, the court heard.

    Breivik blames politicians, and the Labour Party in particular, for promoting multiculturalism in Norway.

    He has been held in a "particularly high security" wing of Ila Prison since his detention immediately after the killings.

    The prison's governor, Knut Bjarkeid, said Wednesday that the institution was ready to hold Breivik securely whether the court ruled him sane or not. "Our job is to protect the community," Bjarkeid said.

    Over the past year, Breivik has had three cells for his use, one for physical exercise and another for reading and writing, as well as a separate outdoor exercise space, he said. Breivik cannot mix with prisoners from other wings, but does have contact with prison staff.

    As of now, we think there is a need to subject Mr. Behring Breivik to a particularly high security regime," Bjarkeid said.

    The high security regime "puts a heavy strain on an inmate, especially if it lasts for a longer period," he added, so Breivik's continued detention under these conditions will be kept under constant review.

    Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad has previously said it is important to Breivik that people see him as sane so they don't dismiss his views.

    The court had to consider conflicting opinions from medical experts in reaching its verdict.

    An initial team of psychiatrists found Breivik to be paranoid and schizophrenic, following 36 hours of interviews.

    However, a second pair of experts found he was not psychotic at the time of the attacks, does not suffer from a psychiatric condition and is not mentally challenged.

    Their report said there is a "high risk for repeated violent actions."

    Mark Stephens, a partner at law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, told CNN Friday: "The general public will think only a madman can commit these offenses, but in law madness is defined very narrowly. Basically it requires a doctor to come to court and say this person has a definable medical illness -- in this case the prosecution said he was a paranoid schizophrenic, and that can be treated with drugs and behavioral therapy.

    "If, however, he had a personality disorder or was just ... motivated, as in this case, by a misguided political belief that this was the only way to stop the Islamization, as he would have it, of his nation, then in those circumstances he has be found guilty because he understood what he was doing was wrong."

    Breivik's rampage, the worst atrocity on Norwegian soil since World War II, prompted much soul-searching.

    Norwegians reasserted their commitment to multiculturalism and tolerance at a series of mass public tributes held in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.

    And earlier this month, Norway's chief of police stepped down after an independent commission detailed a catalog of police and intelligence failures.

    It concluded that those errors cost police 30 minutes in getting to Utoya, and that dozens of lives might have been saved.

    Speaking last month on the anniversary of the killings, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urged Norwegians to "honor the dead by celebrating life," and said Breivik had failed in his attempt to change Norway's values.
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/world/...ial/index.html



    L.F.D.

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    Dorato: I've been following the case... :/

    My 12 year old cousin just told me that men rule, women obey.

    It's an interesting situation. He comes from a very orthodox jewish family - one that doesn't believe in evolution, limits what the children are exposed to, including the internet (we're not allowed to mention how easy information is to access through it, for example), television, which books they read, all that jazz. He's a smart kid for his age - he can hold his own in a conversation amongst adults, he reads a lot, he's just utterly taken in with what he's been taught. And it's interesting to hear a statement like that coming out of a child's mouth (accompanied with declarations that Carbon Dating is just His way of testing us). My sister, a biology student in University, managed to get away with one family dinner discussing evolution and the like with him, gently challenging some of his presuppositions, but for the most part he remains within a close nit community, attending a similarly orthodox school. And we, in turn, follow his mother's guidelines on what to wear, what not to do, what not to leave around (there was originally guidelines on what topics to avoid, but my sister kind of stormed through it with her glass of wine fuelled discussion of survival of the fittest and carbon dating xD I don't believe his parents realised, though). We acknowledge their beliefs as different, don't necessarily agree with them, but in the end it's their beliefs, their choices, and we love them in any case.

    The restrictions placed on what the children can access to, however, does bother me. Fair enough it's difficult having a relative, particularly your own child, who doesn't share your beliefs, particularly if your belief dictates that nonbelievers are doomed to eternal damnation - nevertheless cutting off your child's access to contrary beliefs and opinions is not only a doomed endeavour, a short term success, but one that breeds ignorance. Only having access to one side of the story robs the child of the ability to make his own decisions. But when it comes to the difficulty of this communal isolation being part of the belief (which I assume is at the heart of my aunts decisions, but I unfortunately don't know enough to be sure, so feel free to contradict me here - but certainly some strands of the anabaptists retreat from the 'taint' of the modern world as part of their belief systems), it falls into murkier waters - particularly in regards to the rights of the parents and the children themselves. How far does tolerance go? I don't believe anyone's beliefs should be forced upon others, and strongly support the secularisation of the state alongside the toleration and acceptance of a variety of different beliefs within a country - people should be able to live their lives as they wish without impinging upon the rights of others to do the same. In my cousin's case, I don't like how his parents have decided to lock-down on what he's exposed to, but as parents, they are within their rights (they're not harming him, and it's a doomed endeavour) to raise their children how they see fit - and the fact that my cousin /is/ smart, and that his older brother, despite growing up in the same environment, has been breaking from his parents hold a little to find things out for himself, offers hope for at least him having a more informed belief in the future. My sister and I will probably still try and engage him in the occasional conversation when we see him, because in the end it can't hurt for him to hear from a different point of view and we rarely see him as it is (we've met only three times during his life- and one of those times he was just 3 years old), but the experience has just given me something to think about.

    My sweet sweet grandmother is also a devout nondenominational christian who also believes I'm going to go to hell if I don't believe. We haven't told her that my sister and I are atheists, because it would literally break her heart.

    Wow, that was ramble-y, despite how long it took me to write - fail! Self-debating ftw.


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  25. #325

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