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Forced into irrationality - Comments

Jay G's Avatar Comment 1 by Jay G

Is it really a belief if the person is extorted (is that a word?). These kids may say what their parents want to hear. However, if the parents have reached a point where they are telling their kids they have to believe or get out, then whatever the kids say is NOT a reflection of a real belief.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:56:09 UTC | #890044

MilitantApatheist's Avatar Comment 2 by MilitantApatheist

Kids are wired to believe what parents and authority figures tell them. Even though they realize that religion is irrational, the indoctrination is so strong that it almost makes them schizophrenic. I think that is why we have so many smart people who still believe in religion.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 14:10:18 UTC | #890056

JuJu's Avatar Comment 3 by JuJu

It's my way or the highway

Its Yaweh or the highway

fixed it.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 16:52:02 UTC | #890104

IDLERACER's Avatar Comment 4 by IDLERACER

I was forced to attend after school Hebrew school as a child, where I learned absolutely nothing (not that I learned all that much in public school either). Those are thousands of hours of my childhood I will never get back, and I will never forgive my late father for thinking I was like him. He just assumed I was, because my older sister (by eight years) did turn out to be exactly like him. She moved to Israel in 1977, started wearing a scarf, grew a big ugly nose and cranked out a bunch of children, one of whom inherited the über Jew gene, and became an ugly orthodox rabbi with an unkempt beard and curly-cue sideburns. My sister and I have seen each other only twice over the last 35 years. Once at my father's funeral, and at my mother's 90th birthday. We did not speak to each other on either of those occasions.

I am now a massively dysfunctional adult, suffering from all sorts of psychological difficulties, mainly insomnia, depression and extreme short-term memory issues. If I'm walking down the street, and a chassidic Jew is walking towards me, I have to put up an effort to not follow up on my urge to spit in his face.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 18:02:48 UTC | #890137

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 5 by ZenDruid

Is there anything worse than religion where it comes to forcing children to lie?

My position is that healthy human children have no reason to lie. Along with guilt and shame, the motivations for lying are forced upon them by religious dogma.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 18:15:57 UTC | #890141

keith54's Avatar Comment 6 by keith54

Not sure this OP holds up.

"literally forced by parents to believe in a faith, they have been converted without any choice"

As a former schoolteacher, I encouraged my students to do their homework and hand it in on time. Guess what: they all did their homework - it was the electric shock treatment that I applied to the rebels that ensured compliance. I'm kidding, of course. I don't hold with this low view of humanity. It seems to be implying that all the children of fundamentalist households become fundamentalists. I don't think that's true.

Now what is undoubtedly true is that children are influenced by their upbringing, but influenced and forced are not the same thing. In the Christian faith, each person makes their own free will choice to become a Christian, or not - it is not inherited from the parents.

It's my way or the highway in these households, so if you don't want to be on the street you better believe in this and that and this.

Of course, there might be some examples of such atrocious behaviour in the Christian faith, but I woudln't think that every Christian household has ejected every unbelieving child onto the streets.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:03:31 UTC | #890156

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 7 by The Jersey Devil

The parents described here likely experienced similar childhood indoctrination. It's can become a cycle of abuse.

Alcoholism, sex abuse, etc works in a similar way.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:53:30 UTC | #890168

Odalrich's Avatar Comment 8 by Odalrich

Unfortunately nowadays you can’t forbid parents to teach their children the stupidities of religion. However I believe it is forbidden to mistreat a child as it happens in many fundamentalist homes. In this case the child protection services could do something. Once I saw a program on the U.S. where there were some young people under 18 who lived in the streets because their parents had kicked them out of home for refusing to follow the religious teachings of his family-Jehovah's Witnesses and, I think, Mormons. The law should not allow these abuses and I don’t understand why these kids lived in the street and why the welfare service had done nothing to prevent it.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:27:32 UTC | #890175

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Comment 9 by Ted Foureagles

Many, perhaps most of the children I've known who grew up in fundamentalist religious households seem not to have been victims of overbearing indoctrination, but rather to have passively absorbed the ideas of loving (or otherwise) parents. Parents or whatever caregivers / authority figures comprise a child's primary models of reality at a time when those connections of mind are critically and deeply forming. They may react in adulthood from those depths without knowing why, and sometimes without the ability to overcome the reaction even when they recognize it as unreasonable. Convoluted rationalization often follows – usually with good intent.

I’m reminded of a good friend who has one of the finest minds I’ve encountered. In our youth we spent almost as much time discussing science and philosophy as chasing women. He’s an accomplished amateur astronomer who makes inventive telescopes from scratch – grinds lenses, silvers mirrors – whole bit. He can speak at length and in depth on cosmological theory, adding his own interesting insights. In other words, he’s no dummy.

In his mid-thirties he got married, had a kid, and suddenly became a Christian fundamentalist just like everyone else in his immediate family. As befits a questioning, original thinker, he taught himself Greek and some Aramaic in order to check the stuff himself. He now believes in a 6,000 year old earth, and the undeniable cosmological and geological evidence to the contrary is just God’s playful ruse. And troublingly, he buys the idea of infallible prophesies regarding “End Times”.

When speaking with him one can tell that his remarkable mind is still there, but a wall of some sort has arisen beyond which it will not go or even look (he thinks the same about me). I don’t know – it’s perplexing. His example is the main reason why I have to think of religious people as about as smart and as good as anyone else with epistemological stances as valid as mine, for all I know . I’m profoundly grateful that my parents allowed, even pushed me to think for myself. I was four years old when I objected to going to church with Mom, who was an observant Southern Baptist (just like her parents & siblings). We made a deal that I didn’t have to attend church if I would read the bible every day and be prepared to discuss it at night. I was to do this until all the way through the King James (one of our ancestors) old & new testaments. She then gave what I still consider some of the most reasonable advice I’ve received. She said. “You needn’t be pious but you shouldn’t be ignorant”.

That damn book was a heck of a slog for a little kid! It took me about a year and a half to make it through, sometimes scared shitless and other times laughing. By the time I was done, and after some 500 nightly discussion sessions with Mom, we pretty much had the foundation of a lifelong understanding and respect for our different views. I came out of the experience a wizened preschooler firm in my rejection of religion, and Mom at least never had to preach to me – remind on occasion, but never preach.

In the half-century since I’ve felt no urge toward religion (well, I flirted with being a Zen monk when I was 17 and stoned), while many of those I’ve most loved have been deeply religious, including my wife of 25 years. I think that relationships between believers and nonbelievers needn’t be adversarial, at least in all aspects. Surely, when political decisions are off in la-la land someone has to push back, and that often involves a large element of belligerence. But I’d posit that there exists value beyond reason just as there is value beyond faith.


Mon, 14 Nov 2011 21:57:23 UTC | #890189

OurLadyof...'s Avatar Comment 10 by OurLadyof...

It's not really that they force you to believe something as a child. They just don't offer any other explanation. They tell you stuff and you believe them, because they're your parents. You trust them when you're a little kid, and most children don't waste playtime contemplating the universe. It's just not that important. The problems begin in adolescence, when you begin to discover things for yourself and find a better explanation. Then the adults get all scared and forcey.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 22:36:58 UTC | #890198

hueman0un's Avatar Comment 11 by hueman0un

Sorry about my grammar. I did not bother to proof read this and there are some glaring mistakes

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 23:56:43 UTC | #890222

Layla's Avatar Comment 12 by Layla

In much the same way as intimidation and the threat of violence can extort someone into doing something against their will, people can be extorted into thinking something against their will.

I don't agree with this statement. You can force someone to pretend to believe something but you cannot force them to believe it. You can powerfully influence someone to hold a set of beliefs by indoctrinating and misinforming them from a young age but the person isn't being forced against their will so much as just genuinely 'falling for it' so to speak. You've taken away as many of their defenses as you can, they're left with only one weapon which is their own reasoning ability, and it may well be one which has been given little practice but they haven't been forced against their will, they believed it because everything they thought they knew told them it was true. The moment there is any resistance to speak of is the moment they just saw through it and at that point nobody has the power to make them unsee through it, including the person themselves. It becomes knowledge.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 01:53:04 UTC | #890241

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 13 by Premiseless

Comment 1 by Jay G :

Is it really a belief if the person is extorted (is that a word?).

I'm not sure there is an holistic term that successfully defines the multigenerational addiction to systems that confuse people against one another and defer all catastrophe to co dependency on the institutions that levied the original problems. It's some kind of hedge fund for family unity invested in a Euro sacrificial god. Even if it ever works, it's a figment of unified disharmony at best, with the collateral damage considered worthy of democratic process - which in fact is another way of saying ultimate power must prevail and party for its own ends and whilst due reward is supplied everyone else, with an invitation to walk the yellow brick road to lost dreams.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 08:25:03 UTC | #890276

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 14 by Premiseless

Comment 2 by MilitantApatheist :

..... the indoctrination is so strong that it almost makes them schizophrenic.

Well spotted. You realise why psychology is forever a 'poor mans' education - en masse. It hardly recognises the problems most human populations are born to suffer in spite of anything that can be done. An inherited mental illness in countless mutations all vying for dominance due some highly paid administration being positioned as token remedial to self serve the existential. Any change that is radical enough to holistically resolve the inherent illness is deferred beyond the lifetime of any powerful enough to promote it. This is the cool-aid production line humanity is on. Religion is one of the self-drug hallucinogens with lifetimes spent either serving, refining or distilling the self from attachment to its networks. It's all an ipso facto enslavement to mind altering brain chemicals.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 08:55:35 UTC | #890285

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 15 by Premiseless

Comment 4 by IDLERACER :

I am now a massively dysfunctional adult, suffering from all sorts of psychological difficulties, mainly insomnia, depression and extreme short-term memory issues.

I class this as a bereavement of self (ones own identity) with the ensuing stress this presents to personal reform within a context that still preserves the 'dead self'~(see below). Ones mind is now ready to relearn the life it wishes it had lived, which of course it never can due the age disharmony forever being non synchronous. But you are relieved to have escaped the cruelty of dogma you were enslaved to as an only option for you to part experience family bonds. However your sincerity, willingness to learn, and help others, is wholly betrayed! Coupled to this is the hostility/ distance one experiences from surrounding others still linked to the 'dead self' and 'dead self' ideologies. Added still further is the desire to integrate with a peer group that exists only in fragments as on this site i.e. pseudo inter-personal substitute for the relationships you wish you had lived.

If I'm walking down the street, and a chassidic Jew is walking towards me, I have to put up an effort to not follow up on my urge to spit in his face.

I think that's because he has sacrificed his life for a pack of lies just to get more feel good from it, versus the alternative of absorbing more pain to understand and live what's left of any truth you can discover. Also there is pain from knowing others have lived a whole life in the truth you now find, with seemingly total or maximal functionality. You see: pseudo feel good (delusional communities); real feel good (rational communities); but have double the pain of the truth you gain. You feel like a sacrifice for each! Welcome to my world! :) How could you not make mistakes mangled through such a life mincer? Your massive dysfunction was an inevitability of your love of truth!

~dead self = that doubled state of mind one has now at least partly escaped, which others still act as if exists. Others still function in 'dead self' ways, supporting ideologies which generate group ethos and identity around ideas you now reject. Their sense of community now inflicts you with further trauma, due your rational, gradual isolation from a community, to add to that you suffered under their lies of delusion, but now you have learned reason it is still as if you are the dysfunctional one when in fact they are moreso, though unconscious of this, and supported by the actual experiential of democratic inclusion. You feel the liberated, persecuted, more educated minority - even single solitary. In effect your emotions are still servile to negatives. Hitchens' poison explains it though not the antidote. You suffer psychogenic amnesia due: the initial trauma of holistic deception: plus that from the guilt trip it insists on applying to you: plus that from the redundant situation it now has left you in: plus the emotional impotence it now traps you with. Also their entropy being of a historically bullying dominating relentless force. How can this be good? It's better than religion! It highlights religions truth! And you can know that this poison was never able to be absolved within the lifetime of who you are so it's not your fault. The poison was made over millennia. It's bigger than any one of us. That's what you feel the pain of and why your mind defaults to forget its harms. Your mind is self preserving and avoiding the pains of having trusted the pseudo education of the complex untruths tricking mind and emotion.

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:07:28 UTC | #890296

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 16 by Rob Schneider

Comment 1 by Jay G :

Is it really a belief if the person is extorted (is that a word?). These kids may say what their parents want to hear. However, if the parents have reached a point where they are telling their kids they have to believe or get out, then whatever the kids say is NOT a reflection of a real belief.

My position, that I've been refining for a while, is that the only "real" beliefs are those we act on. So the "belief" embodied in an extorted child is the belief that "If I don't toe the line and mouth the dogma, I may lose the love and financial/emotional support of my family."

In other words, kids CAN be extorted to act, and action is belief.

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 03:59:36 UTC | #890925

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 17 by DavidMcC

Comment 16 by Rob Schneider

... and action is belief.

Or, in this case, surely pretence of belief, if I understand you correctly.

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 15:53:06 UTC | #891085

Layla's Avatar Comment 18 by Layla

Comment 16 by Rob Schneider : My position, that I've been refining for a while, is that the only "real" beliefs are those we act on. So the "belief" embodied in an extorted child is the belief that "If I don't toe the line and mouth the dogma, I may lose the love and financial/emotional support of my family."

In other words, kids CAN be extorted to act, and action is belief.

Action is belief? In this case the action is pretending to believe something you don't. That in no way equates to actual belief.

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 22:16:03 UTC | #891176

hueman0un's Avatar Comment 19 by hueman0un

no sadly in many of cases the parents imposing the religion do not believe in it for a second...they are rather aggressively trying to force it into's a "conversion process"..once the person is converted they are then "servants" of imposing faith you can get them to fork their money over or work out of good will or trust blindly...again high priests preaching to islamic men to blow themselves up don't do it themselves..they dont believe a word of what they preach..they preach though to "convert" people because that equates financial gain to them. yeah and of course it makes them "schizophrenic" many kids that react outwardly and become hysterical and messed up from this brainwashing are then trafficked into psych wards and told they have genetic diseases..then they suffer further abuse from the religious community that says things like they are possessed by demons or they are a child of the devil...IN THIS DAY AND AGE they will say these things about their abused if the schizophrenic said somthing like that theyd be called nuts in an instant however their parents are considered the sane ones when they tell their abused kid that he or she is possesed...meanwhile the person being told that sort of thing is considered the crazy one...

they will libel the people they abuse. its disgusting...if someone is constantly aggressively trying to convert you..its against your will

Sat, 19 Nov 2011 23:55:42 UTC | #891687

The Trollin' Atheist 's Avatar Comment 20 by The Trollin' Atheist

Well, complex and critical thinking does not happen until a person reaches their 20s. I agree with professor Dawkins when he mentions how exposing the young to one's belief( religion) is a form of child abuse.

However, it goes beyond exposing them to just religion. You can tell a parent or guardian that is a believer that you just do not have the same belief they do and they REFUSE to accept it( of course not all react in this way) They preach to you daily about things you can care less about. But, they do not seem to understand this. Sorry if i refuse to believe something that there is no physical/scientific evidence for.

Failing to go to church, my dad asks me the following day "why didn't you go to church?" My answer was simple, "i didn't want to". Not surprisingly, I got the typical "well, you live in my house, and things are done the way I say." Response. I guess next time i get asked that question again i should reply by saying something like 'because i do not believe in Bulls***t'

Sure, it's my parents house and if i don't like it i should get out, right? I just figured i would have been given the least amount of respect, privacy and decency since i pay the DAMN light bill (LOL). I'm honestly one more 'Jesus created you and he loves you' sermon away from going schizophrenic.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 19:24:24 UTC | #893955

hueman0un's Avatar Comment 21 by hueman0un

of course it makes them schizophrenic...its like saying if you deprived your kids of vitamin c and they came down with scurvy...its not exactly hidden in their DNA but rather communicated to them through abusive manipulative corrupt authority figures that they are supposed to obey literally as a lord...anyone can be brought up to be insane iif you are brought up in a mad house...and yes kids are wired to listen to their parents its instinctual that a parent looks out for its young thus the young trusts and listens to the parents...but bad parents exploit this and tell them all about jesus and heaven and miracles while they block everything else that is relevant right out of the kid and they even censor relevance if the kid starts learning on their own. its essentially thought policing and handicapping someone. its hugely abusive and people who are not brought up in an extremely stifling controlling abusive religious household often fail to understand whats wrong with the person who was raised in them and see them as someone who is suffering from a genetic disease etc etc when its from abusive, deprivation, and obstruction

Sat, 03 Dec 2011 20:33:51 UTC | #895384

hueman0un's Avatar Comment 22 by hueman0un

they really do force upon their subjects a belief in the supernatural and stupidly ridiculous..THEY FORCE THIS...they FORCE people to believe in Jesus's miracles and all the nonsense that the bible says..and they preoccupy people with these beliefs to control their lives..they can literally make people call and send in their money because that particular person is worried that if they dont the devil wiill torture them in hell...once they crack someone's head they can crawl in with whatever bogus stuff they want...they can tell people that the end of the world is coming and get them to pack up all there things and race off to arizona or some safe place...then when they come back FALSE ALARM..this is naturally CRAZY..if we have common sense..but in a christian community people are coerced to give up their common sense as if thats a good thing to do..a leap of not a good thing but they preach that it is in order to make sheep..its atrocity..its grossly criminal ..people that dont believe in the prescribed nonsense..are then aggresively "shunned" in order to make them come around and beleve because they want affection..its so disgusting then on sunday they step up on stage and act warm hearted...but the sheer amount of time that they waste in the people that they posses with their nonsense is absolutly atrocious..the potential that they deliberatly gut and caste aside from these people is human beings we could be thinking about real things and achieving things but instead our minds are preoccupied with a hustlers boogy a kid i said i did not believe in jesus's miracles and believed them to be not possible for that i was treated like a bad kid..i didnt bully other students...and i did my schoolwork...i simply said i didnt believe in that stuff because its not possible..for that i was told by my kindergarden teacher that i was going to hell for being very very bad. now when i think about it..that teacher should have been fired

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 05:43:56 UTC | #907586

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 23 by Premiseless

Observing some of the recent high profile concessions religions, the world over, are provided by government and authority does little to my confidence to conclude anything other than duplicitous complicity.

The very highest of authorities are co dependent and reliant upon abuse and reinforcement of it. It seems to me an exponential function, long proven and longer a denial than any human existential.

Sat, 12 May 2012 04:46:21 UTC | #941129

ccw95005's Avatar Comment 24 by ccw95005

No one can be forced to believe anything he doesn't want to. He can be coerced into behaving in certain ways, he can be forced to say certain things, but he can't be forced to believe something he rejects. He can be brainwashed into believing things that his rational self would question under other circumstances, but that's not the same as being forced to believe something against his will. In other words, he can be convinced of something by false arguments, but the decision is still his.

Sat, 12 May 2012 15:23:52 UTC | #941190