Proposal For a Christian Rumspringa

Proposal For a Christian Rumspringa August 23, 2019

Suppose young Christians were given license to question their worldview when they became old enough to evaluate the evidence. These teens wouldn’t be pushed into a Christian life but would be allowed to question their faith and learn about other ways of living. Maybe other sects of Christianity. Maybe Wicca or Buddhism. Maybe atheism.

Older and wiser after a few years of considering new ideas, these Christians would be welcomed as members of the church or, if they’d prefer, allowed to leave.

Rumspringa in the Amish community

We have a Christian precedent for this. Rumspringa (German for “running around”) is a phase that many Amish and Mennonite communities allow their youth to go through. It varies between groups, but it typically begins at age 16 and ends with marriage. It had traditionally been a time to find a spouse, but it now often includes exploring the wider world (as shown in the 2004 reality TV show Amish in the City).

Because Amish are Anabaptists, these teens aren’t yet baptized into the church. Offenses that would be unacceptable among members—dressing “English,” driving something besides horse-drawn vehicles, using alcohol, or even drugs or sex—are often overlooked. Almost 90% of youth eventually choose to become members of the church.

Rumspringa in the Christian community

What would a Christian Rumspringa look like? Church communities would encourage their youth to use their brains and evaluate the truth claims of Christianity. The Bible even supports this.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind (Luke 10:27).

By testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

This could be a position of strength for the church community. They’d make clear that they didn’t need to indoctrinate or strong-arm people into becoming members. Their claims could withstand public scrutiny, and churches that did things the old way—using indoctrination rather than education and labeling uncomfortable questions off limits—would feel the pressure to become more open.

I grant that this wouldn’t be easy on churches. “Because I said so” or “Don’t ask that question!” are easy appeals to authority, but that often backfires when youths become independent and unwilling to accept such weak answers. Fundamentalist congregations’ backwards attitudes toward homosexuality or science are sometimes cited as a reason young people turn away. One Barna study reports:

Three of the reasons that kids vote with their feet is that churches seem unfriendly to science, that churches are overprotective, and that churches are not friendly to young folks who doubt.

Church communities lament that many children go into college as Christians but come out as doubters or atheists—70%, according to one study. But why this is? What does it say that a mind sharpened and expanded by college is less willing to accept your religion? Maybe a faith built on indoctrination and custom rather than reason and evidence isn’t strong and isn’t worth much, and encouraging thought would actually be good for churches.

This reminds me of a chat I had with a Christian girl about 17 years old who was part of a group of sign-carrying Christians haranguing people in public. Long story short, her spiritual leader publicly scolded her for talking with me, hardly the independent attitude a wholesome upbringing should encourage in a young adult.

I’m sure that no conservative Christian church leader would consider encouraging their youth to explore other worldviews and follow the evidence where it led. They fear what honest inquiry would do. And what does that say about the truth of their claims?

Related post: Imagine a Christianity Without Indoctrination

Jesus is like the date who says, “I’ll call you.”
— commenter Kodie

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/17/15.)

Image from Ted Van Pelt, CC license

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  • Jim Jones

    Most all Christian teens already rumspringa their brains out while still claiming to love the Jeez.

    • Castilliano

      Yeah, but they feel guilty about it.
      Don’t worry though, they feel fine because they prayed for forgiveness. Again.

      • evodevo

        Yup…that ultimate Get Out of Jail Free Card that Xtians think they own…

      • TheNuszAbides

        For young me it wasn’t that easy; the “how dare you, unworthy scum” effect was almost always the stronger voice in my head.

  • NS Alito

    Maybe a faith built on indoctrination and custom rather than reason and evidence isn’t strong and isn’t worth much, and encouraging thought would actually be good for churches.

    Which prompts the question: How would a practice based on reason and evidence result in people retaining a faith?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Maybe not a faith, but an *ethos* of kindness?

  • skl

    Church communities lament that many
    children go into college as Christians but come out as doubters or
    atheists—70%, according to one study. But why this is?

    I would think it’s at least partly because the majority of
    the people teaching and giving grades (i.e. the professors) are atheist or anti-Christian
    or liberal.

    • Wan Kun Sandy

      … the majority of
      the people teaching and giving grades (i.e. the professors) are atheist or anti-Christian
      or liberal.

      My country is religious, I’ve had Christian Religious Education from 1st grade in elementary school every grade all the way until college, all teachers I’ve had are all religious, and every now and then God is inserted in classes, including in science class. Yet I still doubted Christianity and eventually abandon belief in it.

      Religious teachers don’t guarantee that the students will stay religious.

      Not our fault if reality doesn’t match the bible and Christianity. Not our fault if Christianity easily crumbles down if someone thinks through it too deep.

      • skl

        Religious teachers don’t guarantee that
        the students will stay religious.

        I agree.

        But I think having virtually all non-religious
        teachers guarantees an increase in students not staying
        religious.

        • Greg G.

          I agree.

          But I think having virtually all non-religious
          teachers guarantees an increase in students not staying
          religious.

          But you say it as if it is a bad thing.

        • skl

          No “bad”, just fact.

        • Michael Neville

          Not fact, just whine.

        • epeeist

          But I think having virtually all non-religious teachers

          It’s a while since I was at university so I’ll use a more contemporary example.

          I am a fencing coach in the north-west of England. I know that two of the coaches in our region are Methodists. I have absolutely no clue as to whether any of the other coaches are religious, and if they are what their religion is. Further, I have no clue as to whether any of them are atheist, agnostic or anything else.

          To be blunt, unless someone comes out and tells you they are religious or non-religious how would you know?

        • skl

          To be blunt, unless someone comes out and tells you they are religious or non-religious how would you know?

          To be blunt, “non-religious” is shorthand for what I said at
          the start: “atheist or anti-Christian or liberal.”
          A “professor” of fencing is unlikely to address such matters
          in a fencing class. The same for calculus and any number of other classes.

        • ildi

          or liberal

          Psst – your fundagelical slip is showing…

        • epeeist

          your fundagelical slip

          Oh come on, how many times has skl told us that he isn’t religious?

        • Rudy R

          That’s not exactly how I’d frame his worldview. He appears to be a Conservative Catholic.

        • ildi

          My brother is a conservative Catholic and falls comfortably under the umbrella of fundagelical. They’ve gone to Masses where they have speaking in tongues because Mother Church is ignoring the Holy Spirit too much and after Francis became Pope they started going to the Armenian Catholic church because of his more liberal statements (when I asked, he said it’s because they’re closer to the “true” church). Main difference seems to be attitudes toward divorce and all he had to do to get around that was pay the costs of getting his first marriage annulled by the church.

          Edited to add that I guess young-earth creationism is associated with fundagelicals but not with Catholic church.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Christer eejit claims to be of no particular flavour of God believer afaicr.

          Certainly seems to be all over the parish judging by the nutjob comments skl spews out.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • Greg G.

          a la Mango Mussolini

          What have mangoes ever done to you?

        • ildi
        • MR

          I really hate you right now.

        • ildi

          BWAHAHAHAHA

        • Greg G.

          I made through 35 seconds.

        • Susan

          I made through 35 seconds.

          I lasted until 5:34.

          *Spoiler alert

          =======

          Mango, pirate, pope, mango.

        • Michael Murray

          I thought for the last couple of thousand years waving sharp pointy metal things at people was an integral part of religious indoctrination. I’ll bet it was more effective than giving them a C for their test.

        • epeeist

          Total aside – what a result at Headingley.

          Watch the highlights of the last hour if you can.

        • Michael Murray

          Amazing. All done without sandpapering their balls as well !

        • NS Alito

          I, for one, am an atheist who loves the type of Christian (or non-Christian) who helps injured travelers on the road, or the type of Christian (or non-Christian) who gives to the poor. Or the type of Christian (or non-Christian) who looks beyond tribalism and sees the humanity of people from other cultures (like Samaritans). I call all of those people liberals.

          I am also an atheist who is disgusted by the type of Christian (or non-Christian) who defends the treatment of the asylum seekers or even people who just came here to work to support their families.

        • epeeist

          I note that you avoided answering the question I raised.

          I’ll go back to my university days then. I have no clue as to whether any of the lecturers in my undergraduate classes was religious or irreligious or what their politics were. I know that one of the lecturers during my post-graduate study was a Mormon, whether any of the rest were religious or not I have no idea. Unless someone tells you whether or not they are religious how would you know?

          To be blunt, “non-religious” is shorthand for what I said at the start: “atheist or anti-Christian or liberal.

          So you object to universities being liberal. Presumably then you would want to restrict the subjects that they could teach and the manner in which they are taught. This would mean restricting lecturers in some way, either through some kind of compliance statement or not engaging those with liberal views in the first place.

          How far do you want to take this? Do you want to apply the same constraints in schools as well? How about the publication of textbooks, do you want any “liberal” views to be removed from those too? How about books more generally, should books with “liberal” views simply not be allowed to be published?

          The same for calculus and any number of other classes.

          You don’t want the syllabus for calculus to be checked for anti-Christian bias, how liberal of you.

        • skl

          So you object to universities being liberal.

          No. I think I object to universities promoting
          only liberal viewpoints.

          And as you are not my professor, I will now end this interaction.

        • Greg G.

          No. I think I object to universities promoting
          only liberal viewpoints.

          How do you know that no conservative viewpoints are considered? Is that what you have heard from conservatives?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s the “Faux Noise Echo Chamber”

        • epeeist

          No. I think I object to universities promoting liberal viewpoints.

          And yet you have offered no evidence for your assertion that they do. When people have produced evidence to show your assertion to be false you have doubled down again and again.

          And as you are not my professor, I will now end this interaction.

          Let’s rephrase this shall we, “As my claim has been shown to be manifestly false I am now going to do a runner”. As others have noted, this won’t prevent you pressing the reset button and repeating your lies as though nothing had been said.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Universities promote viewpoints that are evidence-based and promote tolerance.

          If conservative ideas DON’T do that, they don’t belong in the curriculum except as terrible examles to be deconstructed.

        • Kodie

          You sound paranoid and sheltered.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What “professor” is likely to address such matters?

          Which then begs the question, how many students do you think will come into contact with such matters?

          You get more idiotic with every comment.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          skl’s kind *constantly* traffic in abusing positions of power to indoctrinate.

          Thus, they can’t understand *honorable* people who wouldn’t commit such abuse.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          To be blunt, unless someone comes out and tells you they are religious or non-religious how would you know?

          Suggestion…add on a provisio, “If they’re honorable and it’s not relevant to the subject under discussion.”

        • Lark62

          Students have no way of knowing a professor’s religious belief, because professors are professionals who do nor discuss personal religious beliefs with students.

          And many college professors are Christian.

        • skl

          Students have no way of knowing a professor’s religious belief, because professors are professionals
          who do nor discuss personal religious beliefs with students.

          Maybe in an ideal world.

          But in the real world, a person’s deeply-held beliefs often have a way of bleeding into the rest of their life, even their professional life.

          I started off by saying that the majority of the people teaching and giving grades (i.e. the professors) are atheist or anti-Christian or liberal. I could have added “or Democrat”.

          Democrats dominate most fields. In religion, Langbert’s survey found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 70 to 1. In music, it is 33 to 1. In biology, it is 21 to 1. In philosophy, history and psychology, it is 17 to 1. In political science, it is 8 to 1.

          The gap is narrower in science and engineering. In physics, economics and mathematics, the ratio is about 6 to 1. In chemistry, it is 5 to 1, and in engineering, it is just 1.6 to 1. Still, Lambert found no field in which Republicans are more numerous than Democrats.

          https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-17/colleges-have-way-too-many-liberal-professors

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So?

          You quote those statistics as if they mean something.

          It’s not OUR fault that reality has a strong liberal (FACT-based) bias.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you are so prejudiced against education as having a liberal slant, and just turn purple at anything that might be liberal and turn your kids liberal! It’s called the marketplace of ideas, and if you’re so afraid of ideas that might be different than yours and possibly more productive, constructive, or accurate than yours, feel free to keep your children ass-backwards.

          I mean if you are labeling people who are smarter than you as suspicious, then maybe you’re the dangerous one your children need to flee.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Religious teachers don’t guarantee that
          the students will stay religious.

          I agree.

          But I think having virtually all non-religious
          teachers guarantees an increase in students not staying
          religious.

          I’d *love* to hear your guesses as to why that’s the case…but then, I’m easily amused.

        • Lark62

          If merely being in the presence of atheists can destroy a student’s religion, your deity is pathetically weak.

    • NS Alito

      I would think it’s more likely that they meet nice, thoughtful people who don’t believe the same as they do, and it’s clear that, as much as they might like you, they think the idea of a god who created over a hundred billion galaxies choosing as a method to save humankind impregnating a young girl in a backwards part of the world kinda silly.

      No need to bring in professors. These young people deconvert because they’re outside of an environment that continually reinforces their upbringing, and they’re around respectable non-demonic grownups who in casual conversation discuss concepts outside of their worldview.

      • skl

        These young people deconvert because they’re outside of an environment that continually reinforces their upbringing…

        Yes. They find themselves in a different indoctrination environment.

        • Greg G.

          The difference being no indoctrination but an introduction to reality.

        • NS Alito

          Well, we were taught critical analysis in our engineering classes; that was a kind of indoctrination. You can’t bulls‌hit a microprocessor or circuit design. Science classes meant we had to follow the evidence and reasoning, and the professors welcomed pertinent questions, because so much of advanced science can be counterintuitive at the galactic and microscopic scales so far from human daily experience.

          Socially, the older students in the dorm wouldn’t put up with bullying. None of them made a big deal about me attending Mass at the school’s chapel (a personal project), or when I stopped.

          Those who refuse to do the math are condemned to talk nonsense.
          Those who only do the math are condemned to talk nonsense, too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the military, the choice was to go to Sunday church service and sit inside listening to an hour and a half of nonsense bilge get spewed, or an hour and a half of menial labour on some crappy task…outside when the weather was inclement, inside lf the Sun was splitting the pavers. Thankfully it wasn’t a regular thing, church service a mean.

        • Phil

          Two things that got me were: 1. you weren’t allowed to be an atheist, I had to put down CofE and 2. you had to have a home town. My father was in the RAF so I never lived anywhere more than 5 years max.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, same here…C of I got stamped on my “dog tags”. Mind you, at 17 years old and back in the day, I wasn’t about to draw attention to myself negatively going into basic training.

          I never lived in the same house more than 5 years before joining up. My home town was the place a was born.

          Of course it’s a lot different nowadays.

          FAITHS IN THE ARMY

          There are currently over 50 religions observed in the British Army. The Army will always help you observe the customs of your faith.

          Soldiers can belong to any religion they want, as long as it is not illegal under civil law and is compatible with the Values and Standards of the Army. When you join, you’ll be asked about your religion or other belief system, however soldiers are judged only by their actions. You can choose non-religious / humanists. This info will be shown on your identity discs. There are many other religions and beliefs, if you want to know more ask at the careers office.

          https://apply.army.mod.uk/what-we-offer/what-we-stand-for/faith

          A far cry from when I joined up, that’s for sure.

        • NS Alito

          Yeah, that’s not biased at all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In all fairness, the Padre woulda been talking to an empty room otherwise.

        • NS Alito

          Or would have to up his game.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My experience, squaddies prefer a lie-in on a Sunday when in station, even the Christian ones. That, or getting ready to go out on a Sunday lunchtime sesh on the lash.

        • Phil

          My experience, squaddies were incapable of getting up on a Sunday due to the activities the night before. The first few minutes of waking involved determining your location and if you are in trouble.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Defo.

          When I joined up, the licensing laws in Northern Ireland were such that pubs didn’t open on a Sunday. So when stationed in England, the Sunday lunchtime sesh was a particular novelty for me. It was also the handiest way to get a curer after that night before you speak of, and also once one got ones bearings once location was determined and confirmation one wasn’t looking at 252 action of course.

        • Phil

          He, he! I spent most of my time in Germany. 18th birthday was spent in and all night café, chatting to ladies of questionable virtue that came in after their shift. Back to camp at 6am, wake everybody up and ready for a days work! Oh the joys of youth. Couldn’t do that now. Cocoa and bed for ten.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I say I couldn’t do it now…but that would be a lie.

          A spent a number of years in Germany maself. Ma eldest was born there.

          A was on it from 05:00 hrs yesterday morning. Right through to midnight. Broken by intervals on the bus and the time it takes for my time to get stuffed at football.

          Mind you, a don’t know about a days work. Though babysitting 3 grand wee’ns might compare.

        • Phil

          One of my sons was born in Iserlohn. Well very nearly in the back of a Landrover ambulance. Then they gave us the wrong babies papers and had only two weeks to get it sorted and a trip to British consulate in Dusseldorf. Made it with only hours to spare. Otherwise he would have been German!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Otherwise he would have been German!

          And liable for national service. At least prior to 2011 anyway.

          I was working in a German Tank kaserne back in the 80’s and was in their version of the NAAFI when this guy approached me and with the plainest english accent started a yarn. It turned out he was a pads brat whose parents had something similar that happened to you, happen to them, but they didn’t get it sorted. Unbeknownst to him, he was going on holiday in West Germany and got lifted at the airport and enlisted into the army to do his conscription. He seemed bemused by the whole issue and happy enough to comply.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          They find themselves in an environment where questioning is not just *encouraged*, but vitally NECESSARY to success.

          Religion *also* gets questioned, and fails because it doesn’t have evidence, just bald assertions enforced with threats natural and supernatural from terrors ingrained in the students mind as a young child before the age of reason.

        • Kodie

          They find themselves in an environment that points out the errors of their delusions? Tries to educate them? Why doesn’t god have any strength to smite these liberals you hate, or deliver a conquering argument, such as fucking showing up. Why send a weak thinking Christian to college and expect the superstitions to sustain being in an environment of actual critical thinking. It says a lot that Christians are afraid of colleges and universities for their children. It says more than their prejudice against liberals or atheists, but their expectation that god cannot protect anyone anywhere from information. To be indoctrinated about god, you need to surround yourself with morons, and to learn about the world, you need to go out there and learn about it. If god is there, how could people interfere? The problem with religion is (1) it’s a myth, and (2) there’s nothing but people telling stories there. Once someone learns what’s wrong with it, and they are willing to accept it, why doesn’t god stop them? But I went to college, I think you are just paranoid. Most people at college keep their religions, as people who are fundies don’t go to college. Most versions of Christianity and other religions don’t conflict enough with reality to face criticism at college.

    • epeeist

      So what you are saying is that Christianity can’t stand up to the arguments of atheists or anti-Christians. The implication that it cannot stand up to the arguments of liberals is that Christianity must be illiberal.

      • skl

        So what you are saying is that Christianity can’t stand up to the arguments of atheists or anti-Christians. The implication that it cannot stand up to the arguments of liberals is that Christianity must be illiberal.

        No, I’m saying that young people don’t always
        stand up to peer pressure (i.e. non/anti-religious environment) and power
        pressure (non/anti-religious professors).

        And possibly the most illiberal environment these days is a college campus.

        • Greg G.

          My experience was that religion didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

        • skl

          My experience was that religion didn’t
          stand up to scrutiny.

          But certainly you would agree that your
          experience and your scrutiny are not universal.

        • Michael Neville

          Right now I see evangelicals preaching sermons of hate toward women, LGBTQ+, immigrants, and everyone else who isn’t a white, conservative, male Christian. I see the Catholic hierarchy still supporting and protecting child rapists. And I see people like you whining at atheists because your hateful, abusive cults are becoming more and more irrelevant.

        • skl

          Sounds like you’re still on campus.

        • Michael Neville

          Sounds like you’ve never been on a campus.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Sounds like you’re still on campus.

          Sounds like you’re unfit to hold a job.

          Dealing with unpleasant reality is a *vital* skill in society…and opposing it to try and change it is a mature response, as long as just rules are followed.

        • Greg G.

          But certainly you would agree that your
          experience and your scrutiny are not universal.

          My methodology is quite simple and can be applied to any religion. If a religion is reality-based and makes no supernatural claims, it is trivial. Maybe it is the anti-Jesus claim that what goes in through the mouth can defile you. If it makes supernatural claims, it is contrived to be evidence-proof and scrutiny-proof but that means it is inherently imaginary.

          If the supernatural claims involve some effect on reality, it should be measurable.

          If some religion has made non-trivial claims that can be demonstrated consistently, we should have heard of it by now. As it is, such claims are consistent with confirmation bias.

          The claim of something that is omnibenevolent and omnipotent is disproved by the existence of suffering. The same argument works with the claim of a being that is not sadistic and at least as potent as suffering.

        • skl

          My methodology …

          But certainly you would agree that your methodology is
          not universal. Even if you don’t, our conversation has come to an end.

        • Greg G.

          One wonders why you even start conversations.

        • MR

          To display his/her intellectual dishonesty.

        • al kimeea

          all most people have to do is read The Holey BuyBull to discover how hateful IT is

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Such a methodology is so *close* to universal that it might as well be.

          Or don’t you check both ways before you cross a street if there are speedy powerful motor vehicles around?

          Same mode of thought, simply a different application.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even if you don’t, our conversation has come to an end.

          Because yet again, you’ve been torn a new one. Coward.

          At this rate, you’ll have run out of folk to talk to…and happiness will descend.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I notice that whenever a person brings up something, you attack it for not being ‘universal’, while your religion is only consistent in its inability to demonstrate its claims.

          We don’t claim universality, just that it fits the observed facts most of the time.

          And trying to accuse us of ‘universality’ is a 42nasty strawman.

        • Kodie

          My experience was that religion wasn’t particularly scrutinized, unless you possibly had some extreme religious belief that did not match reality, and going to college was your first excursion away from your protective circle. If you don’t trust your child to defend their religion at 18, you are a terrible parent, or your religion taught you to be a terrible parent. If you are afraid to let your 18-year-old child go off on their own, for fear they may cave into peer pressure, again, where is god? What have you wasted your time teaching your children that can’t stand up to a college education, that you blame the education? The education itself has no basic interest in atheising anyone’s children as soon as they can get them away from home. It’s just whatever you taught them at home must have been bullshit that gets critically analyzed (mostly at an oblique angle, not directly), by one’s courses and/or one’s peers, not professors.

          Christians have a prejudice against professors like they are the Pied Piper leading their children away from Hamelin.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was stationed for a while in Hamelin, spelt Hameln by the Germans. Had an apartment in the Afferde suburb. A lovely wee town.

        • Kodie

          No rats or kids, sounds like a great place!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lots of youngsters and no more rats than usual….fiction is what it is ya know.

          A lost my wife there…left with two kids, 18 months and four years….not so much a great place subjectively speaking, but still a nice town.

          You lot are fed up hearing about that crap. But at least youse listen. Sorry ta bore.

        • ildi

          Man, that must have been a hard time…

        • Not a great memory to associate with a place. No, not a bore.

        • Kodie

          I’ll be the last to tell most of yas that their personal stories are boring. The exception would be the trite accounts of Christians’ “how I found Jesus and you can too” stories.

        • Right, more than private Christian colleges which actually require everyone there to agree with their sect, and some who even have a police state like atmosphere, monitoring their communications. Or more illiberal than, you know, real police states. How absurd.

        • skl
        • So more intolerant than what Christian Universities do, or North Korea eh? Got it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re obviously STILL ignoring The Paradox of Tolerance.

          Here’s a link, YET AGAIN, for your perusal (well, hope springs eternal and all that):

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

        • epeeist

          No, I’m saying that young people don’t always stand up to peer pressure (i.e. non/anti-religious environment)

          Agreed that people don’t stand up to peer pressure. However where are you going to get peer pressure, in a university where there are multiple communities spanning a huge variety of systems of ideas, or in a closed religious community that has strong ideas about who is part of the in-group and who is not?

          And possibly the most illiberal environment these days is a college campus.

          Pull the other one it’s got bells on. Quite frankly you pulled that one out of your rear-end.

        • skl

          However where are you going to get peer pressure, in a university where there are multiple communities spanning a huge variety of systems of ideas…

          This gets to my very point:
          Today’s university is exactly where there are multiple
          communities spanning near ZERO variety of systems of ideas. Only one group is allowed or tolerated: The “in-group” of “progressive”, political-correctness.

        • Greg G.

          That’s your point? Bob made the point in the article:

          Church communities lament that many children go into college as Christians but come out as doubters or atheists—70%, according to one study. But why this is? What does it say that a mind sharpened and expanded by college is less willing to accept your religion? Maybe a faith built on indoctrination and custom rather than reason and evidence isn’t strong and isn’t worth much, and encouraging thought would actually be good for churches.

        • epeeist

          Today’s university is exactly where there are multiple communities spanning near ZERO variety of systems of ideas.

          Bare assertion.

          Here is the list of undergraduate courses at my local university. Here is the list of student societies at the same institution. This is not dissimilar to other universities here in the UK. I let others who are resident in the US and other countries reply on the situation where they are.

          Are you actually saying that there are zero systems of ideas and that only one group at this institution and others here in the UK is allowed?

        • skl

          Are you actually saying that there are
          zero systems of ideas and that only one group at this institution and others here in the UK is allowed?

          No.
          Near ZERO”.

        • Greg G.

          “Near ZERO”

          Please give an exception.

        • epeeist

          No. “Near ZERO”.

          I present you with a list of the subjects taught and the variety of societies in a typical university and this is the best response you can produce?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s all skl has got. It’s all skl ever has…fuckwittery of the highest order when the crap that comes out in his comments gets totally decimated.

          I have to wonder what level of idiocy skl is at when there isn’t the slightest sign of embarrassment in any of his subsequent replies on any thread. Does skl think the stuff being commented on his part has any substance? Epitome of D-K.

        • epeeist

          That’s all skl has got. It’s all skl ever has…fuckwittery of the
          highest order when the crap that comes out in his comments gets totally
          decimated.

          Agreed. He is a minor version of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, someone who makes things up on the spur of the moment and really doesn’t care whether it is true or not.

          Did you pick up on Spaffer Johnson claiming that as part of the wonderful trade deal we will get with the US that we will be able to export Melton Mowbray pies in the same way as we do to Iceland and Thailand. It’s as true as his claims about straight bananas, they had the chairman of the Melton Mowbray producers association on the Today programme this morning. Apparently Ireland is the limit of their export trade.

          The problem here is that a number of people have gone to a significant amount of effort to show that the claims made by skl, like those of Johnson and Trump, are false. Meanwhile the proponents of these claims have moved on and the rebuttals are left dangling. More Gish Gallop than D-K.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Captain Cassidy over at Roll to Disbelieve calls such replies “thoughtstoppers” or ‘antiprocess’.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Sadly, yes.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Try again.

          At universities, there are a multiplicity of *conflicting* ideas, and the ideas with the best evidence win out.

          It just so happens that religion has NO evidence, so it consistently is eliminated in the first round of the competition…and gets drubbed pretty badly if it’s foolish enough to enter the field.

        • Greg G.

          skl has problems learning from reason, evidence, and sound arguments. He only learns by repetition of recitation.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. You’re a brainwashed idiot. That’s all there is to it. Have you ever actually attended a college class? Because I have. My wife has. My kids have. And the only way you could tell a professors religious belief is if you talked about it outside of class somehow, generally. The only ones you knew were religious were those who wore outward signs. A cross or a head scarf, for instance. Otherwise you’d never know, how could you? Stop being stupid.

        • skl

          Later, dude.

        • MR

          “Later, dude = “Yeah, I’m an intellectually dishonest schmuck.”

        • Rudy R

          Don’t forget to blame fake news as well.

    • Michael Neville

      Or it could be that in college the people are exposed to reality and discover their church leaders have been lying to them for years.

      • skl

        Or it could be that in college the people are exposed to reality …

        Yes, if by “reality” you mean an atheistic,
        hyper-liberal, pretzel-like politically-correctness.

        • Michael Neville

          No, I mean reality as in the real world that you fundamentalist, evangelical Christians reject because you fear it. I’m referring to things like science, and people being people regardless of who they go to bed with, and the recognition that gods are a figment of your fevered imagination. All the things that conservatives hate.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOUR KIND don’t get to redefine words for your comfort.

          Reality means “If you can’t show it, you don’t know it.”

          Religion CAN’T show it…or at least has failed every test for about 2 millennia.

        • TheNuszAbides

          has failed or cheated on every test

          fixed

    • Greg G.

      I went to college and earned a Bachelors degree. I had a few philosophy courses and audited some classes I was interested in. I had professors and teaching assistants from all over the country and all over the world. Not one ever discussed religion. I presume that my calculus professor was a Christian because I delivered pizza to his house a few times and noticed some Christian paraphernalia.

      Maybe students suddenly realize that being totally immersed in religion is not normal.

      • skl

        Maybe students suddenly realize that being totally immersed in religion is not normal.

        I think everyone realizes that. Even those in
        Buddhist monasteries and Catholic nunneries.

        • Greg G.

          Just living in a new environment alters one’s view of the world.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        The only religious encounters I had in college were in the cafeteria fighting off the zealots from the Campus Crusade for Christ.

    • BertB

      It’s a myth that fundagelicals love to spread…that academia is anti-Christian, because it teaches terrible things like the Scientific Method, and reliance on logic and reason. Such things lead to acceptance of Evolution! What more proof do you need that all those people are evil!

    • Michael Murray

      Can you spell out what you are trying to say with “giving grades” ? I’m a lifelong atheist and I spend a lot of time giving out grades to college level students. I do it based on their understanding of mathematics. I hope you aren’t suggesting I might be affected by their religious beliefs. Because that would be pretty insulting. Also kind of stupid as I don’t know them.

      • skl

        Yes, that would be pretty insulting and stupid. A math class is a highly unlikely and inappropriate setting for promoting atheist or anti-Christian or liberal philosophies. But many other types of classes remain for such.

        • Greg G.

          Colleges are not out to change people’s religion. A kid goes with doubts about religion but instead of having someone give bullshit apologetics answers, the kid gets to think them through, time and again.

        • Michael Murray

          But I’m still wondering about what the point was of mentioning “giving grades”. It would wrong to proselytise for a particular religion in a class but I think a much worse thing to do that by the threat of with holding grades for those who didn’t agree with me or by actually withholding those grades. Was that what you were thinking of or am I misunderstanding your point ?

        • Greg G.

          I think you are misunderstanding that he has a point.

        • skl

          Sounds like you understood my point.

        • Michael Murray

          What I don’t understand is how this is actually supposed to influence students to change their beliefs. I can imagine two scenarios (1) student gets poor grades because they don’t submit the correct atheist work — student gets annoyed and the whole story ends up on twitter next morning or (2) student submits correct atheist work that they don’t actually believe — students gets annoyed and the whole story ends up on twitter next morning.

          Sure it would be (if it every happened) appalling behaviour by the academic in question. I just don’t see how it would make the student change their beliefs.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Sounds like every accusation is a confession.

          YOUR KIND have a *track record* of abusing your positions to force religion on people…so it seems you FEAR that we atheists do the same, because after all, if *not*, we’d be demonstrably BETTER than you…which we demonstrably ARE.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Stupid with a side of insulting is a pretty apt description of skl’s contributions to this site.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        /SNARK ON

        Well, you see, you’re *persecuting* them for asserting that pi=3 and that 2+2=5, simply because that’s what revealed religion has told them.

        Also, that i is a sinful heresy because it’s ‘imaginary’ and only real numbers exist.

        (Don’t even get me started on radians and gradians or non-Euclidean geometries;-) )

    • Zeta

      You are talking rubbish. You are insulting the intelligence and integrity of college students and professors. It looks like normal college/university campuses are very foreign to you. Are you home-schooled?

      I have spent my whole professional life in universities. It is highly unlikely that my thousands of students over the years knew that I am an atheist. I have never heard of professors talking religions to students in non-religion classes. Even professors I know seldom discuss religions among themselves except possibly when chatting in cafeteria. In any reputable college, integrity of professors is always one of the top requirements.

      Students in colleges not only learn factual knowledge and skills from their professors, they are also being exposed to critical thinking and being encouraged to use it. Such critical thinking skills and a healthy skeptical attitude are essential to success in numerous college courses. If students abandon their indoctrinated religious belief while in college, it is because they realize that Christianity is false. An ancient superstitious belief has little hope of competing in the market of ideas.

      • Ignorant Amos

        You are talking rubbish.

        Never talks anything but.

        • Pofarmer

          Speaking if rubbish. I made the mistake of going to McGraths blog and saw this comment by O’Neil. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2019/08/response-to-raphael-lataster.html#comment-4588125443

          I don’t know what it would take to make the dude understand he’s been snookered by fundagelicals.

        • al kimeea

          jeez, there being a real, live Jebus does nothing for the veracity of the mythology that grew around the historical Jesus

        • Pofarmer

          No, it doesn’t. And there isn’t any way to sort the mythology from the walking around dude. There’s no way to know what might be genuine and what made up. Jesus is just as historical as Rhett Butler.

        • Greg G.

          the mythology that grew around the historical Jesus

          Or the mythology that grew around a mythological core.

        • Pofarmer
        • Ignorant Amos

          That loada shite was a hard read.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Ha! Apparently not.

      • skl

        You’re free to choose to believe whatever you
        want – even that universities are merely places full of “intelligence and
        integrity” with an overwhelming neutrality regarding the liberal-conservative spectrum.

        I just think the facts appear to indicate no such neutrality**. And I think the actual overwhelming bias has an affect on the customers (i.e. students).

        ** Example: https://www.educationdive.com/news/survey-college-leadership-is-overwhelmingly-liberal/539991/

        (And no, I was not home-schooled. And I have
        bachelors and graduates degrees from schools many call elite.)

        • Greg G.

          You’re free to choose to believe whatever you
          want – even that universities are merely places full of “intelligence and
          integrity” with an overwhelming neutrality regarding the liberal-conservative spectrum.

          That seems to be your problem. You think a person should be able to believe whatever s/he wants to believe rather than to believe what the facts and reason lead one to believe.

        • Zeta

          Your dishonesty is again apparent. Trying to wriggle out of your nonsensical assertion? You were talking about the professors:

          skl: “the majority of the people teaching and giving grades (i.e. the professors) are atheist or anti-Christian or liberal.”

          Now you are trying to change the subject to university administrators! Do these admin people give grades to students? Stick to your original assertion.

          skl: “You’re free to choose to believe whatever you want”

          What a stupid response! This shows that you do not have facts to back up your claim.

          skl: ” I have bachelors and graduates degrees from schools many call elite.”

          Maybe so. But your posting history does not show evidence of the rigorous training from your ‘elite’ universities. Likely to be a case of wasted resources. Did you get your degrees in useless areas such as theology?

        • skl

          Now you are trying to change the subject to university administrators! … Stick to your original assertion.

          Actually, it can serve to expand and strengthen my original assertion. In other words, it’s not just the professors (e.g. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-17/colleges-have-way-too-many-liberal-professors)
          https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-17/colleges-have-way-too-many-liberal-professors

          it’s the administrators, too.

          Your dishonesty is again apparent.

          You shouldn’t start conversations with people you believe to be dishonest. This one’s over.

        • Zeta

          “You shouldn’t start conversations with people you believe to be dishonest. This one’s over.”

          Any dishonest, nonsensical or inane comment should be rebutted. It is as simple as that.

        • Machintelligence

          Good riddance. Remember to stick your flounce.

        • MR

          That’s just skl’s way of admitting defeat. Sadly s/he isn’t going anywhere.

        • Greg G.

          Good thing I saw your post. That’s what I was going to reply.

        • Susan

          Remember to stick your flounce.

          Not going to happen. When skl says “Good night” or “This conversation is over.”, he means “I’ve got nothing but I’ll be back tomorrow to hit the Reset Button.”

        • ildi
        • epeeist

          Did you get your degrees in useless areas such as theology?

          I thought it had been established that skl was an alumnus of the College for Lying Weasels.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Stick an ‘Amoral’ in that acronym and you can have ‘CLAW’

          😉

        • TheNuszAbides

          College for Lying‘Ass Weasels

          fixed?

    • Ignorant Amos

      More shite talk.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Does s/he every offer any other kind?

    • Lark62

      No. It is because they fugured out they have been lied to their entire life and say “enough.”

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You’d be funny if you weren’t so 42pathetic.

      Teachers who DARE to let their political leanings leak through in teaching facts in the classroom either don’t get kept, if they’re adjuncts (another evil to lay at the feet of conservative thought (on economics)), don’t get tenure, or lose tenure if they have it.

      COLLEGES treat their responsibility to be impartial and fact-based *seriously*, unlike xtianity of any fundy stripe.

    • Kodie

      Have you been to college?

      • Ignorant Amos

        skl is on the naughty step, but he previously claimed to hold a number of degrees from “elite schools”.

        (And no, I was not home-schooled. And I have
        bachelors and graduates degrees from schools many call elite.)

        https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/proposal_for_a_christian_rumspringa_83/#comment-4591627079

        A wasted effort on his part, judging by his comments here and elsewhere, if ya ask me.

        • Kodie

          Nobody says “graduates degree(s)”. Phony baloney.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nobody says “graduates degree(s)”.

          A wouldn’t know the proper terminology stateside of the pond.

          Phony baloney.

          Yep, I think we all came to that same conclusion very quickly indeed.

          Cut out of the back of a cornflakes box a wouldn’t doubt.

        • Kodie

          I guess someone might say graduate degree without being specific, but not in the plural. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees, which I find out are not capitalized (unless you begin a sentence with, such as I have), not that skl capitalized words anyway, or doctoral, while it is capitalized if you specify what the degree is in, but not in the possessive. So it isn’t bachelors and graduates degrees. And, sad to report, if you have a bachelor’s or graduate degree, it doesn’t mean you spent a lot of time concentrating on refining your grasp of grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, vocabulary, or critical thinking skills, and they don’t teach how to properly spell or capitalize or punctuate your own degree when writing it in college. If you’re writing a resume’ (or as I later found out, both es have an accent, properly), B.A. in _____ (where the subject of study is capitalized), might be all you know, or you copy it from a book of resume’ examples. Plus it all depends on what school(s) he thinks “most people” consider “elite”. There are selective schools, there are schools everyone has heard of, maybe only because of basketball, a lot of state schools with a few good branches that attract out-of-staters, regardless of the increase in tuition, and some that are just famous for being very expensive.

          I go out on a limb and say he never went to college, because he doesn’t know what it’s like, but my flipside says he was raised in this uptight Christian environment that cast aspersions on college, and he decided to go anyway, they prepared him with the expectation that every bit of education he would receive could be the devil tempting him to use the brain in his skull, and be wary of any trickery because all the profs were trying to take his soul.

          But I look back on what I’ve written and rather than edit the text, I’m sure you can get through the under-grad curricula without critical thinking, for the most part, you wouldn’t have good enough grades (and this is where skl’s paranoia kicks in), to get into an “elite” school to pursue a master’s, and then for sure, I don’t know from experience, but concentrating on an area then, one would have to demonstrate at least some critical thinking to achieve the graduate degree.

          In absolute summary, skl is paranoid about an education system in a cultural mega-system that tends to shelter children in general, and have parents worried that anything else would influence their children to go against the values they wanted them to have. It would be the same as hippie parents fretting at sending their child to college to learn how to be a shark capitalist in the business program. It’s a lot of work undone.

          Postscripte: I.e. the basic premise of the 80s sitcom, Family Ties, was hippie parents approaching their mid-lives have a teen-aged son who is a staunch Republican who even wears suits and ties, and their shallow, materialistic teen-aged daughter, plus another daughter pre-teen 80s kid smart-ass from time-to-time. They live in a nice home and basically outgrew their hippie commune and got jobs, but it’s that. For a reversal on 80s tv, there is Just the Ten of Us, a large Catholic family, with 4 older daughters in high school, only one who is basically going to be a nun and dresses like a prude, 2 popular fashiony ones (one of which is more boy-crazy, the other just ditzy), and the studious and intellectual (may or may not show hints of apostasy from time to time). The other 4 children are younger and not as well-developed except for being rambunctious boys, might say a smart line, or whatever – Catholics on tv are always getting into trouble, and their parents aren’t totally beating them at all or making them feel guilty.

  • epeeist

    This reminds me of a chat I had with a Christian girl about 17 years old who was part of a group of sign-carrying Christians haranguing people in public.

    Story I have told before. While wandering through the small town I worked in I came across a group of Christians (something like Plymouth Brethren) who were making J.B.Schmidt level attacks on evolution. I pointed out why these were wrong and got into conversation with a man and a woman from the group. Eventually the man disappeared and I continued talking to the woman. She thought that the Earth was 6,000 years and I gave the same types of argument I have used with J.B.Schmidt (and which he always runs away from). Eventually she just started rocking on her heels and repeating “I believe in Jesus Christ” over and over again.

    • MR

      That gives me a visual of JB, hands poised over his keyboard, rocking back and forth in his chair, “I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in Jesus Christ….”

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      It’s sad to see untreated, and *embraced*, mental illness fixated on a superstition.

    • Didn’t expect her to deliver an incantation, did you? Checkmate!

  • Phil Rimmer

    Rumspringa is monstrous.

    Releasing mid-teens into a world they are not in any way prepared for, is a recipe for disaster. Many suffer horribly from abuse inflicted on them and by them on themselves, in their utter naivety.

    No wonder so many return to the safety of the home. It is a cruel trick. There is little choice on offer by it except for the cleverest who might better anticipate the problems thy might face.

    • Ignorant Amos

      I don’t think I totally agree Phil.

      I watched the fly-on-the-wall series about the Amish and for some, it was a life changing eyeopener for what we would call, the better.

      • Phil Rimmer

        Ten years ago the stories reported consisted of much misery. I’m not prepared to imagine much has changed except the capacity to learn rapidly when allowed via smart devices.

        A camera crew may have an effect of a parent or supernatural supervisor. Behaviour when not so immediately overlooked may well be less moderated.

        Imagine what would happen with real preparation for the outside world. Not just the brighter kids might stay safer and profit from it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ir would appear that teenage Amish are not quite as innocent and naive as we are first led to believe.

          https://www.ranker.com/list/amish-rumspringa-facts-and-stories/jacob-shelton

          A camera crew having the effect of a parent or supernatural supervisor would have had the opposite effect to what you’re suggesting. Those Amish in the reality shows, run amok. How much more amok than if no cameras were present, we can only guess, but doing a wee bit of research, it appears not by much.

          Imagine what would happen with real preparation for the outside world. Not just the brighter kids might stay safer and profit from it.

          Who gets that? I left the house enlisted in the army at 17 years old, my eyes were opened right up at that point.

          There’s many a religionist youngster that has been sheltered from reality before going out into the big bad world. It would appear that Amish kids are not as sheltered as one thinks.

          I think the OP is suggesting that going from the naive Christian youth, into the big bad world of adolescence, contributes to one’s understanding of everything, which has the result of maturity onset and the eventual abandonment of woo-woo beliefs.

        • Phil Rimmer

          American teenagers already face much higher STI and pregnancy rates than say Scandiwegia. Evangelicals’ kids worse still. The Amish disapprove of all contraception, more so than Catholics rejecting even the Rhythm Method.

          The voiced hope back then from some elders was that they would find the world enticing but too dangerous and they wished for modest survivable harms, to teach the lesson needed in enough numbers and stem the wander lust and build a strengthened community.

          This is the worst, most selfish parenting. This is not the way to allow kids to choose. It is though a way to allow them to choose. But what can you expect from a community rife with abuse?

          Yes they may now be less sheltered these days given smart phones.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The voiced hope back then from some elders was that they would find the world enticing but too dangerous

          The Elders shouldn’t have allowed a support structure if they just wanted to frighten the kids back into Plato’s Cave.

        • Astrin Ymris

          What is Scandiwegia? I’ve been reading the comic ‘Scandinavia and the World’, but I don’t think I’ve encountered this term.

          https://satwcomic.com/how-the-north-works

        • Phil Rimmer

          Its a term used by a few to stand for Scandinavia. The addition of (Nor)wegia(n) is just for childish amusement.

          Excellent explanation of northerness in your link, btw. Thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A portmanteau I’ve seen used to describe the bundle Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland together.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Amish in the City was a series on United Paramount Network in 2004, where 5 Amish and 6 non-Amish youth lived together in the same house. Out of the 5 Amish, only 1 returned to the church to be baptized.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish_in_the_City

      • Lark62

        Yeah. That’s real life.

        These kids are provided a home with 10 other people, and presumably support, food, clothing and wages from the film company. That would make it a tad easier.

        The average Amish kid has an eighth grade education and no family or friends outside his community.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah. That’s real life.

          Their not returning to the Amish fold after filming was real enough life.

          It was Bob who referenced the documentary, I was merely pointing out the outcome…and it was obviously not as bad as all that.

          These kids are provided a home with 10 other people, and presumably support, food, clothing and wages from the film company. That would make it a tad easier.

          A tad easier than what? Leaving home to engage in rumspringa is not mandatory. It is a choice. And a choice that the majority don’t take.

          The average Amish kid has an eighth grade education and no family or friends outside his community.

          I’m not sure how that’s relevant. The average Amish anyone has only an eighth grade education. Some Amish exploit rumspringa to further their education. Going “out” on rumspringa is a choice, so they do so in the full knowledge that they will have no family or friends to lean on.

          I’ve been in this debate before. From what I’ve read about rumspringa, both back then, and now, it doesn’t reflect what Phil is saying. I’ve no doubt that there are incidences of what he says, but then there is no youth community that won’t have examples of those.

          We have to remember too, rumspringa is a blanket term for a number of different concepts.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa

          The Truth about Rumspringa

          The Rumspringa years are basically the time in Amish young people’s lives when they join the young people’s gatherings and begin dating and ends with marriage. In many communities, the young people begin dating before they become members of the church, so they are in between the supervision of their parents and the supervision of the church. This can be a time of ambiguity and young people may exhibit rebellion of the Amish ways as they “sow their wild oats.” The parents may look the other way as their young people do things that are not usually allowed in the church. It varies a great deal from one family to the next, and from one community to the next how much the parents will tolerate the “wild” ways. There are some communities in which the young people are required to become baptized members before they are allowed to date and other communities in which young people are permitted to live at home even though they drive cars or dress in “English” clothing. Most communities are somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.

          What is monstrous is how these youths minds are conditioned by their religion prior to rumspringa.

          The expectation that Amish parents and elders have is that their young people will become baptized members of the church. Parents are told that if they raise their children right, they won’t leave the Amish. The parents are also told that it is better to lose a child through death, than to lose a son or daughter “to the world.” Children are taught from the time they can understand the concept that because they were born Amish, God wants them to stay Amish and if they leave, all hope of their salvation will be lost. In other words, they will go to Hell if they leave. This belief is reinforced with fire and brimstone preaching in church. The guilt trap is set — for both the Amish parents and the young people.

          http://salomafurlong.com/aboutamish/2012/06/that-rumspringa-misconception-again/

          And yet, some of those eighth grade educated adolescence do leave the woo-woo nonsense of their childhood communities.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        The Amish who let their kids do that made a mistake, from their point of view: The kids *had a support structure of peers*…which is what’s supposed to happen to kids that age as they test their wings outside the family nest.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The UK is riddled with 16-18 year olds living on their own with an education on a par of a US 8th grader…and less in many cases.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Rumspringa is like taking a person who’s never skied before, kitting them up, taking them up the lift, and leaving them at the top of the expert hill with no easy way(s) down.

  • Ignorant Amos

    Am off to a bit of a not-very-mature “rumspringa” this evening maself. A bit of an atheist evening, given the bands and genre of music.

    https://imagery.zoogletools.com/u/55776/aa5ff13ef20ba5d6f256bc44b8eb6fc812c8cfe4/large/53264966-2067093256679469-6142991354378059776-o.jpg

  • Ignorant Amos

    Almost 90% of youth eventually choose to become members of the church.

    Well “shunning” is a pretty potent deterrent for a 16-18 year old..

    Being Excommunicated From Amish Society Is A Cold, Brutal, And Heartless Process

    https://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-amish-shunning/erin-wisti

    Rumspringa Is Meant to Make Teens Want to Stay in the Community

    Most of the world views rumspringa as an excuse for Amish teens to cut loose, but inside the community, it’s seen as a way for people to explore their faith. Some Amish view rumspringa as a vaccination against the outside world, while others see it as a test.

    “Rumspringa is, in my words, a test of faith, but not necessarily a test to be failed or passed,” according to one Amish source. “Then again, I may feel that way (that it is not to be failed or passed) because in the opinion of most Amish folks, I would have failed that test, but my beliefs are still strong.”

    Most People Don’t Come Back for the Right Reasons

    One of the main problems with growing up in such a strictly organized religion is that you’re cut off from the rest of the world. The Amish people believe that anyone who isn’t Amish will go to hell when they die, so most teens that leave the farm for rumspringa end up returning for the wrong reasons.

    One Amish man said, “I think that most return not because of faith, but rather out of fear or guilt and, in my opinion, fear in not true faith.”

    Why Do People Return from Rumspringa?

    It’s easy to think that Amish teens are immediately able to blend into the outside world once they leave for rumspringa, but a lot of them find it impossible to acclimate to the world outside of their farm.

    “The modern world is too overwhelming for them,” explains an Amish insider. “There is too much sensation, too much temptation. It is almost like when prisoners become ‘institutionalized’ and when they are released, all they want to do is get back in jail because they can’t handle the freedom.”

    https://www.ranker.com/list/amish-rumspringa-facts-and-stories/jacob-shelton

    • epicurus

      My intuition tells me the last point would obtain almost all the time – spending one’s most formative years in a rural bubble in a culture that says outside the bubble is evil, then heading out on your own into it, would probably be too much for many.

    • epicurus

      I made my earlier comment before reading your response to Phil. So now I’m changing my mind and coming around to your way of thinking.

      • Ignorant Amos

        The preconditioning the Amish get prior to rumspringa, that those who turn from their particular flavour of the faith when they’ve had enough rumspringa and decide the woo-woo is not for them, will go to the fiery place. Can’t help either.

    • MR

      I would think the thought of loss of family and friends alone would be pretty powerful. The world might seem a cool and wonderful place, but is it worth giving up all the love and support you ever knew in life? CIT the cord and strike out on your own? For the few who would say yes, it’s probably a benefit to the community to get those types out of their midst anyway.

      • Greg G.

        For the few who would say yes, it’s probably a benefit to the community to get those types out of their midst anyway.

        I may resemble that remark. One of my ancestors was kicked out of the Quakers and the Quakers notified the Revolutionary Army that he was no longer eligible to claim religious convictions to avoid being drafted.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
  • Aram

    more precisely, in High German Rumspringa means to ‘jump around’
    (though you’re right that in Pennsylvania German it’s ‘running around’)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhzpxjuwZy0

    • RichardSRussell

      Wow, I never knew the etymology of the term. I’m only familiar with the “Jump Around” tradition between the 3rd and 4th quarters of University of Wisconsin football games. Thanks for the added info. I’ll be able to impress all my friends by throwing into casual conversation “Hey, do you know what Bucky Badger has in common with the Amish?”.

      • Aram

        Nice! Yeah, it breaks down to ‘(he)rum’ means ‘around’ and ‘springen’ means ‘jump’. So I guess technically it’s ‘around jump’ 😀

  • disqus_zFnuhbwqX1

    The Amish are Christians……… Duh!

  • JBSchmidt

    What if the education is happening at home and the indoctrination is happening in school? You are trying analyze from the biased position that ‘Christianity is wrong’ and then working toward the answer you want.

    The Amish example is bad. The experience those kids face when they leave home is so extreme, it isn’t a surprise that 90% return. They go from piety to hedonism in a the time it takes to drive to the nearest big city.

    The answer to why people choose one path or another is far more nuanced then you lay out. Further, the exact situation is happening in the non-religious family as well. Are those children given equal opportunity to explore the opposing viewpoint or are they taught one path at home?

    What gets lost in this discussion is that while people, the ‘nones’, are leaving Christianity, they are not flocking towards atheism. They are instead simply creating their own form of spirituality that is a hodge podge of both bad religion and pseudo-science.

    • RichardSRussell

      In fact, a substantial fraction of the people leaving Christianity are becoming atheists and agnostics. That trend line is up. The trend line of Christianity is down. This is not mere coincidence.

    • Michael Neville

      Maybe if Christianity had a loving message which produced positive results then people, especially young people, wouldn’t be abandoning it. But when evangelicals are known for hating everyone who isn’t them, the Catholic hierarchy are known for supporting and protecting child rapists, and churches in general are known for their racist, homophobic, misogynist, anti-humanistic dogma, then it’s not surprising that people are rejecting Christianity. Don’t whine about people choosing to be non-religious, tell your religious superiors to shut down the hate and abuse machines they’ve so carefully built over the years. The problem you have isn’t with atheists and other non-religious, the problem you have is with your own hateful, abusive cults.

      • Greg G.

        Don’t whine about people choosing to be non-religious, tell your religious superiors to shut down the hate and abuse machines they’ve so carefully built over the years.

        Churches recognize that something is wrong. They think if they rename their church without “Baptist” in it, young people will return. They continue to preach hate but call it “love”, instead of actually preaching love.

    • Lark62

      Yes, the Amish are so isolate that kids find it hard to leave.

      But piety to hedonism is not the explanation. More like trying to survive in the normal world with
      – 8th grade education
      – no job skills
      – no practical skills
      – think amimal abuse is normal
      – think formally shunning family members is normal behavior

      The sheltered Amish are 100% human. They are no more pious or less hedonistic than anyone else.

    • Pofarmer

      It’s kinda funny, because my middle son is rooming right now with. A kid who is a home schooled Christian from Iowa. The kid is having a hard time. My son says he has the social maturity of a shy 8 year old. There’s more. What they’re doing to these kids is unconscionable.

      • Greg G.

        I have discussed my thinking that the Old Testament has pairs of protagonists, one hairy and one hairless, such as Jacob and Esau, Elijah and Elisha, plus Samson (who was hairy, then his head was shaved) and Delilah (whose name sounds like the Hebrew word for “night”), and that I think they are sun gods being replaced by moon gods.

        The other day I saw a graphic on Facebook or Instagram about a Bible character calling down three she-bears to maul some children. I resisted pointing out it was two she-bears called down by Elijah to maul 42 children (2 Kings 2:23-24). But it got me to thinking about why it was two she-bears. Might they have been the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor? Why 42, instead of the usual 40? Is that the number of stars in a constellation or two?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Pofarmer

          I’ve hunted around for the Astrological significance of 42, and never really came across much.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Number representing a time of suffering and test, according to the Bible.

          The 42 generations of Abraham to the Christ in the Gospel according to Matthew and the 42 generations of David to the Christ according to Luke. (Lk 3,23-38)

          The gentiles will trample the holy city during 42 month. (Rv 11,2)

          The 42 months where it was given to the Beast to act and to blaspheme. (Rv 13,5)

          The famine of the time of Elijah lasts 42 month. (Lk 4,25)

          The little children mocked of the prophet Elisha. This one curses them and the fierce animals come out of the forest killing 42 of them. (2 K 2,24)

          General

          The current distribution of the Revelation is 22 chapters, adopted since the 13th century. But Swete (1909, deep commentator, scholar and pious) had divided it into 42 sections, in three series of 14, making thus the relationship with the 42 generations represented by the sum of the three series of fourteen generations starting from Abraham to the Christ. For this reason, he considered 42 as a Messianic number: the second advent of the Christ, whose speaks the Revelation, would be prepared by 42 divisions of time, just as the first had been it by the 42 generations of believing of the elected people.

          The Odes of Solomon are 42.

          In the Talmud it is written that the divine name of 42 letters is the greatest of the mysteries. These 42 letters contain the names of the ten Sephiroth.

          According to the book of the Dead Egyptians, the defunct, at his death, passes ahead of 42 judges.

          The Cabal speaks about the 42 Authioth.

          According to the Mesopotamian tradition, the surface of the Tower of Babel occupies 42 agrarian measures.

          The Ancient Egyptians had divided their country into 42 parts.

          Just a bit of nonsense for ya….04:32 am here. That’s my excuse and am sticking to it.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit. Look at you go.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      YOUR KIND don’t get to redefine *education* and / or *indoctrination* just to soothe your fragile nervous fee-fees.

      Religion tells people to accept as fact / reality assertions that it refuses to demonstrate, damaging the childrens’ developing minds and rational tools for interpreting the world.

      So try again.

    • I will pray Mielikki, the Forest Queen, for you.

    • Is “Christianity is wrong” a biased position, a correct position, or both? Is bias always a bad thing?

  • RichardSRussell

    FWIW, letting dissidents leave of their own volition is certainly a more humane way of keeping the community “pure” than executing them.

  • digital bookworm

    Another good documentary about Rumspringa is Devil’s Playground. It’s kinda hard to find.

  • BS1: Almost 90% of youth eventually choose to become members of the church.

    GW1: The reason this figure is so high is that indoctrination has been very strong before age 16.

    BS1: Maybe a faith built on indoctrination and custom rather than reason and evidence isn’t strong and isn’t worth much, and encouraging thought would actually be good for churches.

    GW1: I don’t see how encouraging thought could ever be good for churches since their foundations are not built on reason.