Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recovering Christians

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Many Christians at some point in their life reach a point where they decide to dump the philosophy. At some point they realise that it just doesn't add up. I myself was the child of Christian parents. Not serious Christians, but nevertheless people who considered themselves Christian. My grandmother once said, half jokingly "Andrew, you're a Christian, you've been christened, and you have no choice about it".
But actually for me, it was very easy to break out of that thinking because I always had a healthy respect for science. I would go to the library and read about geology. Nothing more grounding than that for building up a logical framework. Being a loner also meant I was not inclined to develop into a social metaphysician with a collectivist sense of reality.
Upon reading philosophy at the age of 19yo I immediately dropped Christianity like a sack of potatoes. In Ayn Rand's arguments, as presented in her non-fiction and fiction, I had never read books so 'strictly correct' in their damnation of religion. Terms were defined, arguments were well-founded. No stone was left unturned. I had the certainty that people should come to expect. I didn't know everything to be sure, but I had the tools to expand my knowledge, and it made me very confident in myself. I wasn't pious. I was certain in my core knowledge because I understood the premises upon which those principles were founded. It gave me enormous pride. It did not give me a lot of friends because I was so keen to learn that I was challenging others at every turn. I am sure I was quite annoying because if you were not logical you were evil. My values have matured, but actually the core values remain.
The problem with Christianity is that people base their lives on it, and people are reluctant to change. I was 19yo when I changed. It would be far harder for a person to drop Christianity at 40yo, and still harder at 60yo. It does happen, as I know people who have studied Objectivism at 60yo and been changed. The more probable outcome is repudiation of what they know to be right, but vaguely threatening. Vaguely so because they will not fully identify their contradictions because they would feel guilty. Its like starting over. But really its not like you have to re-learn everything. You just have to correct ethical principles, and re-integrate.
The alternative is to become a bitter, cynical person. This is what happens to the repressors.
Andrew Sheldon
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Attention all atheists!!
In fact anyone who has had an interesting encounter with a Christian which involved manipulation, deception or blatant rationalisation. This is research or material for a forthcoming book. I am not suggesting that all Christians are criminals, dangerous or threats to society, but I am suggesting that Christianity is a basis for moral inefficacy. There is a reason why Christian nations are always at war. There is a reason why former Christians (or children of Christians) have a tendency to drift into cults and extreme religious groups. Thank you for any life experiences you can recall. ----------------------------------------------- Andrew Sheldon