Why Raise Your Children Without God?

Deborah Mitchell has two children and neither of them was raised with religion. In a CNN iReport article that’s generating all sorts of pageviews, she explains why she did it.

Here’s just one of the reasons:

God Teaches Narcissism

“God has a plan for you.” Telling kids there is a big guy in the sky who has a special path for them makes children narcissistic; it makes them think the world is at their disposal and that, no matter what happens, it doesn’t really matter because God is in control. That gives kids a sense of false security and creates selfishness. “No matter what I do, God loves me and forgives me. He knows my purpose. I am special.” The irony is that, while we tell this story to our kids, other children are abused and murdered, starved and neglected. All part of God’s plan, right?

When we raise kids without God, we tell them the truth — we are no more special than the next creature. We are just a very, very small part of a big, big machine–whether that machine is nature or society — the influence we have is minuscule. The realization of our insignificance gives us a true sense of humbleness.

The article was, at one point, flagged as inappropriate, but it appears to be back up without incident.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • C Peterson

    it’s a beautifully written article, with very reasonable points, simply and succinctly articulated.

    I would, however, slightly restate the point “We are just a very, very small part of a big, big machine–whether that machine is nature or society — the influence we have is minuscule.” The first is true… but the second need not be. Even very big, complex machines often depend upon the tiniest of parts. Once we take God out of the equation, we are free to create our own significance- which may be very large indeed. The point, of course, being that each person must do this for himself, because there is no god with a “special plan”.

    (I skimmed through some of the comments… too many to do more than a survey. Most argued against Mitchell’s conclusions, but I saw no new ideas, and an awful lot of tired, sad ones.)

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The fact that enough people flagged it for it to get an auto-warning says a lot. The fact that it’s ALL OVER facebook (ok, I do subscribe to a lot of atheist pages, but still) says a lot too. I think it strikes a chord with a lot of secular parents.

  • Blacksheep

    “Narcissism is a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness.”

    That’s pretty much the opposite of Christian philosophy! Among other things, God teaches profound humility, in large part stemming from the contention (found at the beginning of our Declaration of Independance) that “All men are created equal.” Without the word “created” equality is a fallicy, and the opposite of nature.

    The Bible also teaches:

    “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

    and

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

    and

    “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.”

    …and so many more! Jesus, who we believe is god incarnate, washed his disciple’s feet in an act of service and love. She may be confusing a Christian’s sense of acceptance, peace of mind, and unity with God as narcissism, but we all want our kids to feel completely loved and accepted. Those kids are rarely the narcissistic bullies.

    In terms of “telling kids the truth…” I would hope that all good parents believe that is what they are doing, whether they are Atheist, Christian, or anything else.

    • Lagerbaer

      There’s a profound difference between what the Bible “teaches” and what people take away from religion. The Bible also teaches to not pray in public, to give away the majority of your wealth and for women to be obedient…

      You can talk about humility all you want, but claiming that you know that an all-powerful being created the world and that you know what this being wants is the pinnacle of hubris.

    • C Peterson

      Nowhere in the bible do we find an unambiguous statement that all men are created equal. Indeed, in its support for slavery and genocide, it should be quite clear that this principle is largely contradicted. You really have to stretch interpretation to arrive at your conclusion!

      There’s nothing in nature that suggests all men are created equal (or born equal). The assertion in the Declaration of Independence is an ideal, an idea created by men, not gods, and which men are attempting to make real. If there is a god, it’s pretty clearly acting against this very human effort.

      By assigning the concept that all men are created equal to some divine commandment, you denigrate and insult the wise and ethical humans who actually try to make this a reality.

      Mitchell is absolutely right: if you believe what Christian dogma tells you, it encourages narcissism. What she doesn’t say, but which follows from the same dogmatic point, is that if you believe God has some special plan or place for you, you are less likely to be motivated to make your own place. And that’s a tragedy.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        And importantly, the Declaration of Independence referred to (white) men. Women and non-whites not so much.

        • Blacksheep

          You’re probably right – as deists they may not have been terribly hung up on Christ – but at least they had the (maybe) subconscious widom to say “ALL.”

          • Blacksheep

            (Wisdom)…

          • J-Rex

            Please demonstrate where the Bible gives equal rights to women and slaves.
            Jesus said some lovely things, but if you take the whole Bible as inerrant, there’s a lot more you need to address than Jesus being nice to a prostitute.

      • Blacksheep

        Mitchell is actually quite wrong, if one believes what Christianity teaches them, it discourages narcissism.

        In response to your final point, I could furnish a pretty amazing list of people throughout the ages who were Christians – and extremely motivated to “make their own place.” Rosa parks, for example, cites her faith as the reason she stood up to prejudice.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          My impression of what Christianity teaches (as opposed to the many varied lessons of the bible) is personal humility, but species narcissism.

          • Blacksheep

            By species you mean “christian species”? maybe, but it shouldn’t, really. We’re constinually reminded to be humble by reflecting on our need for salvation, and Christ’s sacrifice, so the effect (I believe) should not cause narcissism. Paul goes so far as to say that he would be willing to be condemned if it would save someone else.

            • Blacksheep

              (I see that I invented a new word “constinually” by typing too fast… I kind of like it!)

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                It seems you can magically attract down votes on your comments by simply expressing an opposing point of view. I wonder if I’ll get a down vote for pointing that out.

                • Blacksheep

                  I can vouch for that!!

                • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

                  just an invitation i couldn’t refuse.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              No no, I meant human species. I do think there’s a lot of tribalism in Christianity, but that’s not what I was getting at. I think Christianity views the human species as very removed from everything else. We were created specially on a different day. We have souls, and I think most Christians, as much as they love their pets, think animals don’t. We have dominion. We can’t be related to apes!

              I know many Christians do accept that we are apes, but I think, in particular in America, most think that’s an insulting statement.

              And I don’t mean that I value the life of a snail more than the life of a human, although I think they are very distantly related. But I don’t think either of us has anything God given, soul or otherwise. Neither of us is ‘blessed’.

              • Blacksheep

                I would agree. I am a nature lover / very “green” minded – but no doubt, The Bible puts the Human species on a higher plane than animals, the soul being the main difference. Obviously I was over thinking the word “species!”

                • Cecelia Baines

                  You ever see a soul? Have any proof of a soul? You know of any studies conducted by respected, peer-reviewed scientists on souls?

                  No? Because souls are just like the Easter Bunny, Tooth-Fairy and lipstick lesbians….they are all make believe.

                • Blacksheep

                  I know that I’m in love with someone even if they never acknowledge it. I know that the sunset is beautiful even though I have no quantitative proof of it. I know it’s wrong to bully someone – and I know that independantly of their response.

                  (I beg to differ on the lipstick lesbians…)

                • AxeGrrl

                  I beg to differ on the lipstick lesbians…)

                  Me too……because I can tell you from firsthand experience, they most definitely do exist ;)

                  but they’re often ‘invisible’………because everyone assumes they’re straight ;)

            • Cecelia Baines

              Blah blah blah…..something about mythology….blah blah blah….something about look how humble I am, so I must be great….blah blah blah…..more mythology quotes….Just saving you some time by boiling down your comments….

          • allein

            “Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm. Yet he blandly and in all sincerity calls himself the “noblest work of God.” This is the truth I am telling you. And this is not a new idea with him, he has talked it through all the ages, and believed it. Believed it, and found nobody among all his race to laugh at it.
            “Moreover — if I may put another strain upon you — he thinks he is the Creator’s pet. He believes the Creator is proud of him; he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes, and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him, and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea?”
            - Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

            • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

              Samuel L. Clemens truly understood the nature of mankind.

              • allein

                “It is because they do not think at all; they only think they think.”

            • Blacksheep

              I love Samuel Clemens. That’s very well put, albeit from an atheist’s perspective.

        • FlightedChemist

          It can discourage narcissism, but I think the point being made was that there is some danger in living one’s life as though there’s some “plan”. Christians are taught to give all control of their lives to God, and to rely entirely on what they believe God is telling them to make every life decision- from career, to marriage, to childbearing. This can lead to a feeling of something quite like entitlement when the individual makes decisions according to “the plan”.

          As an example, let’s say a young woman meets a young man and, based on almost entirely external characteristics (religion and political persuasion, married parents, good job), she decides that God’s telling her he’s the one. She puts all of her emotional effort into making a go of the relationship. If the relationship proceeds to marriage, there will be extremely high expectations for the marriage which may or may not be met. This can be sexual expectations (both parties are virgins until marriage, of course) or even personality expectations (why does personality matter when both parties are following God?). There’s bound to be a good bit of confusion when the woman realizes that the young man she married is actually a misogynistic asshole who certainly puts God first but himself second. I don’t care how many rosaries the couple prays together- those won’t fix fundamental differences in attitudes towards one another, sex, or child-rearing. And if both people think their differing opinions are dictated by God, how does the couple decide who’s actually hearing God and who isn’t?

          The second scenario is that the woman puts all of her emotional energy into a relationship that fails. This relationship that she was so sure was blessed and God-given suddenly collapses. Talk about screwing with one’s sense of self and faith.

          Religion can make one feel somewhat invincible. It can make terrible decisions seem right, since faith is valued over reason, especially in emotionally charged situations. Speaking from experience, I can say that it’s incredibly easy to convince yourself that any and all experiences are God-messages. Random occurrences that have nothing at all to do with the individual suddenly become matters of utmost importance when they’re personal messages from the great beyond. That backed up traffic on the freeway? That’s just God holding up your morning commute to protect you from the accident you would have gotten into on the way into the parking garage at work had you showed up 10 minutes earlier. Never mind the fact that it was actually road construction that had nothing at all to do with you. You spilled your hot coffee in your lap? That’s God letting you know that he didn’t appreciate that masturbation session last night. It has nothing to do with being sleepy or under-caffeinated. Kid gets killed in a tragic accident? That’s just God choosing a faithful servant to bring home. The fact that the kid was drunk and driving like an idiot was all part of the plan.

          I’m not saying that religion can’t bring individuals to do wonderful, completely altruistic things. But I don’t think that the narcissism the article brought up had anything to do with religiously motivated charity or outreach activities.

          • Blacksheep

            I think there are many good points and observations in your post. My contention was pretty basic: Christianity does not lead to narcissism. Christ spoke so much about not being self centered and putting others above oneself that it’s literally the antithesis of narcissism. Does thinking God has a plan make someone narcissistic? I don’t think it would, since there are so many warnings against being that way. Along with warnings not to judge others.

            • Cecelia Baines

              BS. Xians are so full of themselves it is sickening. Don’t give me this fake modesty or crocodile humility, because you mentally ill people seem to have “Humble-Offs” to see who is the most penitent and humble.

              You are among the most condescending, arrogant and self-ritheous blowhards around.

              • Blacksheep

                I don’t feel mentally ill!

                I never said that I was proud of how humble I was, the discourse has been around what Christianity teaches. I feel better when I’m not self centered, for sure, but that’s not always the case.

                you may be right sometimes about Christians being self righteous. But if you look at a thriving Christian church and speak to people who are a part of it, you will meet many who actually believe that it’s because of their imperfection that Christ died for them. There’s no way you can read Christ’s words in the Gospel and still be condescending, arrogant, and self righteous. That’s like a list of the top things that Jesus spoke out against.

                Does mankind do a bad job of living it out? Definitely. But we seem to do a half assed job of lots of things – the environment, the economy, caring for the poor, health care, education, you name it.

              • Blacksheep

                I don’t feel mentally ill!

                I never said that I was proud of how humble I was, the discourse has been around what Christianity teaches. I feel better when I’m not self centered, for sure, but that’s not always the case.

                you may be right sometimes about Christians being self righteous. But if you look at a thriving Christian church and speak to people who are a part of it, you will meet many who actually believe that it’s because of their imperfection that Christ died for them. There’s no way you can read Christ’s words in the Gospel and still be condescending, arrogant, and self righteous. That’s like a list of the top things that Jesus spoke out against.

                Does mankind do a bad job of living it out? Definitely. But we seem to do a half assed job of lots of things – the environment, the economy, caring for the poor, health care, education, you name it.

            • KMR

              You like to think it doesn’t lead to narcissism but it does although perhaps not in ways that the author of the above article states. Traditional evangelical Christianity teaches that God loves you, as in an individual. After all, the catch phrase when witnessing is “do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” In following a few Christian blogs, what is striking me now is the discontent, the feeling that you (obviously I don’t mean you personally here) as a Christian, saved by the grace of God, is not doing enough for humanity as a whole. It’s not enough to have a job that feeds your children and family, a roof over your head, extra money to give to a few charities, no you have to be doing that special “thing” that God made you to do. It’s weird and personally I think narcissistic since the discontent lies in the feeling that you are special and therefore important.

              • Blacksheep

                I hear you. I think important, though, is in the context that everyone is important. And that special “thing” might be just that – to clothe and feed your family. The quakers had a great saying, “Don’t stoop to be a preacher if God has called you to be a farmer.”

                But still, maybe it’s good if people feel a little guilty about not doing enough for humanity as a whole.

        • C Peterson

          Mitchell is actually quite wrong, if one believes what Christianity teaches them, it discourages narcissism.

          Ah, you’re talking about real Christianity. Remind me again which one that is? Is it the “God hates fags” version? The “condoms kill” version? The “women should serve their husbands” version? The “legitimate rape” version? It gets so confusing!

        • Keith Collyer

          Lists of christians who did good prove nothing, it is just as easy to produce lists of “good” christians (in that they were sincere believers) who committed acts of unspeakable cruelty, whether in the name of god, christ or otherwise. There would be more proof of christianity promoting good if this second category did not exist, or was vanishingly small.

          • Blacksheep

            You need to read the post I was responding to. She said that Christianity made it difficult for people to “make their own place”, i was pointing out the fallacy in that.

            Every race, religion, color, and creed has committed acts of unspeakable cruelty.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I would hope that all parents would demonstrate the desire to evaluate our own firmly held beliefs.

      • Blacksheep

        I agree 100%.

      • Blacksheep

        “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

        - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          There’s another one that says pretty much the opposite, but for the life of me the Devil won’t let me find it right now. I’ll get back to you :-)

          • amycas

            You mean “thou shalt not test the lord thy god.”??

            Sentiments expressed in verses:

            Deuteronomy 6:16; Luke 4:12; Matthew 4:7

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Thanks- no, it was Proverbs 3:5-6

              Trust in the Lord with all your heart
              and lean not on your own understanding;
              in all your ways submit to him,
              and he will make your paths straight

          • Blacksheep

            I’m sure there is:)

        • Cecelia Baines

          “Time For Lunch”

          1-15-2013 Cecelia Baines 12:32pm

          • Blacksheep

            I have tested that, and found that it is good.

        • Lagerbaer

          Except “Doubting Thomas” in the Bible isn’t depicted as a hero, but rather as someone who’s too weak in faith. In fact, blessed are those that don’t see yet still believe…

          • Blacksheep

            That’s the catholic spin. In the Bible, jesus calls for Thomas at one point because he is sensative to his doubts.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          How would you feel about:

          I dont have faith, XXX, nor do I believe. I know. Dont assume I know what the churches are preaching, I know the nature of God because I learned to take no thought of this world at least 20 minutes a day.

          That’s a statement I recently faced on FB. Does that person not know God?

          • Blacksheep

            Honestly, that’s a confusing statement to me. Not trying to be evasive, I’m not really sure what he is saying…

    • The Other Weirdo

      I would say that the writers of the Constitution took a page from Christianity and used the word “created” as a metaphor. I suppose you have biblical references to where it says that all men are created equal, not just the followers of Christ.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Christianity does have some good talking points about being humble.

      But the main supernatural premise of Christianity is far from humble.

      Even if one assumes some kind of divine intelligence, it take a lot of hubris to think that a creator of the known universe (including billions of galaxies) created mankind on this one particular planet in his image as uniquely special in all the universe and will only let the subset of humans that believe one particular fairy tale have some kind of eternal life after death. I would argue that this is almost the most self-centered concept possible for a human to have.

      • C Peterson

        In my opinion, it is no virtue to be humble. Quite the opposite.

        It is a virtue to be proud (which does not mean arrogant). It is a virtue to not show deference or submission. It is a virtue to act in a way that makes us significant. And all of these virtues stand in contrast with what it means to be humble.

        Of course, you quite correctly point out the hypocrisy involved in simultaneously claiming to be humble while believing that the very creator of the entire Universe and everything in it takes a personal interest in your existence!

        • Blacksheep

          there is actually a very powerful construct that the gospel puts out there, which to me is the perfect blend of humility and the (Good kind of) pride that you are talking about. In the Gospel, our imperfection makes us humble, and God’s love and forgiveness makes us bold. Humble/Bold is a great yin yang.

          • C Peterson

            And your dichotomy is one that I’d call an absurdity, and certainly not profound or powerful.

            Why should my imperfections make me humble? They make me want to be better, which isn’t a drive that comes from humbleness. And somehow, I manage to be bold without believing in God’s forgiveness or love (or even believing I need forgiveness).

            • Blacksheep

              I would think that imperfections would do both, cause humilty and a desire to be better. Imperfections can also lead to empathy, which is indeed a powerful and quality.

      • Blacksheep

        I agree – the way you’re describing it does not sound good or correct to me.

        But the uniqueness of our situation, and the suitability of our planet for life, etc. is used by both sides as ammo against the other. Christians say how unique and sepecial our planet and our species is, therefore there is a creator. Atheists say, no kidding – if this were not so, we wouldn’t be here to talk about it, so it’s a moot point.

        I’m not sure if the Bible says we are the only beings that God ever created, or that this is the only planet in the universe with life on it, that may be just a cultural belief. (I need to look at that – interesting concept. I’m not catholic, but I do remember the pope responding to a scientist who pointed out that we (may have) found evidence of life in martian rocks found in a meteorite. he said something like, “Well, then I guess God put life there as well.”)

        In terms of the idea that God will only “let” one subset of humans have some kind of eternal life is, to me, also counter to scripture – The Bible often mentions “The world” when it speaks of salvation. I think it’s more about who responds and follows as opposed to the idea of permission). We also don’t look at it as “one particular fairytale” – it’s a concept that has been spread and shared with nearly all of humanity, and in fact as I have learned partly on FA, nonbelievers have even more knowledge of many religions than believers do. As “fairy tales” go, this is not an obscure, hidden away one. It has changed the course of humanity in massive good and bad ways.

        Self centered-ness is a tough one, every time somebody adopts a path or a philosophy they do so because they believe it’s the best one, not because they are self centered. Life is filled with choices that can have either good, neutral, or bad outcomes. I don’t feel self centered when I get off the beach when a thunderstorm is coming, for example).

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          Religion is unavoidably coupled with the idea of special knowledge – that some people are special in that they can see into the mind of God and report back to everybody else. For example, the various authors of the bible are supposed to be among these special people. They supposedly saw into the mind of God or witnessed certain miraculous things and either wrote them down or others wrote stuff down for them at some later date. Then legions of people point to these special writings to back up all their supernatural beliefs. When two believers have an argument, they can only point to interpretations of special writings from special people.

          Scientists, on the other hand don’t claim any special access to knowledge not obtainable by either experiment or inference. When two scientists have an argument, a well-designed experiment can often settle the dispute. They, in effect, let nature speak for herself. Now who is more humble? Who is more special?

          As for special people, I don’t see any difference between Joseph Smith and the special writings of the Book of Mormon and the authors we know as Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John and the special stuff they wrote. I have an innate distrust (or skepticism) of this kind of special knowledge. For this, most threads of Christianity say I will burn in hell for all eternity.

          • Blacksheep

            I share much of your skepticism. My faith comes from reading the Bible, being open to it, and experiencing something on a spiritual level that is beyond myself – and is often amazingly applicable to my life. I’m responding to a deep, life-changing experience.

            Innate distrust and skepticism were shared by the disciples – I don’t see that as a pathway to hell in the Bible. Rejecting God is something different, although many Christians don’t believe in hell at all, instead looking at literal translations of the words used for hell (the garbage heap outside jerusalum, for one.).

            • Lagerbaer

              Here’s a mean trick question: How would you know that this spiritual experience that lead to your faith in the Bible isn’t a ruse by Satan to lure you away from the one true religion that is Islam?

              • Blacksheep

                That’s a good one! here’s my trick answer: christianity is the only religion that (annoyingly) demand allegience to it’s belief in Christ. Islam allows salvation for Christians, as long as they are devout. So I’m OK!

    • mythra

      Jesus was the king of narcissism. No one can deny that he built himself up through narcissistic values. Megalomaniacs usually do tend to follow this path. If we all strive to be like jesus, then by default, christians are proned to being narcissistic

      • Blacksheep

        If he was/is not God, I agree 100%!

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Narcissistic personality types also display a disconnection from reality, in other words they think the rest of the world is crazy and they are the only normal people or you could put it this way Christianity is the only normal all others are abnormal. (or Abby Nor Mal) Such disconnects often stem from stringent beliefs and that the deluded feels intently they are righteous in their cause. David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Mark Driskoll are great examples of righteous christians who suffer(ed) from narcissism. They all received “the word of god” and I am sure read and reread those passages you laid down.

      Sure the bible might teach those things but are they put to practice, well in my personal experience I have rarely encountered a Fundi or Evangello who wasn’t Narcissistic in some manner or form, but that doesn’t mean they all are. Only the ones I’ve encountered and too often seen in the News.

      • Blacksheep

        I see that too sometimes, but now that you mention it, SO many successful people that i know of nowadays seem narcissistic in some manner or form. especially the creative “geniuses” that I’m surrounded by!

    • Keith Collyer

      I voted this post up, as I believe that the evidence suggests that Blacksheep is trying to engage, not just trolling, and seems to be doing so with sincerity. However, (s)he falls into the common trap of cherry-picking statements from the (or should I say “a”) bible to support his or her case. In an atheist forum, this was asking for trouble, which was duly received. We just know too much about the bible and can find counter examples for almost any statement.

  • John_in_Vegas

    Still flagged a inappropriate, however CNN did put up a disclaimer stating that the post did not violate their policy and asked readers to stop flagging it. What is it about having an informed honest discussion that christians find so offensive?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      That’s exactly why stories like this need to be out there.

    • http://www.sunstonescafe.com/ Paul Sunstone

      Near as I can figure, John, they find informed and honest discussions offensive not only for the obvious reason — that such discussions so often contradict their views — but also for a slightly more subtle reason. Namely, that such discussions are demotivating to them. That is, it seems to me that Christianity is often enough like a cheer club. Everybody pumps everyone else up. But then along comes someone who’s not rooting for the same team. It may be just one voice, but sometimes it’s enough to deflate them a bit. At least, that’s my guess.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I think the fact that it includes the word ‘children’ really freaks them out. I mean, it’s one thing if you want to go to hell, but you want to send your kids there? What kind of evil monster are you?

        • http://www.sunstonescafe.com/ Paul Sunstone

          That sounds plausible enough. Pleading for the safety of children is a pretty tried and true technique to short change critical thinking.

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        That’s the thing that strikes me the most about evangelical Christianity. It all seems to based on such fear: fear of dissension, fear of doubt, and fear of people straying from the script. It leads to an environment where people are exhorted to strengthen their faith and keep away from anything that might cause them to doubt that what they’ve been told is true.

        • http://www.sunstonescafe.com/ Paul Sunstone

          Yeah, I’ve noticed that too, Anna. It’s like Evangelicals especially seem to have hyperactive amygdalas. I’m not so sure more Liberal Christians are dominated by fear, but I’m reasonably sure a lot of Evangelicals are.

          • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

            I think it’s definitely more of an evangelical thing, mostly confined to the crowd that tends to stick to a rigid subculture: Christian schools, Christian music, Christian movies, etc. These seem to be the type that feel the need to prop up their faith constantly and worry about being “unequally yoked” with nonbelievers.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

          Modern Evangelistic churches are personality cults. Remove the all the Mark Driscoll’s of these churches and I suspect many of their followers would become moderates again.

          • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

            I’d certainly like that to be true. But it’s worrisome that evangelical churches are gaining new adherents while the mainline denominations are dying off. Maybe it’s just better marketing? More attractive pastors? More engaging services? Why can’t liberal Christianity compete with the extreme kind, if those believers are not naturally extremists at heart?

    • cipher

      Because fundies think that “inappropriate” = “something I don’t want to hear”, and they think it’s CNN’s responsibility to make it go away.

      They’re operating at the developmental level of children.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I made the mistake of diving into the comment section. Wow. Just…wow.

  • BobaFuct

    The comments are priceless:

    “we told our children from the beginning that Santa Claus is a dressed up man and not the source of Christmas gifts, tooth fairy, boogey-man, elves– no place in our home. For me, when I became a follower of Jesus Christ it resulted in a very low threshhold for superstitious nonsense and fairy stuff.”

  • cipher

    It takes a great deal of courage to bring up kids without religion in Texas.

  • Lagerbaer

    Wow… the comment section is craaaazy. You find all the old, long dismissed tropes there: Evolution is “just a theory”, god is energy, a watch has a watchmaker. I didn’t dig any further, but I’d bet that somewhere in those 200+ pages is a “why are there still monkeys”, a Pascal’s wager and an infinite regress.


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