[extropy-chat] Changing Other Poster's Minds

Fred C. Moulton moulton at moulton.com
Mon Apr 30 06:24:56 UTC 2007

On Sun, 2007-04-29 at 13:58 -0400, Randall Randall wrote:
> On Apr 29, 2007, at 8:57 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > On 4/29/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> >
> > I had the good fortune while I was a
> > Christian conservative...
> >
> > Really?
> In case it's the presence of former Christians on
> this list that astounds you, let me add that I,
> too, used to be a Christian conservative (grew up
> fundamentalist).

As far as I know there has not been a study of the religious background
of participants on this email list.  However I would not be surprised
that there would be quite a few from fundamentalist backgrounds.  And I
think there is a reason for this.

My hypothesis is that fundamentalist religious movements often have a
strong emphasis on be doctrinally correct and thus place a high value on
study of the text of that religion.  Which sometimes works to keep the
person religious but can also get them so focused on being correct that
they start looking at other books.  First thing you know there is some
philosophy, some science and then no longer fundamentalist, however the
trait of being interested in ideas often hangs on.

There is an interesting case of a fundamentalist minister Dan Barker who
switched to being an atheist in his mid 30s.  He has written a book
about it.  Or you can listen to him on a podcast.  He is working with
the Freedom from Religion Foundation and they have a weekly radio show
that they make available for download and on one of those he tells part
of his story.

Also if someone is really interested they can read the book by
Hunsberger and Altemeyer (two Canadian professors) who wrote a book
titled Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America's Nonbelievers.  The
book is based on questionaires completed by San Francisco Bay Area
atheists.  It is a very interesting read.


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