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Family Religious Background of Objectivists

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What is your "religious" background?? (my curiosity centers around family religious background)  

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  1. 1. What is your "religious" background?? (my curiosity centers around family religious background)

    • Catholic
      110
    • Protestant
      151
    • Muslim
      5
    • Agnostic
      31
    • Animistt
      0
    • Atheist
      59
    • Mormon
      15
    • Jewish
      29
    • other/combined
      58


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22,89% atheist or agnostic background. Interesting.

In my case my mother's religion is Freudian, while my father's a materialist.

My grandfather from my father's side was a REALLY AGNOSTIC jew who even changed his name to aryanize it, and married a goi, my french catholic though church-hating grandmother (she's got her own altar with her dead spouse and Jesus)

My grandparents by my deeply mystic Freudian mother, were both catholic in name only. MY grandfather refused to marry my grandmom inside a church so a priest had to be taken to his house. They never complainted when my mother stopped going to church.

So pretty secular here....

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side-note: When I was a kid I thought religion was a thing of the past and that EVERYONE was an atheist. I was REALLY struck when I found out that my second best friend -non practicing jew- believed in god. I was 9 or 10: "You gotta be kidding, you're intelligent" was my first response, he was deeply offended by that and we never mentioned it again. I remember it perfectly, so vividly, it was at a hotel lobby during a school trip, I saw how his face blanked out. I was terrified by a reaction I couldnt identify nor understand. Years later I understood that reaction was the momentary shutting down of the mind.

Edited by volco

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My family doesnt even go to church and every Sunday my mom claims that she is going to church next week, she says something bad might happen..ha....so when she thinks something is going to happen she decides she is going to chruch. Who does she think she is fooling.

The church we use to attend was one of the most demanding churches. When i use to ask questions and told them of the things i liked..they claimed it was the devil, and forced what they believe down your throat. And they are always wanting money, it is always doing charity benefits....they need money for everything. They even shun other churches and are refered to as a "cult". They are the biggest examples of hypocrites i have seen, and they call themselves christian.

for example: My uncle was taking this experiecing God class and he had to buy this book for it. They church said that they were not allowed to tell others about the class or show them the book. That is very selfish and very silly..it makes no since.

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Mom is protestant, Dad is catholic. They are pretty good for christian parents. They never really forced me to believe with them but I did have to got to Church every once in a long while.

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My parents are Jewish. They're not observant at all. They don't keep kosher, they think nothing of eating pork, shellfish or mixing meat and dairy. They don't attend daily services, or even the Friday evening or Saturday services. They go to synagogue only for the High Holidays and for the prayers one ought to offer (according to Judaism) at the anniversary of the death of someon close (aside from weddnigs and other such social occasions).

However, when my siblings and I were little, they would take us to Friday services often. As we grew into our teens, that stopped. I find that very odd. But my brothers are the same way. As soon as their children grew old enough they all started attending Firday services on most Fridays.

I attended a private school within the local Jewish community. It wasn't religious, but it taught Yiddish and Hebrew, and two classes dealing with Jewish history. The problem with such classes is that they began with the Old Testament, particularly the Torah, which is not history at all. Once you got past that it wasn't bad at all, but to this day I don't know how much to trust accounts of the Macabbes, the siege of Mazada, the Persian captivity, and so on. We also elarned about jewish Holidays (there are a lot of them; on the plus side school closed for all of them).

The school I attended was actually pretty good in real academic subjects like math, science, etc. In fact it was ranked among the top in the country (Mexico). But there was a clannish attitude about it I never liked (the same attitude existed at other schools within the community). In many ways that's pretty bad. For instance, I dind't know any gentiles my age until I transfered somewhere else for high school.

The synagogue my parents attend is a so-called Conservative one, meaning it has very liberal attitudes towards religion. Men and women can mix during services and afterwards (not so in Orthodox temples). Microphones can be sued for services, and even timers set to control lights during the Sabbath. I remember one of the Rabbis had a timer for his TV so he wouldn't miss his TV shows on Saturdays (later on I think he taped them). And though it did allow the serving of meals in the banquet hall for Bar Mitzvahs on Saturday, it dind't allow smoking on Saturday.

So I enver really experienced a strong attachment to religion, and thank God for that :D

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Your post reminds me of an interesting conversation a friend of mine had with her father. Both are ethnically Jewish, but while her father is an observant Jew who says he does not believe in God, my friend believes in God in a spiritual sense but is not observant of the Jewish religion or traditions. It actually sounds to me like some Jews consider observing the traditions and going through the motions more important than any actual belief in God. It's a strange thing.

My parents are Jewish. They're not observant at all. They don't keep kosher, they think nothing of eating pork, shellfish or mixing meat and dairy. They don't attend daily services, or even the Friday evening or Saturday services. They go to synagogue only for the High Holidays and for the prayers one ought to offer (according to Judaism) at the anniversary of the death of someon close (aside from weddnigs and other such social occasions).

However, when my siblings and I were little, they would take us to Friday services often. As we grew into our teens, that stopped. I find that very odd. But my brothers are the same way. As soon as their children grew old enough they all started attending Firday services on most Fridays.

I attended a private school within the local Jewish community. It wasn't religious, but it taught Yiddish and Hebrew, and two classes dealing with Jewish history. The problem with such classes is that they began with the Old Testament, particularly the Torah, which is not history at all. Once you got past that it wasn't bad at all, but to this day I don't know how much to trust accounts of the Macabbes, the siege of Mazada, the Persian captivity, and so on. We also elarned about jewish Holidays (there are a lot of them; on the plus side school closed for all of them).

The school I attended was actually pretty good in real academic subjects like math, science, etc. In fact it was ranked among the top in the country (Mexico). But there was a clannish attitude about it I never liked (the same attitude existed at other schools within the community). In many ways that's pretty bad. For instance, I dind't know any gentiles my age until I transfered somewhere else for high school.

The synagogue my parents attend is a so-called Conservative one, meaning it has very liberal attitudes towards religion. Men and women can mix during services and afterwards (not so in Orthodox temples). Microphones can be sued for services, and even timers set to control lights during the Sabbath. I remember one of the Rabbis had a timer for his TV so he wouldn't miss his TV shows on Saturdays (later on I think he taped them). And though it did allow the serving of meals in the banquet hall for Bar Mitzvahs on Saturday, it dind't allow smoking on Saturday.

So I enver really experienced a strong attachment to religion, and thank God for that :D

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Your post reminds me of an interesting conversation a friend of mine had with her father. Both are ethnically Jewish, but while her father is an observant Jew who says he does not believe in God, my friend believes in God in a spiritual sense but is not observant of the Jewish religion or traditions. It actually sounds to me like some Jews consider observing the traditions and going through the motions more important than any actual belief in God. It's a strange thing.

A Jewish friend of mine tells me there are four main sects of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. Your friend sounds like the last of these. From what my friend tells me, Reconstructionists enjoy the atmosphere and rituals of Jewish culture but aren't so sure about the whole God thing. (He and I agree that it basically isn't a religion at all; it's more like that group of atheists who joined a church because they liked singing hymns and looking at stained glass windows.)

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A Jewish friend of mine tells me there are four main sects of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. Your friend sounds like the last of these. From what my friend tells me, Reconstructionists enjoy the atmosphere and rituals of Jewish culture but aren't so sure about the whole God thing. (He and I agree that it basically isn't a religion at all; it's more like that group of atheists who joined a church because they liked singing hymns and looking at stained glass windows.)

Then join the church of Cordair. The art is better anyhow. Beware, though, you may end up leaving a large pile of cash on the collection plate.

(That actually *is* an in-joke between the Cordairs and me, though I saw them using the same joke on their blog about the move so perhaps it's not just me.)

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In 7th grade, I managed to convince my family not to make me go to Church except on Xmas or Easter. Now I wiggle my way out of those lol

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I was raised Catholic, but not strictly. We were a Christmas/Easter family, but then I was made to attend sunday school until I reached my Confirmation (which I think was about 16 years old). I haven't stepped foot inside a church in 7 years and even then it was for a funeral.

On a related topic - Does anyone here actually practice Christmas and Easter? If so, how do you justify it? Or do people just celebrate a generic, festive holiday time where they give presents?

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On a related topic - Does anyone here actually practice Christmas and Easter? If so, how do you justify it? Or do people just celebrate a generic, festive holiday time where they give presents?

Yes both. Probably more in the spirit of your last statement of it being a festive holiday time to spend with friends and family. There is of course no religious significance in either instance for me. Although I do love the consumerism that X-mas provides. It's a celebration of making and spending money in relation to your own value hierarchy.

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I think that it'll be found the final numbers of the poll match the statistics of population in the US and various other countries belonging to specific religions. That is to say, I don't think any religion lends itself very closely to Objectivism, and I think all organized religions equally attempt to thwart the faithful from attempting to gain personal philosophy other than that prescribed by the religion. I think of Objectivism very much like the matrix, it does not matter where you came from, at any one point the premises you thought you had can be washed away over time revealing reality and its beauty. The experience of awakening to Reason is not prejudicial and is, as most things, dependant on the individual.

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My family background is Catholic, Catholic and more Catholic. I am the eldest of six kids in my family. My parents are quite devout Catholics (in all ways!). When I was a child we would attend Mass every Sunday as well as the Holy Week services the week leading up to Easter. I received all the sacraments a Roman Catholic child receives. I was an altar boy from the ages of seven to fourteen. (No, I was not sexually molested, lol). My family made annual pilgrimages to a couple of area shrines. For my elementary years I attended a Catholic "separate" elementary school in my very small hometown. In Canada "separate" schools are religious schools that receive taxpayer funding.

That little Catholic school was hell. I endured it for 8 years. While it was a "Catholic" school, it was still a taxpayer funded school in Canada in the 1970's, with all the socialist indoctrination that entails. The teachers were not nuns or priests, they were graduates of teacher's colleges who happened to be Catholic. I remember some as being reasonably competent. Most were empty headed bureaucrats who didn't seem to be happy as overpaid babysitters. But the students of this small (entire student body at its peak: 100 kids) school were the driving force that really shaped my childhood experience. I was bullied mercilessly. Many of the kids were part of one large extended family and they formed a sizable gang. I was not related to them, so I was a tribal outcast. Several of my childhood "friends" would hang out and play with me when no one was around, but as soon as the gang showed up, everyone turned on me, including my "friends". My parents, being devout Catholics, as well as sworn pacifists, told me to be like Jesus, to pray and "turn the other cheek." They told me that a good child of God forgives his enemies. I wanted my parents to be pleased with me, so I did as I was told, even as the abuse was heaped upon me in the schoolyard. I hated every moment of elementary school, and grew to simply endure it as some form of penance. I knew something was wrong, but I had been raised to believe in original sin, and that my suffering on Earth would be rewarded in heaven. Through all the taunting and torment I received, I learned to hate the mob, to distrust the collective. I pushed those thoughts below the surface, convincing myself that I was being like Jesus.

As far as my own religiosity went, I went through a stage as a child (when I was 11 years old) where I read all kinds of stories about the lives of saints. Martyrdom, acsetism, every aspect of a religious life appealed to me. I had internalized my indoctrination hook, line and sinker. I was a mystical altruist in many ways, and even proclaimed, loudly, to anyone who would listen, that I intended to become a priest. I was truly walking the path of Jesus! But as I got a little older, the little, quiet voice of reason in my mind became louder, more insistent. My religion was starting to ring hollow. The rituals that were supposed to bring me closer to God didn't seem right any more. I realized that I had been convincing myself that I believed in the Catholic faith, and that I had been doing so in order to please my parents.

As my elementary years drew to a close, I found I was far more fascinated by my female classmates' developing curves than I was by religion! When I quietly dropped my stated plan to become a priest, no one seemed to notice.

As my high school years progressed, religion held less and less sway over me. I still went to church every Sunday like my parents expected. I went to Catholic Youth gatherings outside of my hometown and endured the preaching because the conferences were a chance to get away for a weekend and, more importantly, to meet girls! But I was already basically a deist, beginning to leave religion behind.

When I went to university, going to church on Sundays seemed a big chore, so I started to go only occasionally. I stopped altogether in my second year of university. When I moved in with my girlfriend(who is now my wife of 14 years) my parents denounced my "living in sin" most vociferously. They called at all hours of the day and night. My mother left weeping guilt-laden messages on my answering machine. I received Christmas cards saying they were afraid that I would burn in hell. They said that I had gone against all the values with which I was raised. I told them that it was my life to live as I saw fit. They were apoplectic. Three years later my wife and I were married in the Catholic Church, in an attempt to smooth things over with my parents. But we never went to church again except for weddings and funerals.

But my belief in Catholicism, and in religion generally, was gone forever. Years later I discovered Ayn Rand's works and knew that I was right to listen to that little voice of reason all those years ago.

Edited by SaskBigPicture

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My parents were raised in Jewish households, my dad in a kosher Jewish one. They decided to raise us atheist, so I added to the Atheist vote. However, when your background is Jewish you tend to pick up the culture - the Yiddish expressions etc. We just didn't go to what's it called - synagogue! Didn't have the rite of passage at 13 etc etc. But... they were pretty committed to socialism, so they're less than happy with my interest in Objectivism. Oh well.

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Similar here. Third generation atheist, at least on my mother's side. My father is either atheist or simply acquiesced in leaving the issue alone; his parents were devout Catholics. He was, on the other hand, relatively pro-free-market though lately he's been drinking a little too much of the mainstream media Koolaid. Back to my mother's side, it was one of those socialist "Jewish" scenarios. So that makes me third generation atheist on my mother's side, and second generation capitalist (being as charitable as possible) on my fathers side.

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I am a product of (what was then known as) a mixed marriage. Mother was Roman Catholic, father a free thinking agnostic. She put me through 16 years of Dominicans and Jesuits. He kept his copies of Playboy under Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Whatever faith I had was gone by age 11; not sure if it was Spinoza or Miss September.

Later in life, After reading everything written by Ian Stevenson, I came to believe in the real possibility of reincarnation. So currently I believe in a spirit or soul but no Cosmic Dictator or Creator. It works for me but probably few others.

Skippy

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I am a product of (what was then known as) a mixed marriage. Mother was Roman Catholic, father a free thinking agnostic. She put me through 16 years of Dominicans and Jesuits. He kept his copies of Playboy under Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Whatever faith I had was gone by age 11; not sure if it was Spinoza or Miss September.

Later in life, After reading everything written by Ian Stevenson, I came to believe in the real possibility of reincarnation. So currently I believe in a spirit or soul but no Cosmic Dictator or Creator. It works for me but probably few others.

Skippy

So you still have faith then. Why?

Whatever faith I had was gone by age 11; not sure if it was Spinoza or Miss September.
Regardless of your personal contradiction this line is golden B)

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I chose other/combined.

My family never went to church except a few isolated experiences with weddings, funerals, plus a summer bible school thing I did with a neighbor kid one summer. My reaction towards my experience with organized religion was mixed. I seem to recall enjoying the singing and interaction with others. But, I found the Sunday service & preaching to be spooky, with the stained glass windows and preacher speaking in what seemed to be a foreign language at the time. The spookiest part is when everyone would chant a prayer or kneel in unison, which was scary because everyone knew what was going on except me. I know it seems silly, but that spookiness of religion sticks to me to this day.

Otherwise, I've developed a very abstract blank slate approach to God, if such a being really exists. I've tried to make my own personal peace with whatever kind of being that might exist. I've tested the waters by reading the bible, which has some interesting facets to it, but I can only take so much away from it. I also tried being an atheist for a while, but it's just as much nonsense to me as theism because atheism acknowledges that the question is relevant and that it has an answer. It's like answering the question, "what color is the number 2?". The Christians say it's white, Muslims say it's red, Buddhists say it's green, then the atheist comes along and declares that it's transparent. I come along and say, "2 is a number, not a color.". The concept of God is a tool used by humans to grapple with existential questions. Does God exist? As a tool, sure. Otherwise, it depends on how one defines God. Even then, proof can only apply to certain defined aspects of God. God as an entity, by definition, is fundamentally existentially unprovable one way or the other. By the same token, any description or definition which claims to be the final word on the subject has to be wrong. One thing for sure is the fact that there is quite a bit that is beyond human comprehension, which in a nutshell, I think is what God represents.

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Father a Catholic, Mother a Church of England - never were really spiritual from the point of view quoting scriptures but talked about being a good person and having some sort of spiritual or philosophical component to ones life as being a positive attribute to guide oneself.

I've decided on Deism as my belief - manly that I can believe in a god or higher being but the idea of a god that interacts with the world or that we have to be reliant on 'him', 'her' or 'it' in the form of scriptures kind negates the whole reason for us having a brain that can do so much more than an privative animal.

Edited by Kaiwia Gardiner

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When I went to university, going to church on Sundays seemed a big chore, so I started to go only occasionally. I stopped altogether in my second year of university. When I moved in with my girlfriend(who is now my wife of 14 years) my parents denounced my "living in sin" most vociferously. They called at all hours of the day and night. My mother left weeping guilt-laden messages on my answering machine. I received Christmas cards saying they were afraid that I would burn in hell. They said that I had gone against all the values with which I was raised. I told them that it was my life to live as I saw fit. They were apoplectic. Three years later my wife and I were married in the Catholic Church, in an attempt to smooth things over with my parents. But we never went to church again except for weddings and funerals.

I was raised Catholic from birth and received all of the sacraments as a kid. My mom is a devout Catholic who goes to church pretty much every day, though I find her pretty accepting of things that contradict strict Catholic doctrine (she didn't say anything when my sister moved in with her boyfriend or about the fact that my other sister is gay, or about my general attitude of non-belief in her faith). She's more of a "live and let live" kind of person, which is fine by me. My dad went to church before they got divorced and now he's remarried. I don't think he really goes anymore. Not with any regularity anyway. He's a very analytical, rational person, so I'm not exactly sure what his belief structure is. I imagine he kind of went along with it as part of raising his kids, but I don't think he embraces it much anymore.

I really went along for the ride when I was young. I can remember theology having only a mild influence over my actions and even then I could do some wretched stuff as a kid. I didn't really get much out of mass and spent most of it looking up at the ceiling and letting my imagination run away with me. As I grew up and went to high school I still went, though begrudgingly. I think I may have experienced a bit of resurgence in activity at this point because there was more of a clear group of kids my age who were involved in church stuff....and, you know, girls. Only in looking back do I realize that it was based not of belief but rather a sense of wanting to be included in something, make new friends, etc. Predictably it didn't work because (like some other forums with which I'm familiar) if you didn't agree with this group to the letter, you were more or less shunned because THEY were the kids who were going to grow up to be good little zealots and warriors for Christ (a term, which in and of itself, makes me laugh in its hypocrisy). These are literally the same people who ask WWJD? Well I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't join the fucking military! :P Around this time I did pick up a liking for baroque art, some of the religious classicists, and classical music written for services, especially Vivaldi.

When I got to college and had the option of going to mass myself I did for a little bit. Again, I didn't get much out of it. I did meet a couple nice people (no, I wasn't molested either ;) ) but nothing concrete. Plus I kept moving around a lot geographically. At some point in the first year I stopped going all together and haven't been back. It's only in looking back that I know I never really embraced it. Praying was more a recitation than an act with any meaning in it. I had always been science-minded as a boy and was far more interested in the concrete realm of how things work (from cars to galaxies) than I was in some ephemeral idea of right and wrong. To quote Pantera: "I'll call no one my Father who's no closer than a stranger." NOW I find the study of religion fascinating. I'm kind of a history buff, and the influence of religion on history is omnipresent. I'm also curious to know WHY people believe the things they do, the sociological components of faith, but it's hard to get any real answers. Most of it is broken down into vague "feelings". I'd recommend reading "Why people believe weird things." Written by a very intelligent skeptic.

I identify today as agnostic. Literally from the meaning of the word "inability to know". I'm not interested in arguing pointless premises with people like: "Can God create a rock so big that he can't lift it?" or other circular logic. It's when people try to empirically prove something that by definition defies empiricism. I largely place hardcore atheists at the opposite end of the same scale as hardcore religious zealots. Both groups are certain beyond the shadow of a doubt of their convictions, but neither has any heuristic proof to support their position. Personally, I think the burden of proof rests on the religious side, but if you try to cram atheism down my throat, I'm going to ask you to show me why. Otherwise I'm fine with religious people who keep it to themselves. It is, after all, a free country. You can believe in the Tooth Fairy if it makes you feel better.

When I was introduced to objectivism, I realized that my personal belief system already coincided with many of its teachings. As for the parts that didn't....well that's why I'm here.

Edited by shadesofgrey

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I was raised without religious influence of any kind.

People sometimes ask me when I became an atheist. I tell them that I was born one and have been presented with no reason to change my mind.

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