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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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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.

I know what you mean. I didn't 'become' an atheist. I simply discovered that 'atheist' was the concept that described the (non-)beliefs I'd held all along.

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I know what you mean. I didn't 'become' an atheist. I simply discovered that 'atheist' was the concept that described the (non-)beliefs I'd held all along.

This sort of thing angers some theists as they consider belief the default and one only ceases to believe due to some traumatic event or out of anger.

Edited by CWEarl

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This sort of thing angers some theists as they consider belief the default and one only ceases to believe due to some traumatic event or out of anger.

And it's just so cute that they believe that, really. Of course, theists by definition have demonstrated both the ability and willingness to believe truly bizarre things without rational grounding. If they're angered by a statement of a simple truth that's their problem, not mine.

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Both of my parents are atheists, and thus they raised me an atheist, without even instilling in my mind the notion of organized religion until I came upon it on my own. Of course, I'm still atheist, and very thankful that I never even had to go through the process of discovering how wrong religion is.

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Cust curious about whether objectiviststend to come from religious backgrounds or not

Raised Lutheran. Attended parochial school from Grades 2 through 12. Chapel and one religion class every single day. Missed church one Sunday during my entire childhood. We even went to church Sunday morning when camping.

Since leaving home at 18 (I'm 47) I've been to church two or three times - when my parents visited and only as a kindness to my mother. I was sincere in my beliefs until I figured out as a teenager than most people are at least somewhat if not wholly hypocritical. Spent much of my twenties looking for "truth" studying religions of the world. Learned that the only truth of human existence is that NOONE knows what the truth is.

Bob

Galts Gulch Gifts

Patriot Resistance store

Edited by PatriotResistance

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Hmm-seems like I had a different experience than most. I was born into a Christian home (Southern Baptist), and actually found the switch from Christianity to an Objectivist ethics quite natural. Before Objectivism, I had been very active in the church, interested in ethics, and deeply explored ways to improve my moral upbringing. The discovery of Objectivsm made me realize that the power of revelation, meaning the ability to truly know what was and was not moral, lay with me, not any god. Furthermore, because I had been interested in improving myself, discarding the altruist ethics of Christianity once again posed as no difficulty to me. It was like upgrading from Windows 3.0 to Windows 7.

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I was raised in a Southern Baptist household (mother was religious/collectivist, dad was from the church of NASCAR :D ). I assumed a belief in christianity as a teenager, but I discovered my atheism around the time that I completed my first complete read-through of the NIV of The Bible.

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I was raised in a Southern Baptist household (mother was religious/collectivist, dad was from the church of NASCAR :D ). I assumed a belief in christianity as a teenager, but I discovered my atheism around the time that I completed my first complete read-through of the NIV of The Bible.

Ezekiel 23:20 was probably a bit of a shocker, wasn't it? I know that verse made my jaw drop. The more surprising because the NIV in many cases tries to clean up disgusting passages in the Bible, and in this case it came off worse than the KJV. In fact the NIV is the most explicit translation of this verse I have yet found.

The NIV tended to sanitize and paper over problems with the Bible. For example the NIV does not even admit that the Hebrew version of Isaiah 7:14 says "young woman" not "virgin". The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is more honest (it says "young woman" here but footnotes that the Greek (Septuagint) says "virgin"). Of course that's of limited value, after all: A more honest translation of something that's fundamentally bogus is still.... fundamentally bogus. It just helps you detect the bogosity.

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Ezekiel 23:20 was probably a bit of a shocker, wasn't it? I know that verse made my jaw drop. The more surprising because the NIV in many cases tries to clean up disgusting passages in the Bible, and in this case it came off worse than the KJV. In fact the NIV is the most explicit translation of this verse I have yet found.

The NIV tended to sanitize and paper over problems with the Bible. For example the NIV does not even admit that the Hebrew version of Isaiah 7:14 says "young woman" not "virgin". The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is more honest (it says "young woman" here but footnotes that the Greek (Septuagint) says "virgin"). Of course that's of limited value, after all: A more honest translation of something that's fundamentally bogus is still.... fundamentally bogus. It just helps you detect the bogosity.

Hah! Yeah, little gems like that are amusing, indeed. In my days as a Christian teenager I told myself that items like that were acceptable because of the vastly different culture. All of this happened about 20 years ago, and from what I remember it was more that what I perceived as truly amazing in the world did not seem to have any reference in the Bible. It was like the things that I had learned to value in my life were rejected by the Bible. When I had to chose to go with what I was told to believe rather than what I perceived, then, well, I'm here aren't I? ;)

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Ezekiel 23:20 was probably a bit of a shocker, wasn't it?

What's shocking about it? It's claiming that the Jews are in trouble because they, figuratively speaking, have acted like whores. Mainly by practicing or tolerating idolatry. It's one of the more colorful passages, but compared to the killing of the picking up sticks on the Sabbath guy, or the one commanding that any Jew that suggests a visit to an idolator's religious service (y'know, just to check it out), is to be killed instantly, well, Ezekiel's pretty much run of the mill.

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It was the use of language. Sure, Ezekiel was making a "legitimate" theological point there; it wasn't a totally random porn-troll. The language was pretty graphic though, for what is supposed to be the "good book" suitable for family.

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Raised Mormon. In my early 20s, I finally couldn't keep holding beliefs that were incompatible with logic and reason, so I announced to my family that I would no longer be following the tenets that I had been raised with.

At the risk of being dismissed out of hand, I am not an athiest. After a lot of soul searching and study. I consider myself to be a Deist, the same as most of our Founding Fathers. I know that atheism is most common and accepted among Objectivists, but for me, Deism is a belief system that works.

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I was raised moderately christian. In my teen years I was heavily active in my church youth group at the same time trying to reconcile things that I found absurd about it such as the fact that you can be a murderer but believe in God and go to heaven, but if you were a good person who didn't believe you would go to hell. I left the church partly due to my questions and partly due to observing the massive hypocracy of the church members between what they "believed" and how they acted. I was agnostic for a few years before I tried christiananity again in a search for something to believe in. I actually read the first few books of the bible for the first time, was horribly disgusted at how anyone could take that as a measure of the ideal and never looked back. My favorites were where Abraham was willing to kill his own child 'because God said so' and where the man in Sodom gave his daughters to the mob to rape instead of the random men he just met. I have a young daughter and if God himself came down before my very eyes and told me to kill her, I'd tell him to go to hell.

I wanted to raise my daughter without even an idea of religion until she was old enough to think of it critically, but it's like a disease so that wasn't possible. She has fundamentalist christian friends so I had to start the religion talk way too early. I told her some of the absurdities in the Bible and Koran without giving an indication of what I thought and her response was to say, "that's crazy! How could anyone believe that?" (At 5 years old. They need a smilie for wiping a tear away from pride.) She has a very critical mind and loves reason (huge math and science nerd) so I think she'll be ok.

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Was raised more or less Athiest, we never went to any kind of church, but the only nearby primary school was catholic and the best secondary school is catholic, so I had a catholic education.

Me and my dad are athiest, my two sisters are catholic (still going through primary school brainwashing), my brother recently converted to islam and my mum is a spiritualist, go figure. :stuart:

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I put myself as Jewish, but I am by no means from a religious household. Thanks to Communism suppressing all religion and my parents being afraid of me (and my sister) falling for religion when we moved to Israel, our house was quite strictly atheist. I did not even know I was Jewish until close to the breakup of USSR (I was about 7 at the time). So to say the least keeping Kosher or the Sabbath was not something my family had ever done. And my father was never circumcised. As such I grew up (and still do) identifying myself as Jewish purely from ethnic perspective.

What I would be interested in is how many of the people identify themselves as from atheist/agnostic background in the survey, are actually Jewish (or had one Jewish parent). Just to see if this would confirm or disprove my hypothesis. Since most Objectivists I personally know are Jewish (though most of my friends in general are not Jewish), I would expect a higher percentage of Jewish people to be on O'ist forums than other religious backgrounds, though that would include Jews like me who did not really grow up in a religious household.

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?

I am guessing you mean actually celebrate the 'birth' and 'resurrection' of Christ. So obviously I wouldn't. However do I celebrate a holiday that is essentially Christmas but with all the Jesus stuff taken out of it. In USSR, except the orthodox community, no one celebrated Christmas. Instead on New Years we did everything one would do for Christmas. We had a tree (and the star at the top was representing the Soviet) star, we gave presents, and one of my relatives would dress up as Santa (Father Frost in Russian) and give us presents at midnight. So when I moved to a Christian country (England and Canada), I simply switched the date of the Holiday from the 31st to the 25th. I.e. I still get a tree and presents etc. Just no Jesus involved. Also since most of my non Jewish friends are with their families over Christmas I spend time with mine, and on New Years I go out with my friends. Also I grew up painting eggs on Pascha (Russian Orthodox Easter).

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What I would be interested in is how many of the people identify themselves as from atheist/agnostic background in the survey, are actually Jewish (or had one Jewish parent). Just to see if this would confirm or disprove my hypothesis. Since most Objectivists I personally know are Jewish (though most of my friends in general are not Jewish), I would expect a higher percentage of Jewish people to be on O'ist forums than other religious backgrounds, though that would include Jews like me who did not really grow up in a religious household.

My mother's family from North Africa is Jewish. She was raised as a non-practicing Jew until she converted to Christianity in the Army. Soon after, she married my dad who was a Christian minister. My brothers, sister & I were raised Christian and don't consider ourselves ethnically or religiously Jewish, but that really pisses off my distant relatives. They always say "it runs in your blood!!" in french. :rolleyes:

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I put myself as Jewish, but I am by no means from a religious household. Thanks to Communism suppressing all religion and my parents being afraid of me (and my sister) falling for religion when we moved to Israel, our house was quite strictly atheist. I did not even know I was Jewish until close to the breakup of USSR (I was about 7 at the time). So to say the least keeping Kosher or the Sabbath was not something my family had ever done. And my father was never circumcised. As such I grew up (and still do) identifying myself as Jewish purely from ethnic perspective.

What I would be interested in is how many of the people identify themselves as from atheist/agnostic background in the survey, are actually Jewish (or had one Jewish parent). Just to see if this would confirm or disprove my hypothesis. Since most Objectivists I personally know are Jewish (though most of my friends in general are not Jewish), I would expect a higher percentage of Jewish people to be on O'ist forums than other religious backgrounds, though that would include Jews like me who did not really grow up in a religious household.

I am guessing you mean actually celebrate the 'birth' and 'resurrection' of Christ. So obviously I wouldn't. However do I celebrate a holiday that is essentially Christmas but with all the Jesus stuff taken out of it. In USSR, except the orthodox community, no one celebrated Christmas. Instead on New Years we did everything one would do for Christmas. We had a tree (and the star at the top was representing the Soviet) star, we gave presents, and one of my relatives would dress up as Santa (Father Frost in Russian) and give us presents at midnight. So when I moved to a Christian country (England and Canada), I simply switched the date of the Holiday from the 31st to the 25th. I.e. I still get a tree and presents etc. Just no Jesus involved. Also since most of my non Jewish friends are with their families over Christmas I spend time with mine, and on New Years I go out with my friends. Also I grew up painting eggs on Pascha (Russian Orthodox Easter).

The "first generation" Objectivists were mostly Jewish in the sense that they were brought up in Jewish homes and families.  

 

Start with Ayn Rand herself.

 

ruveyn1

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This is great thread; I'm glad to read the experiences of other rational people. Posts 91, 94, and 99 are most notable to me, as I, too, shared some of those experiences from my Catholic background, more precisely, a semi-faith household. Mother is still a practicing Catholic, attending church weekly, or as her health permits. Father was admittedly non-religious, and considered people out-spoken in their religions to be hypocrites. I attended 8 years of Catholic school, named after Saint George, who supposedly slew a dragon, no less. By sixth grade, I was quite convinced that the whole thing was a colossal put-on. It was a great time to be experiencing the changes in the world, the 1960s and 70s. Popular culture was a huge influence. One kid brought a cassette tape recorder to school with a recording of George Carlin. Among the monologues on Class Clown, George explains his experience as an Irish-Catholic. That was it. I was the only kid to opt out of Confirmation. I stopped going to church at age 13. This is not to say that the education and religious instructions haven't been useful; in fact they have. I use them for arguing AGAINST the existence of god. That caused me enough trouble, that throughout my life, I have tried to understand why people hold these beliefs, and in general I held my tongue when in social settings, if truth and reason were "inappropriate." I even read the Bible cover to back. Life has taught me to avoid discussions with irrational people, and if that means living a life more isolated rather than one of greater popularity, so be it. It's my life.

My encounter with Ayn Rand, and her Objectivist philosophy, completed a search for nearly a half century for a philosophical identity, and a re-affirmation that no one has the right to suppress the truth.

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There are at a quick scan, several here who came from mixed-faith (at least, inter-denominational) backgrounds. I had Christian and Jewish parentage, by nationality British and Israeli, and although I attended St. Stephen's, an Anglican high school in (then) Rhodesia, neither parent was insistent on my following any particular religion. Unusual, I guess. Perhaps I was fortunate to fall beneath the two cracks - however, I think I was always going to become skeptical of faith, whichever it might have been.

(Heh, I recalled my school motto: "Deo Scientiaque". God and Knowledge. At least I became faithful to one of them.)

Edited by whYNOT

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I'm confused again. confused2.gif Confused and finding the majority of these posts rediculous, hypocritical, and completely ungenuine.

It isn't possible to be religious and an Objectivist. It simply isn't possible.

Only those who answered Atheist could potentially be an Objectivist, currently less than 1 out of 4. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who defined it as inherantely against the supernatural, including the belief that God exists. Therefore if you are not an Atheist, you cannot be an Objectivist, pure and simple.

Second, if you did believe in God, then you would have to conceed that the existence of God could place a requirement upon man to live for something other than himself, i.e. God. Certainly God's rational self-interest would be more important than our own rational self-interest since he would be the creator of the entire universe. His purposes might include caring about other servants of His and altruism would raise its ugly head. That concession would change and destroy so much of the assumptions of the Objectivist worldview as to cease to be Objectivist.

So for the bulk of you who claimed to be Objectivist and something other than Atheist, conceed that you are mistaken and can't be both. angry.gif

OH NO, OP asked for Background NOT current status...

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