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Old 03-06-2010, 09:29 AM   #61
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(Leo, atheism is not a "belief," see Where is the Bible Belt exactly?, as I do not want to derail this thread).
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An atheist doesn't take on faith that there is no life after death. The absence of a belief isn't a belief. It is nothing.
That sounds very Zen to me.

But categorizing atheism in that manner is probably offensive to both atheists and to followers of Zen...

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I hate it when the clergy uses alcohol as a crutch.
A serious health risk too-- the guy used to chug the leftover communion wine after the ceremony, and our church was so cheap that they bought Mogen David. "Luckily" it was after the sermon too. Or maybe the appropriate word would be "unfortunately"...
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Old 03-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #62
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Just for consideration--the two religious friends in the OP probably aren't bullies. If their faith teaches that the unsaved will go to hell (no if, ands, or buts), and if they believe OP's daughter to be unsaved, then they almost surely see it as right and their obligation to get her to church and to give her the message. I don't think there's any way their parents can effectively communicate to 8 YOs that "everything you heard in church is true--hell is real and the unsaved are in the express lane to that place. But, just the same, don't badger your friends about this, they need to make up their own minds, and their families may not believe as we do, we need to let them go their own way. Yes, they'll probably go to hell and burn forever in unimaginable anguish." The problem isn't with the kids or the parents, the problem is the beliefs themselves.

I think the OP's plan to talk with DD about other faiths and take her to some services is a good idea. These families are indoctrinating their kids, and if you don't take an active posture yours will be indoctrinated, too, in a way that you'd probably not like. IMO, seven years old may be a little young to start visiting churches with her, but maybe not. I'd keep the kitchen table lines of discussion open, look for opportunities to raise the issue, and back off on the actual site tours if she doesn't show signs of interest.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #63
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Your daughter is lucky to have you as a parent.
Thank you.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:33 PM   #64
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You and I are Canadian. This is a bit of a non-scientific observation, but Canadians are a lot less religious and/or judgmental than our southern neighbours. I was at a business dinner in NC where the guy next to me started the conversation with "what church do you belong to". That would never happen in Canada.
So true! I lived in the "Bible Belt" (Tulsa, OK) for a couple of years and had a co-worker try to convince me to attend their church. I politefully said thanks, but no thanks. Same thing happened with DH's friend from grad school....he and his wife wanted us to go to their church (I think it was an Evangelical church). DH and I are Catholic and are raising our children as Catholics. That being said though, I wouldn't say that I'm going to Mass every Sunday (more like once or twice a month ).

My parents go to Mass every Sunday but they were raised in Eastern Europe where you would surely go to Hell if you didn't go to church every Sunday. I also had an uncle on my mom's side that was a Priest (he passed away 12 years ago...the coolest Priest you would ever meet btw...). On DH's side though it's a different story, MIL is a lapsed Catholic and SIL is finally starting to go to church again after being a lapsed Catholic for the past 20 years (she has a 2 yr old daughter so I'm pretty sure that the renewed interest in the Church is for her daughter, who was baptized last year). SIL's DH however is Agnostic. FIL is Lutheran I think.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:18 PM   #65
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I grew up in the rual south, raised by a lapsed presbyterian (DF) and an atheist (DM). The fact that we didn't go to church made our family very foreign and suspect to many others. I tried very hard to keep my doubts about christianity a closely-held secret. Any little slip of my true feelings brought waves of disapproving looks and pity from my teachers.

After years of being anti-religous, now I just try to be a live-and-let-live kinda guy. I don't care what anyone believes as long as they don't bother me with it.

At least now I can appreciate the beauty of so many parts of religion, the buildings and the cool, fragrant air flowing out of churches with people singing as I rollerbladed by on a Sunday morning...
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:35 PM   #66
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After years of being anti-religous, now I just try to be a live-and-let-live kinda guy. I don't care what anyone believes as long as they don't bother me with it.
I like that. I wish everyone could adopt that policy.

I've never been very religious. But as a youth I attended the local church (a different denomination than either of my parents!), mostly for the social life. Met DW at youth group activities and as cabin counselors at camp, etc. Two buddies I'd known since we went to grammar school together got on a militantly atheist soapbox while we were seniors in highschool. All I heard from them was what a fool I was to still go to church, it's all a fantasy, I must be a naive dummy, etc., etc. It was relentless. I eventually ditched them as friends since they just couldn't stop the harrassment. One was killed in Nam and I have no clue about what happened to the other. But I'll never understand why they thought they needed to "save" me from being victimized when I was having a good time. Just no life of their own I guess.......

I like to take the Iris Dement angle on all this and "let the mystery be."
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:40 PM   #67
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I like that. I wish everyone could adopt that policy.

I've never been very religious. But as a youth I attended the local church, mostly for the social life. Met DW at youth group activities and as cabin counselors at camp, etc. Two buddies I'd known since we went to grammar school together got on a militantly atheist soapbox while we were seniors in highschool. All I heard from them was what a fool I was to still go to church, it's all a fantasy, I must be a naive dummy, etc., etc. It was relentless. I eventually ditched them as friends since they just couldn't stop the harrassment. One was killed in Nam and I have no clue about what happened to the other. But I'll never understand why they thought they needed to "save" me from being victimized when I was having a good time. Just no life of their own I guess.......

I like to take the Iris Dement angle on this and "let the mystery be."

Same with me. I am not a particularly philosophical person anyway. If the people are friendly, the music nice, the young women pretty and the food good, count me in.

How the heck am I to know what ultimately reality is or is not? Call me Mr. Immanence.

Ha
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:02 PM   #68
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How the heck am I to know what ultimately reality is or is not? Call me Mr. Immanence.

Ha
Well, it seems like lots of folks are curious as to why we're here, how to conduct outselves during our brief stay and whether there's anything later other than "lights out." Lots of religious and philosophical stuff trying to address it over the eons.......

One Saturday night I was listening to Garrison Keillor's "A Prarie Home Companion" on Public Radio. Iris Dement was one of the guests and when she did this song, it really struck a cord with me. I mean, hey, "think I'll just let the mystery be......"


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Old 04-09-2010, 04:37 PM   #69
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"Let The Mystery Be". I love that. That's DH's feelings on all this, too. He calls himself a "wow-ist". It's ok that we don't understand everything in the world. Sometimes it's enough to just appreciate it and think, Wow, that's really something.

Thanks for the video link. I hadn't seen the original version, just heard the one by Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs) and David Byrne.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:02 AM   #70
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I'll never forget when one my bosses from about 24 years ago discovered that I had become a Quaker from Methodist like him. He pulled me into his office to lecture me on how I was damning my eternal soul to hell to do such a thing.

It turned out to be the single most important positive spiritual change that I have seen in 61 years of living. It impacted my kids positively, and is still impacting me. If this is loss of my personal soul to hell, then I must have been in some kind of very very deep nether region before.

I get lectured all the time by the more conservative christians in my environment, both at work and even from my one sibling. I don't lecture them at all.

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Old 04-14-2010, 03:22 PM   #71
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We moved from Canada to Texas a few years ago when my oldest son was 12. He had gone to Catholic school here in Canada for his first 7 years of school but we were stealth mode atheists with the school, which was not a big deal at all. There's lots of nominal Catholics like me who send their children to catholic school up here just because it's a bit higher quality.

About 2 weeks after we arrived in Houston, he started to be bullied by some religious children (at a non-religious school) who asked him if he had been "saved". When he replied that he was an atheist, they told him he was going to hell. He was harrassed verbally and physically for being an atheist on a regular basis for the remaining 2 years that we lived in Houston. Not coincidentally, it solidified his previously wavering atheist beliefs (I'm not hard core). I complained to the school after they started getting physical, but it seemed to get worse after that. It was definitely a learning experience.

It would be a cold day in hell before I'd take my kid to church or pretend to be a religion I wasn't just to avoid peer pressure for myself. If it made the difference between having a job or not and I was desperate, I might be that hypocritical. I would do it for their sake for a better education or if I thought it was the only solution to a problem.

Hopefully things are changing, but if anything, the issue might get even worse once she's a little older. Although I did have a 7 y.o. kid trying to convert me at a campground last summer. That was kind of fun.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:49 PM   #72
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One technique my dear departed Mother would use with doorbell ringers is to state that we were devout Catholics. Most just walked away but if they pressed the issue she asked for their name and the name of their church and threatened to tell everyone at Mass that they were harassing us.

It was her (and my) opinion that our religious faith was no business of others. We were taught not to discuss religion or politics outside of the family.

My husband has a gig that only adults can play: you listen in silence for 30 minutes why my beliefs are right and I will listen in silence for 30 minutes about yours. No one yet has been willing to listen that long to his point of view - he gets wound up extolling the merits of the Blue Dome faith (pray under God's great blue sky and walk among His magnificent forests, etc, etc). Funny.
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