Debating Religion with parents.

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JD12
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Debating Religion with parents.

Post by JD12 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:58 pm

My parents are Catholics and still attend Mass etc. I had a good debate with them recently about religion, I presented a few arguments detailed below, curious if you guys have ever tried similar arguments and the outcome you had:

Fictional Scenario: Let's say Tesco operate a drop in child minding facility, where they mind your kids while you shop. Then it turns out that for years, Tesco employees have been abusing the kids in their care. Not only that, the abuse was repeatedly reported to management at the highest level, who decided the best policy was to move the offenders to a different Tesco store, where they repeated the abuse again. Now that it is known that the abuse and coverup's happened, Tesco hire the best lawyers money can buy to avoid paying appropriate damages to its victims.

My question to my parents was: If this happened, would you ever shop in Tesco again?

They answered no, but could see where I was going with this.

So, applying the same logic, I asked would they consider never putting money in the collection plate at Mass again. Their answer - no, they will continue to put the money in each Sunday. Their reasoning was that not all priests are bad, their local priests Fr. X and Fr. Y are very nice men and they have to support them. They can't turn their back on the organisation over a few bad apples.

Then I went back to my fictional scenario where religion is not a factor - let's say your friend worked for Tesco, and would lose his job if everyone stopped shopping there as a result of the abuse scandals. This friend is a very nice person, and doesn't deserve to be punished for the crimes of a few bad apples. Would this change their mind - would they reconsider a boycott of Tesco? The answer - no, they would still not support Tesco, the friend would have to get a new job.

Conclusion - when you apply religion to something, logic goes out the window.

What do you guys think - is there anything the Church could do which would make the dedicated Catholics of Ireland to finally turn their backs?

Thanks,
John
mkaobrih
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by mkaobrih » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:04 pm

Well they will see everything you say as “not wanting to go to mass on Sunday” So either suck it up or ignore them. You are your own person and owe your parents nothing.
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
JD12
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by JD12 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:05 pm

Another question I had for them:

We're taught that god is so amazing that he clicked his fingers and created the world in 7 days, along with everything on it (not to mind the galaxy, etc).

Then we're taught that Jesus handed down the lords prayer, the our father, and told us to say it every day. So, this is written by god, and basically tells god how great he is.

Next we are told that we should worship god every sunday at mass, again, tell him how great he is.

Finally we are told that Vanity is one of the 7 deadly sins.

So, my question is - if god is so great to create everything we can see and touch, why does he want us to tell him on a daily basis how great he is? Or for that matter, why does he want billions of people to gather together once a week to worship him? Isn't that a bit vain?!

That one had them a bit stumped.
Last edited by JD12 on Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
JD12
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by JD12 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:09 pm

mkaobrih wrote:Well they will see everything you say as “not wanting to go to mass on Sunday” So either suck it up or ignore them. You are your own person and owe your parents nothing.
FWIW, I'm 30, married with kids - this conversation was when they were visiting us - I'm not under any pressure to attend mass like I was when I was 15!

They are totally entitled to their opinion - I just find it fascinating that their generation will probably tolerate anything from the church, and that is the point I am trying to make. I don't think they (their generation) ask questions about any of this - they have had 50 to 60 years of tradition, repetition and fear drilled into them about speaking ill of the church - no doubt that is a hard cycle to break.
Dev
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Dev » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:42 am

Some interesting reading there with the Tesco argument and again in the second post. This could make for an excellent discussion.

However, Tesco simply doesn't compare at all to the church. The relationship is completely different. Tesco is a commercial enterprise and switching to Dunne's isn't a bit deal at all and nobody is that loyal to a supermarket that they would think twice about repercussions. Switching faiths is, it requires dropping a social circle, relationships with priests they respect, the faith under which they gave their marital vows and many other things they have come to understand and love.

I think this argument needs some revision, your parents may not have been able to articulate this much to you but this is I guess how my parents would have reasoned it.

Rather than enquire as to how leaving the church could resolve this issue where the consequences would leave them worse off than the church i.e. the vote with your feet approach you would apply to a supermarket doesn't work as well with a church. Perhaps you could but the onus on them to suggest what system the church has put in place to ensure this doesn't happen again and why it could and did happen. This should open up in to the importance of separation of church and state. You will never persuade them to be atheists but you can convince them of the importance of a secular Ireland. Something that is good for both theists and atheists. In fact a secular Ireland is all we really want. It is good for theists because it protects the church from itself. Such abuses would not have happened to the extent they did if the church and state weren't tied together.

Your other argument about God being vain is perfect, one of the many hypocrisies in the Bible. I would find it difficult to see how anyone could defend it.
Feardorcha
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Feardorcha » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:34 am

Very good arguments JD. I think this board, or at least the posters on it, need a real god-fearing believer to debate with.
Your arguments would also make a good article/pamphlet for AI. How about putting together "Ten Questions for Believers"?
My own favourite is: Why do Christians eat pork when the Bible (God) forbids it?
Could we get sponsorship from Tesco? :)
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Beebub » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:52 am

Yes, some interesting points. I would however, have to agree with Dev on the Tesco argument. I could put the same argument back to you. What if you lived on a remote Island and the only shop on the Island was Tesco. The nice people who run your Tesco are locals whom you've known all your life and never had anything to do with the abuse suffered by the children at the other Tesco shop. The cover up was instigated by head office and the locals who run your shop have had little or no dealings with them. The only alternative to shopping at this Tesco is to get the ferry which takes 2 hours to get to the mainland and then drive a further 45 minutes to get to the nearest supermarket.

So would you still boycott the local Tesco, which will have an adverse effect on your friends' income and therefore also the small local economy and travel the 5 1/2 hour round trip to the other supermarket? Or would you just stay with what you know and what's more convenient?

Even that doesn't get near to comparing with leaving the church in relation to the issues raised by Dev.

Another great one I like to bring up with Christians is this notion of original sin. This is in God Delusion. We're all born with 'original sin'. The 'original sin' was Adam eating the apple in the garden of Eden. Becasue we're all descendent from Adam, 'original sin' was passed down ever since. God sent his only son to earth to die to 'save us from original sin'. Now, ask you parents if they believe that Adam & Eve were the first people on earth and that we're all descendent from them. If yes, give up, you've no hope. If no and they see it and Noah as parables or moralisitic tales not to be taken literally as the majority of Christians now do, put this to them: If Adam and Eve didn't really exist then the 'original sin' never really took place. That means that god sent his only son to earth to die to save us from something which never happened! WTF??
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Beebub » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:59 am

To expand on Feardorcha's post, here's a really nice quote from President Josiah Bartlet from The West Wing. (For those who have yet to sample the delight on The West Wing please do, it's simply the best TV ever made). In this scene he has a few questions for a right wing Christian fundamentalist radio host who recently had some unsavory things to say about homosexuality and used The Bible as her reference and her defence:

'BARTLET
Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here.

I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned
in Exodus 21:7. (small chuckles from the guests) She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent
Italian, and always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I
morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

Here's one that's really important, 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side?

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two
different threads?'
Feardorcha
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Feardorcha » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:22 pm

They're great. I wonder if we could find all the Bible references.

There must be some Christian website where we can use this stuff as it's frustrating, though entertaining, just talking among ourselves.
Beebub
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Re: Debating Religion with parents.

Post by Beebub » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:20 pm

It appears some of the punishments are embellished. It seems there is no punishment mentioned for wearing of two different kinds of cloth and the punishment for sowing two different kinds of seed is given below.

Deut. 22:9-12 "You shall not sow your vineyard with two different kinds of seed; if you do, its produce shall become forfeit, both the crop you have sown and the yield of the vineyard. [10] You shall not plow with an ox and an ass harnessed together. [11] You shall not wear cloth of two different kinds of thread, wool and linen, woven together.

(Deut. is short for deuteronomy).

However the writer of the show (Aaron Sorkin) is well known for his anti religion stance and it's a work of fiction and that's what fiction witers do, embelish to make it sound better. Doesn't stone my brother sound so much better than have his crops confiscated? He had artisic differences with NBC over the direction of West Wing and so quit after 4 series. At the end of that series the president's daughter gets kidnapped by terrorists from the middle east. It's rumoured that Sorkin was planning on making them Christian Fundamentalists had he stayed on. He covered the issue quite a bit in Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip where the main character was a comedy writer of no religion dating a devout Christian.
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