Two Roads Diverged… January 21, 2008

Two Roads Diverged…

Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet), guest posting at Atheist Revolution, tells two stories of girls he has met in his life. Both are disturbing, but one has a slightly happier ending…

One is about a girl who had exposure to the outside world; the other is about one who was seemingly sheltered from it:

These two stories show (to me at least) what has changed in America over the last 25 or so years. The girl I knew in Maryland had been indoctrinated from birth to see no problem in damning anyone who thought differently (heretics) to hell. She was so convinced of her righteousness that she could not conceive of another point of view. Through contact with the real world, though, she eventually became more accepting of reality. The little girl from Idaho, though, (and I am assuming that she was home schooled in a Christianist and/or fundamentalist and/or Dominionist milieu) will most likely never be exposed to competing world views. The narrow glimpse she gets at church and at home and on play dates with approved friends will never allow her to mesh with the rest of the world.

To me, the stories teach parents to let their kids interact with all sorts of different people. It makes the kids more well-rounded and exposes them to different beliefs and values that may contradict your own. That’s good for them.

At the same time, there could be parents out there hearing the same stories and admiring the other girl, the one who was too young to think any differently from what she was taught.

And that is just frightening.

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Karen

    To me, the stories teach parents to let their kids interact with all sorts of different people. It makes the kids more well-rounded and exposes them to different beliefs and values that may contradict your own. That’s good for them.

    You may think that, but conservative fundamentalists do not. In fact, it’s considered dangerous and very unwise to allow your kids to interact with non-believers. The idea is that these people could easily be used by Satan to lead your kids astray both morally and spiritually. Keeping them in the fold and having them make friends with other Christians is a high priority for fundie parents.

  • Karen nailed it. Fundy and evangelical parents seek to shelter their children, as far as possible, from “harmful” (meaning almost anything not explicitly Christian) influences. Churches provide kids’ clubs, teen fellowships, etc., so that the children of Christian parents can have all of their socialization needs met under the supervision of the church. Home schools and Christian schools round out the isolation of children from “worldly” influences. I know parents who only allow their kids to listen to Christian music, read Christian books, etc. In these people’s minds, interaction with those who are different (non-Christians) = bad, isolation from those who are different = good.

  • Patti Miller

    Billy says: “A few of these children will wake up…Most will not.”

    In my experience as a longtime homeschooler (no, not one of those!!!), a large percentage of the heavily-indoctrinated kids will leave their nests and choose a more sane way of looking at the world. Some will stay in the Christian fold but become more liberal, others will leave their religion entirely. Some will even become atheists. This is probably because their parents’ worldview is so starkly contrasted with reality in the world at large. It’s pretty obvious that one of them must be false.

  • Billy

    Patti Millier said “It’s pretty obvious that one of them must be false.” I like your optimism. I don’t know of any statistics on this (or maybe the phenomenon is too recent for a good read) but my gut reaction (dangerous, I know) is that the number who find reality is most likely less than 50%. Even if ones who embrace a more liberal form of delusion are included, the number who find reality is maybe around two in three.

  • Billy

    BTW, thanks for the free publicity. I appreciate that both Spanish Inquisitor and Atheist Revolution are willing to put up with my occasional ramblings. It amazes me even more the wonderful reactions my musings get both on the host site and others (such as Friendly Atheist). I’m a neophyte on the net (even though I have managed a .gov site for about 10 years) and am still learning the rules. Ya’ll are real kind to us newbies.

    Again, thanks for linking to my guest post on someone elses blog (sounds confusing, but that’s an Occupational Hazard).

  • Thanks for the mention. Billy’s comments on my blog have been so insightful and thought-provoking that I simply had to invite him to submit some guest posts. This was his second, and I certainly hope we’ll have more.

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