I Was Raised To Be A Skeptic

My parents taught me to be skeptical of scientists. After all, they told me, scientists and have agendas, and evolution and climate change are frauds.

My parents taught me to be skeptical of doctors. After all, they told me, vaccines cause autism and doctors are too quick to prescribe medicines.


My parents taught me to be skeptical of academia. After all, they told me, professors are leftist Marxists who brainwash their unwitting students.

My parents taught me to be skeptical of liberal theologians. After all, they told me, liberal theologians listen to their own wisdom rather than to God, and even question or reject the Bible.

My parents taught me to be skeptical of government. After all, they told me, the government perpetrates cover-ups all the time, and liberals are trying to turn the country into a dictatorship by banning firearms.

My parents taught me to be skeptical of “government education.” After all, they told me, public schools are secular humanist indoctrination centers, and are set up to dumb students down into a nation of followers.

My parents taught me not to ever trust anything just because someone says it. Ever. They taught me to always question authority. Always. They told me to search for truth and follow wherever it led. Wherever.

And yet, my parents expected me to not be skeptical of them.

Why are my parents surprised? I am a skeptic because they taught me to be a skeptic. All I did was apply what they taught me! I simply turned it around on them.

To some extent every daughter of Christian Patriarchy is raised to be a skeptic. They are all, without exception, taught to question scientists, doctors, academia, liberal theologians, government, and government education. Some are even taught to question things like the moon landing. They are told to question everything and everyone – except for daddy. Daddy gets a free pass. I call bullshit.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    Yes! Exactly!This is one reason why I tend to get rather annoyed whenever somebody tries to claim that you can't apply science to religion. That's such an obvious excuse.

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com/ dream-wind

    Dear Libby Anne,Just wondering: what's your stance on vaccinations these days?Christine

  • Anonymous

    So true!kateri @ Dandelion Haven

  • Anonymous

    The other day, a fundamentalist Christian told me that he thought that science was a belief system no better or no worse than religion. His reasoning was that both relied on starting assumptions and faith. So yeah, that was pretty frustrating. LOL. Did your family support presuppositional apologetics? If I understand that method correctly, presuppositionalists start on the assumption that the Bible is true, and they justify that by saying that everyone starts with basic assumptions, so the Bible is no better or no worse than any other starting point. (BTW, I'm not totally sure that I'm understanding it correctly.) Anyway, I hear that it is quite popular in some Reformed circles, so I think that it's probably held by some people associated with Vision Forum. What do you make of it?I've also noticed that fundamentalists — and many religious people in general, but to a lesser extent than with fundamentalists — tend to be selectively skeptical when it comes to religion. They'll accept that Jesus is God and that the Bible is true, but when it comes to Islam, Hinduism, and every other religion under the sun, they'll claim that there isn't enough evidence and proof for them to believe in them. Some of them will even poke fun at other religions and other religious practices, but the second you explain that you don't think there's enough evidence to support belief in the Christian God/religion? Shock! Indignation! -J.B.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12284971176688746388 Andrew G.

    If I understand that method correctly, presuppositionalists start on the assumption that the Bible is true, and they justify that by saying that everyone starts with basic assumptions, so the Bible is no better or no worse than any other starting point.No, they go much further than that – they argue that any other starting assumptions are self-contradictory; that things like logic, knowledge, etc. are impossible without first presupposing the god of the Bible (not just any god), and that therefore any logical argument for atheism is impossible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Christine – I am 100% in favor of vaccines. Before we had them, children died from the diseases they now prevent, and actually, vaccine rates are dropping in this country today because of anti-vaxers, and those diseases are on the rise again (heard an NPR story on this just yesterday). The paper alleging a link between vaccines and autism is a fraud. I do, though, understand that vaccines can be hard on kids (after all, the vaccine essentially has the kid have a weak reaction to the disease, to build up immunities), so I try to make sure that Sally only gets only two (or maybe three, I forget how I've done it) vaccines at a given time. If that means putting one shot off, I have her get it a couple months later. And honestly, even this may be just a reaction to being raised by an anti-vaxxer.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    J.B. – My parents were evidentialists when I was a child, and became presuppositionalists after I left, partly I think as a reaction. I have a blog post on this coming up. :-)Also, my parents said that other religions did have miracles, prophets, etc – these things were all simply caused by demons, not by God. So they didn't question that other religions were supernatural, just what side was doing the supernaturally. They saw non-Christian areas of the world as shrouded in demonic darkness. Convenient, huh?

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com/ dream-wind

    I had a feeling you would be pro-vaccination these days; anti-vaxxers are a personal bugbear of mine. If you check out any anti-vax literature, you'd see they use a lot of the same tactics as the QF/P brigade – obfuscation, half-truth, outright lies and terror tactics. There is a great deal of crossover between the groups, though here in Australia our main anti-vax nutters are the sort of deranged hippies that give the Green movement a bad name.As far as I'm concerned, the "vaccination debate" isn't a debate, because debate implies there's two credible viewpoints. The simple fact that vaccinations can stop diseases that killed or disabled thousands (with some, documented side effects that credible literature doesn't hide) means it shouldn't BE a debate.

  • Wendy


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Agreed, Libs. Being skeptical, loving truth, taking a stand for what you believe is right no matter who much it costs you personally, say it loud and proud- these are all things Christian home schooling parents have been teaching all along. Your parents should be very proud of you. n_n

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15654013636892916062 Erika Martin – Stampin’ Mama

    Parents in the patriarchal paradigm always want you to question everyone else except them. They want you to "question and follow the truth," but it comes with an unspoken stipulation. It has to be THEIR truth. And the neo-conservative homeschooling movement is a religious indoctrination center. Funny how everything they try to teach us has another side to it.

  • Exrelayman

    I've been reading the webs for a long time, and I have never seen this particular line of thought pursued by anyone. Nice thinking!

  • Anonymous

    I love this post – I grew up in a conservative Christian homeschooling family, and my questioning eventually led me to where I am now (an atheist student of science). I firmly believe that my beliefs of following the evidence, not taking anything at face value, and valuing truth above all were developed by my parent's teachings.