So I took in a much younger friend who desperately needed to get out of her abusive, religious home. So she's been here for a couple of weeks. I knew she was still Christian, though I suppose I thought more deist than anything (because, like most religious people, she has serious complaints with organized religion but not what it organizes around). Well over the past two weeks I've realized that she's very politically conservative, definitely a believer, and furthermore a creationist. This came up when I asked (VERY gently, for me) "Do you accept evolution?" She said, no she doesn't "believe in evolution".

She and I have similar backgrounds. Hers is a great deal more recent, and I have to remind myself she's 17. I think still largely carrying her parent's beliefs at this point is pretty normal and probably okay. But there's part of me that wants to push her to atheism, or to liberalism, or to secular humanism. It's very tempting to try to mold and shape her - HERE'S the way out of crazy fundy-town! Listen to me, I know, I've done it! But I'm trying to be gentle, to give her space and time and let her do her own thing in this regard. (She knows it would be pointless to proselytize to me, and that she can't do it to my son.) Should I say anything? How can I not? How can I say something, without abusing my position over her (rent-payer)?

I did sort of lose it when she told me Barack Obama doesn't have a "real" birth certificate. And then once I calmed down a bit I showed her Snopes.com and FactCheck.org, and encouraged her not to just take my word for things either. But seriously, the birther conspiracy is so easily debunked. She clearly doesn't have a SET of critical thinking tools yet, and I don't know how to give them to her. Help?!

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Hi Angie! I think you have some great advice already so I'll just add that the best way to maybe influence her is to not be pushy or aggressive, to be considerate of her current position in life (as far as maturity and experience goes) and give her facts (like the sites you've showed her) when she's truly interested!

Im really interested in knowing how this turns out...I have a friend that will be moving in with me in about 2 weeks...we actually worked at a church together (I was an atheist at the time and she's still a christian). I stopped working there and we've remained friends...nevertheless this topic brings up concerns for me, maybe you can give me advice later, lol!

best wishes...
Start to teach her random things.

Lead her down the primrose path and take three steps or so down a wrong turn, leading her in that "this things blah blah this thing, okay?" way and if she follows you and totally swallows the kool aid, smack her in the mental face "So with [this] and [this], should [this] be true?" her: "Yea-" You: "NO! That contradicts the second thing I told you teaching you this stuff! What's wrong with your memory?" and jump right back to the correct path as if that little diversion didn't happen. (You may have to play with your mind to forget that you went down that path--push it to a corner and relabel it as something that happened four months ago.)

As long as she gets bitched at (consistently) (and to *some* extent...) for flaws in critical thinking, she'll develop skills in that area.

You get good at martial arts real quick when you've got an ornery old Chinese fella giving you sharp whacks with a stick each time you screw up, and the same applies to rational thinking.
And yet, I think I'll pass. Thank you for your contribution to this thread :)
hmmm this is a hard one.... IV GOT IT! sneak up from behind and bonk her on the head :) when she comes to you will be standing there dressed up like jesus!! you'll be like "sorry kiddo im just a lie, it was fun through huh?" then bonk her on the head again. when she wakes up she'll be like "ZOMG!! i spoke to jesus! hes a FAKE!" jk that idea sucks, i thought it was funny though :P
I lol'd.
Perhaps you can learn from her. Ask her about creationism and how it works. Not for the point of refuting her but for the purpose of learning her point of view. Then wonder out loud why everything requires a creator except the thing doing the creating? And learn how she deals with an obvious contradiction. And then leave it at that.

In her quiet time, in her own mind, she will want to sort that out for herself. And there she will find a crack in the cosmic egg. She will have to challenge her own hypnosis.
Now this sounds like something I can actually do (rather than the bonking or dressing up as white Jesus)
What do you have against bonking?
Funny what changed my mind was learning about post modernism. One part of one lecture was all I needed to realise that ALL meaning is constructed the religious type as well. When you realise that we make up most things you look at christianity differently. There are also many many christian multi-faith people who accept the truths of other religions as part of truth. That may offer her a step away from fundamentalism but not quite as dramatic as totally rejecting the whole thing in one go. A little chink in the armour to work with. Have a look at Michael fox and creation spirituality. It's much closer to pantheism. I am living with a creationist husband and daughter who is well on her way there. I am looking at all avenues that detract from the absolutes!
Unfortunately, postmodernism is logically self-refuting. If all viewpoints are mere constructions, and thus equally valid or non-valid, then so is postmodernism. Not really something to hang your hat on. Rejecting objective reality is not a good way to debunk religion, which after all, is a rejection of objective reality in favor of an absolute fantasy. The better approach is to actually attempt to understand objective reality through science. The more you know, the less you need fantasy "answers".
I am a thoroughly irrational person Jason so I get lost in all these arguments. i agree not all points are equally valid or not, some have clearly lost their validity altogether. However I do think all our viewpoints are mere constructions because the likelihood is that the science we 'prove' today will turn out to be rather silly in the context of greater understanding in 1000 years time. I have lost faith you see in all manner of truths but I would rather have an approach at reality than the total fantasy though, I totally agree.
The science of today will inevitably look more primitive by the standards of tomorrow, but I don't think it will look silly. Newton's insights into how the physical world works are still valid today, even though Einstein added new insights into the nature of time and space, particularly at higher energies and velocities. Since Darwin's insights, biology and medical science continue to make great strides, though there are certainly mistakes along the way. But we definitely know a great deal more than we used to.

Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Sciences like sociology and psychology are dealing with subjects that are extremely hard to pin down. Those areas are going to see a lot more false starts and backtracking than physics or biology. So perhaps there will be some scientific notions that do turn out to be silly in retrospect, but we do know a lot for sure. Hang onto that, or you don't have a basis for arguing any point of view, and then there's no saying that religion is BS.

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