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This May Be A Bit Of A "newbie" Question, But....


Sheldon
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I'm noticing that both in real life and on the internet, that been raised in a Christian household seems to be the common thread in life for former Christians and atheists/agnostics.

Just recently, I have noticed that about a 1/3rd or more of the Christians that I grew up with as a teen no are no longer Christians, and some are now atheists.

 

What is your personal views as to why this happens, and were you raised in a Christian household?

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I was raised in one.

 

I desired truth, got a library card, and it all fell away.

 

Pretty much that simple.

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I did it the same way as mcdaddy, just not as old school. I just decided to google "does god exist" one day, and now I'm here.

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I did it the same way as mcdaddy, just not as old school. I just decided to google "does god exist" one day, and now I'm here.

 

The difference in the methods in your 2 posts shows a generation gap, doesn't it? lol

 

Btw: Absolutely love the signature quote! I wish more people would read 1984.....

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I did it the same way as mcdaddy, just not as old school. I just decided to google "does god exist" one day, and now I'm here.

 

The difference in the methods in your 2 posts shows a generation gap, doesn't it? lol

 

Btw: Absolutely love the signature quote! I wish more people would read 1984.....

 

IM ONLY 32!!!!! lol

 

i did alot of reading on the net too. But somehow the books just carried more weight with me.

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I guess (I hope I wish I pray tongue.png ) that it's hard to keep reality from entering your brain forever. Wendyshrug.gif

 

And well, I was raised in a nominally christian household... as far as German mainstream (= lukewarm) protestantism goes smile.png

 

And just to show off with my 1984 knowledge... "And if everyone believed the lie, and all forged records read the same, the lie entered history books and became the truth"

 

(That's quoted from memory, after having had some vodka, and my own re-translation German --> English)

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I was raised in a home where the Baptist in my dad and the Church of Christ in my mom canceled each other out and there was little to know mention of the bible, bible stories, etc. My dad loved to read science. So did I. The God thing was seldom brought up. We would go to vacaton bible school when someone asked us to go (they had free snacks!).

 

I was "saved" when I was 14, became increasingly more devout and hard core as time went by.

 

30 years later (give or take) I realzed that there was very little in sync between the bible and reality. Through a painful process, I concluded god does not exist. I'm a practical atheist and an epistemological agnostic.

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I was raised Christian, but discovered that it makes a lot of promises that it never delivers on. I wanted to be happy, and I wanted to be a good person. Turns out that god doesn't fix mental illnesses, doesn't fill out scary paperwork, doesn't do my homework, and doesn't magically give me better social skills. All those took work on my part and help from flesh and blood humans, and really only improved after I gave up on god.

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I guess (I hope I wish I pray tongue.png ) that it's hard to keep reality from entering your brain forever. Wendyshrug.gif

 

And well, I was raised in a nominally christian household... as far as German mainstream (= lukewarm) protestantism goes smile.png

 

And just to show off with my 1984 knowledge... "And if everyone believed the lie, and all forged records read the same, the lie entered history books and became the truth"

 

(That's quoted from memory, after having had some vodka, and my own re-translation German --> English)

 

I can quote quite a few lines from memory: (not sure if I am remembering them exact or not)

 

"Whoever controls the present controls the past, and whoever controls the past controls the future"

 

"The object of money is money, of torture is torture, of power is power, do you understand, Winston?"

 

"... We know that no one ever gains power with the intention of relinquishing it. No one ever establishes a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution, one carries out a revolution in order to establish the dictatorship"

 

I can go on and on..... :)

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I was raised Christian, but discovered that it makes a lot of promises that it never delivers on. I wanted to be happy, and I wanted to be a good person. Turns out that god doesn't fix mental illnesses, doesn't fill out scary paperwork, doesn't do my homework, and doesn't magically give me better social skills. All those took work on my part and help from flesh and blood humans, and really only improved after I gave up on god.

 

Wow, do I know that firsthand myself...... It's almost scary how many people here at ex-c that have stories similar to mine, and I've only been here on the forums a few days, and reading the site for about 2 weeks.

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I did it the same way as mcdaddy, just not as old school. I just decided to google "does god exist" one day, and now I'm here.

 

The difference in the methods in your 2 posts shows a generation gap, doesn't it? lol

 

Btw: Absolutely love the signature quote! I wish more people would read 1984.....

 

IM ONLY 32!!!!! lol

 

i did alot of reading on the net too. But somehow the books just carried more weight with me.

 

Ha, I wasn't calling you old. I know what you mean about books.

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Its because as they leave home they see more of the world and their consciousness is raised exponentially.

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1/3 sounds like a good number. From my experience, I haven't yet found one person I went to Christian School with, that have changed they're beliefs ... with the exception of me.

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I'm an odd duck out as I wasn't raised in a Christian home, that is in the sense of being taken to church and taught all the myths in the home. I converted to it at age 19 following an existential awakening the previous year I wished to find some home for in order to better understand and grow from it. Went to Bible College, learned what they had to offer and left them shortly after.

 

As for why you see 1/3 of people no longer Christian from those you knew before, hell that's a complex question. Could be for a lot of variables to your area, the types of churches, the education systems, the culture, etc. Whether that statistic holds outside your sphere of experience is something that can probably be looked up if the research shows that. If anything I might speculate is it could be because the fundamentalist style religion may work OK for those already established in life for the most part, and they are uncomfortable with change, not wanting to be challenged. In essence, trade their own freedom and growth for a mess of boring stew that looks like security to them. In other words, it gives enough illusion of truth to them that they can justify to themselves their not looking any further for growth and just staying safe instead.

 

Kids growing up and trying to move out into the world on the other hand are less motivated that way to do that. Besides, it's their parents religion and its all about differentiated themselves as individuals. The real question though, is how many of these 1/3 that you see when they get settled in life will return to their religious programing? That's also a very typical response. It's actually the far rarer individual who goes through life chasing down the less trodden path. I'll bet you a good 80-90% of them go back at some point later in life, or to some slightly modified version of pretty much the same thing.

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I got into christianity at age 10 during summer bible camp. It wasn't reinforced in my home; I often was dropped of at church by myself and I sat with my friend's families. Nobody forced me to believe in it - it was quite the opposite. I was always spoken to and reasoned with like an adult and i was encouraged to ask questions; keep an open mind.

 

My dad, a natural skeptic, often played devil's advocate to my christian beliefs or engaged me in conversations about science or history or politics. My mom constantly asked me to place myself in the shoes of someone else to understand where they're coming from.

I suppose I was only a christian for as long as I didn't understand where it all came from. Once I learned about christian history and asked critical questions, it was all over.

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I'm an odd duck out as I wasn't raised in a Christian home, that is in the sense of being taken to church and taught all the myths in the home. I converted to it at age 19 following an existential awakening the previous year I wished to find some home for in order to better understand and grow from it. Went to Bible College, learned what they had to offer and left them shortly after.

 

 

Yes, that does break the normal pattern.

 

As for why you see 1/3 of people no longer Christian from those you knew before, hell that's a complex question. Could be for a lot of variables to your area, the types of churches, the education systems, the culture, etc. Whether that statistic holds outside your sphere of experience is something that can probably be looked up if the research shows that. If anything I might speculate is it could be because the fundamentalist style religion may work OK for those already established in life for the most part, and they are uncomfortable with change, not wanting to be challenged. In essence, trade their own freedom and growth for a mess of boring stew that looks like security to them. In other words, it gives enough illusion of truth to them that they can justify to themselves their not looking any further for growth and just staying safe instead.

 

 

Well, the St. Louis area is mostly lower to average middle class, Southern Baptist and Assembly of God denominations most popular, there's a small, but strong Catholic community as well.

Politically, the suburbs tend to be somewhat moderate, rural areas conservative. I know that it is a growing trend for people to leave Christianity nationwide, I have heard that if all the former Catholics (never mind Protestants), were to create their own religion, it would be America's largest religion.

 

Kids growing up and trying to move out into the world on the other hand are less motivated that way to do that. Besides, it's their parents religion and its all about differentiated themselves as individuals. The real question though, is how many of these 1/3 that you see when they get settled in life will return to their religious programing? That's also a very typical response. It's actually the far rarer individual who goes through life chasing down the less trodden path. I'll bet you a good 80-90% of them go back at some point later in life, or to some slightly modified version of pretty much the same thing.

 

I used to think, especially as a Christian myself that most of the doubters would eventually return (many quote Proverbs: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it"), but since leaving myself, and especially reading the stories of people here, it seems like the number one creator of atheists is Christian families....

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I didn't grow up in a Christian home, but moved west following a friend of mine who was quite influential in my life and he had become a Christian, and at 19 I was in a very impressionable state and took the bait. teenaged angst and depression about the "state of the world" made me an easy mark. I swallowed the whole "father god who loves me personally and cares for me and has a plan for my life" bullshit I was ripe, having done a fookuvalot of drugs and being generally despondent and without hope in the world. (or so I thought). It was when I actually grabbed a bybul and began studying it that the troubles began....

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I grew up in an extremely devout, no-contraception, daily Mass-attending home that also doubled as my school. When I was a kid I was obsessed with all things science, especially nature. I had a decent understanding of evolution at an early age, but it never occurred to me to try to reconcile it with Christianity. I don't really remember ever taking the concept of god especially seriously; the rituals and lip service were just something I was required to do, under pain of corporal punishment. My dad instilled in me a desire to read and learn anything and everything I could, and predictably, belief became impossible. He taught us Latin, Socratic logic, classical apologetics, and Church history, all the while making sure we went to Mass and could recite the Catechism and select bits of rhetoric from several papal encyclicals (seriously). After a while, religious belief just began to seem absurd. The only traumatic thing about voicing doubts and coming out with my atheism was the extreme conflict it caused in my family. I don't remember it being a crisis of conscience or some kind of enlightening quasi-spiritual epiphany. In my experience, extremely devout parents rarely raise moderately religious offspring; the children come to know the religion of their parents so well that they are either troubled by its contradictions, impossibilities, and end up discarding the beliefs, or they attach their sense of identity to it and become faithful, even clever, apologists. Bear in mind that this is based on my own limited experience and not something I mean to assert as fact.

 

The waning of religious influence is to be expected, especially in an egalitarian (in theory), mathematically inclined, capitalistic, and sexually liberated culture that places a high value on education and results. Say all you want about the religiosity and stupidity of Americans, but really, our society functions on materialism and measurable data - even if the religious folks among us seem oblivious to it. If you propose an idea to your boss, you're expected to be able to prove that your proposal will either cost less or gain more, and that attitude seeps into the general psyche of the public. We're used to things being "FDA-approved" or "confirmed by a double-blind study." We cite academics and scholars when we make a point. We refer to statistical data. Our medicines are rigorously tested. We take our cars to mechanics, and we go to doctors with years of schooling as opposed to shamans. Money talks, and bullshit walks. We are consumers, and by definition, always right; we want what we want and gladly receive those who tell us that we are more than entitled to it.

 

All of these things lead to an emphasis on empiricism rather than superstition, suspending rigid doctrine in favor of individual satisfaction, and it's just part of the evolutionary journey of humans. To me, it's hardly surprising that each generation tends to be less religious than its predecessor. As a species, we're growing up. It'll be a while yet before beliefs of the bat-shit crazy variety are completely gone from our collective conscience (I use that term loosely), but you've identified a trend which will continue in greater proportions with every following generation. Humans are nothing if not exceedingly clever and adaptable, and we're figuring out that religion doesn't quite serve our needs as it once did and adjusting accordingly.

 

 

The real question though, is how many of these 1/3 that you see when they get settled in life will return to their religious programing? That's also a very typical response. It's actually the far rarer individual who goes through life chasing down the less trodden path. I'll bet you a good 80-90% of them go back at some point later in life, or to some slightly modified version of pretty much the same thing.

 

Good point. My hope is that the 90% will eventually become 80% and continue to decrease.

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  • 2 weeks later...

the common thread is something triggered us to dig a little deeper and we were willing to admit that the just might be wrong.

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A correlation between being raised xian and deconversion would be pretty hard to find/prove. I'm not sure how you would isolate various factors.

 

As for me, I was raised xian, as were all of my cousins and my sibling. Two out of 7 of us have deconverted and a 3rd cousin could fairly be said to have never bought into it in the first place even though she was raised somewhat similar to the rest of us. I don't know if my family is unusual.

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The Pew group recently did some research about Christian-raised college kids deconverting. 1/4 to 1/3 is about where Pew's survey landed, if memory serves. Quite a few Christian kids end up leaving. And way fewer than 80% are returning. That's the bit that really surprised them. Usually the thinking is that kids will sow some wild oats, get married, and return to church once they're mature adults. That isn't what churches are seeing play out, though: the kids aren't returning on schedule. There's hope!

 

Me? I was raised generally Catholic, became Protestant, and deconverted a couple years after college.

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The Pew group recently did some research about Christian-raised college kids deconverting. 1/4 to 1/3 is about where Pew's survey landed, if memory serves. Quite a few Christian kids end up leaving. And way fewer than 80% are returning. That's the bit that really surprised them. Usually the thinking is that kids will sow some wild oats, get married, and return to church once they're mature adults. That isn't what churches are seeing play out, though: the kids aren't returning on schedule. There's hope!

 

Me? I was raised generally Catholic, became Protestant, and deconverted a couple years after college.

 

Yes, the Christian polling group Barna lately has been finding out much the same thing. Their polling shows that many young ex-c's see the church as hateful towards gays and people of other religions, and too skeptical of science. It's beginning to disgust them, and they aren't coming back....

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Generally, I have found the oppose.

 

Train up a child , blah blah blah is actually pretty true.

 

My sister is even more religious though with heavy doses of liberal politics, than as a kid. I am not.

 

Yet with all my family, who were raised religious, one has become a pastor, two are stay at home mom's and religious homeshoolers, another is in bible college or works for one(not sure which and really don't care to fine out), one married an asshole who works for TBN (of course no one else sees what a jerk he is). Several cousins are primarily culture chrsitians, meaning I don't think they put any thought into it, its just what you do.

 

So yeah. Even among people who I knew is school, there are many who were religious then and still are now. :shrug:

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Certainly there are going to be some families that indoctrinate more effectively. You mention five super-fundie family members, and you're clearly, well, not ;) That's skewed to the side but not obscenely so. I reckon that super-indoctrinaire families are being outweighed by the bulk of middle-class families don't have time or inclination to indoctrinate kids as thoroughly as yours did. I'm wondering if the whole "train up a child" idea only works if it's really dedicated.

 

Thoughts on this article about lying about how you feel about religion so you can get free food and babysitting?

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