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garrisonjj
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By the numbers, males outnumber females in being agnostic/atheist. Do you believe this to be true and if so why? Thanks.

 

By the numbers, males outnumber females in being agnostic/atheist. Do you believe this to be true and if so why? Thanks.

 

 

I'd be especially interested in hearing the ladies point of view.

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Because women, GENERALLY SPEAKING, are more security oriented and more emotionally driven. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, they are the yang to men's yin, which favors stability through balance.

 

Following the above, GENERALLY SPEAKING, women favor security over freedom to a greater degree, which combined with their greater emotionality tends to make them favor the emotional security of the revealed religions over the logical philosophies that offer a greatly reduced number of feel good "answers".

 

So yes, GENERALLY SPEAKING, I agree.

 

To the agnostics and atheists, you could also add deists, which has the worst problem of the bunch in this area, IMNTBHO.

 

I will now excuse myself in order to update my medical insurance.

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Also, a lot of church groups tend to focus on women as far as activities go. At least, my old church did. There were multiple women's circles for various activites. Beyond that, there was a couple's club, a single's club and a youth group. Not much for men.

 

Women also tend to be more community-driven and seek social connections. This is a cliche', true. I do not fit it personally because I am introverted. But it's a cliche' for a reason.

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Also, a lot of church groups tend to focus on women as far as activities go. At least, my old church did. There were multiple women's circles for various activites. Beyond that, there was a couple's club, a single's club and a youth group. Not much for men.

 

Women also tend to be more community-driven and seek social connections. This is a cliche', true. I do not fit it personally because I am introverted. But it's a cliche' for a reason.

 

I think this would go right along with Paineful's comments. The REASON churches tend to focus more on women is because more women are involved in church for the very reasons Paineful gives. Yes, GENERALLY SPEAKING of course.

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I have to say I agree. Most women are more emotional and need social connections. My female parental unit is a prime exmaple of this, whenever something bad happens its off to the church and prayers to biblegod.

 

I've never really been like that cos I'm a loner. Guess its a good thing.

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I think the whole premise of Christianity caters to women's insecurities. Emotional issues are not only reinforced but also the very premise of a co-dependant insecure woman who lets people (especially men) walk all over her is the ideal.

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I’d have to agree with what’s been said; women are generally more emotional and are lead by feelings of the heart. I think men on the other hand, generally, are more rational and skeptical so they probably need more than a “feeling” to convince them that there is a god out there.

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GENERALLY SPEAKING, it may have something to do with girls being socialized not to think critically, too.

 

I don't know how widespread this actually is but it's true of my own experience. When I was growing up, girls were not encouraged to think. We were encouraged to feel, nurture, socialize, and whatnot, but not to think critically about anything. If this is something common - where girls are not taught to think critically, and are not valued for it when they do - then it makes sense to me that fewer girls would grow up to become women who would or could actually reason their way out of religion and into atheism.

 

But again, I don't know how common that actually is, and if it is in fact pretty common, it's another one of those GENERALLY SPEAKING things. There are always exceptions to the rule.

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I'd have to agree with what's been said; women are generally more emotional and are lead by feelings of the heart. I think men on the other hand, generally, are more rational and skeptical so they probably need more than a "feeling" to convince them that there is a god out there.

 

Myers-Briggs personality type is my old stand-by. According to it, our "generally speaking" corresponds with Saxyroze's post. Approximately two thirds of the American male population and one-third of the female population make decisions based on head logic. Approximately two thirds of the American female population and one-third of the male population base decisions on heart logic. I am not sure when these stats were compiled. They're the classical stats and probably quite old. The theory, however, seems to hold.

 

The Old Order Mennonite community into which I was born consists of what I call a "natural population" because (with extremely few exceptions) nobody ever converts and all members are born into the community. The vast number are expected to remain in the community true to the faith for life. And they do. The largest population to leave is young men. Married couples under the age of thirty-five is, in my guestimate, the next highest population. Or maybe it is the highest population. I don't think anybody has ever done the stats on it. It is not uncommon to hear that it was the man who wanted to leave and it took the woman a long time to "surrender" to his "convictions."

 

None of these leave the faith; they just move one step up the ladder of modernism. Horse and buggy people will move to the most conservative black car group. Malcontents in this black car group move to the black car group that allows radio and Sunday School. The "radio" group will move to the group that believes in missions and modestly coloured cars. And so on up to the groups that cannot be distinguished from the world by their outer appearance. But then we're into hard-core fundamentalists who will not even discuss the divinity of Christ. I tried it and got told in short order that "this is what we believe here."

 

I never bothered with the intermediate steps and just started with this fundamentalist group that looked to me for all the world to be very modern. I guess for a middle-aged single woman to do this was unheard of and unthinkable. I thought only of my personal needs and did what I had done all my life--I trod my own path. For some reason, there has been a rash of single women leaving that community since then. At least two of them started with a church much like the one I did. One of these is my cousin.

 

According to Myers-Briggs, I am a feeler and so are these other women. However, all of us have been very independent, frothing at the bit, initiating new trends within the community. By degrees, this took us over the line so that we were outside instead of inside. I've seen lots of people before me taking it in steps up the ladder to their comfort level. I knew I could not change to a new group every year or two; I decided to do it right the first time.

 

I just wanted a group that did not have a dress code so I would not have to change my dress. That automatically took me past all those visible steps. But I have since then moved to other churches. Finally I just gave in to my natural inclination and stopped going to church.

 

It was not a conscious decision. I'd plan to go to church in the morning but when Sunday morning rolled round I simply did not have what it took to go. I did not "feel" like going. I felt so depressed at the very thought. It was very much a feeling decision, and it was a spur of the moment feeling. With time, that automatically turned me into a non-church-goer.

 

Even while I was still in the Old Order Mennonite community I had basically stopped going to church. It started with ill health. And when my health improved I had this Sunday Morning Syndrome. I felt ill and had extremely low energy. But it lasted only until about five minutes after services started. Then I'd brighten up and have myself a good morning of reading. Might have been Bible study--I don't remember. Something to stimulate my brain.

 

Since SS and Bible study were not part of this pietist tradition, even Bible study was stimulating. I found myself coming to conclusions about biblical situations that I have since then learned to be fairly accurate according to present-day scholarly thinking It went beyond what I could learn from a sermon and it was inspiring.

 

When I started with the modern Mennonites I found the sermons very stimulating. They had seminary-trained pastors. A pastor with an MDiv automatically knew more about the world and about the Bible than the farmers with an eight-grade education at best--some of the older preachers had significantly less. I soon learned all I could from the sermons of these seminary-trained pastors and got bored again. I moved to a more liberal modern Mennonite group that had more stimulating sermons. Not only that, but very lively adult SS.

 

Again, it didn't last. It lasted only until I had grown up to that level of thinking. Then the Sunday Morning Syndrome kicked in again. Sporadically, I tried several more churches. I kinda liked the local Baptist church but I was scared by it. It was so obviously fundamentalist with a very heavy emphasis on conversion. It was also obvious that this was a male-leadership only church. (Even the Mennonite churches I had tried out let women preach.) I really loved their music.

 

But I don't want to deal with invitations to socials, which would inevitably lead to pressure to commit to the church. I went sporadically for perhaps half a dozen times. I would arrive late and leave early. I'd slip through the crowd and not talk to anyone. Well, I'd sometimes talk to an usher. He was old and ugly but spoke Pennsylvania German--my mother tongue. I liked the large congregation because one can hide and I liked the music. BUT could/would I sacrifice freedom of conscience for the comforts of a cozy church with good music? Wasn't there more at stake here than appeared on the surface?

 

As I write this I get feelings of yearning to go again. I really liked it. But I have read so much about congregations that are nice only until they have converts firmly within their grasp where it is really difficult to leave and then the expectations begin. Loners don't slip through crowds unnoticed. For example, the ushers who wandered around the foyer outside the sanctuary. Or the pastor who stood at the door to shake hands with people as they left the building.

 

It's all so subtle, insiduous, draws you in before you know it. I've heard and read too many stories like this. Well, I found this site. I am finding that a person can be decent and honest and not believe in any religion. I am finding people who struggle with the same questions I've struggled with. This place feels like home.

 

For the sake of information, this is not the first "atheist" group I find. I spent some time on a forum whose primary purpose it is to rip apart the inerrant Bible argument when Christians so much a look in the door. They were brash and crude and judgmental. Exactly like fundamentalist Christians. I couldn't handle it when I was charged with believing in Jesus AFTER spending a lot of time outlining my beliefs as best I could. I suppose for black and white thinkers my beliefs were far too mushy. This may be the reason they charged me with believing in Jesus.

 

A big thing I did get from that group was exposure to atheist thought. This made me do some really serious soul-searching. In looking back, I can see how I went through stages of "no this is not the way my brain works," to "this might perhaps have some potential," to "I am not a Christian." A very important experience was a thunder storm earlier this year. I went out on the driveway to take it all in. There was no rain; just thunder and heavy clouds.

 

I visualized myself as part of the natural environment (trees, lawns, sky, etc.) of which the thunder and clouds were a part. I visualized all of this as but a tiny planet in a huge universe devoid of any supreme god. I listened deeply to the feelings inside of me. I felt out every strand of thought and am at the moment tentatively working out the position of unbelief. In other words, am I comfortable here? Is this right for me? Is this who I really am? And yes, what about an angry God on Judgment Day? The monster refuses to leave altogether.

 

While I was on the driveway that day watching the lightening and tuning in to the thunder my landlady and her daughter came home. They go to church regularly. I felt like my sacred time had been disturbed. And then it started to rain. So I had to go in anyway. But the mother understood that one might like to be out to watch the lightening so it was okay. I am a nature-lover and it remains a special memory.

 

Thus we see how it is possible for a person to be led by the feelings of the heart right out the church door and out of religion. Will I be in this place forever? I don't know and I don't think it's important. It does feel right for the time being. Thanks for listening.

 

PS Regarding the original question, I don't know why it seems that more men leave than women except for the reasons others stated above. This post is nothing but my own observations and I don't know how accurate they are when applied to other people and situations.

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GENERALLY SPEAKING, it may have something to do with girls being socialized not to think critically, too.

 

I don't know how widespread this actually is but it's true of my own experience. When I was growing up, girls were not encouraged to think. We were encouraged to feel, nurture, socialize, and whatnot, but not to think critically about anything. If this is something common - where girls are not taught to think critically, and are not valued for it when they do - then it makes sense to me that fewer girls would grow up to become women who would or could actually reason their way out of religion and into atheism.

 

But again, I don't know how common that actually is, and if it is in fact pretty common, it's another one of those GENERALLY SPEAKING things. There are always exceptions to the rule.

 

Yeah, that fits my general recollections of childhood too. I was a thinker though, so I was very unpopular in my church school. Heh.

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This may sound extreme but....Stokholm Syndrome?

 

In this situation, the abused forms a bond with the abuser because the former forms the impression that the latter can provide relief for the oppression. Its kind of like thinking "If he/she is oppressing me, then only he/she can stop it." It's not consious, of course, but it is a powerful force in cults and hostage situations. Since women have been oppressed by nearly all religions throughout history, maybe they're showing signs of Stokholm syndrom.

 

I will now go and fireproof my house, as well as purchase a large unfriendly German Shephard for protection.

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Because women, GENERALLY SPEAKING, are more security oriented and more emotionally driven. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, they are the yang to men's yin, which favors stability through balance.

 

Following the above, GENERALLY SPEAKING, women favor security over freedom to a greater degree, which combined with their greater emotionality tends to make them favor the emotional security of the revealed religions over the logical philosophies that offer a greatly reduced number of feel good "answers".

 

So yes, GENERALLY SPEAKING, I agree.

 

To the agnostics and atheists, you could also add deists, which has the worst problem of the bunch in this area, IMNTBHO.

 

I will now excuse myself in order to update my medical insurance.

 

I'm sorry, just gotta laugh at the enormous GENERALLY SPEAKINGs. :D

 

Also, a lot of church groups tend to focus on women as far as activities go. At least, my old church did. There were multiple women's circles for various activites. Beyond that, there was a couple's club, a single's club and a youth group. Not much for men.

 

Women also tend to be more community-driven and seek social connections. This is a cliche', true. I do not fit it personally because I am introverted. But it's a cliche' for a reason.

 

I agree with this. I think that women in general (and Amethyst, I'm with you here - TOTAL INTROVERT) tend to be more community oriented. They travel in "herds" lol. You know, the cliche about women going to the ladies' room in groups is true many times, and this little illustration can be applied to other areas of life too. In high school, girls usually hang in groups. In youth groups, girls have their little cliques of friends. In churches, it's usually the women who are in charge of all the dinners and social events. They're the ones who seem to thrive the most on it. This is, incidentally, why I've always liked guys better for the most part - so many women have their little cliques, and are cattier than men, whereas guys have a knock-down-drag-out fight and are friends again. Generally speaking, of course.

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Because women are more easily led astray intellectually than men.

Why? Is that because of reasons already given (feeling/emotion oriented, insecure, socialized to be uncritical, etc.), or something different?

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My opinion is that women have been taught to follow and not lead. When I look at the world in general I see more men in leadership positions than I do women. The women in a lot of fundamentalist churchs are taught that they are not as equal as men and they believe it. So they follow and do as a man tells them.

 

Also, they have built thier whole life around the social clubs and teachings at the church. All their friends and family attend these churches and they do not have any outside influences. The women are taught that their place is in the home, bare foot, pregnant and teaching the children. Once they start having kids and get to 3, 4 and 5 they are trapped. It would be virtually impossible from them to say they don't believe because if they do they will have nothing. If the family and friends found out they would be treated as non-christians meaning they lose their family and friends. They no longer have the social circles that they formed at the church. Worse case, they will have to go out, get a job and some place to live. Starting over in finding a job after being out of the workforce for 5-10 years isn't easy. They have to start at the bottom again and work their way up.

 

Honestly I believe they have a whole lot more issues to deal with than a man if they admit they are agnostic or aethiest.

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Maybe it's the whole male-dominance thing. Males by nature seek to dominate. If we submit, it is only to a higher power that proves itself, by defeating us in a fight or something. God has yet to prove himself. It is absurd to submit to something that practically speaking is not there. So we're more prone to not submit to the nonexistant alpha male.

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Seems, according to the outlines here of women's tendency to herd in groups and men's tendency to fight and not be dominated that, generally speaking, I am a male despite my biological make-up. :HaHa:

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Thus we see how it is possible for a person to be led by the feelings of the heart right out the church door and out of religion. Will I be in this place forever? I don't know and I don't think it's important. It does feel right for the time being. Thanks for listening.

 

Great post, Ruby! Keep it on file somewhere. It will make a great chapter in your book on leaving your Mennonite community :)

 

I am emotional, too. And my emotions led me away from christianity. I get bored by intellectual argument, so common sense works for me.

 

I agree that men are outnumbered in church because women are more emotional. Fortunately for me, my sensitive side did not overwrite the logical part of my brain.

 

 

Seems, according to the outlines here of women's tendency to herd in groups and men's tendency to fight and not be dominated that, generally speaking, I am a male despite my biological make-up. :HaHa:

 

Yeap! That makes two of us.

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Seems, according to the outlines here of women's tendency to herd in groups and men's tendency to fight and not be dominated that, generally speaking, I am a male despite my biological make-up. :HaHa:

 

Yeap! That makes two of us.

 

Hey Lorena! I was thinking of you when I wrote that :dumbo:

 

Thus we see how it is possible for a person to be led by the feelings of the heart right out the church door and out of religion. Will I be in this place forever? I don't know and I don't think it's important. It does feel right for the time being. Thanks for listening.

Great post, Ruby! Keep it on file somewhere. It will make a great chapter in your book on leaving your Mennonite community :)

 

I am emotional, too. And my emotions led me away from christianity. I get bored by intellectual argument, so common sense works for me.

 

Thanks for the idea. I'll put it on my blog for now. I've definitely written enough notes, letters, posts, and journals to write a book about that transition. It never occurred to me to write a book focusing on this particular theme but that is a great idea. Well, frankly, come to think of it, I have always considered the idea unviable because I can't write the story without hurting a lot of people, not least of which is my family. But the way they are taking my deconversion I might no longer care too much. And I can always write under a pseudonym (I hope; never checked it out) so that not the whole world (make that Mennonite country) knows it's me talking about them.

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They travel in "herds" lol. You know, the cliche about women going to the ladies' room in groups is true many times, and this little illustration can be applied to other areas of life too. In high school, girls usually hang in groups.

 

Now that the topic has been brought up, I've often wondered if I'm the only woman who has never gone to the ladies room in a group.

 

This makes me think I was lucky to have been such an introvert my whole life, I never got sucked into group stuff. :phew:

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Seems, according to the outlines here of women's tendency to herd in groups and men's tendency to fight and not be dominated that, generally speaking, I am a male despite my biological make-up. :HaHa:

 

Yeap! That makes two of us.

 

Hey Lorena! I was thinking of you when I wrote that :dumbo:

 

 

Ha, ha.... nice to be thought of! Can't wait for your book to come out.

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