General Question

Harold's avatar

Just for interest's sake, how many of you who are atheists were brought up as Roman Catholics?

Asked by Harold (4117points) June 2nd, 2009

Just a little private theory under test! Please don’t take offence, as none is intended.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

39 Answers

Fyrius's avatar

(raises hand)

You’re making me curious what your pet theory is. :)

wenn's avatar

I’m atheist, grew up in a Catholic household, went to Catholic elementary school.

Harp's avatar

How will this test account for those of us who don’t raise our hands?

dynamicduo's avatar

I was baptized but my family has never gone to church (except for other baptisms etc). My father was Presbyterian and my mother is I believe Roman Catholic. I was raised completely non religiously.

Harold's avatar

I never claimed this was scientific! I just believe that Catholicism paints a false picture of the Christian God, representing Him as a vengeful tyrant, waiting to roast forever those who disagree. I think I would be atheist too, if I had had that picture of God painted for me as a child.

Thanks to those who have answered so far.

Harold's avatar

@Harp It won’t account for you at all, and I’m not really trying to account for you! Sorry to leave you out!

Harp's avatar

I’m OK with being left out. I’m just trying to understand how this information would either confirm or dismiss your theory. Finding a few examples that conform to this scenario while not looking at the ones that don’t is a questionable way to go about this.

Harold's avatar

Yeah, maybe it is questionable. As I said, I’m not trying to be scientific, just anecdotal. I don’t intend to publish a paper or anything- it’s just for my own interest, that’s all.

MrItty's avatar

consider my hand raised. Went through all the sacriments up to confirmation, but realized I didn’t believe well before that, probably around 12 or 13. Didn’t bother arguing the point with my parents then because – well, they’re my parents, and they were in charge. Don’t bother arguing with them now because it would serve no useful purpose. I go to Church with them when I’m home for the holidays, but that’s about it.

MrItty's avatar

@Harold, I consider your theory to be severely lacking in understanding of atheism. An atheist does not dislike the idea of a vengeful god, is not afraid of a bad god, is not angry at god. An atheist DOES NOT BELIEVE in god. I don’t believe god is vengeful. I don’t belive god is kind. I don’t believe any such entity exists.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Consider my hand not raised. Atheist but not raised Catholic.

So the problem is that you’re looking for evidence that supports your pet theory. But you aren’t trying to find out how many people here were raised Catholic and are not atheist OR were raised something else and are atheist. So you have no group for comparison. At best you’ll get, “Well, there are some people who were raised Catholic and are now atheist.” Which you already knew. But nothing else can be determined from your question at all. Of course there are some people raised Catholic who turn from it. Just as there are people who are raised in any other religion who turn from it.

Harold's avatar

Thanks Mrltty. I may have misinterpreted your version of atheism. Sorry if I have. However, many on this site have expressed that they dislike the concept of God I have mentioned. They have also said that the ideas held by atheists are very diverse.
@EmpressPixie- As I have said over and again, I did not intend this to be scientific. I take your point, thankyou.

ragingloli's avatar

@Harold
If you want to confirm your hypothesis that catholic to atheist converts only convert because the god depicted is evil (which he is, if you read the OT) you can not simply poll atheists whether they were catholic earlier in life and then speculate that the reason they converted is the portrayed image of god. you have to ask them for their reasons, and i can guarantee you, the answers you will get will refute your hypothesis.

dynamicduo's avatar

@Harold I’m afraid your methodology is severely lacking, but I accept that you know this. I would suggest you gain more knowledge about atheism before attempting to extrapolate any type of understanding from it; and even then I don’t recommend doing this at all, people are complex beings who think for many reasons. Since you are new here, you would likely benefit by looking in the archives for other posts tagged with atheism to see what discussions we have already had about it, to see some reasons why people are atheists or agnostics or not etc.

I am an atheist not because of being scared of some wrathful tyrant of a sky beast, but because I find the idea that there IS a sky beast to be outright ludicrous. It’s insane, it is not rational, just like believing in leprechauns or unicorns or Scientology or believing that I am an invisible pink unicorn.

EmpressPixie's avatar

There does seem to be some correlation between atheists and people who care about the methodology of a poll on this website. I would hypothesize that this is not incidental. And, in fact, more likely to be related to atheism than specific religious upbringing.

Crusader's avatar

There are good Catholics, misguided Catholics, and very bad Catholics, the likelihood of the children becoming an athiest is related to where on the spectrum they were raised, in general, and the influences of those in authority, as well as peers at the church attended, (if so,)also.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

It’s funny that you say Catholicism is a religion that teaches that God is vengeful and wants to roast people because that’s exactly what God is depicted as in the Old Testament, so I guess that whole part of the Bible should not be taken seriously, then? And that’s not even what Catholicism teaches. Catholicism doesn’t teach hell any more than any Protestant religion does.

Also, Catholicism teaches forgiveness of sins; that’s a major part of the religion. I was raised Catholic and I am still Catholic.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

9 years of catholic school.. I’m all Jesus’d out… learned all I care to learn about god/gods(not just catholic dogma) and it’s full of contradictions and backasswards logic that I couldn’t force myself to believe even if I wanted to anymore(used to, really tried).

Response moderated
crisw's avatar

I was raised Catholic, but I don’t think that had any bearing whatsoever on the fact that I am now an atheist; the particular philosophical issues that started me on my path (primarily the problem of evil in regard to animal suffering) would have arisen given almost any flavor of Christianity.

hearkat's avatar

Neither. I was raised Protestant (Presbyterian, if it matters) and my parents were very strict about it.
In my teens and early 20s, I rejected any concept of a god and considered myself an atheist.
In the past 2 decades or so, it has become clearer to me that there is something greater than ourselves… because too much of what I’ve experienced can’t have happened by random chance or coincidence. However, there is no religion I’ve found that fits me, and there is no word I know to describe what it is that makes sure that things are just as they need to be (yes, even when things are shitty, they are so for a reason).

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I was raised by Baptists, who despise Catholics, so I am not raising my hand either. I was never Baptized, so I guess I’m Hellbound, whether I believe in the Holy Trinity or not.

galileogirl's avatar

@Harold If you wrote “Just for interest’s sake, how many of you who (choose any criteria) were brought up as Roman Catholics?”, you would get a lot of hands raised. As much as Americans are always presented as WASPs , at least 25% of us at some point have been identified as Catholic. How many of us 1. Don’t attend church regularly; 2. Use birth control; 3. Have commited an infidelity; 4. Play softball. Look around at all those hands raised.

LostInParadise's avatar

Just a quick comment. It is of interest that there does not seem to be an equivalent term to lapsed Catholic for any other religion. In one of her works (I think it is Wise Blood) Flannery O’Connor has one of her characters give his religion as Lapsed Catholic.

Fyrius's avatar

At the risk of repeating what has been said in the posts I’m being too lazy to read properly, I’m going to point out that atheism does not mean “not believing in the god you were brought up with because he was a jerk.” It’s not even specifically a rejection of the Christian god. Atheism is a rejection of all gods, usually for principled epistemological reasons.

Atheism is older than Christianity. For a well documented example, Epicurus (as in “is god willing to prevent evil but not able, then…”) was a famous atheist philosopher who lived in the third and second century before Jesus is supposed to have been born. The gods he and many of his colleagues rejected were the ancient Greek ones.

cyn's avatar

Perhaps….i might say so myself, i’m christian turning into a deist. I’ll tell you when i’m wise enough…

arnbev959's avatar

I was raised Lutheran. I always had the idea that God was a great guy, until I realized that he probably didn’t exist.

Ivan's avatar

If this was not intended to be scientific, then what point does it serve?

For the purpose of scientific validity, I will say that I am an atheist who was not raised catholic.

hearkat's avatar

Never having been one, please pardon my ignorance… is “Roman” Catholic a specific sect of Catholicism? Or are all Catholics considered Roman Catholic?

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@hearkat

Roman Catholic = Catholic. I think “Roman Catholic” is an older name. But it refers to the same thing.

cyn's avatar

What are Eastern Orthodox considered?

MrItty's avatar

@cyndihugs depends who you ask. Eastern Orthodox folks consider themselves a form of Catholocism. Roman Catholic folks consider anyone who claims to be Christian but not Roman Catholic to be Protestant (ie, they ‘protest’ against the “true” church)

Harold's avatar

@Dansedescygnes – NOT all protestants believe in hell as the Catholic church teaches it. The majority do, but not all. It is a teaching introduced into Christianity by Catholicism.
@Ivan- Anecdotal, that’s all

astrocom's avatar

Guys, he gets the point about atheism being a total rejection of the existence of god already, the point he’s wondering about is if you’re more likely to totally reject god based on the view of god and religion you were brought up with. It’s going to be a lot harder to believe in a system that’s “full of contradictions and backasswards logic” as ABoyNamedBoobs03 says. I was neither raised Catholic, nor am I currently atheist, but I can tell you my status as agnostic was thoroughly influenced by my upbringing in a Protestant sect. My view of the religion I was raised with (specifically the take that my relatives and minister had on it) was that it was morally consistent (and forgiving), but not entirely consistent factually, and had evolved from a system that hadn’t been even vaguely logically consistent (read: Middle ages Roman Catholicism). Not to mention being inconsistent with various archeological findings. To be completely honest, the two reasons I’m not atheist are that I’ve experienced and seen things I consider spiritual, and that the religion I was raised with was morally consistent. The reasons I’m not religious involve the factual inconsistencies, and the fact that there’s little evidence of anyone contradicting the crazy crap the Catholic church came up with in the middle ages. If I’d been raised to believe that the only god that existed was supposedly omniscient, yet wouldn’t forgive me for my human failure, I’d probably be atheist. If I’d been raised in a religious system that was entirely consistent, even with historical data, I might still be religious. Even if I’d been raised in a system that had always been logically and morally consistent, that might even be enough for me to at least call myself a participant of the religion.

galileogirl's avatar

Just a side note 4 of the 9 supreme court justices are Catholic.

Ivan's avatar

@galileogirl 5 of them are. It will be 6 if Sotomayor is confirmed.

galileogirl's avatar

OMG The Pope will be running the country <;P

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Harold

Well, when Jesus Christ says there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” for those who don’t follow him, it sounds pretty explicit to me…

Harold's avatar

@Dansedescygnes – nothing in that implies that it will last for eternity!!

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