I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.
I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".
Teen me would be so confused that I was arguing on behalf of religion and theists
It really just goes to show you that anti-establishment sentiments, especially simple ones held by young people like “screw the [institution] because my parents and because it’s all LIES” are useful starting points in the long term, but they only become worth a damn if you can parse what it is about [institution] that makes it a force of good in people’s lives, and what about [institution] makes it harmful? WHO benefits and how? and more importantly duh, who DOESN’T and why? It’s the most simple question, it’s Point A of all critical thought. So you would think folks might make the connection that new atheism (or militant atheism, or scientism) is essentially xenophobic and just another way for whites to exercise power and supremacy under the guise of science and intellectualism. obviously, though, it’s hard to outgrow teen angst
I wasn’t militant as a teen about atheism, but really neverconsidered religion as a viable thing. Growing up in East Texas religion was everywhere but I thought of it purely as a kind of superstition that I was generally unsure of but moderately sure it was all untrue.I never even considred theology as a “thing” that could have as much intellectual depth as any other area of human thought, instead ascribing it to pure “belief” (obviously mostly due to the prominence of evangelical protestantism there) rather than a complicated series of claims about reality, belief, morality, materialism, bodies & spirits.
Ditto on the rest. Fuck new atheism.
Yes yes yes. Since we’re sharing, I grew up with a lot of confusion about religion basically because my mom was a recovering former Jehovah’s Witness and was really angry about it but still really confusedly attached to certain concepts, and also dabbled with a lot of New Age stuff because it was the 90s and because trauma. We’d go to the United Church on Christmas Eve but never any other time. I remember at a certain point in my teens being told I wasn’t allowed to go to my friend’s evangelical youth group, which is pretty funny in hindsight. Then yeah, a maybe several year phase of trying on the atheism hat but most of my critical anger toward Christianity came from my mom and from ecofeminism so the whole fedora libertarian version just didn’t sit right with me even though I couldn’t say why. Then yeah, the ecofeminism led to the green anarchism, let to the learning about liberation theology and people like the Doukhobors, and how the fuck can you hate religion in a generalized way when so many people have done such interesting things with it?
Yeah, this is a somewhat important discussion to have, so I thought I’d jump in :)
My father was a pretty hardcore atheist, but a really generalizing one. He was the sort to just be like “they [meaning different types of religions] all just fucking suck. Look at the ruin they bring in the world”. My mother, and the rest of her family, are Tea-Party Christians, that are totally into the whole “young earth creationism” stuff, and tend to be excessively islamophobic (which they would never admit - surprise!). For a long time growing up, I thought those were the only two sides to the whole debate, especially since my exposure to religion was really limited growing up. I knew one kid in elementary school that was Jewish, and their parents took it upon themselves to give presentations to the kids (with the school’s permission) showing what Judaism was, during Chanukah and stuff, which was really nice because none of us knew beforehand. That was the only thing outside of stereotypical American Christianity I knew of growing up, though.
Then, when middle school came around, and some of my friends started confiding in me that they were gay, I started to really hate religion in general, because I saw it as restricting the rights/demonizing the people that I really loved. This was the view I held through high school and early college, and I never really encountered anything to go against it. I know my senior year of high school, I was probably siding pretty heavy with Dawkin’s calls for a militant atheism. I never went far in that direction, but I’d say by and large, I agreed with him. I even thought I was really edgy for not capitalizing God in my writings (I sucked in high school).
The big changing point was reading both Paulo Freire and Kierkegaard. The former taught me about how religion could be used as a revolutionary force, and the later taught me about how God didn’t have to be seen in the anthropomorphized vision of contemporary American Christianity. I’m still not religious, I don’t think, though the fact that that’s even a question for me now is a huge change from where I was. And reading Spinoza this semester is throwing those views into even more confusion.
I see that as a good thing though. Oftentimes confusion and indecision are signs of intellectual growth.
And that was far longer than I meant it to be.