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Those of you who grew up in a fundamentalist household and had an interest in science, did your parents try to shield you from science or provide you with creationist resources?

I loved learning about dinosaurs as a kid, and my parents were and still are, to my knowledge, young earth creationists. They didn't keep me from learning, but they bought me books and videos teaching ideas such as 'dinosaurs died in the great flood' and 'dinosaurs were all vegetarians before the fall.' Now I'm a closet atheist studying environmental biology and fascinated with evolution and natural selection.

I'm curious, did you have similar experiences? If so, did you believe the ideas your parents taught you, and how long did you buy it for?

17 comments

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I grew up in a very, very Roman Catholic family. Was an alterboy etc. and very involved in the church. My mom had a friend who was quietly an atheist and was a member of the NMSU Alumni and took me to the observatories and asked me what I thought about the wonders of what I just saw in the telescope. We discussed how stars and planet came to be. He never told me god wasn't real but I am sure he was sure I would reason it out.

My mom wasn't anti-science, she grew up during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era when science was cool. I never knew there were people who believed the earth was less than 10,000 years old until much later in life. But god, the devil and church did rule our house.

I don't think it ever occurred to my mom that there was a way out of faith in the church. My friend taught me to ask direct questions and to ask for evidence. "How do we know that?" or "How did we discover that?" or "How can we prove that?", to my questions, were often in the discussions we had going home.

That's not why I'm an Atheist but a part of it, sure. An interaction with a Priest when I was nine is why I'm an Atheist (not sexual abuse).

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My parents were pretty "hands off" and my mother was very old school -- from an era when the smartest and most respected people in town were the doctor and the parson, with school teachers a close third. She had a sixth grade education also. So ... whatever I was taught at school had to be right, or "they" wouldn't let them teach it ... whatever the pastor said was right ... whatever the doctor said was right. It was left to me to sort out the conflicts.

I recall getting standard apologetics as a teen (Evidence That Demands a Verdict by McDowell, etc) and tended to believe it over the science, which I assumed was biased to be anti-Bible somehow. The school did not really explain the scientific method or its competing epistemologies and certainly never taught critical / skeptical thinking. So that worked for awhile.

Had I gone to a conventional university that would have all crumbled after about two months, tops. As it was, I spent a year at a church-approved Bible Institute, married a "good Christian girl" right after that who turned out not so good after all, then stayed in a crap marriage for 15 years because of the fundamentalist divorce taboo and other weird teachings. I made it into my late 30s before totally bailing, but started doubting in my late 20s. My life experiences never seemed to fit with the explanations and predictions of my religious faith, and I got tired of the constant surprise, confusion and disillusionment. The death of my 2nd wife from illness after years of terrible suffering was the capper.

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I grew up in the 1940s & 50s with a Dad that was not religious and a Mom that joined a very controlling religion but never took it as serious as they wanted. I was taught by the religion a lot of things that are similar to today's young earth creationists. I was also taught science in school. Science was looked at as separate from religion and I didn't see the attacks on science that I see every day now. The majority of folks looked favorably on the advances and discoveries that were being made. Sadly it was I that took to religion of my own accord for a time and I certainly can't blame my parents for my screw-ups. My Mother encouraged me but I believe she would have supported me if I had taken the logical path. I finally saw the shear stupidity of religion when I was nearly forty. Slow to learn.

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My parents pushed me, but all I wanted to know is math and music
So I’m good with statistics, evaluations and poker and it’s good enough. All we used 40...50 years ago didn’t need much of improvements at all
Despite being agnostic, I don’t like technology
I like solid frame, rear wheel drive and manual transmission

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Whaaaaaat??????... Jurassic Park is a lie????? (I mean, seriously... If someone truly believe dinosaurs didn't exist I wonder from where do they think they get gas for their cars????... Or do they think cars is also a devil's trick?)

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No. My parents encouraged me to learn.

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Yes, although I don’t remember my parents misinforming me as much directly but they did put me in a private Christian school that taught young earth creationism. This set my science and math education back at least a year or two when I switched to public high school, so I never had a chance to get to any of the advanced/elective science classes like physics. Still a bit resentful of that but I’m generally pretty autodidactic so I enjoy trying to catch up in my own time.

I was always a bit of a trouble maker relative to the Christian school kids but I bought into most of the bullshit from school and parents enough to be a bit of a young republican til I was about 15-16. Then I started being a straightedge hippy and eventually was accused of dealing weed before I had even tried it. That n similar problems with my overbearing mother drove me to say fuck it and go out experimenting if I was gonna be judged for it regardless. Once I realized I had been lied to my whole life about the war on drugs that sorta opened my mind to the likelihood that many other things the government and church would have you believe are also bullshit. Moved away for college and that put the last few nails in the coffin for the myopic world view I had been taught.

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Dad let Mom handle the religion for the family (church attendance) but they both had very fundamentalist old-time-religion backgrounds. My mother had been "saved" at a tent revival before I was born. Mom took all of us kids to church every Sunday. We never talked about religion or science at home. We were an introverted, undemonstrative family, and didn't talk about the important things in life, only the trivial. But I'm sure that my mother wished that I would be "saved." That fundamentalist church was a scary place for an inquisitive kid. A watershed moment for me was when the Sunday School teacher told us "Some people believe that all these different religions are just different paths to the same goal, but here at the Church of God we know that just isn't so." In other words, we are God's chosen people and all others are going to hell. Later I thought... Really? If there is a god, and that god has a chosen people, what are the chances that God's chosen people would be this little band of uneducated hillbillies in this particular sect? I became a closet Agnostic and it took me many years to get at least partially out of the closet. Now I'm an atheist who is uncomfortable talking to True Believers. I'm brand new to this site, and love it already.

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My parents never shielded us from science but we were still raised christian. I remember questioning how dinosaurs fit in the bible story when i was about 14 and my pastor gave me no real answer. Then at 16 I went to the governors school for science and mathematics and that was it for me.

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I was taught that dinosaurs were the devil's lie to trick us. They never really existed. Humans didn't evolve from "monkeys", everything was created with age, including the planet. I thought this is ridiculous, and became an anthropologist... Also considered blasphemy. Now I understand evolution, and my reply is, no we didn't evolve from monkeys, we evolved from apes. Why don't we have tails? Well... Apes don't have tails... Soo.... There's this lovely little thing called entropy... We don't evolve backwards.

Wow, I've heard of people who believed that about dinosaurs but I haven't met any of them.

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No, my folks let me figure stuff out on my own.

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I grew up in a fundamentalist household but they were secular fundamentalists, not religious fanatics, and they encouraged me to study science or languages or whatever intrigued me. And they didnt believe in creationism or a flat earth.

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I did not have your experiences. I grew up 30 miles or so from Cornell University and my Lutheran father took me to see Carl Sagan speak twice. Moreover, if I asked questions of my pastor, he didn't start quoting Bible verses. He spoke to me as the intelligent science/math minded person he knew me to be. (I wonder if he's now in "The Clergy Project"?)

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I remember so clearly because it made such an impact on my life. It was 6th grade and I'd just learned about the scientific method. And my teacher was very encouraging to me because they really wanted to have more girls interested in the sciences. I was basically assured a great job. I came home excited to tell my parents because it just seemed to me an imminently reasonable way to understand the world. I didn't understand many things in Christianity. And when I asked questions they couldn't answer I was told God's ways are mysterious and we just can't understand. So I was thrilled to discover science. Surely this was a way of answering those questions that Christianity couldn't. But when I excitedly gushed about science to my mom, her whole demeanor changed. She became very solumn and said "I'm sorry, Baby but you can't be a scientist and be a Christian too." My parents were very loving and well meaning. I was crushed but I trusted them, that they had my best interests at heart. But I was always discouraged from learning anything secular. I held on to these beliefs until I was 40. I then discovered YouTube and my journey away from faith began. I wonder what I could have achieved had I been encouraged in my studies.

I'm really sorry this happened to you.

@RaaChenn Thank you. But I'm free from it now and I learn everything I can. 😊

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my Parents were brilliant free thinkers, after suffering years growing up at the mercy of catholic priest and nuns. My dad said to my mum “not my children” and that was the end of it.
We were encouraged to follow our hearts and always be mindful of everyone and everything around us.
This valuable education I continued as a parent, and see the same time, effort and enthusiasm passed on to my grandchild. His love of science and technology is nurtured, we even spent an evening away last year to see Professor Brian Cox. He so enjoyed it! Even though I fell asleep...lol 😬
If you love them...let them be whoever they wish to be. 😊

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My parents were liberal United Methodist missionaries. They officially backed the Bible, but weren't particular about it. They allowed us to study science or anything we wanted, and never judged people.

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