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5: The fact that religion runs in families.

Posted by on Jul. 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM
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From: "The Top 10 Reasons I Don't Believe in God" by Greta Christina

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5: The fact that religion runs in families.

The single strongest factor in determining what religion a person is? It's what religion they were brought up with. By far. Very few people carefully examine all the available religious beliefs -- or even some of those beliefs -- and select the one they think most accurately describes the world. Overwhelmingly, people believe whatever religion they were taught as children.

Now, we don't do this with, for instance, science. We don't hold on to the Steady State theory of the Universe, or geocentrism, or the four bodily humours theory of illness, simply because it's what we were taught as children. We believe whatever scientific understanding is best supported by the best available evidence at the time. And if the evidence changes, our understanding changes. (Unless, of course, it's a scientific understanding that our religion teaches is wrong...)

Even political opinions don't run in families as stubbornly as religion. Witness the opinion polls that show support of same-sex marriage increasing with each new generation. Political beliefs learned from youth can, and do, break down in the face of the reality that people see every day. And scientific theories do this, all the time, on a regular basis.

This is emphatically not the case with religion.

Which leads me to the conclusion that religion is not a perception of a real entity. If it were, people wouldn't just believe whatever religion they were taught as children, simply because it was what they were taught as children. The fact that religion runs so firmly in families strongly suggests that it is not a perception of a real phenomenon. It is a dogma, supported and perpetuated by tradition and social pressure -- and in many cases, by fear and intimidation. Not by reality.

by on Jul. 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Raintree
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM

This is obviously true.

In my experience, people who have "questioned" of left the church I was brought up in for another church are often thought 'lost' by the whole. I've seen this in reverse- people coming into the church from another often have difficult times with their families. And this is just within the umbrella of Christianity.

A couple of weeks back my mom called to ask me to pray about a girl in their church who now lives in my area and has been 'led' to believe that our church is a cult (see? I still say "our" church) while the new church is the truth. She has been instructed by the new church to not participate in her families church unless they allow her to give her 'testimony' about how the family church is a cult. Of course, where this has really led is to a strained relationship with her own parents and brother- who she has apparently been lecturing on the subject of religion for months in their phone conversations. And the mother has received many not-very-nice emails from the daughter's new friends which she won't reply to because she doesn't want to allow her anger to show.


AdrianneHill
by Member on Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Gotta love that old time religion with its brainwashing and attempts to isolate their sheep, er, I mean, Flock from the poisonous and degraded existence created by the miracle of God's divine designs on earth.

That's how it goes, right?
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jesusfreak7
by Christian on Dec. 2, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I PERSONALLY THINK RELIGION IS MAN MADE, IT SHOULD BE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, NOT RELIGION, IT JUST A LABLE AND HALF THE CHURCHES OUT THERE WOULD NT EVEN LET JESUS IN THERE CHURCH.

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Quoting jesusfreak7:

I PERSONALLY THINK RELIGION IS MAN MADE, IT SHOULD BE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, NOT RELIGION, IT JUST A LABLE AND HALF THE CHURCHES OUT THERE WOULD NT EVEN LET JESUS IN THERE CHURCH.

Isn't that a self-contradictory position for a Christian to hold?

Because you're supposed to follow Jesus' example, and Jesus did treat the apparatus of the Jewish religion (such as the temple) as being special.  In fact he called the temple in Jerusalem "my father's house" and was offended by the presence of money changers in it.

Meadowchik
by Christian on Dec. 28, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Hmmm, isn't it common for ideological/political worldviews to pass down through families?

So, in essense, it makes sense to consider a chunk of the population as persons who would go with the flow whatever worldview they encounter in their families, whether it be athiest, vegetarian, Buddhist, Christian, Communist, whatever...  Then there's another percentage that is going to change merely for the sake of rebellion, whether it be a temporary or permanent rebellion.  Then there will be another percentage which will abandon the status quo because they perceive a more intelligent alternative, and another who stays with their inherited beliefs because they continue to percieve them as intelligent.

See the implications? 

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Dec. 28, 2012 at 6:07 PM
Quoting Meadowchik:

Hmmm, isn't it common for ideological/political worldviews to pass down through families?

It depends.

Things that are not verified against reality, such as which football team to support, or whether you should put milk into a china cup then pour in the tea or put the tea in first then add milk; that sort of thing strongly passes down through families and peer groups.

Things that are verifyable against reality, such as whether it is a good idea to use a car seat for children under 4 - that changes with generations, rather than each person carrying on their family tradition.


If religion were something that had some sort of correspondence to reality, you'd expect the pattern of transmission to more closely resemble that of child car seats than that of adding tea to china cups.

Meadowchik
by Christian on Dec. 29, 2012 at 5:12 AM

 "Verifiable by reality" is a relative term in the examples you give.  Some teams clearly have better or worse records than others.  Religions also have components which can be verifiable through reality on an objective basis...I'm not claiming the deity part, but yes many aspects like logical principles and social codes. 

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting Meadowchik:

Hmmm, isn't it common for ideological/political worldviews to pass down through families?

It depends.

Things that are not verified against reality, such as which football team to support, or whether you should put milk into a china cup then pour in the tea or put the tea in first then add milk; that sort of thing strongly passes down through families and peer groups.

Things that are verifyable against reality, such as whether it is a good idea to use a car seat for children under 4 - that changes with generations, rather than each person carrying on their family tradition.

 

If religion were something that had some sort of correspondence to reality, you'd expect the pattern of transmission to more closely resemble that of child car seats than that of adding tea to china cups.

 

Meadowchik
by Christian on Dec. 29, 2012 at 5:16 AM

 

Quoting Meadowchik:

Hmmm, isn't it common for ideological/political worldviews to pass down through families?

So, in essense, it makes sense to consider a chunk of the population as persons who would go with the flow whatever worldview they encounter in their families, whether it be athiest, vegetarian, Buddhist, Christian, Communist, whatever...  Then there's another percentage that is going to change merely for the sake of rebellion, whether it be a temporary or permanent rebellion.  Then there will be another percentage which will abandon the status quo because they perceive a more intelligent alternative, and another who stays with their inherited beliefs because they continue to percieve them as intelligent.

See the implications? 

 ...the implication is that rationally, one must attribute a great deal of correlations to religions to mere correlations to the status quo.  One must consider the percentage of people and behaviors that seek the path of least resistance. 

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jan. 15, 2013 at 6:37 AM
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Quoting Meadowchik:

 one must attribute a great deal of correlations to religions to mere correlations to the status quo

Not exactly an argument in favour of religions.  It points to the status quo being a major factor in why most people follow religion.  Not because it is true, but rather just because of habit.


Meadowchik
by Christian on Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:41 AM

Don't get too cocky;)

The status quo in many cases, is the path of least resistance, but the same "inherited" path does not belong to every person. (In other words, be careful to not lump the conglomeration of religious persons into one pile.)  Sometimes it is very well-laid, sometimes not, but just being the status quo does not negate its validity. 

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting Meadowchik:

 one must attribute a great deal of correlations to religions to mere correlations to the status quo

Not exactly an argument in favour of religions.  It points to the status quo being a major factor in why most people follow religion.  Not because it is true, but rather just because of habit.


 

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