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When do fundie offspring become responsible?


ari_belle

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This is something I've been thinking about lately. At what point do the offspring of fundies become responsible and accountable for their worldview/bigotry? Is it a certain age, is it when they get married or move out, or is it something else?

For example, a 10-y-o Duggar child who believes that homosexuals are going to hell, that overpopulation is a myth, etc. is different from a 20-y-o Duggar child who believes the same things. Now, this might not be a good example, as the Duggars are not as sheltered as many of the other families, like the Maxwells.

Or maybe it's about their attitude and when they start to really project their bigotry. Like Raquel being very vocal about homosexuality on her twitter and ask.fm when people have asked. The older Duggarlings (minus Josh), when asked the same question, might be a lot more careful, as they are more in the public eye and want the TLC gravy train to continue.

It's a complicated question, but I'm just wondering what you all think.

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If the 20 year old child is as sheltered as the 10 year old, then I don't think 100% be held responsible for their beliefs. If a 20 year old has no access to outside influences like tv, the internet, other people, like the Maxwell "children" then how can they know anything other than what their parents tell them? They believe the sky is pink because Steve says so.

However at some point children hone their critical thinking skills and if it hasn't been beaten out of them, could put them to use to change their own minds about what their parents have taught them. However I imagine this would be damned near impossible without some outside assistance.

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I don't think they ever do. According to the "rules" of most fundies, they are "adults" when they marry. I just don't see that happening. The adult married fundies still seem to "report" to their Patriarch.

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That's not an easy question. There are a lot of factors that go into changing your mind/worldview, especially if you've been as relentlessly indoctrinated as some of these people. You need exposure to other worldviews, at least through literature/media if not in person. You need the ability to critically think, which rarely springs up of its own accord. You need to be self-supporting to some extent or another, since change beyond a certain point is difficult when someone totally controls your environment and future. Finally, change has to be less painful than staying the same.

Their parents became fundies for a lot of the same reasons- exposure to the culture, a thought structure different from the way they were raised (faith versus reason, in this case), financial independence, and some inducement to change. They know perfectly well what happened to change them, and they deny their children the same. It's intentional.

Rachel has a lot of access to the internet (obviously) and quite a bit of freedom (see: the horse). She's not blameless for her horribleness. But some of the people we discuss have never had any chance, like Sarah Maxwell. She may be 30, but she's probably had less cultural exposure than Joy-Anna Duggar.

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I would say that their responsibility runs on the same scale as their level of indoctrination/brainwashing, if that makes sense. If someone was sat in a room all day and force fed lies and never heard anything else, well, I can't say that they'd be responsible...but someone who has access to the internet and other opinions...they have more to answer for.

(I hope this makes sense, it's late and I've had my sleeping pills)

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It's a hard question. I think most families, mine included, tend to teach that you need to defend your beliefs from people who don't share them so most of these kids are at least aware that not everyone shares their worldview but these are also kids that have been taught firmly that they have the right answer and are unlikely to look to closely into what the arguments against their position are. When you've been told your whole life that there is only one right answer it's hard to break the habit of going back to it especially given that critical thinking isn't a prized skill set. I do think that once someone has the option to learn more about a subject and chooses ignorance instead then it's on them from that time on no matter what their upbringing.

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It's simple. Boys as soon as they are old enough to work, and girls, never. They don't trust them to become responsible, they make them account to parents/chaperones.

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"At what point do the offspring of fundies become responsible and accountable for their worldview/bigotry?"

It depends on the person.

When you're born into that life, it's literally all you know. Your entire world (quite often) is made up of other fundies, and you are taught that "the world" is a dark, evil place. It is most definitely a form of brainwashing. Some kids grow up desperate to know what's beyond their prison walls while others have contented themselves with the knowledge that it's too scary out there to even contemplate moving on.

Even once a fundie reaches adulthood, he or she is easily kept inside those walls by having 18 - 22 years or more of indoctrination behind him or her. The curious, questioning kids might begin to chip away at their walls, but it is a process, and many of them are still fighting to break down their walls many years after escaping.

When it comes to fundie families, I have the most contempt for those who willingly enter into it as opposed to those who were born and raised in it without ever being given the option.

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I think you've limited your question too much, OP. Why just talk about their political views? When do they become responsible, functioning, adults? Most of these fundies have adult children, still single, living under their roof. Most of these fundies have adult children who either work for them or are in low income jobs. Most of these fundies have adult children who parrot what their parents say. I see no evidence that any of them can think or act for themselves. I wonder what they will do when Mommy and Daddy are no longer around to run their lives and make decisions for them.

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I do think that once someone has the option to learn more about a subject and chooses ignorance instead then it's on them from that time on no matter what their upbringing.

This is how I think whether the person is fundie or not. Many people who aren't fundies can be raised to hold certain beliefs or protected from what is considered a bad influence or ideas. Also some people can hold certain beliefs on how the world works in absence of decent parenting (as in the case of a family member of mine) but then once they get out into world a bit realize that it doesn't work that way and they choose to either alter their view or cling to the old view no matter what. In this case, my family member chooses to hold his damaging views, so I view him as being responsible for that as well as the stuff that happens to him and his family because of that. He knows better now. He has the awareness. I guess that is what is it boils down to: reaching that point of "awareness" and what you do with that awareness afterward. Regardless of where you live.

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I cant feel mad at these kids raised fundie for the things they say. Its like theyre babies, they dont know any better. Even when they are 20 or even 30. Theyre so sheltered they have no idea what they are talking about and no idea that they are offensive. Theyve got good intentions, even if the things they say and do seem horrible to us. They think they are doing good, and they havent had an opportunity to learn.

I feel sorry for them instead. Theyve had such horrible, shitty lives.

I cant feel sorry for Raquel though, she has so much opportunity to learn, but chooses not to. Shes got access to movies, TV, internet, can make friends freely. She has a great life. Shes probably not going to get beaten by her parents if she does anything worldy, shes never had to raise a buddy, or do a ton of chores all day.

I dont know when they become fully responsible, but I hold Josh at least partly responsible for being a douche, but its mostly his parents fault.

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I would say at the point they have prolonged contact with outside world and people of different backgrounds.

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I think the fact that so many fundie offspring reach adulthood without EVER challenging what they've been taught (from all appearances) is further proof of how personality, individuality, critical thinking, and natural curiosity have been bred (beaten) out of them. Even when kids are presented with absolutes (stick your hand in the fire, you're gonna get burned), they still want to explore and through exploration, learn and grow. Fundie kids, on the other hand, just accept what they're told without ever questioning, whether it's about people, events, history, anything. If you told them the sky was pink, they'd believe. If everyone had been raised fundie throughout history we'd never, ever would have progressed as a species.

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I dont know when they become fully responsible, but I hold Josh at least partly responsible for being a douche, but its mostly his parents fault.

Re: Josh, I hold his parents as being responsible, his life up to recently has been completely controlled by his parents. Now that he's in DC, he's got a major opportunity to learn and become more aware (even at the FRC, he's still going to be interacting with other people, being exposed to different political views, ideas, people) so if after a couple of years, he's holding on to the same views, then I, for one, would hold him responsible.

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I would say at the point they have prolonged contact with outside world and people of different backgrounds.

I agree with this - if a fundie child/young adult has never been exposed to any viewpoint other than the one that gets repeatedly force-fed to them from day 0, then chances are they won't even know how badly they're hurting others by voicing homophobic or bigoted views. In that sense, awful as those sentiments are, they can't be held responsible. Their parents, on the other hand, are definitely responsible for that since their the ones brainwashing them. As fundie children move away from home, they do become responsible for their actions and words because they're no longer under the direct influence of their parents.

Someone who's had a bit more access to the outside world from an early age would probably be held more responsible than a fundie kid of the same age because they DO know better.

Then again, regardless of how sheltered someone is (and how weird their upbringing), it still doesn't make this behavior ok. Hate speech will always be wrong.

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This is an interesting question, and one that I've pondered often lately.

On a personal level, being raised in a fundie, very sheltered home, I don't feel that I was responsible for my beliefs until I was about 25 years old. Prior to that, I was merely re-stating the beliefs I'd been taught....and though I thought they were MY beliefs at the time, once I was out of my parents home and exposed to more of the world, I knew that they weren't the beliefs I would have chosen if I'd been more aware of things.

On the flip side, I firmly believe that once a person is a legal adult (18 or 21), they should be held responsible for their beliefs and choices. Hard as it is for some of us to accept (like me!), there's a point in your upbringing that you choose to either be under your parent's control and spout their beliefs, or you choose to think on your own. Now, many fundie children don't even comprehend that they've been given that choice to make, and don't comprehend that they've made the choice of being under their parent's thumb. That's where the issue gets sticky. To society at large, these fundie offspring have chosen their beliefs and therefore are responsible for them; in the young person's mind, they have never made the choice, therefore perhaps they are not responsible until they begin pushing their beliefs on their own children?! It's a weird situation!

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This question gets very close to another question I've been wondering about for a while, having nothing to do with FJ or religion whatsoever, but is essentially the same question: how do people decide/choose what to believe?

I've been involved in online discussion forums for years, and the pattern is pretty consistent -- when a particular "culture" (and each online forum has its own culture) seems to mostly believe something, then someone who questions any aspect of that culture's beliefs is labelled a "troll". I have yet to find a forum/culture that is truly into critical thinking to shape their views, even though many groups claim that is what they rely on.

What I realized when trying to sort all this out was that we as individuals know almost *nothing* from first-hand experience. So, take a topic like global warming, for example. I know what I believe, but I believe it mostly because "people I trust also believe that" -- I mean, it's not like I was out there collecting and analyzing the ice core data myself, or even that I did the research to know exactly what is the state of that science.

In fact, in the US at least, when election time comes around, that's why candidates and propositions try so hard to get certain endorsements -- because people don't think things all the way through on their own, they don't do all the research -- instead, they learn the basic gist and then find out what "their" side favors and take that opinion as their own.

One place where this kind of thinking started for me was when I had a job where the projects were public and sometimes very controversial. There were occasions when a project I happened to know a lot about via personal experience, would be discussed in the media. And I noticed, when that happened, that the media presentation NEVER presented "the whole picture" in terms of the controversy. It was always oversimplified, to a degree that an uninformed person trying to learn about it would NOT get the full picture from that media report. I realized that if this happened consistently on the few instances when I had first-hand knowledge in order to be aware of how much was left off the public presentation, it was pretty much a no-brainer that this was also happening with every other media story -- the ones that I did not have personal knowledge about and thus couldn't perceive that I was only being given half the story.

After that I started noticing these kinds of aspects to the discussions online, like the global warming example. I tend to lean very heavily on logic and critical thinking, so I initially assumed that's how a group of people would deal with something that they know they don't have perfect knowledge of -- start with the givens, validate them and/or vet their sources, then proceed on in thought, using logic to determine whether something is "known" or "suspected" or "speculation" etc.

Of course that's not what I observed -- what I observed was people angrily insulting others for daring to challenge their beliefs -- even when the challenges were logical (which to me meant they needed to be taken seriously and only dismissed if they were disproved logically).

Eventually I came to see what a widespread approach this is, and how overwhelming it would be if we did try to apply critical thinking to each and every issue out there that we want to have an informed opinion on. I still think that's the "right" way, of course, I just recognize how impractical it is and I've reluctantly accepted that it's not how most individuals' brains work, and not how most sub-cultures work.

To apply all that to the topic at hand, I guess I'm arguing that as long as the fundy young'uns remain part of their family's culture, it's hard to expect them to challenge what they are being taught. But whether those who escape develop the necessary mental abilities to think for themselves, and whether that happens at age 10 or age 20 or never, is really hard to say.

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I think the fact that so many fundie offspring reach adulthood without EVER challenging what they've been taught (from all appearances) is further proof of how personality, individuality, critical thinking, and natural curiosity have been bred (beaten) out of them. Even when kids are presented with absolutes (stick your hand in the fire, you're gonna get burned), they still want to explore and through exploration, learn and grow. Fundie kids, on the other hand, just accept what they're told without ever questioning, whether it's about people, events, history, anything. If you told them the sky was pink, they'd believe. If everyone had been raised fundie throughout history we'd never, ever would have progressed as a species.

Very good point. It is the homogenous nature of their thoughts and the complete uniformity that is disturbing. Everyone is raised with certain beliefs, but as adults most people will keep some aspects of what they were raised with but will have some variations and differences based on their own experiences and worldview. You might do a complete 180 from your parents beliefs, but generally people will keep at least some of the basics, while being a little more liberal or slightly more conservative or having conflicting views on specific issues.

The most isolated people we talk about here don't seem to have any room for any range of thought.

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The fundie world these people live in is such a bubble of sheltering and ignorance that if they are going to actually ever think about anything it won't be until they are in their 40's or older I'd say. Particularity the women. Even if they go shopping at walmart they are taught to absolutely block out any and all things that might make them think because that stuff is all labeled bad, evil, wrong. If they even bring it up as a question they risk being in trouble for knowing to ask the question in the first place. They are married off before they can think and then their life is gobbled up in raising children and the exhaustion that comes with that. IME people start to question things younger only when their life falls outside the blueprint that good fundies follow. For instance, those who don't marry immediately tend to have the blinders removed a bit and start to question things. Those who can't have children follow a similar path of questioning. I've also seen friends who had children with problems or issues realize the need to seek other answers and suddenly realize "hey, there's a big world full of answers out there!"

Personally I was over 30 before I started to realize that I did not know what I thought I knew and I had been out of fundamentalism for a good 5 years at that point. It's basically brainwashing so it's hard to pinpoint when you actually become responsible for the belief. Looking back I feel terrible for some of the things I believed and said but in all honesty I was just parroting. There was no thought to any of my core beliefs. Once I started thinking my beliefs changed immensely.

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