Re: Concern about my wife and Child

I come from Calgary Canada but have been living in Beijing for 7 years now. My parents put me through christian school as they belong to the United Church of Canada. I remember the Christian Reformed school's attempts to scare children into believing. I never really did believe but most others did and still do. I came to China 7 years ago now and met my girlfriend shortly after, and she is now my wife. Until about 2 years ago she has had no religious belief. She works in a small office interior company with a couple who are the owners. The husband is from England and wife is a Canadian. They are very kind people but strongly believe in the Ba'hai faith. Now my wife has been pulled into this trap. She has been studying this for the last year and a half at her boss's home on the weekends. She just cam back from Haifa Israel which she says has reinforced her faith. I wish I could do something to get my wife out of this way of thinking but I am most concerned for our daughter's sake. I refuse to let my wife poison my young daughter's mind. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much for your trouble in advance. Chat Soon, Sean
Atheist Answer: 

In a very real way you stand between your wife and your daughter. She is very vulnerable to indoctrination from any source, let alone her own mother. That doesn't mean you should attempt to indoctrinate her first; that's just as bad. It simply means that you need to be the voice of skepticism in any conversations about Ba'hai, or any other belief. It sounds like nobody else will be.

Of course you can't be there every moment. However if your wife privately tells your daughter things about the faith that would not convince you, firstly she's picking the easier target and secondly she knows on some level that her reasons are not sound, and is using them to preach anyway. Both are dishonest, and she needs to realise that. Her first act as an evangelist should be to convert you, not your daughter.

Pay attention to your daughter, that's the main thing. If you think she's not thinking about something the right way, it's your job to put her straight. That's just one of the things you do generally as a father; this is no different.

Though you have every reason to be concerned, don't worry too much. What probably started me on the road to doubt was the simple fact that my father, someone I respected and looked up to, did not buy into religious belief like everyone else (it seemed). He only bothered to tell me he was an atheist about once. Your mere presence as an unbeliever may well influence your daughter greatly.

- SmartLX


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Re: Undoing Bahai

Thanks so much for that wonderful response. Do you have any suggestions on how to unconvert my wife?


It's the million-dollar question: how to free those who are already in the thrall. Just keep in mind that it's a journey, and also an internal battle between the emotions and the intellect. It won't happen in the space of one exchange.

Know how I start, online and in person? I ask them why they believe. If they're honest, it tells you what's really important and suggests how to proceed.

Write later and let us know how you go, if you like.

Although believeing seems

Although believeing seems silly when you don't, I wonder statistically if believers are actually happier. Maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Maybe, but...

It's not much of a consolation if people are happy while they adversely affect their own lives and those around them.

There is actually survey data out there that suggests religious people are happier on average. There's also data that suggests less intelligent people are happier on average. For a more extreme example, people who've just snorted crack are extremely happy.

Get the idea? If increased happiness were the only effect, there'd be no problem. It's the other effects of religiosity that worry the non-religious: unwillingness to accept certain aspects of reality, willingness to devote huge amounts of time, effort and money to misguided causes, loss of individuality and independent thought, rigid us-and-them mentality and so on.

I see what you mean. Some

I see what you mean. Some people are harmless with it, but there is a lot of crap that can come with it too. I guess the growing pains are not easy.

I think the biggest help would be if people would see emotional and mental disturbances for what they are and not as people just choosing to be evil.