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Old 3rd January 2018, 05:29 PM
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David Nicholls David Nicholls is offline
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Default Re: How do you come out to a very traditional family?

To sum up a couple of thoughts using a principle which I think applies here. You have escaped religion and your family has not or are not willing to do that or haven’t even considered escaping religion. If you like, you have additional rational reasons to reject your religious upbringing and your folks are stuck with it because of tradition/indoctrination etc.

If they could put forward a rational evidenced based argument that you are wrong in your atheism, then you would have to accept it. The same goes for them. You can put forward rational argument that they are misled. They will not accept that most likely.

Therefore, unfortunately, the task of keeping the peace is with you as you are the possessor of greater knowledge. Those with greater knowledge have to be very careful how they use/wield it.

It may be the case in this instance that your folks might be able to accept your atheism/boyfriend situation and no one knows better about that than you. This is a tricky circumstance and you will have to tread carefully.

Would it be possible to introduce an idea as a topic against their religion such as same sex marriage or abortion or voluntary euthanasia and see how flexible they are on those topics? If they are staunchly in opposition to those impersonal matters no matter what, then be wary about divulging too much about your own position.

If you would be upset by a negative response, all the more reason to treat this carefully. And of course, you may not be upset right now but what about later on in life and the cat is out of the bag.

I don’t want it to look like I’m giving you advice on this as you’ll wear the brunt if it goes wrong. These are only thoughts. Your own thoughts are far more important.


Last edited by David Nicholls; 3rd January 2018 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 3rd January 2018, 05:55 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: How do you come out to a very traditional family?

Another 2 cents, if I may. I have spent some years "debating" creationists, and use the following means:-

1. Try to reduce the "threat levels" of your opponent. Creationists feel challenged by the fact of evolution, and what they perceive as a threat to their faith.

2. Bring up something totally unrelated and reason with them on that. Best stay away from controversial stuff that you know they might react unreasonably to.

3. Then try reasoning with them about something related, but not directly about religion. Perhaps the death penalty. If they are against it, then fine. If they are for it, you can win in such a way that their faith might not be directly challenged. Most reasons given for the death penalty are based on religious doctrine. The best and simplest argument against the DP is what I call the "Oops factor"

The DP is irreversible. So if you convict someone wrongly, and apply the DP, then you can't go back. Unlike imprisonment, which saves the community from harm, and you can always reverse it if some new evidence proves innocence.

Find stuff like that to talk about. A whole heap of morals are based on religion. Some of them make sense from an objective perspective. Others, not so much. For example, one can easily mount an argument that murder is wrong, without bringing up god or any religious text. I don't actually believe the distaste for murder came from religion, but rather the evolved empathy that most of us share from being cognitive social animals.

Another way to get somewhere is to emphasise secular values as a path to freedom for all, both religious and non-religious. In a properly constituted secular state, religious freedom is guaranteed. But not to the extent that the freedoms of other religions, or indeed a lack of religious conviction, is compromised.

Many thinking religious people are secularists, because if you game it out, or read a book about history, we all know what happens if any religion is too successful, and gets control, or even privileged access or influence in policy or the functions of the state.
Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

Last edited by Darwinsbulldog; 3rd January 2018 at 05:56 PM.
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