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Faith or Peer Pressure?

One of my former bosses was the 'sex drugs and rock & roll' type, until he found religion in his thirties.  He now goes to church every Sunday and is a leader at his chapel.

My sister in law became an atheist in her twenties, and decided growing up in the church was a waste of youth.

And you know what?  Whether I agree with their views or not, I have more respect for them (and those like them) than those that are born-and-raised Baptists/Hippies/Buddhists/etc.

Why?  Because they made a decision as an adult.  One that was informed and thought-out.  They matured on one path and decided it wasn't for them.

Now I know a lot of you have had your own religious Rumspringa and feel like you've weighed all options.  If you have, I'm not really talking to you.

I'm talking to the people who say "I'm a Mormon because my parents are Mormon" and that's good enough for them, like my example below.

This post started from a new video from Big Think, involving Bill Nye the Science Guy:

I'm a 90's kid and grew up watching Bill in High School Biology.  (BILL!  BILL!)  In this video he talks about parents not raising their kids to be creationists.

While I see the validity of his argument, I'd like to disagree with you, Mr. Nye.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster
Parents, take a part of Bill's advice.  Don't raise your kids to be Creationists.  But don't raise your kids to be Atheists either.

Don't raise your kids to be Pastafarians.

Don't raise your kids to be Mormon.

Don't raise your kids to be Democrats.

Don't raise your kids to BE anything, but an open-minded thinker who sees ALL SIDES of an argument and makes a rational decision on their own.  Faith isn't something to be rushed into, just like a three-year-old's decision on a career path isn't set in stone.

As we mature, our views on the world, on religion, and on BIG IDEAS should mature as well.  We shouldn't be programmed at a young age to think "...and that's the way it is..." about anything.


Parents, don't raise your kids with limits.  With boundaries.  With disadvantages.

This sign says it perfectly.  When we begin to think for ourselves and question everything we see, we begin to get answers that make sense to us.

If I was content on the views that were spoon-fed to me by my parents, I'd be a Jehovah's Witness that only votes Democrat (regardless of issue or candidate), smokes cigarettes, smokes pot and hates Mexicans.

That doesn't sound very fun, does it?

So.  Adults.  Sit down.  Look at who you are.  Is this who you are, or who your parents raised you to be?

The answer can be both, but if 'B' is your only choice, it's time to do some self-evaluation.

When I was working at an Idaho car lot, I had a Mormon friend I would hang with.  We'd go to the bar once a week after work (Jack Mormon, so he drank) and the topic eventually turned to faith.

Him:  So, what religion are you?

Me:  I'm not.

Him:  So you're an Atheist?

Me:  No, they're a religion too.  I have a belief in a higher power, something beyond our comprehension, I just see the major religions out there as corrupt and misleading.  I don't believe, in one way or another, that we have all the answers.  Most religions think they do, and know how everything is and was and will be.  I think that's really cocky on their part...

Him:  ....

Me:  So, why are you Mormon?  You drink, you swear... do you believe in the Mormon teachings?

Him: (without hesitation)  Absolutely.

Me:  So why do you drink beer?

Him:  Because I think that's ok, even though the church says otherwise.

Me:  Are your parents Mormon?

Him:  Yeah...

Me:  Is that why YOU are Mormon?

Him:  *Silence*

Six months later we met again, and he told me I was right.  He was going to church because he felt he had to.  He left the LDS church and was going to think and study about what faith means to him (if anything).

He was 'believing' for all the wrong reasons.

And there are a lot of people out there, just like him.

No matter what you believe: religious, political, etc.  If you came to those decisions on your own, I salute you.  You are the few, the proud, the lemmings that survive instead of run off the cliff because the person in front of you did.

Your move, Bill.  While I agree with what you are saying, I think you're leaving things just like the creationists:  In a little box of "...and that's the way it is..."
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17 witty retorts:

Deb Church said...

I completely agree with you. I'm raising my children differently than my parents raised me. I certainly don't want them to grow up fearful or hating anyone with a different skin color or a different religion than them. So far it's been successful.

Lady Estrogen said...

Amazing post, my friend.
I got hypnotized for a few minutes there listening to Bill.

Angel Shrout said...

I cannot stand religion. A relationship with my choice of Jesus exactly. But I do not let another man or woman tell me how that should be. In truth that relationship contains 2 people, me and Jesus, He may put people in my life to speak into me a new way to look at something but the choice to follow again lies in MY choice. I grew up in a house where sex was not talked about, a family heritage of molested girls was our lineage, of which I chose to be the last. Not only do I speak about sex openly with my children I have an adult themed blog about it, my mother hated that blog. But at the same time was envious that I had strength enough to still do it, be open with it, not let the abuse in my youth control my future.Not let the church tell me what it should be and with whom and only for the purposes of reproduction. Heck even God never said that.. read Song of Solomon. THAT was about anything but reproduction let me tell you. I love this LOVE IT.

Lily said...

Well said! Having been raised a catholic, I made the decision to be the only one in my family not be baptize my child. I wanted him to explore what was out there and to make up his own mind. I've discussed both the bible and evolution with him, without bias and that helped him to make up his mind. Unfortunately his belief led him to being bullied in school. Because he didn't believe in the bible, he was told that he would burn in hell. This by a group of 10 year olds. I can quite honestly say that I am proud that he has found something for himself, while still mindful about other people's beliefs, though they aren't of his.

Great post. :D

Brandon from said...

As long as society persecutes the 'different,' this way of thinking is going to be tough. Especially with kids, because 'fitting in' is so important at a young age...

Brandon from said...

This is what most people don't seem to fathom. You CAN have faith without going to church or being labeled as a certain religion. One of my friends said it very well: "The lord is my shepherd, not pastor Bob..."

Brandon from said...

B-b-b-b-b-b-biiiiiiillllllll.... That man is awesome, isn't he?

Brandon from said...

And I am sorry you had to be raised in such a jarring environment. At least you came out of it stronger than most, and are using your past as a reminder of where you want your future to be.

MASSIVE props to you, Angel.

Brandon from said...


L-Kat said...

Great post! I consider myself lucky because my parents raised me to be open, question everything, and make informed decisions. It's lead to some disagreements, but we respect each other! Also, I don't understand why so many Christian religions have people "confirm" they faith when they are so young - teenagers! It is ridiculous to expect a teenager to thoughtfully decide "Yes, I want to confirm my faith in this religion." Because let's face it, they are teens and don't know much yet and their lives will change a lot. Also, as a teen, they are probably just doing it for their parents/grandparents. I say ban all confirmations until adulthood. Which I'm not sure when adulthood is. But that debate is for another time.

J.Day said...

I feel fortunate that I was raised in a family that did not attend church. Church attendance stopped sometime when my grandparents were kids. Not that none of believed in God, whatever you perceived Him to be. My parents sent me to a bible summer camp once for two reasons - they needed a babysitter while they worked and they wanted me to learn something about the bible and its story. I have had friends of different faiths and respected their views. My best friend was raised Mormon and in the last 5 years has stopped attending church because certain things she believed in (like gay marriage) was something her faith opposed. When her church friends abandoned in her when she needed them the most, I was the one who stood by her side, never once judging her based on her church attendance. I have learned a lot from my friends and their faiths. One thing I believe in is that I don't believe God to be so judgmental or hateful or spiteful. I try to live by the golden rule, I obey laws (although I do speed, I'll freely admit), I don't cheat or steal, and I try to help when and where I can. If trying my best to be a good person can't get me into Heaven, do I really want to be there?

Brandon from said...

People seem to forget that they're not the end-all be-all decider of the universe.

Looking at the big picture, one person's opinion, even the opinions and thoughts of an entire generation, mean nothing. We're a very egotistical species, aren't we? And you're either with us or against us.

Brandon from said...

I wasn't really an adult until my mid-twenties. It varies from person to person, doesn't it?

Utah L. said...

Great post, your right on the money. 2thumbsup

Thank, Q said...

I was brought up to be Baptist. As I got older, I realized that there was more out there. My parents always taught me to think for myself. I'm not a Democrat like they are, I'm Independent. I don't judge gay people like they did. I don't care what people do in their bedroom. But, the religion thing just stuck with me. As I got in my 30's, I evaluated and I'm good with the religion that I inherited. The adult decision that I made was not to push it off on anyone else nor "thump the Bible." My Christian views show through my actions and I think that's what everyone should do when it comes to religion. Live your life and keep your mouth shut. If someone doesn't believe what you believe, then respect that and keep it moving. So, when I encounter Catholics, Jews, Atheists or whoever, I don't try to push anything onto them. Do what floats your boat and allow me to do me. I think that's how it should be. No religion in politics or in schools. Just do you.

Kid-FreeLiving said...

You had a logical argument about religion with someone and won? Got them to see your side? YOU DA MAN. Holy Hell. (no pun intended)

Jess resides here said...

I love you so much right now. You have stated exactly how I feel on the subject

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