Posted: Nov 26, 2015 8:20 pm
by Calilasseia
funcrew wrote:Hi,

I was born & raised fundamentalist Baptist. Being immersed in the culture, I always regarded the "Darwinists" as delusional and dangerous. When I was about 40, a friend asked me, "How did the kangaroos get from Mount Ararat back to Australia?" It took another 5 or 10 years to come to terms with that challenge. With great trepidation, I read Why Evolution is True, Scientists confront Creationism and Intelligent Design, and Your Inner Fish. It's hard to describe how jarring it was to realize that my tightly-held worldview was bullshit. I'm over that now, but the problem is that my life long social circle are all hardcore fundamentalists, as is my wife. I don't want to get divorced, nor bail on my old friends, but I need to find some people that I don't have to edit my conversation around.

How did you ex-religious folks find new friends after the lights came on for you? BTW I'm 50-ish and live in a large desert city in the Southwest USA.

Much Appreciated - Simon

I won't pretend that the future won't be difficult, upon account of what you've presented above. Not least because you're almost certainly aware of some unpleasant facts. The most unpleasant of these facts being, that religious fundamentalism tends to be most attractive to those with dangerous personality traits. Most dangerous of all being the desire to force others to conform. You almost certainly have enough evidence of your own to support this. Furthermore, many possessing this unpleasant personality trait, have a habit of reacting to any dissent from enforced conformity in a violent manner. Worse still, this tends to be encouraged by the apologetics extant in fundamentalist circles, which parade this level of ideological bigotry as some sort of virtue. I'm tempted to suggest that as an addendum to my thesis, that religion began as our first failed attempt to explain our surroundings, by grafting our own capacity for intent and acting thereupon onto the natural world, that beginning was quickly followed, by eliding from asserting how things purportedly are, to how things purportedly ought to be. That shift in emphasis turned religion into a useful tool of political control, one that's been used ever since by all manner of devious would-be and actual leaders. The frightening convenience with which that shift in emphasis can be manipulated, to peddle a purported "justification" for enforcing the prejudices of those in control, should on its own be a huge red flag with respect to the likely validity or soundness of supernaturalist assertions. Quite simply, any genuine entity responsible for instantiating a universe and its contents, one in turn purportedly concerned for the welfare of this one species residing on this one small planet, and purportedly possessing all manner of fantastic powers, would surely have exercised far better editorial control over any mythology purported to arise therefrom, and ensure not only the absence of manifest contradictions, absurdities and paradoxes, but the absence of any ambiguities manipulable in the above manner. Though I suspect you've ruminated along these lines yourself, and my explicit rendering merely serves to give you a peg to hang the coat on, so to speak.

Whilst my being fortunate enough to observe the requisite phenomena from a safe distance, probably means my recognition thereof lacks the edge of visceral immediacy of experience, it does provide me with an environment within which a considered analysis is possible, without the ever-present fear of having to make a hasty exit from savage repression. That's the first piece of bad news I'm going to hand to you, namely, that where you are currently bears exactly the hallmarks of somewhere you might want to leave. You're surrounded by committed ideologues, almnost certainly intolerant ones to boot, and in your shoes, I would be considering looking for an alternative home more conducive to your personal safety, welfare and peace of mind. Yes, it will almost certainly mean dropping a tactical nuclear weapon on your current life, as you uproot and start all over again. But it will be preferable to living permanently wondering when the knives are going to be brought out, and the Deep South has a nasty reputation in this vein, not merely experienced by people with extra epidermal melanin.

Quite simply, your current neighbours won't give you the choice, with respect to living without having to edit your conversation, or keep your thoughts under a tight security cordon. What's more, if they suspect you're looking for an exit from their pernicious web of control, they're likely to turn ugly. Past decades of friendship and shared family life will count for nothing with them, once they decide you're an enemy, and make no mistake, that's how they will view you if they find out what you're really thinking. You are surrounded by people you cannot trust, people you cannot reason with, people you cannot appeal to on the basis of shared humanity, because they've sold their souls to a doctrine and the enforced conformity thereof, and that takes precedence with them over everything. In short, the moment they find out, they'll regard you as first in need of "re-education", probably with a side salad of the odd beating to make sure the message is firmly pressed home, and recalcitrance in the face of those measures will make them move on to regarding you as vermin to be exterminated. This is how fundamentalists think - they think they have the keys to the cosmos, because they've decided to treat bad mythology as fact, and that this bestows upon them the purported "right" to force others to think as they do.

My advice, quite simply, is make exit plans by choice now, before they're forced upon you in harrowing circumstances. Do not underestimate the capacity for savagery on the part of those "neighbours", if they think you're no longer one of them. Exile isn't pleasant, but it's preferable to winding up in a ditch with bits missing.