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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)  

524 members have voted

  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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Family background is both Protestant and Jewish. My parents were church-goers, but I knew something was really wrong with the whole thing by the time I was 10 (they tossed be out of Sunday school for being too disruptive! They didn't like my questions. Heh.)

I became an atheist at the age of 16, after reading St. John and then Marx in my Great Books class.

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I was raised in a catholic family, but my parents were so passive about their religion, I was free to explore the nature of existence from the time I was mature enough to do so. By age 9, I had made a conscious and considered choice to be an atheist.

My parents didn’t know about any of this until I was in my early teens Thankfully they had enough respect not to argue or try to change the fact.

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What about those families that just pay lip-service to religion? My family-members would tell anyone who asked that they "are Catholic", but I wouldn't be able to tell you the last time ANY of them actually went to a church service, or prayed before a meal, etc. I'd sure like to think that it's that way with the majority of people in the U.S., but I fear that is not the case so much, anymore. Or is it?

That's an insight I would like to gain: sincere "faith" vs. mere lip-service. How much of professed religious belief is merely a caving in to peer-pressure, but which a person would actually disavow if they were to be totally, candidly honest? How many families go to church simply to "maintain appearances"?

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How many families go to church simply to "maintain appearances"?

In my case, the situation is a bit weirder: according to my grandmother, there is not a single “believer” in my family, (with possible exception of my mom’s new-age tendencies) and my parents are perfectly happy with my avowed atheism – yet they both maintain the (essentially racist) attitude that I had better marry a Jew.

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i was raised catholic, but my family wasn't very religious. We didn't read the bible, pray as family or say grace at dinner, nor was god/jesus ever really mentioned. My mom took my brother and I to church every Sunday, and I attended religious instruction once a week after school, but my father wasn't involved, nor did he go to church with us. My grandparents on my mom's side were the same way.

I started having my doubts around 3rd or 4th grade, and declared my atheism to my mom in 8th grade (age 14) just before confirmation. She wasn't happy, thinking i was too young to make that kind of decision, and insisted I go through the confirmation process anyway (a total fraud). Once that was over with, I never went to church again unless it was part of a wedding/funeral. My younger brother did the same thing. Despite that, i'm very close with both my parents and my lack of religion never really caused any problems except during the initial rejection of the faith.

later,

Bob

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My parents were both raised in Irish Catholic families that were strict church-goers. Where I grew up we just went to the church that was basically in our backyard and it was Episcopalian. I don't remember much about Religion beyond loving to sing in the choir, and the pretty stained glass windows. I stopped going when I was about 8, I was never Christened or Baptized and never took Communion... I don't think it was very important to anyone in my family beyond the social appearance in our small town.

I decided I was definitely an atheist my freshman year of high school after taking a science class with a teacher who, looking back, may have been an Objectivist even though I didn't know what the word meant then. A lot of my friends died, or came close to it, in high school and it always bothered me how their families turned to God, or blamed God... when the reasons things had come to drug overdoses and suicides could be traced to rational causes (and irrational choices).

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What about those families that just pay lip-service to religion? My family-members would tell anyone who asked that they "are Catholic", but I wouldn't be able to tell you the last time ANY of them actually went to a church service, or prayed before a meal, etc. I'd sure like to think that it's that way with the majority of people in the U.S., but I fear that is not the case so much, anymore. Or is it?

That's an insight I would like to gain: sincere "faith" vs. mere lip-service. How much of professed religious belief is merely a caving in to peer-pressure, but which a person would actually disavow if they were to be totally, candidly honest? How many families go to church simply to "maintain appearances"?

I think that most people who do not have a strong belief in God go to church for a few potential reasons:

1. Guilt. I don't know about how other religions handle things, but I do know that at the Roman Catholic church my family used to go to, on the major holidays, there would be a lot more people attending church. During the homily (when the priest gives a sermon to the church) on these holidays, the topic was almost always geared to guilting people into coming to church more often.

2. Tradition. I think this was the biggest factor in my family's regular attendance of church in the past. My parents were both raised as Roman Catholics, and they are the kind of people that do what they do, and believe what they believe, based on how they were raised. At present, neither of them go to church regularly (in part because of my own objections that I have raised across a number of years). But my sister (and I, despite my objections) are/were still put through the confirmation program.

3. Fear. This, at least for the Roman Catholic church, seems to be somewhat of a big factor for people. By this I mean a number of things. There are people out there who are fearful of condemning anything that they have been raised by (tradition) or things that are commonly held by people around them.

4. Appearances.

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5. Social Positive Reinforcement- Besides just the causes noted people feel that they "belong" in religion and it is very difficult to give that up or admit that friends/family are wrong.

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My family, and just about everyone I grew up with, was raised according to the tenets of Secular Judaism.

Some of the commandments are:

  • Thou shalt go to college and enter a profession.

  • Thou shalt not marry outside thy faith.

  • Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. Go shopping.

  • Thou shalt not go to a synagogue except for a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, or for the High Holidays when thou art wearing thy new clothes and flirting with college boys taking pre-med.

  • Thou shalt leave religious mishigas (tr. nonsense) to thy grandmother and humor her that thine days may be enriched by the money she may leave thee.

  • Thou shalt not marry a rabbi. What kind of living is that? Better a doctor or a lawyer.

  • Honor thy father and thy mother lest they lay a guilt trip upon thee ... especially thy mother.

  • Thou shalt not pay retail.

  • Etc. ... :dough:

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Jewish. And I better remain a Jew. I married a Shixa oh well.

Jewish guilt: if you dont bring an umbrella, it will rain and you will get sick. I wil pay for your doctor bill if you get sick, despite being too poor to afford it, but don't you worry about momma.

Catholic guilt: you better give 10% of your income the the Church, or else you will burn in hell for eternity.

I think Judaism is the least evil of the modern religions. It encourages not only education and study, but thinking. "Where shall I put this firewood momma?" "On my head, where should you put it?!?!" It doesn't have that "because I told you to think it, now shut up" mentality, or the attitude that questions are bad.

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"It doesn't have that "because I told you to think it, now shut up" mentality, or the attitude that questions are bad. "Bearster

I agree, in fact, I have a minorah in my room which I value for the artwork on the base of the stand.. Underneath there is a sculpture of Jewish figures enjoying arguing over the Torah. It is beautiful. (not because it is the Torah, but because you can see the life in their faces and body expressions as they are obviously in a heated debate. and enjoying the use of their reasoning ability)

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When I was a young child, I asked my mother "What religion are we?" She paused for a long time and then said "Protestant". Neither of my parents were actually religious in any significant sense, though. My father is actually virulently anti-religious as a result of his first marriage. (It fell apart when his wife converted to some fundamentalist form of Christianity and he wouldn't join her, as best I can tell. He doesn't talk about it much.)

My grandparents were all active in their local churches; my paternal grandfather said grace before every meal until the day he died. My maternal grandfather was quite disappointed when he found out I was an atheist, although he did become somewhat reconciled when it became apparent over time that I nevertheless had a strong moral center. He never did give up on trying to get me to join the Freemasons, though. The only times I can remember going to church apart from weddings and funerals were when I was younger and grandparents were visiting.

Kyle Haight

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[*]Thou shalt not go to a synagogue except for a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, or for the High Holidays when thou art wearing thy new clothes and flirting with college boys taking pre-med.

:D

80% lollium

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As a child, I would hide or cry (or both) when church activities were even mentioned, and only on rare occasions was I forced to go. I'm glad I hid :D

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There are many levels of religiosity to be considered. And this whole poll is meaningless if not compared with the general demographics of different religions.

For example - if jews are just 5% of the general population, but 9% of Objectivists, that can say something. Also - if Catholics are 50% of the population but only 25% of Objectivists.

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I was pretty lucky. The only time in my entire childhood that I ever went to church services was when by Catholic grandparents in England came to visit when I was perhaps 7 years old and wanted to go to mass. I begged to go with them. I was too young to understand what was going on and I remember that I kept pestering my grandfather, who was trying to focus on the mass, to explain what this and that was about. I remember looking at the statue of the Virgin Mary on the church grounds and thinking it was pretty. Because I was totally ignorant about such things, it was pretty much a secular experience for me.

My father's family came from Denmark in the mid to late 1800s and were Lutheran by tradition - but my grandparents did not go to church very often and religion was pretty much given lip service only. My mother was raised Catholic in England and went to a Catholic school where she experienced some rather abusive treatment at the hands of a mentally unbalanced nun. Largely as a result of that, she was adamant that she and my father not "impose their values" on me and that I thought for myself and made up my own mind about things.

A great many of the kids I went to school with were Baptists or fundamentalists and they talked about religion a lot. But I always tended to view the whole thing as a sort of Santa Claus for grown ups. The simple fact is that I knew very little about it and never took it seriously or fully appreciated its dangers. The only time it really bothered me was when someone took it upon themselves to try and convert me.

The only time I was tempted by religion was when my family took a camping trip when I was perhaps 10 or 11 years old. The campground had posters up advertising a morning of organized activities for kids and I begged to go. The activities were basically led by a young lady perhaps 18 or 19 who was a missionary from some church and I and about three other kids attended. We walked in the woods and colored - but the whole morning was basically a sales pitch for religion. I remember (and may even still have at my parents' house) drawing a cross with "Jesus Loves You" written across the top. I remember enjoying the morning's activities very much - probably because it was a change of pace from hanging around my parents and little brother all day. When I went back to the campsite, I told my parents about how wonderful Jesus was and kept asking why we never went to church. Looking back, I think my mother handled it perfectly. She told me that if I wanted to start going to church, she would be more than happy to drop me off and pick me up every week. But she would do so only on one condition - that I first attend services at a number of different denominations so that I could make up my own mind about which to join instead of being brainwashed (which is exactly how I was acting at the time!) by the first one I happened to go to. That worked and I quickly lost interest in the whole thing. Had she outrightly refused to take me to church I would probably have become religious for that reason alone.

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There are catholics in England?

I often see that sentiment expressed even among religious people with some degree of rationality, hoping there child will choose their religion and at the same time not wanting to push too much for it or else they will be pushed away.

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My family is fairly religious, atleast as far as my mom and dad are concerned. They follow hinduism. When i was younger, my mom tried to instill her beliefs in me, but it never really caught on. I don't think there's any portion of my life that i wholly believed in god. And then when i later read Ayn Rand's works, i knew why :)

I could say that i was lucky as far as my parents are concerned, 'cause they never really forced it on me. They did try initially, but they haven't for the past 5 years or so, for that i'm thankful.

In India religion plays a big role in nearly every family. It's almost a given in this country and most of our culture and tradition, pertain to it.

dinesh.

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Raised Episcopalian. My grandfather was a priest, my Uncle is a priest, my cousin will probably be a priest and on down the line. Hasn't been until recently when someone slapped me with rational questions about religion and faith where i realized my only answer was "umm.. cause i.. believe?" that I realized.. holy shit, its all crap. I dont think I ever want to tell my family though. They would either die, shun me, or send me a whole lot of bibles that I dont want.

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