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Should I attempt to discuss atheism with younger siblings?
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26 / F
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Posted 3/19/14

Warruz wrote:
One side is making a claim, healthy skepticism would land you in the Agnostic territory because if we are to truely look at this factually you land in the cant prove or disprove territory. The saying "Innocent until proven Guilty" comes to mind, until you remove all doubt then you truely cant say if it is the case.

Athiesim is still a belief , a belief that is backed by logic and fact, but not enough to disprove all others.

Also it's interesting that you ignore the idea that religion can be a good thing, one only has to look towards history to see that religeon can in fact be a good thing(also bad, but thats with everything in life).
Love, I'd like to open by deferring to a writer more talented than myself, the late Christopher Hitchens, in his definition of atheism:

The atheists proposition is the following, most of the time, It may not be said that there is no god, it may, however, be said that there's no good reason to think that there is one. [1]
Now, some people, yourself included, seem to think this is agnosticism. Let me ask you this, are you agnostic about the tooth fairy or the easter bunny? Truly you cannot completely disprove the existence of either, however, you live your life as if they don't exists. The atheist proposition says there's no good reason to believe any of it, and an atheists will live their life in that fashion [2]. The agnostic proposition says both sides have equal weight, and a decision cannot (and may never) be reached regarding the matter. The agnostic ignores the sheer probability of the matter, quite frankly.

Now, about your last point on me "ignoring good things" done by religion. I would agree, that in history some people who happen to be religion have done good things -- but it does not require them to be religious. Try to think of a good or moral action done by a religious person that a nonreligious person would not do. It's hard, but perhaps you can come up with one. But now try to think of a wicked action that a believer would do, that a nonbeliever wouldn't even contemplate. You don't even have to think -- the suicide bombing community is entirely faith based. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the forced conversion of indigenous people, the African slave trade, injustice towards women [3] (none of the monotheisms preach the empowerment of women).

In closing I'd like to reiterate, atheism isn't a belief, it's lack of belief. Atheists don't need to "disprove all other beliefs" -- it's up to the other religions to convince us. And, unfortunately, there's never been a compelling argument presented that one religion's superstitious nonsense is any better than another religion's superstitious nonsense.

-/-/-/-
References:
[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hjuS6gkkfp0#t=1924
[2] - This is illustrated very well in The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_of_theistic_probability
[3] - And that's just offenses commited by the Catholic church https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hn0tPRjVBvw#t=958
mrya21 
4387 cr points
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Posted 3/19/14 , edited 3/19/14
No reason not to talk to her, just don't be pushy. As a teen having options is good, it encourages her to thinking deeply about complex subjects, but also as a teen she'll probably go through a lot of changes before settling on what she really believes.
An interest in religion is ok, I wouldn't discourage her from participating in it because the more you know about a subject the more you will be able to make informed decisions that are more stable, like what you did when you read the entire bible before really deciding that christianity wasn't for you.
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Posted 3/19/14
Just adding my opinion

I am Christian, I was raised as such and I intend to remain so

I think the best course of action would be to let your sister do what she believes is right.

Quite frankly in my opinion if a person is going to become atheist then it will happen in due time, same with converting to any belief for that matter.

Also frankly I've always lived my life how I think I should, and any 'converting' I do tends to be in the form of answering questions people ask me about my belief, and frankly I've always found this much more effective for civil conversation rather than going out and "Converting" everyone. I think your best option would be to bring up atheism in a conversation with your sister and talk about it, but don't try to actively convert her, let her come to her own conclusions
Until a time when her christian beliefs are hurting others I think it's ok for her to follow them
Posted 3/20/14
Present it to people as an option for them to decide about. Don't force anything on anyone.
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24 / M
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Posted 3/20/14

rikuoamerocrunchyroll wrote:

Hi there,

I realize this is almost two week after your original post, but here's my take on things.

I am a practicing Catholic, and also consider myself a logical, rational thinker. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this already, but hear me out.

I don't think you should attempt to move your sister towards atheism. Since she's a teenager, she's going to be incredibly susceptible to anything and everything that comes her way. Sure, perhaps bring some things up for her to think about, but she's 14. 14. Fourteen year olds are thinking about 14-year-old things, not 16 or 17 year old things.

For my part, I've been trained in the Catholic faith and theology for a number of years, but I'm definitely capable of thinking for myself and I have logically come to the opposite conclusion you have: God is real, Jesus is the Son of God, the Catholic Church is the institution left behind by the Son of God as his representative here on earth.

Essentially, what I'm saying is that trying to move your sister towards atheism at this point in her life would not be too much different from forcing your beliefs on her. Let her grow up on her own, question things on her own as they occur to her. If she comes to you asking, then sure, tell her what you think. But it's just as possible to logically come to the conclusion that Christianity is true as it is to come to the conclusion that it is not true.

Let her grow up on her own terms, not on yours.
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22 / F / Outer space.
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Posted 3/21/14
Leave her be. As an atheist, you shouldn't shove your belief to your sister or anyone else unless they want to start an argument just saying. She'll find out sooner or later. Let her live her life and you live as yours.
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It doesn't matter.
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Posted 3/23/14
When they get to the age of not believing.
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20 / F / Australia
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Posted 3/26/14
I can understand why you would want to discuss this with your younger sibling. Those who are younger often lack direction and are easily influenced but what is around them. However, do you want to be one of those easy influences at this stage? Let your siblings grow up on their own. You can still keep an eye over them to ensure their well being is intact and such but let them make their own decisions, let them learn things about the world on their own as they grow up - and they will, some faster than others, let her take her time if need be - let her educate herself about the world, about religions, about beliefs and she will pave her own path. If she chooses not to seek knowledge as she matures that is honestly her own fault and letting herself get in her way or broadening her mind. As she grows up, you can guide her to be open minded, let her know there are other religions and beliefs (not just your own beliefs) out there and she will do with that information what she will.
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22 / M
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Posted 3/26/14
I remember not who first said it, but here is my opinion.

'I lack the faith required to be an atheist.'

Let her develop in her own time and come to her own decisions, as most people here are saying.
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26 / M / Pandemonium
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Posted 3/27/14

Phersu wrote:

I remember not who first said it, but here is my opinion.

'I lack the faith required to be an atheist.'

Let her develop in her own time and come to her own decisions, as most people here are saying.


With the chance of sounding rude -- no. You just lack the scientific knowledge and the amount of critical thinking required to become one.
That's all.
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18 / F / texas
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Posted 4/11/14
You can inform your little sister about Atheism but do not force her or try to make her into an Atheist.

Though I wouldn't tell her right now, unless you feel like she's ready for it. If she is, talk to her about it and ask what she believes in. If she says she believes in God, don't tell her she is wrong. Respect what she believes in. And that is that. Or leave it alone and let her learn herself.
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27 / M / United States
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Posted 5/19/14
Introduce her to the art of self-reflection. Introduce her to books that can sparked questions about faith.

Let her decide what she wanted to believe in.
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Posted 5/22/14
Well speaking as a Christian I can only recommend not being one to contradict the words of Jesus "whoever prevents these little ones from coming to me, it would be better if he had a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the ocean," or some such words as that. In fact if anything, recommend a book to her, something by Augustine or GK Chesterton and maybe you can have an intelligent discussion instead of lecturing her why Christianity is wrong.
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26 / M / Atlantic Beach, NC
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Posted 5/25/14 , edited 5/25/14
I think it's wrong to try to indoctrinate someone to your own belief system, atheism or otherwise. It's not your place to do so, and you might end up pressuring her to move away from the church when it gives her some real comfort.

The church isn't entirely a bad thing. For many people it gives them hope and comfort. I could probably destroy my mother's belief in Christianity especially when I play on the fact that according to her religious doctrine, I will inevitably go to hell. But I don't because her belief that something bigger is at work gives her strength to face her challenges in life. Now that my sister and I are grown adults who are forging our own path, she often feels very alone in her battles against her depression and stress as my father is a bit of a scumbag. I hate to say it, but my mother doesn't have the heart to press on through life without it. Her attempted suicide can definitely attest to that.

It's not my place for me to tell her she's wrong. It broke her heart when she discovered that I fell out of the church, but we had an honest discussion about my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) to provide clarity on how I reached that conclusion, the issues I had with the church, and where I stand now. She still vigorously stands against my atheist-agnostic stance, but if I became aggressive about it and tried to bring her to my level, I could very well destroy the foundation that she has built her life around. She was abusive in her upbringing but I still love her you know.

It may be worth it to have a sit down with your sister and ask if she understands why you left the church. She may have some questions for you about it, or some preconceptions built around your falling out that you can bring clarity to. But I would highly advise against being aggressive and pushy.
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30 / F / Phoenix, AZ
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Posted 6/12/14
I think atheists aren't as vocal as they should be. I know for me becoming an atheist has been a treasured personal experience, which I came to on my own. For that reason, I'm reluctant to share my reasons with other family members, since I don't want to interrupt their own experience. And yet, it seems like such a shame to let them go on in their lives without knowing what I know. It's hard seeing them go to mass and remembering how I once was a part of that belief system. Even if you don't confront them about their belief systems, it's important that they know you're an atheist. You can represent being an atheist, without forcing or educating anyone. Unfortunately that often won't be enough to pull someone away from their monotheism. You can try pointing your siblings to some atheist literature. After all, it shouldn't be taboo. Most people can't think of any atheist literature off the top of their heads, but most everyone knows about the bible (understatement). At least let them know that atheist literature exists, to balance the scales a little.
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