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LINK My atheist family was appalled when I converted to Catholicism – but it’s given me great peace | Adrian Chiles | Opinion | The Guardian

Reading this, as awful a read as it is, I was reminded of discussions here about how religion is socialized acquired behaviour, and we are all born atheists. I would LOVE to believe that. But I dont. Life experience suggests to me that some people are born predisposed to religion, sadly. A neurological disorder, in effect. Like this author here. "I always had a sense of God." There's the key line. Born in an atheist family as well.

I find it depressing that it is likely that some people will always be born needing religion. Their brains need it, apparently.

David1955 8 Jan 8

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"And I was fascinated by all the coordinated standing, sitting, kneeling, responding, reciting and praying."
Like for how long?

IDK, pretty brief story. What was the point ?

twill Level 7 Jan 8, 2020

Yes, I was thinking is just a phrase he is going through, or a rebellion against the family though it didn't seem to be, or his true nature. Time will tell.


I know Adrian Chiles from him being a TV presenter in the UK. This guy had a top job presenting The One Show on BBC every evening at 7...he was a household name and one of the top earners. He decided it wasn’t enough money and left to go to ITV and a new startup early morning programme Daybreak, persuading his co-presenter on the One Show, Christine Bleakley, to join him. The new programme spectacularly bombed and was axed in a short space of time. His decision nearly killed off both of their careers. He fell back on his experience as a Sports commentator, but she really struggled until she married Frank Lampard the Chelsea & England footballer. I think his judgment and decision making are questionable, this may just be another bad idea of his....but at least it appears he hasn’t persuaded anyone else to go along with it this time. Best of luck stepping out of enlightenment and into superstition and darkness Adrian, I hope it works out well!

Interesting background context.


There is nothing in that story that demonstrates that he was "predisposed to god". The whole story is incredibly lacking in any kind of detail as to the "appalled" family and how this "shock" manifested. So the title was designed to get people to read it, not to speak on the subject implied. More like catholic propaganda than anything else.

I agree with you about those points. The Guardian is not normally reactionary in outlook or pro-religious in intent, like some papers. The headline was certainly intended to attract, however, and some pro-religious people will read it gloatingly.


Which is precisely why I consider all religious faith to be a mental illness.


Anything is possible. There are over 7 billion brains on this planet and all are unique and wired differently.

then why do they all think the same way? why are we in so much trouble unable to stop our own destruction?

@john20 Not all think the same way and I'll just stop there.

@john20 We don't all think the same way. Simple example some of us have empathy whereas others are seriously lacking. Your average sociopath/psychopath or narcissist does NOT think like other humans do, for example.


So basically fuck truth it makes me feel good to believe the woo-schtick.

That's the primary addiction of religion: feeling good and loved from above.


Interesting read. Thanks for sharing. Religion is like a security blanket for some people. I went to a Catholic school. It did not provide me with anything I needed and I was not drawn to anything about it. As an organization, the Catholic church has committed too many sins to be forgiven such as protecting priests doing evil acts or supporting imperial/colonial practices for a long time in many countries not to mention the sexist practices. I cannot see how that can be forgotten or ignored by anyone living in the modern world.


We are (neurologically) predisposed to socialization, and the church is one of the oldest institutions. As long as you conform, you'll be welcomed and part of the family. As for "having a sense of god"- I suspect the author had a sense of being smaller than the world around him and needed something to offset that; some "higher power" that cared personally about him.
It takes a strong mind to go eyeball to eyeball with the Universe and not blink.

Interesting. I've always wondered why some people just seem addicted to religious thinking, while others just see through it from an early age and that's it. It doesn't have to relate to being raised in a religious environment or not.

@David1955 The way I see it, there seem to be two main reactions when someone comprehends how vast the Universe and the history of our evolution truly are. One reaction is to marvel at the wonders of it all and the sheer luck that led to us being here to contemplate anything at all. The other is to cower from and deny it, and pretend humans are on a pedestal above everything else, here on our tiny blue dot in this corner of the Galaxy, in the corner of the Universe... and blind oneself to the absurdity of such a viewpoint.

@David1955 Amazing, isn't it...

@Paul4747 I know this Cassini shot. Wonderful.


I do not need religion. I got into it because my parents found it and they were so lost. They put it on me and wanted me to be a preacher. It was all misguided and caused me a lot of pain. Finally I woke up.

My mom kept babbling shit like one of us boys was gonna be a Priest.....she had hopes, but no plan....and no boys that ever even began to see it her way


Perhaps not so much a neurological disorder or a predisposition to religion but having been trained to seek help from a higher authority by your parents. As a child one asks for help from parents when we are being hurt or things don't seem fair so we fall back on this same pattern, but who is a higher authority when you're an adult? Hence the tendency to invent a mythical higher being who can make things fair. That's one of the reasons that most adult conversions to religion are by people who feel desperate for help.


You and many people fail to recognize the religious brainwashing constantly drilled by the media, peers and society.

I most certainly do not fail to recognize that. If anything I focus on it constantly. The point with this story is the writer comparing his religious devotion to his family and the background he was raised up in.

@David1955 so you did not say this? "we are all born atheists. I would LOVE to believe that. But I dont."

@Mofo1953 doesn't mean socialization doesn't exist. Some are born predisposed to religion, I think. Others are born utterly resistant to it, I think, like me. Huge numbers go along with religion, born into it, raised in it, and they make the bulk of the numbers of religion. Hence millions of Buddhists in Buddhist countries, millions of Christians in Christian countries, and millions of Muslims in Muslim countries.


I remember when David Ike joined a nutty new age group and published a lot of weird and wonderful theories it was explained by one "expert" as the pressures of being a TV presenter and being in the public eye had affected his mental state. Could be a similar condition with this guy.


Will keep him on my prayers.


Oh we most definitely are born with human brains, which are highly prone to confirmation bias and agency inference, which find their most popularly codified expression in religion.

So while it's true that no one is born believing in a particular deity or dogma -- that requires indoctrination -- it is true that we are disposed to see connections that don't exist and beings that don't exist and to pay more attention to negatives than to positives and to evidence that tends to confirm our presuppositions rather than evidence that disconfirms them. We also tend to want to believe what pleases and comforts us and helps us "fit in" and "belong" in social groups.

While specific beliefs, including religious beliefs, are a function of social / operant conditioning, the basis which makes those beliefs seem plausible to the uneducated, undisciplined mind, is inherent in us all. Some more than others of course.


We all want answers to life's big questions.

I agree that some people seem predisposed to religion because it is easier to rely on "the god of the gaps" than it is actually figure out how the real world works.


No, we don't "all want answers to life's big questions".

For some us, none of that stuff matters.
Survival is enough to keep us occupied.

@KKGator I just want food in the fridge & "enough" money in the bank...heat, lights, furniture, and a frippery or 2. I finally have that, and if you have never lacked one or more of the above, ever, you can have absolutely No idea of how wonderful it feels! Unbelievable, the freedom from want & fear!

@AnneWimsey Preach, sister!!!

@KKGator You point is taken. I forgot about people who are satisfied not asking the big questions and living a barer life.

@dare2dream Wow.
Whatever constitutes what the "big questions" are, is highly subjective.
As is what "living a barer life" means.


Seems to me those you say were born to believe in god are just replacing a natural curiosity with what they believe to satisfy that curiosity. They want an easy answer to not having to think for themselves. Better to say they were born intellectually lazy.😉

I think that is about right.


I have long felt that many people are born with a need to worship, whether it be a god or a celebrity.

Me too. Like all addictions, however, it can be managed and beaten.


I'm glad his path is giving him comfort.

@OwlInASack understandable statement. Even agreeable. It's a shame!

@OwlInASack I agree. Whatever the reason or where ever it came religion and overpopulation are the most serious problems facing the world today. Most of the war and killing is due to religions. All of them.. Albeit currently, Islam is the most violent, the others are equally as dangerous. Only China has dealt with them. Their one child law and what the Chinese call re-education for the encroaching Islamic majority in their eastern provinces.. Do-gooders feel this is a violation of human rights, I disagree.

@MichaelCooley2 um what the actual fack! Uigars are not ok to send to death camps. Communism is just as much a dogmatic ideology as TRoP® but the Uigars are just people, they don't deserve concentration camps cos they dig an Islam that is considered by other more terrifying sects as harram. Are you nuts? Or just missing the needle on your compass?

@MichaelCooley2 ironically, that one problem seems to point to an easy solution to the other. Could be why it's allowed to continue. Nobody had to make that moral argument of who deserves to live, when so many are deciding who they need to kill. No easier argument then blaming the heathens of another religion. It's a type a bigotry that has no end.


I don’t see belief as a neurological disorder. People just think differently. It’s not a big deal. I don’t see why this depresses you so.


"Bobby" was the third son of the family across the street. They were observant Jews and many of their relatives had been murdered in the Holocaust. Bobby was both Bar Mitzvah'd and Confirmed before going off to college. After several years in college, Bobby met a Catholic gal. After a year, they got married. They decided to hold two ceremonies, one in the Catholic Church, and later, a Jewish ceremony at the reception (in the basement). When I saw him kneeling with his Fiancee in front of the priest, I felt that he had betrayed his family. But then, I did my best to convey my lack of beliefs to Bobby. Life is complex. But Catholicism is utter bullshit.


There's no doubt about it, to my mind. Belief in an alpha male is in our DNA. The important point here is that we evolved from pack--hunting carnivores. The alpha male ate first and lived the longest. Notice that people from the time of the onset of agriculture adored a paternal deity. It's always God the Father.
Agriculture brought on private property, rigid hierarchy, and a Mafia Don mentality. Before agriculture millions of years of a hunter/gatherer life style brought with it a female fertility deity.

"A single, all-encompassing definition of “alpha” can’t — and doesn’t — exist for humans. We’re too socially complex. We roll in too many circles. And the skills and physical attributes we value vary from person to person and from group to group." Its not in our DNA it's a social thing. []

@K9Kohle789 A single, all-encompassing definition of “alpha” can’t — and doesn’t — exist for humans.>>> Every wolf pack has an alpha, every troop of baboons has an emperor, every pride of lions has a king. It's the old nature vs nurture controversy. I tend to side with Richard Dawkins and selfish gene theory.

@Aristippus A bunch of so-called biologists or whatever studied various wolves in a group. They were not family and had many skirmishes. There is no such thing in a wolf pack as an alpha. That's a myth. The wolves in packs are families-mom, dad and littermates. NO ALPHA.
It's been heavily negated. []
Even the guys who made up the term dismiss it as not true.
Baboons? []
Lions, everyone knows a male lion leads his pack of females and cubs, if a new male defeats that male he also kills all his cubs. Lions?[]
It wouldn't be in our DNA if it's a social norm.

@K9Kohle789 To my mind Desmond Morris of Oxford is hard to beat. He was the mentor of Richard Dawkins, another great zoologist. I remember in The Human Zoo, he compares baboon society to humans. Please answer this one: Why does President Trump live in the penthouse of the Tower and have yellow hair? It's clearly baboon behavior.

@K9Kohle789 Also, I hope you'll agree that humans evolved from primates -- tree dwellers. Rigid hierarchy is in their DNA because it's a lot healthier on the top branches than the lower. I heard that the alphas on top consider the lower members as a bunch of shit heads. But the lower caste looks up and considers the alphas a bunch of assholes.

I haven't read the two writers, I know a lot of people here have read one or the other. I'm not going to argue whatever they said, at whatever time they said it but so far I'm not interested enough to read Dawkins and since evolving from primates (a scientific belief ) whatever time frame that was we may have left a lot of that alpha crap in the past.
Seems like men have a lot of bravado or machismo but they don't physically attack in order to be alpha of anyone or hump them in boardrooms as a show of power....or do you think otherwise? And where exactly do women fit in this male dominated hierarchy? Because I know a few females equal or more powerful than some men.

@Aristippus Also he's the spitting image of a baboon. Somebody should check his DNA!

@K9Kohle789 In considering this subject please bear in mind that 3/4 of all sex chromosomes are female. Dawkins describes this FACT beautifully. It's the female that determines the traits of the next generation. I hope you'll accept that if a metazoan species doesn't have a maternal "instinct" the entire species will go extinct. Especially humans because the infant is born totally helpless. It's a strong gene, n'est-ce pas? The female chooses to mate with a male that satisfies her genetic needs. It's the male robin that sings the song but the female that chooses the tune.

Even more primitive life below metazoa show this phenomenon. Consider the most successful life on the planet, the insect family hymenoptera -- bees, ants, wasps and termites. It you spot a bee in you garden buzzing around a pretty flower, it's a hundred percent certain it's a sterile FEMALE worker bee.


Choose your delusion if it lends comfort, I guess. However, why support an organization that enables and covers up sexual assault of children by it's leadership?


Religion is the opium of the masses. Just another adult?

Cinco Level 5 Jan 9, 2020

I'd say opium; like true opiate addiction, religious aspects are hard for people to shake.

Quoting Marx?

@GipsyOfNewSpain thank you! I couldn’t remember where I’d heard that before. I’ve never actually read Marx but had heard this before. Wasn’t sure if it was contemporary in origin or what


It is just another scam. Let us not condemn the victims first.

tipi Level 7 Jan 9, 2020

I'm happy that he's found a sense of identity and a community that embraces him. Doesn't mean that God exists or that the church didn't cover up rampant child abuse, but what makes one man happy is fine by me. And hopefully with an atheist family and memory of being on the outside he'll be resist the urge to consider non catholics to be his enemy.

@OwlInASack not sure how being a catholic is enabling child rapists. How exactly does that work?

@OwlInASack Thanks for your answer.
I see two parts to your argument. To the first I'd make an analogy. Cyril Smith and Jimmy Saville turn out to have been notorious child rapists. They were British. The British establishment appear to have allowed their crimes to have been covered up. I'm British, I turn up at work, I pay my taxes; I watch the BBC and pay my TV licence fee. I allow the British to claim me as a member of their Nation the BBC to claim me as a viewer. Would you say that this makes me more or less of an enabler of child rapists than a Catholic and why? I'd say the same. i.e. not at all. Though a small portion of our money may have ended up in the pockets of these vile criminals and those that covered up their crimes we were not aware of or those crimes at the time let alone complicit in them.
The second part of your argument hangs on the word "typically" I acknowledge that there are those who do parrot the hierarchy’s lies and apologetics. I agree that those who do so fit the description of enabling child rapists. However the assertion that this applies to Chiles hangs on it typically being the case for any Catholic. Even if true, it's a weak argument for such a strong accusation. Maybe it is true. However if so, it runs counter to my experience. Like I said I'm aware of the parrots, but only through the media. Those I know of are are very vocal and have been afforded a platform. That doesn't make them typical. My Mum was a lapsed Catholic and so I've attended many social events on that side of the family where Catholics are well represented. Their reaction to clergy accused of these crimes was no different to my own. So I ask if you can provide any specific reason to believe that Adrian Chiles expresses these views?

@OwlInASack In what way?

@OwlInASack Fair enough. I'd say that though I was born British I do have a choice to remain so and there's also a choice to pay the BBC license fee. I'll take your word for it that the church continues in it's obstruction of justice though that my not be obvious to Chiles. Women's rights and gay and trans rights are new elements of your argument and I agree that the Church of Rome is very flawed in this respect., I also accept that joining a church that persists in these views is not a good look, However it doesn't necessarily mean that he shares those views.


One of my favorite authors was Graham Greene. He came from an agnostic family but converted to Catholicism at Cambridge in the 1930s, It seems odd when many of his contemporaries were becoming communists. It kind of gave him a questioning attitude. Books like "The power and the Glory" "Heart of the Matter" and "Monsieur Quixote" Did not find much favor with the Vatican.

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