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Sci-fi saved me from God
#1

Sci-fi saved me from God
I believe that reading science fiction novels inoculated me against theology.

As a youth, I was indoctrinated in Christianity as much as anyone. My mother was a passionate believer, I went to church every Sunday, went to catechism (bible study) every week, went to youth group retreats, and was surrounded by nothing but believers but it never really took and as a young adult gradually became an atheist without even being exposed to other atheists. In fact, even as a child and professing to be Catholic, I don’t think I ever really believed it because I don’t remember ever looking at something and thinking that God did that or praying with any conviction thinking that would solve any problems.

I think this is because from a very young age I was a fervent reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels. I was almost a prodigy, starting to read novels at six or so starting with such things as “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the Tom Swift series and graduating to the most difficult reads by a couple of years later. I was as dedicated a reader as young people today are with their video games. I would give you my best estimate of how many books I read through my youth but you simply wouldn’t believe me, but I can confidently say that by the end of grade school I had read the complete catalogs of most of the classic sci-fi authors. I read everything from the serious hard sci-fi of Isaac Asimov to the frivolous fantasy of Piers Anthony.

I think that sci-fi had this anti-Christian influence because sci-fi novels are largely about ideas and so I was constantly exposed to so many different viewpoints, both good and bad, moral or immoral, realistic or not. Even if I wasn’t consciously doing it, it made me think about all kinds of things and weigh them against each other.

So when it came to reading the bible, which I remember doing about three times cover to cover at different ages in my youth, it was just another story, another set of ideas, and in comparison to other things I read it was very low on the scale of believably and full of ideas that didn’t make sense. Much of it is simply weird. I remember trying to bend my mind around parts of it and concocting twisted theories that could make it comport with reality and common sense, and failing miserably. I don’t think I would have been as critical about it if it wasn’t for everything else I had been exposed to through my reading.

When Christian churches and parents of kids say that reading Harry Potter or such things is evil and will corrupt their children’s faith in God, I think they have a good point from their perspective. I think reading non-Christian books in general, not just sci-fi will have a negative influence on their belief in God by exposing them to different ideas and views and encouraging them to think.

Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books? 

Sorry if my posts tend to get long-winded, I'm not very good at being concise.
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#2

Sci-fi saved me from God
Christianity and sci-fi are not necessarily opposed. They can be blended together (Mormonism.)

And I think the resistance to Harry Potter and sci-fi is not necessarily due to the fact that sci-fi and fantasy fans tend to be critical thinkers. I think it has largely to do with inhibiting the child's imagination, which will make their thoughts and ideas easier to keep under control. Plus that, with wizards, magic wands, and stuff like that... it's competition with the Bible as far as made up shit (and more entertaining too). A monopoly on tall tales is my second hypothesis for why fundie churches don't like sci-fi and fantasy.

(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books? 

I used to read a lot of fantasy dime novels (especially Dragonlance). I was into Lord of the Rings too. I played a lot of D&D. Stuff like that. I wouldn't say I read "a lot" but maybe more than most (shrug?). I don't think reading fantasy or sci-fi influenced me that way. But maybe it did and I don't realize it. I was interested in atheism as soon as I was old enough to think about it. I began leaning atheist at 13. And had pretty much decided on it at 15-16.

I would say my nagging doubts had more to do with me concluding atheism than fiction. But I could see novels being a major influence for some people. Just not my experience.

edit: and YES. It is good to encourage kids' interest in books.
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#3

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: I believe that reading science fiction novels inoculated me against theology.

I think this is because from a very young age I was a fervent reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels. I was almost a prodigy, starting to read novels at six or so starting with such things as “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the Tom Swift series and graduating to the most difficult reads by a couple of years later. I was as dedicated a reader as young people today are with their video games. I would give you my best estimate of how many books I read through my youth but you simply wouldn’t believe me, but I can confidently say that by the end of grade school I had read the complete catalogs of most of the classic sci-fi authors. I read everything from the serious hard sci-fi of Isaac Asimov to the frivolous fantasy of Piers Anthony.

I think that sci-fi had this anti-Christian influence because sci-fi novels are largely about ideas and so I was constantly exposed to so many different viewpoints, both good and bad, moral or immoral, realistic or not. Even if I wasn’t consciously doing it, it made me think about all kinds of things and weigh them against each other.

Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books? 

Sorry if my posts tend to get long-winded, I'm not very good at being concise.

Edited for the parts I wanted to which I wanted to reply (though I understand the parts I deleted).

Sci-fi explores possibilities in the future, while religion demands adherence to things of the past. Sci-fi accepts changes, while religion demands following existing rules. Sci-fi is open to new ideas. Religion exists in rules from the past.

As a child, I was like you, reading everything. I got my library card at age 5. I used up the "young adult" books by 12. The librarian collected books for me from other libraries. I read everything they had. I loved informational books, but sci-fi sparked my interest in "possibilities" and science itself. And sci-fi was valid on it's own as a way to image "what could be".

Reading books is a way to explore existence. From Gilgamesh to "Call Me Ishmael" books offer an understanding of the lives of others we may never experience directly ourselves.
I am tying notes to balloons and tumble-weeds and sending them out to the world. Where they are found, I do not know...
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#4

Sci-fi saved me from God
Sci-Fi IMNSHO can be roughly categorized as:

Sociological what-iffing.
Military adventurism.
Other types of adventurism.
Technological what-iffing.
Buncha other things?

And often mushed together.

It's common for "gods" to turn out to have feet of clay in sci-fi stories. (Exceptions for Jack L. Chalker's Nathan Brazil and a few others.) Having never been indoctrinated in religious thinking I usually wait for any "god" to turn out to be that man behind the curtains.
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#5

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books? 

I read for school when I was a kid.  I didn't become a self-motivated reader until I was in high school.  

Lots of fictions and other speculative books write about the supernatural and miracles, and lots of classics take a belief in God as a given.  So I would say you have to read the right kinds of books to find your way to atheism, if you were raised as a believer of whatever kind.  I was still trying to find answers within mystical literature until I was 45 years old, and only started reading atheistic perspectives when I was 50. And I read more than most people.
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#6

Sci-fi saved me from God
I put most books involving gods on the fantasy shelf. Infuriates the cousins no end. Has other advantages as well. Being a technophile I use fantasy to let off some steam. (No pun intended.)
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#7

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: ...Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books?

Oh yes, I too read voraciously as a kid, and science fiction was high on my list.
Jules Verne was my initiation, followed by HG Wells, Robert Heinlein, Jack Vance,
Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, Clifford Simak et al.  I too was forced to go to
Sunday school until around 11 or 12 years of age—by conservative Methodist
parents.

And I'm sure too that reading science fiction at that age helped to confirm, in
my juvenile mind, that the biblical stories I was being fed by Sunday school
'teachers' [sic] were nothing more than the fantastical fairy stories they were.  
Even at that age I found it difficult to accept that there was some all-seeing,
all-powerful old bloke up in the clouds who could stop me from contracting polio,
watch me secretly masturbating, or even killing me if he wanted to!

And I'm all for encouraging kids to read printed material as a pleasurable, leisure
pastime, rather than being glued to digital screens for hours on end, having mindless
cartoon crap or silly game characters seared into their brains.  Ask far too many kids
these days who Spiderman, or Dora The Explorer, or Lisa Simpson are, and you'll get
an instant response.  Ask them who Atticus Finch, Dorothy Gale, or Phileas Fogg are
and you'll be met with a blank stare.

Cubeology Wrote:Sorry if my posts tend to get long-winded, I'm not very good at being concise.

I wouldn't worry at all about that mate.  You'll come across some doozies here!      Thumbs Up
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#8

Sci-fi saved me from God
I read a lot when I was a kid; I grew up in Iran and we didn't haven't much English-language TV. I didn't get into sci-fi or fantasy until I was fifteen or so and already an atheist.
Freedom isn't free.
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#9

Sci-fi saved me from God
I've read constantly since age 4. Lots of sci-fi and fantasy, along with many other kinds of books, as well. I liked the sci-fi, but it never sparked questions about god in my mind. My family was extremely religious. 

Personally, the texts that led to my becoming an outright atheist (rather than someone who found the bible god too abhorrent to bring myself to worship) were philosophy and theology treatises by early Christians. I took a number of classes about the history of Christianity in college. Following the development of the canon and creeds was a fine study in sausage making. The thinkers kept tweaking the idea of god so that they could explain why there was no evidence of god's actual presence in or influence on the world. (also many had personal organs to grind and careers to build, which influenced which ideas became heresies, etc.)  

Not all "kids these days" are big readers, but there are still lots of them. The "booktube" community on YouTube is thriving (most of the book tubers are under age 35). The Millennial I know best, my son, age 23, loves to read.
god, ugh
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#10

Sci-fi saved me from God
I started reading with Harry Potter but in high school I started reading more heavy stuff (such as Nineteen Eighty-Four). I came to atheism simply by researching creationism/evolution on the internet in middle school. I had also watched The Matrix around that time which got me to question a lot of things too.
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker
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#11

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 10:13 AM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Sci-Fi IMNSHO can be roughly categorized as:

Sociological what-iffing.
Military adventurism.
Other types of adventurism.
Technological what-iffing.
Buncha other things?

And often mushed together.

It's common for "gods" to turn out to have feet of clay in sci-fi stories. (Exceptions for Jack L. Chalker's Nathan Brazil and a few others.) Having never been indoctrinated in religious thinking I usually wait for any "god" to turn out to be that man behind the curtains.

Gods you say:

Quote:At least there would be no other trader on the planet now, that worry was gone. But Garth still wondered what sort of passenger would be taking one-way passage to an undeveloped world...

...He walked around to the far side of the spacer where the ramp had dropped, and looked up at the man in the cargo lock who was wres­tling ineffectually with a large crate. The man turned towards him and Garth saw the clerical dog-collar...

...What are you saying?” The priest frowned. “Do you mean they have no gods, no belief in the hereafter?

Suffice to say things didn't end well for the preacher man.
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#12

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: [...]So when it came to reading the bible, which I remember doing about three times cover to cover at different ages in my youth, it was just another story, another set of ideas, and in comparison to other things I read it was very low on the scale of believably and full of ideas that didn’t make sense. Much of it is simply weird. I remember trying to bend my mind around parts of it and concocting twisted theories that could make it comport with reality and common sense, and failing miserably. I don’t think I would have been as critical about it if it wasn’t for everything else I had been exposed to through my reading.

Bible never was all that interesting to me. To this day I wonder why some atheists call it literary treasure. Edda on the other hand was very satisfying to read, especially poetic one.

Quote:When Christian churches and parents of kids say that reading Harry Potter or such things is evil and will corrupt their children’s faith in God, I think they have a good point from their perspective. I think reading non-Christian books in general, not just sci-fi will have a negative influence on their belief in God by exposing them to different ideas and views and encouraging them to think.

I think that they're simply full of shit. If reading HP will shatter some person faith, then said person faith was more shallow that clowns sending unwanted dick pics.

Quote:Did anyone else read a lot as a kid? I know that is really rare these days. Both my brother and I did and we turned out as atheists and my sister didn’t and she retained her faith in God. Do you think it is good to encourage kids today to have an interest in books? 

I did and nothing much changed when I grew older, just selection of books. It's not necessarily rare - depends on the country I would say. Encouraging reading is vital for healthy society - people who don't read can fall prey to any idiocy as they don't have knowledge to counter it. Socrates when he said that there is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance might have overstated things but I deem knowledge to be remedy for many of societal ills.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on Earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#13

Sci-fi saved me from God
Funny because L Ron R  Hubbard created one of the most ridiculous religions out of science fiction.   I watched the Netflix series with Leah Remini and it was worse that I imagined. What a crock of shit.   If modern people believe this nonsense then it doesn't suprise me that people believed someone came back from the dead a couple thousand years ago.  

 All religions are a form of mind control.
                                                         T4618
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#14

Sci-fi saved me from God
FWIW my kids were into Harry Potter, Twilight and the like. I played D&D with them. They all grew up to be Christians, and one's a missionary.
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#15

Sci-fi saved me from God
I enjoyed Catholicism until I was 10. I had read just about every fairy tale published, and all kinds of other books. So then I read the bible. By the time I finished that book of lousy fairy tales, I was cured of religion. But, I never actually prayed before either, now that you mention it. I just liked the rituals when I was a kid. 

My parents left me free to decide and never influenced me one way or another. I am eternally grateful for that.
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#16

Sci-fi saved me from God
I remember the very first word I ever read. First grade, the teacher walks up to the board and writes "C A T". My brain soared, "She's going to teach us to read!"
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#17

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 02:40 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote:  All religions are a form of mind control.

Little by little forum is becoming Marxist.  Girl_devil Year or two more and all comrades will claim that religion is opiate of the masses. 

May the force revolutionary spirit be with you.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on Earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#18

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 02:40 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote:  All religions are a form of mind control.

Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.
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#19

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 05:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 02:40 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote:  All religions are a form of mind control.

Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.

[writes silently in notebook titled "Enemies of the People"]
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on Earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#20

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 05:07 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 05:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.

[writes silently in notebook titled "Enemies of the People"]
Forum Stasi knows who you are.
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#21

Sci-fi saved me from God
I read a decent amount as a kid, but still played more video games than I read. In that sense at least, little has changed. None of what I read had much impact on my beliefs. I was convinced Christianity was real until about 30. The only book that really directly impacted my beliefs was the bible itself. Reading Exodus as an adult without study aids or the guidance of a pastor was what finally broke my beliefs. Between God hardening Pharaoh's heart for the purpose of showing his power & killing the eldest children of any that didn't follow his ridiculous command, there was no way I could continue believing in any loving god. From that, the rest of my belief structure crumbled.
Edit: I do find that the stories from many of my video games are more enjoyable now that I no longer believe. It's funny how many are built around rising up & destroying cruel deities.
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#22

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 05:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 02:40 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote:  All religions are a form of mind control.

Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.

Marxism always seemed too cultish for my liking,  but I'm definitely pro-worker and not fond of capitalism.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker

(Anyway don't want to derail the thread).
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker
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#23

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 06:58 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 05:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.

Marxism always seemed too cultish for my liking,  but I'm definitely pro-worker and not fond of capitalism.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker

(Anyway don't want to derail the thread).

Marx himself allegedly said that he wasn't a Marxist*. Despite my avatar I'm too not a Marxist but I recognize that Marxism can be used as vehicle for asking uncomfortable if important questions to capitalists. One however must be careful with it, lest one will slip from using Marxism into believing in it as bolsheviks did. [Though they slipped from believing it into merely using it in later years of USSR].

*https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/i-am-not-a-marxist/
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on Earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#24

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 04:32 AM)Cubeology Wrote: I believe that reading science fiction novels inoculated me against theology.

Reading any type of fiction will help inoculate you against religion. Once you know what good fiction looks like bad fiction with a side order of shame and tribalism doesn't hold up well. We owe C. S. Lewis a debt of gratitude for reducing Christianity to a tale packed with magic and talking animals.
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#25

Sci-fi saved me from God
(08-03-2021, 05:07 PM)Szuchow Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 05:02 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(08-03-2021, 04:14 PM)Szuchow Wrote: Little by little forum is becoming Marxist. 

YIKES!  I sure hope not.

[writes silently in notebook titled "Enemies of the People"]

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Freedom isn't free.
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