My thoughts exactly. I have a friend who once thought about converting to Islam because his Muslim girlfriend at the time would only marry him if he did so. As an agnostic, he told her he could only commit if he could bring himself to believe in the tenets of her faith. So he decided to give the Quran a read. We once looked at the book together and I was appalled. It is something like the Old Testament, and the bad parts of the New Testament, all the way through. Chapter after chapter it drills the idea of eternal damnation for apostates and infidels, and glorifies martyrdom and jihad. It is imperialist and totalitarian.
Yes! In my search for atheistic literature, I picked up Sam Harris's "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason." Quite a good read, and I felt this thread was closely related.
Thought I'd mention some of the ideas brought up there.
Summerlander wrote:I fear that, too. I worry about the kind of world that my children will live in. I love them, of course, but sometimes I wish I hadn't had them. The way it's going, nesgirl can kiss her plan to save the world (in her own way) goodbye.
Yeah, that's the reason I'll probably never have kids. Partially out of fear of messing up their development (it’s so easy to utterly fail your child and raise a nervous wreck if you haven't sufficiently read up on childhood psychology--although I'm sure that's not the case with you lol) and partially out of realizing what a terrible goddamn place the world is.
Summerlander wrote:Man, this is great music to my ears! I am so glad to be reminded that there are still people like you out there besides the renowned enlightened thinkers of our day. I could literally spend a couple of hours with you in my local cafe! My mother raised me as best as she could by herself. Kudos to her. But she was told what to think once she reached the age of reason as they say. She is a Catholic. Because of that, I was also told what to think. But then I've always been inquisitive and as an adolescent I thought something was off about the world view I had been introduced to.
My mum also has Spiritualist beliefs. Once, when I was seven, I blacked out and had an episode of odd behaviour. My mother believed I was possessed by an evil spirit and performed exorcism on me. A few years later I would come across a scientific magazine that included a column pertaining to what had happened to me. It introduced a more plausible theory in that young vulnerable minds can have episodes like that when there is conflict in the household. Indeed, my parents argued everyday and were on the verge of divorce. My father was a degenerate gambler who assaulted my mother on a daily basis. For the most part of my childhood, I remembered feeling depressed and angry. When I looked at that magazine, it made sense and I knew then that science had explanatory power.
Wow, an exorcism, that is pretty extreme. Although I certainly can relate. When I was young, my mother would walk around my room at night, waving a purple flag to "ward off the demons." Needless to say, it didn't exactly calm my mind once she had left .
I am currently fairly young myself (which may explain my recent and probably unexpected conversion to atheism), and a plethora of retrospectively horrible childhood experiences have probably granted me the required defiance and confidence to accept that I’ve never really bought into my parent's superstitious dogma. For example, when I was ten or so, my alcoholic mother got me out of school (a Christian private school that essentially crucified any student who uttered the accursed incantation “natural selection”) and told me I was the reason she drank and that I was full of demons et cetera, et cetera. Various bullshit things like this were regularities in our house, and I accepted them as natural, healthy behavior. In fact, in response to Y2K, my dad was going to sell his million-dollar company, make our family join a nudist cult in Maine, renounce all technology, and hunker down with a bunch of other fruitcake Christians. Luckily my mother put the brake on that one.
So many people have experiences like this. I reckon that if dictatorial parental influence didn’t exist, neither would religion (aside from small pockets here and there, of course).