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Ragnar69

Are any Objectivists here in love with a religious person?

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I won't comment further, out of respect for those involved. Suffice it to say, my statement was not made lightly, and is not intended as sarcasm or snark.

There are giant red flags that this man needs to take cognizance of. None of them have anything to do with religion.

You are actually correct, she was breaking up with me for a variety of reasons. That is why she moved out. But ultimately she reached the same conclusion I did - we are happier with each other than without. We've talked about why she left, and we know we still have a lot to work through. We are trying to be more open with each other about the way we think, and we believe we can make it work when we are living together again.

Mindy - I don't think our beliefs will affect our children any more than any other mixed religion household. Parents often disagree on a variety of subjects. Alyx is happier with God in her life, rational or not. I am not. It works for her, and despite her beliefs, I don't think she lives according to whim or in an irrational way. She also didn't arrive at her beliefs from family pressure, as her family is not religious. She drew her own conclusions based on personal experience and study. I enjoy a number of things that Rand would have scoffed at as irrational, but the overall way I live my life is based on reason. I consider myself an Objectivist because I agree with the basic principles, but there are a lot of things in which I disagree with Rand. Our children can decide for themselves, as will be their right.

Edited by Ragnar69

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Ragnar69: Mindy - I don't think our beliefs will affect our children any more than any other mixed religion household. Parents often disagree on a variety of subjects. Alyx is happier with God in her life, rational or not. I am not. It works for her, and despite her beliefs, I don't think she lives according to whim or in an irrational way. She also didn't arrive at her beliefs from family pressure, as her family is not religious. She drew her own conclusions based on personal experience and study. I enjoy a number of things that Rand would have scoffed at as irrational, but the overall way I live my life is based on reason. I consider myself an Objectivist because I agree with the basic principles, but there are a lot of things in which I disagree with Rand. Our children can decide for themselves, as will be their right.

Reply: Your children need your guidance. Eventually, they will decide for themselves. In the meantime, they need to see good examples and they'll require all sorts of explanations. Children feel safe because their parents know what's what. They don't need to be asked to choose one parent over the other, when they find out one believes in God and the other doesn't, when they find out Mom believes in God because she feels that way, and Dad doesn't, because he relies on facts and reason. They don't need to be put in the position of choosing to believe that there's a heaven and a life after death, or not. Children probe, and they crucially need, when young, to be able to learn from, to believe, and to trust their parents.

Justifying the conflicts and confusion you plan to subject children to on the basis of their right to think for themselves amounts to substituting a political restraint for the parents' positive responsibilities to their children. You are saying, in fact, that you won't punish (jail) them for what they believe, but that you don't need to help them arrive at a valid and consistent perspective on those beliefs. You will treat them with civility, but you won't undertake to raise them.

You and your gf don't take philosophy as seriously as many of us do. That's your choice. But to carry out your plan is to fail the responsibilities of parenthood. Specifically, it is to tell your kids, through example, that their minds are not efficacious when it comes to judging right and wrong, or knowing important things for sure, that blind faith is as valid as reason, that mystical forces may control the world, etc.

It is interesting that you are back-pedaling from being a thorough "Objectivist." Also interesting is the sentiment that your children would be harmed no more than those in other mixed-religion families. They will be harmed no less than that! Why accept that level of harm? There is no "middle" to Objectivism, or logic, or reality, just inconsistency, self-deception, and self-defeat. You know better than to impose that on children.

Without ill-will,

-- Mindy

Edited by Mindy

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One of my parents is generally religious and took myself and my sibling to church when we were younger while as far as I've ever been able to tell my other parent is not religious. I don't recall ever actually asking my parents about anything religious though I asked tons of questions abut things I didn't understand as a child. I just remember as a little kid, maybe somewhere from preschool to first grade, when I first realized those people at church believed all those bizarre stories they told us were REAL, that they all happened and were all connected. My immediate reaction was to think they were all obviously one doughnut short of a dozen and that it was disturbing to see all these people seriously believed with no evidence all these things which sounded like just creepy fairy tales and not how anything worked in the real world. I didn't need to ask my parents about it, since soon as I realized what religion was I could tell on my own it was wrong. I don't think parents having conflicting views has to confuse a kid. People in general can be seen to not agree on everything. Little kids themselves can disagree with their parents. I know I must have figured out pretty darn early in my life that my parents were not incapable of error, that they and other people could generally be trusted about a whole lot of stuff, but could be wrong too, so when I could see reasons that they were just blatantly wrong, I just accepted that they were wrong. I never asked my parents about religion as far as I can remember because I didn't need to and if they disagreed it wouldn't forever shake my world. I think understanding that people are capable of error, but how you don't need to worry about that constantly without some sort of reason or evidence can go a long way toward helping a kid have a healthier and more secure view of things than counting on other people to be flawless. People who have parents who disagree don't have to get messed up because of it and people can also have parents who agree and still end up concluding that their parents are wrong in spite of presenting a united front, like how apparently the girl discussed in this thread had non-religious parents, but still wound up being religious. I think you are putting way too much stock in the parents beliefs on the subject of religion as shaping a destiny for their kids and not giving enough credit to the kid to be able to handle human fallibility and eventually make their own minds up.

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I don't think parents having conflicting views has to confuse a kid. People in general can be seen to not agree on everything. Little kids themselves can disagree with their parents. I know I must have figured out pretty darn early in my life that my parents were not incapable of error, that they and other people could generally be trusted about a whole lot of stuff, but could be wrong too, so when I could see reasons that they were just blatantly wrong, I just accepted that they were wrong. I never asked my parents about religion as far as I can remember because I didn't need to and if they disagreed it wouldn't forever shake my world. I think understanding that people are capable of error, but how you don't need to worry about that constantly without some sort of reason or evidence can go a long way toward helping a kid have a healthier and more secure view of things than counting on other people to be flawless. People who have parents who disagree don't have to get messed up because of it and people can also have parents who agree and still end up concluding that their parents are wrong in spite of presenting a united front, like how apparently the girl discussed in this thread had non-religious parents, but still wound up being religious. I think you are putting way too much stock in the parents beliefs on the subject of religion as shaping a destiny for their kids and not giving enough credit to the kid to be able to handle human fallibility and eventually make their own minds up.

You are trivializing the issue, and philosophy itself when you say, "People who have parents who disagree don't have to get messed up because of it..." This isn't just any disagreement. Most kids will ask questions about what happens when you die, for just one example. Getting radically different answers from their parents is a problem.

-- Mindy

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Meh, you think I'm trivializing it, but I think you are exaggerating how big a problem this would be. I'm sure plenty of people can be found even just on this board, let alone in the general populace, with parents with mixed religious views who handled it just fine. I bet you'd have a MUCH harder time finding anybody who became really confused by parents with different religious views and didn't end up handling it well after a little time at least. After all, even if your parents agree, you'll quickly find out other people exist in the world who don't agree with them and that people can be wrong about things. I do not however believe I have trivialized philosophy. Philosophy is important, but having parents disagreeing on religion does not mean a kid will get screwed up necessarily. What matters a lot more is how they treat the disagreement and how they treat the kid more generally when it comes to issues of what constitutes basis for believing or doubting things. If in general they teach the kid about evidence and such and this is how they treat other subjects in general, the kid can figure out for themself that reason is important and that one of their parents is not being reasonable when it comes to their religious views, so, they can reject those views on religion the same way they'd reject baseless accusations of, say, there being a unicorn sitting beside them, while they can still trust other things from the parent when the parent still is using reason.

Edited by bluecherry

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Meh, you think I'm trivializing it, but I think you are exaggerating how big a problem this would be. I'm sure plenty of people can be found even just on this board, let alone in the general populace, with parents with mixed religious views who handled it just fine. I bet you'd have a MUCH harder time finding anybody who became really confused by parents with different religious views and didn't end up handling it well after a little time at least. After all, even if your parents agree, you'll quickly find out other people exist in the world who don't agree with them and that people can be wrong about things. I do not however believe I have trivialized philosophy. Philosophy is important, but having parents disagreeing on religion does not mean a kid will get screwed up necessarily. What matters a lot more is how they treat the disagreement and how they treat the kid more generally when it comes to issues of what constitutes basis for believing or doubting things. If in general they teach the kid about evidence and such and this is how they treat other subjects in general, the kid can figure out for themself that reason is important and that one of their parents is not being reasonable when it comes to their religious views, so, they can reject those views on religion the same way they'd reject baseless accusations of, say, there being a unicorn sitting beside them, while they can still trust other things from the parent when the parent still is using reason.

I would agree with you, if only the separation of "what constitutes [a valid] basis for believing or doubting things," could in fact be separated from religious beliefs. Blind faith and Godly authority cannot be glossed over as if they were minor variants on facing facts, thinking things through, and always being reasonable.

It seems you are thinking chiefly of older children, but it is the youngest children who most crucially need role models and guidance as they start thinking about the world and life. If being religious doesn't matter, then being reasonable doesn't matter. If condemning one parent as irrational doesn't matter, parenting doesn't matter!

-- Mindy

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I would agree with you, if only the separation of "what constitutes [a valid] basis for believing or doubting things," could in fact be separated from religious beliefs. Blind faith and Godly authority cannot be glossed over as if they were minor variants on facing facts, thinking things through, and always being reasonable.

It seems you are thinking chiefly of older children, but it is the youngest children who most crucially need role models and guidance as they start thinking about the world and life. If being religious doesn't matter, then being reasonable doesn't matter. If condemning one parent as irrational doesn't matter, parenting doesn't matter!

-- Mindy

You can teach your children to be reasonable, how to be moral, and how to treat others without bringing religion into it, either for or against it. To be honest, I don't think I would have attempted to teach my children about Objectivism until they were older even if I were engaged to an Objectivist. There are principles there that are just beyond the ability of most young children to grasp. I mean, just look at the disagreements among Objectivists on this forum on all sorts of issues! I'm still trying to figure out all the facets of Objectivism after living with it as an adult for more than 10 years. I think trying to ingrain one's own personal beliefs, which have been formed over a lifetime, into young children could be akin to brainwashing. I wouldn't want my child to become a little Randian automaton, anymore than I would want them to walk around spouting scripture. I don't think they would have the understanding to know what they were saying. That's how religion usually works, it is ingrained into minds not yet capable of fully thinking for themselves. I wouldn't want to force any belief system onto a young child. And I can't really picture a 6-year-old saying, "Mommy, you're irrational." If I tried to teach that to them I think Mommy would kill me :)

Edited by Ragnar69

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You can teach your children to be reasonable, how to be moral, and how to treat others without bringing religion into it, either for or against it. To be honest, I don't think I would have attempted to teach my children about Objectivism until they were older even if I were engaged to an Objectivist. There are principles there that are just beyond the ability of most young children to grasp. I mean, just look at the disagreements among Objectivists on this forum on all sorts of issues! I'm still trying to figure out all the facets of Objectivism after living with it as an adult for more than 10 years. I think trying to ingrain one's own personal beliefs, which have been formed over a lifetime, into young children could be akin to brainwashing. I wouldn't want my child to become a little Randian automaton, anymore than I would want them to walk around spouting scripture. I don't think they would have the understanding to know what they were saying. That's how religion usually works, it is ingrained into minds not yet capable of fully thinking for themselves. I wouldn't want to force any belief system onto a young child. And I can't really picture a 6-year-old saying, "Mommy, you're irrational." If I tried to teach that to them I think Mommy would kill me :)

You seem to take philosophy as a set of statements. It is a way of living. Which philosophy you follow determines which actions you choose. As children grow, they think about themselves and the world and life and death, and they want explanations for everything. Someone who is content, typically, to respond with, "Because I said so," is a very different parent from someone who CAN and does explain their decision in terms of facts and sensible rules. There is no "forcing" a belief system when you act and give accounts of your actions, etc., according to facts, large and small. My daughter is now 16. Almost a year ago, she heard her father and myself talking about Ayn Rand. A few weeks later, she asked me, how come I never knew you (both of us) believed in this philosophy, "Objectivism," and followed Ayn Rand?

She's never heard of "A is A," or "Existence has identity," or the virtue of "selfishness" or other notable sound-bites of Objectivism. I trust that shows what I mean, and that it is as far from indoctrination as could be.

-- Mindy

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I cannot say much. I have not been in a relationship with religious conflict. But, the pattern that I see in you is odd: do you value your atheism above her, or do you disregard it? In my short opinion, if you're truly upset by her standards on a primitive philosophy: dump her. If it does not bother your integrity, you two are both fine.

To further extend in this conversation, she might bother your integrity too much. Though, as you had stated, she is not concerned with religion as she might ever exaggerate. The problem is not whether or not she is religious, but whether it compromises your values——which compromises your judgement——to compromise your integrity.

Edited by Egosum—

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You seem to take philosophy as a set of statements. It is a way of living. Which philosophy you follow determines which actions you choose. As children grow, they think about themselves and the world and life and death, and they want explanations for everything. Someone who is content, typically, to respond with, "Because I said so," is a very different parent from someone who CAN and does explain their decision in terms of facts and sensible rules. There is no "forcing" a belief system when you act and give accounts of your actions, etc., according to facts, large and small. My daughter is now 16. Almost a year ago, she heard her father and myself talking about Ayn Rand. A few weeks later, she asked me, how come I never knew you (both of us) believed in this philosophy, "Objectivism," and followed Ayn Rand?

She's never heard of "A is A," or "Existence has identity," or the virtue of "selfishness" or other notable sound-bites of Objectivism. I trust that shows what I mean, and that it is as far from indoctrination as could be.

-- Mindy

I think that is exactly my point. You never found it necessary to talk to your daughter about Rand, even as late as 15. What did you tell her about death, the big bang, and other large philosophical issues? Did they ever even come up?

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You never found it necessary to talk to your daughter about Rand, even as late as 15. What did you tell her about death, the big bang, and other large philosophical issues? Did they ever even come up?

I agree with Mindy's point that you seem to treat philosophy like a theoretical subject that only becomes relevant later in life. Even though Mindy never mentioned Rand until recently, her life philosophy was reflected in her parenting from the moment her daughter was born - both in terms of how she approached raising a child and what she taught her child. Your and your partner's epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics are relevant from day one and influence the development of your child's epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.

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I agree with Mindy's point that you seem to treat philosophy like a theoretical subject that only becomes relevant later in life. Even though Mindy never mentioned Rand until recently, her life philosophy was reflected in her parenting from the moment her daughter was born - both in terms of how she approached raising a child and what she taught her child. Your and your partner's epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics are relevant from day one and influence the development of your child's epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.

Sure, but in my case, if my fiance and I both teach our children from a place of rationality and reason, based on reality, then I think we'll be fine. I don't think my fiance would ever feel the need to tell our kids to do something because God would want it that way. AFAIK, she doesn't really live that way. It is just a personal choice she has made to believe something more is out there. I'm sure she will want to share that with our children someday, but I don't think it will be a necessary part of raising them. It is something we will obviously have to talk about on an ongoing basis, but I think we can deal with it until our children are old enough to decide for themselves.

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If her belief in God merely affects her belief about what happens after death, then you certainly could have a loving enduring relationship. If it also affects how she lives here on Earth, probably a problem, since her beliefs would undercut any serious intellectual conversations. Could you be happy with that? I couldn't.

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Sure, but in my case, if my fiance and I both teach our children from a place of rationality and reason, based on reality, then I think we'll be fine. I don't think my fiance would ever feel the need to tell our kids to do something because God would want it that way. AFAIK, she doesn't really live that way. It is just a personal choice she has made to believe something more is out there. I'm sure she will want to share that with our children someday, but I don't think it will be a necessary part of raising them. It is something we will obviously have to talk about on an ongoing basis, but I think we can deal with it until our children are old enough to decide for themselves.

If your wife takes your young children to a church one day——her decision could affect their epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and especially their rationality. Though, you said your wife wouldn't really do that. But, the possibility is in itself daunting.

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When the contradiction between their active values and their religious belief is openly acknowledged, at that point where they say they just "do," the fundamental difference becomes almost palpable--a silence that creates a distance between us--there is nothing to say, nothing to be done. It is unworkable. It isn't reason if it pertains only up to a point. It will be feelings or Biblical sayings or altruism, or fear of God's wrath that takes over at that point. Reason that gives way to anything else, from the beginning, or only at a certain point, is not any kind of discipline at all. If you value reason, truth, facts, science, etc., at all, you value them all the way.

There's a reason that discussions about religion become heated. The differences matter. So I recommend you two have that conversation asap, and the atheist tries to determine how far the anti-intellectualism, atruism, supernatural tendencies, and failure to rely on reason goes in the believer. It really is a simple issue--do you accept reason or not.

If you take yourselves seriously, you need to work this out before making a commitment. I wish you the very best of luck, but I fear the worst.

Very well put, Mindy, especially the first paragraph. I could never proceed into a relationship after encountering such a dead-end. If there is even a hint of faith (but then, how could any presence of faith be just a "hint"?), how are things reasoned into? I don't mean to say that there are only religious morons on the one hand and Objectivists on the other; clearly there are people who are rational to a significant degree but continue to cling to faith. But as far as I'm concerned, such people are to be traded with as customers, business associates and possibly friends. Definately not as romantic life partners. The latter requires too much of a total devotion to the other person's character to permit such breaches of reason.

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