Fonda—from atheism to theology school
Posted: 01 May 2006 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I saw Barbara Walters interviewed Jane Fonda on the
Charlie Rose TV show (PBS) recently.  I thought I’d
mention it here because she said that she’d been
raised atheistic and is now a Christian.  I found a
different interview online and pulled a few pertinent
quotes from it and was wondering people here thought
of her conversion:

"... being raised an atheist, I have a lot of catching
up to do. So I’m studying…"

"KING: He told me. He said, you’re not going to
believe this. She’s religions. What brought it to you?

FONDA: It was almost a somatic experience that I
began to have—around the time that I met Ted, I
began to feel myself filling up with light, I don’t
know, like a sense of reverence. I felt led. I felt
guided. And living in Georgia, where even though Ted
is an atheist, most of his friends are very deeply
religions, like the Carters and many others. And I’ve
spent a lot of time talking to them and wondering if
what they were drawn to is the same thing that I felt
drawn to. And so I became a Christian. And…

KING: Go to church?

FONDA: I did. And when Ted and I split up, I went
to Bible study class. And then I thought, uh-oh,
I’ve made a terrible mistake—as a feminist, I
don’t know if this is right. And the more I studied,
the more I felt, yeah, yeah, it is. There’s no
contradictions between the two. And I’m now—I’m
in theology school."

(Quoted from
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/18/lkl.01.html
.)

She explains that she’d always tried to please people
throughout her life.  She calls it the "disease to
please." Then, at sixty years old, she had a major
change of personality as she began to assert herself
more and please others less.  She describes this new
persona with words such as, "...I am now is a full
human being. I’m a whole person. I moved back inside
myself. I’ve become an embodied person…"  It sounded
like a very good change for her.  After that she has
explained some inspiring religious feelings relieving
loneliness and giving her love.

I think that as a person who didn’t assert herself
and relied on others’ opinions and judgments, that
she’d never actually examined her views about religion
and then did it for the first time after age sixty.
I don’t get the impression that she was inspired
toward atheism through philosophical studies, but
instead through peer pressure and a desire to fit
in with those around her, her family and husbands.
When someone pursues a goal because of the desire
to fit in with a group then that is a weak position
because your reasons for pursuing that goal disappear
when you leave that social circle.  And now she
follows the emotional manipulations and the hollow
promises of rewards in the after-life and omnipresent
companionship in this life.  I hope she isn’t finished
her search, she seemed like a good person.

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Posted: 01 May 2006 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fonda—from atheism to theology school

I saw Barbara Walters interviewed Jane Fonda on the
Charlie Rose TV show (PBS) recently.  I thought I’d
mention it here because she said that she’d been
raised atheistic and is now a Christian.  I found a
different interview online and pulled a few pertinent
quotes from it and was wondering people here thought
of her conversion:

“... being raised an atheist, I have a lot of catching
up to do. So I’m studying…”

“KING: He told me. He said, you’re not going to
believe this. She’s religions. What brought it to you?

FONDA: It was almost a somatic experience that I
began to have—around the time that I met Ted, I
began to feel myself filling up with light, I don’t
know, like a sense of reverence. I felt led. I felt
guided. And living in Georgia, where even though Ted
is an atheist, most of his friends are very deeply
religions, like the Carters and many others. And I’ve
spent a lot of time talking to them and wondering if
what they were drawn to is the same thing that I felt
drawn to. And so I became a Christian. And…

KING: Go to church?

FONDA: I did. And when Ted and I split up, I went
to Bible study class. And then I thought, uh-oh,
I’ve made a terrible mistake—as a feminist, I
don’t know if this is right. And the more I studied,
the more I felt, yeah, yeah, it is. There’s no
contradictions between the two. And I’m now—I’m
in theology school.”

(Quoted from
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/18/lkl.01.html
.)

She explains that she’d always tried to please people
throughout her life.  She calls it the “disease to
please.” Then, at sixty years old, she had a major
change of personality as she began to assert herself
more and please others less.  She describes this new
persona with words such as, “...I am now is a full
human being. I’m a whole person. I moved back inside
myself. I’ve become an embodied person…”  It sounded
like a very good change for her.  After that she has
explained some inspiring religious feelings relieving
loneliness and giving her love.

I think that as a person who didn’t assert herself
and relied on others’ opinions and judgments, that
she’d never actually examined her views about religion
and then did it for the first time after age sixty.
I don’t get the impression that she was inspired
toward atheism through philosophical studies, but
instead through peer pressure and a desire to fit
in with those around her, her family and husbands.
When someone pursues a goal because of the desire
to fit in with a group then that is a weak position
because your reasons for pursuing that goal disappear
when you leave that social circle.  And now she
follows the emotional manipulations and the hollow
promises of rewards in the after-life and omnipresent
companionship in this life.  I hope she isn’t finished
her search, she seemed like a good person.

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Posted: 02 May 2006 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

Thanks for the info. She sounds like a very odd person, no surprise given her public life.

I liked this particular bit:

She explains that she’d always tried to please people
throughout her life.  She calls it the “disease to
please.” Then, at sixty years old, she had a major
change of personality as she began to assert herself
more and please others less.

Always tried to please people? So that’s why she was such an effective peace activist and feminist? Is that why about half the country hates her with such a passion? She has a strange way to please ...!

Honestly, of the long list of public figures one can bring to mind, Jane Fonda would be near the top of people who knew how to irritate and displease by being calculatedly outspoken on hot-button issues.

And she says she has only recently “began to assert herself more”? She’s been overbearingly self-assertive since the 1970s, when she was known as “Hanoi Jane”.

You can tell from this interview clip that, at the very least, she is still quite self-deluded.

Personally although I support a number of her historical causes, she always seemed a bit too much out to toot her own horn for me. This recent effort, frankly, is just “more of the same”.

If religion helps her structure her life, of course it’s a free country and best of luck to her.

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Posted: 02 May 2006 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Always tried to please people? So
that’s why she was such an effective peace activist
and feminist? Is that why about half the country
hates her with such a passion? She has a strange way
to please ...!

Of course, she didn’t mean to imply that she
was trying to please the minority of right
wing warmongers.  Obviously any person would be
concerned with the people around themselves, and
I doubt that she immersed herself among right wing
warmongers.  But it sounds like you have, dougsmith.
And I’m sad to see that you, dougsmith, have an
interest in demonizations.  There are no demons
dougsmith… really.  There are only people in
this world.

I guess she’s correct to say things like:

“KING: How do you deal, and you have to deal with it,
those people who still look at you as Hanoi Jane?

FONDA: Well, it makes me sad because it means that
they haven’t healed because, you know, in order to
heal you have to forgive and I have apologized for the
terrible mistake that I made, that lapse of judgment
when I sat on that gun.”

But I wasn’t posting this to bring up past Vietnam War
issues, I had posted that last message to bring up
current on-topic issues of religion and secularism.
She was raised an atheist and has become Christian,
isn’t that the salient point here?

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Posted: 02 May 2006 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“jump_in_the_pit”]Of course, she didn’t mean to imply that she
was trying to please the minority of right
wing warmongers.  Obviously any person would be
concerned with the people around themselves, and
I doubt that she immersed herself among right wing
warmongers.  But it sounds like you have, dougsmith.
And I’m sad to see that you, dougsmith, have an
interest in demonizations.  There are no demons
dougsmith… really.  There are only people in
this world.

Well, jumpinthepit, perhaps I should call you “jump to conclusions”!

:wink:

If you read what I was saying, my point was that she was self-deluded. As I said quite clearly, I agree with many of the positions she fought for. Her problem is precisely that of having overstated her case for effect (in the case you note, by sitting on a gun)—not precisely what you’d expect from someone who didn’t “assert herself”, as she claims.

And her outspokenness is the sort of thing not calculated to make friends. Not precisely the sort of thing you’d expect from someone who “always tried to please people”. But these are both things one would expect from someone looking for publicity.

Her being raised atheist and having become Christian is another example of this sort of publicity-seeking. Viz., her appearance on Larry King for chrissakes. That is the “salient point”, as you put it.

8)

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Posted: 02 May 2006 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“dougsmith”] Her being raised atheist and
having become Christian is another example of this
sort of publicity-seeking. Viz., her appearance
on Larry King for chrissakes. That is the “salient
point”, as you put it.

I ignored your “self-deluded” point, dougsmith,
because it was just an insult and part of the
demonization, not factual observation.  One point of
my second message was that these Vietnam issues that
you mention are beside the point.  Another point of
my second message was that when people try to fit
in with a group, they do try to please those around
them, this is only human.  My original point is in
the subject line.

Fonda’s religious conversion seems sincere.  I saw
her being interviewed by Barbara Walters recently, and
as the web page showed she has interviewed for Larry
King, she’s doing the interviews to promote a memiore,
obviously.  But what she’s saying is obviously not
merely some publicity stunt, but instead a sincere
and friendly effort to be understood.  Don’t assume
that I think she’s attempting to appease the minority
right wing warmongers, but she is instead trying to
communicate with healthy minded people who seek to
heal psychologies, understand each other, and promote
civilized society.

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Posted: 02 May 2006 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“jump_in_the_pit”]I ignored your “self-deluded” point, dougsmith,
because it was just an insult and part of the
demonization, not factual observation.

It certainly wasn’t intended as an insult, and is not a “demonization” in any fashion, but as a factual description given your gloss of her self-description. Of course, perhaps she wouldn’t have described herself as you say she did. (Viz., someone who “didn’t assert herself” and “always tried to please people”.) If not, then I am in error.

:wink:

As to whether she is sincere about her religious beliefs, perhaps she is. But I wouldn’t take an appearance before Barbara Walters or Larry King, in front of a potential TV audience of millions, as good evidence. People have many reasons for going on these shows—giving sincere statements of private religious opinions doesn’t come first to mind.

My concern, at any rate, is not with Jane Fonda herself, who generally seems a decent, if confused, person. It is rather with the desire to look to the foibles and fashions of Hollywood for direction in life. Hollywood stars are about the last people to go to for that.

Incidentally, Larry King is one of the most gullible interviewers on TV. He has a long history of uncritically swallowing all the latest stories of psychics, mediums, spoon-benders, and on and on.

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Posted: 02 May 2006 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“dougsmith”]It certainly wasn’t intended as an insult, and is not a “demonization” in any fashion, but as a factual description given your gloss of her self-description.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]My concern, at any rate, is not with Jane Fonda herself, who generally seems a decent, if confused, person. It is rather with the desire to look to the foibles and fashions of Hollywood for direction in life. Hollywood stars are about the last people to go to for that.

Incidentally, Larry King is one of the most gullible interviewers on TV. He has a long history of uncritically swallowing all the latest stories of psychics, mediums, spoon-benders, and on and on.

Attempting to discredit everyone involved is just silly,
I doubt that anyone on these CFI forums has ever tried to
claim that Hollywood and the press people who interview
them are any sort of great philosophers.  I doubt any
Hollywood interviews are meant as great examples in
critical thinking, but are instead intended as fodder for
the Hollywood fans.  And I think that the interviews that
Jane Fonda is doing recently are distinguished from the
fodder by dealing sincerely with important psychological
and relevant here because of the religious conversion.
Those people on TV are just people who happen to have jobs
which place them on TV, I don’t expect anything more from
most of them than that; television journalists reporting
on serious non-entertainment topics being an exception.
Don’t bother expecting critical thinking from Hollywood
fodder, dougsmith, you’re looking in the wrong place.

You may not be aware, dougsmith, but sometimes when
people are trying to fit into a group they’ll participate
in events which please that group (even if that event
displeases some other small group) and they’ll do it while
hiding their own desires.  In other words people sometimes
deny parts of their own psychology and get swept up in
moments of excitement, doing it with the motivation of
fitting-in with a group.  When Jane Fonda talks about
“disease to please” and “...I am now is a full human
being. I’m a whole person. I moved back inside myself. I’ve
become an embodied person ...”, she does mean it sincerely
(despite the slop in the transcript wording).

I didn’t “gloss” anything that she said in the two
interviews, my paraphrasing was faithful to her intentions.
If I misread your, dougsmith’s, criticism then I apologize,
but there was no need to bring stale demonizations from
the Vietnam War into this thread and so I don’t think that
I misread that opportunistic demonization at all.

I agree that the Hollywood people don’t know any more than
average people, but I think average knowledge makes them
human and, at times, able to relate with average people.
They have the advantage of having their, occasionally,
human messages broadcast on TV, and I don’t think that
being on TV automatically makes what their saying about
themselves untrue nor automatically discredited.  Any one
person is the foremost expert about their own lives.

I think that Jane Fonda is selling a book, and that the
book and the interviews are sincere as she tells about her
conversion to assert herself and move toward religion,
the point of this thread being that we have here a very
public example of a child raised as an atheist and then
turning to Chirstianism after age sixty!  Doesn’t anyone
else find that to be amazing?!  Can’t this group _begin_
some interesting discussion about that topic now?

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Posted: 02 May 2006 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Re: Fonda—from atheism to theology school

[quote author=“jump_in_the_pit”]I think that Jane Fonda is selling a book, and that the
book and the interviews are sincere as she tells about her
conversion to assert herself and move toward religion,
the point of this thread being that we have here a very
public example of a child raised as an atheist and then
turning to Chirstianism after age sixty!  Doesn’t anyone
else find that to be amazing?!  Can’t this group _begin_
some interesting discussion about that topic now?

Perhaps you can begin the “interesting discussion” that you crave by telling us all why this is so “amazing”. Frankly it sounds no different to me from Madonna’s love for Kabbalah. Or Tom Cruise’s love for Scientology.

Fascinating.

rolleyes

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Posted: 02 May 2006 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I don’t believe you are raised anything, you become it. In her case I believe she became christian. Food for thought.

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Posted: 02 May 2006 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“theatheistheretic”]I don’t believe you are raised anything, you become it. In her case I believe she became christian. Food for thought.

I think I see what your saying; adults make their own
choices, eventually.  Fonda had said that she was raised
atheist, so that’s how she sees her past.  BTW, I think
that that her definition of atheism probably doesn’t
match the definition that anyone here wants to promote.
By atheist she might just mean that she didn’t attend
church, or some non-committal meaning like that.

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Posted: 03 May 2006 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I guess I’m lucky. I was never made to go to church when I was a child.  Surprisingly I have gone to more church’s as an atheist, then as a none atheist.  At first I went to church with hot girls, now I barter for it.  Bartering things stretch from homework to money. I seriously thinking about doing the ebay thing.

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Posted: 04 May 2006 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[quote author=“theatheistheretic”]I guess I’m lucky. I was never
made to go to church when I was a child.  Surprisingly
I have gone to more church’s as an atheist, then as a
none atheist.  At first I went to church with hot girls,
now I barter for it.  Bartering things stretch from
homework to money. I seriously thinking about doing the
ebay thing.

I can relate to that.  I moved from the east coast to
the Bible belt to attend college back in 1990.  I was a
non-practicing Catholic at the time and I guess that the
Protestants didn’t like that fact judging by the facial
expressions that they gave me, such as the desperation in
their faces as they tried to convince me that their one
church was the correct one if I wanted to get to heaven.
That just seemed psychologically sick and cultist to me,
at the time.  I was tempted to accept a few invitations
which genuinely seemed to be friendly.  There was one girl
who I was attracted to and who continually tried to lead
me to her church and convert me.  Even though I explicitly
said that I can respect her belief system but she’s got
to start showing some respect for mine, it didn’t work
because she didn’t curb her overt attempts to convert me.

One time, I agreed to join an impromptu “prayer circle”
with her and her group having no idea what that meant
and curious to see what they were up to.  We wound up
talking more than praying anyway, while holding hands.
It turned out horribly because they all seemed to be
a suicidal cult as they proudly proclaimed things like
they are ready for heaven right now, and that they would
be happy if they would die today, the sooner the better!
(Happy because they were free of sin and felt assured that
they’d qualify for heaven.)  Eeeek, that’s the last prayer
circle that I was ever tempted to!  :shock:

Maybe if Fonda has never experienced any of these sorts of
invitations then maybe she has never had to think about
church matters in her life, perhaps she’d been safely
isolated from religious extremism on one of the coasts for
most of her life?  That lucky woman!  Although I read that
she’s in Atlanta now-a-days.

I imagine that selling some your time in church at auction
could be worthwhile, as long as you could remain anonymous
and not be fingered and targeted by the religious hot
girls, theatheistheretic.  grin

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Posted: 07 May 2006 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Your use of the term “Right Wing Warmongers” is curious to me. At first I thought you were being facetious, but after reading further I concluded that you were actually using it to justify her actions and the responses received by a specific group of people.

I’m not going to debate Jane Fonda’s personal convictions, nor even her effect on this country. I just think you’re inadvertantly trying to sound like a page torn right out of a piece of extremist propoganda.

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Posted: 06 July 2006 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Madalyn Murray O’Hair was probably the most famous atheist in America and the founder of American Atheists.  Her son William, on whose behalf she filed against school prayer, ended up becoming a born-again Baptist in his thirties and leading protests outside of American Atheist conventions.

We tend to have the view that atheists throw off the shackles of religious cognitive oppression and claim their logically superior worldview.  :wink:  For some, likely a minority in this country, atheism is the de facto way they’re raised.  For others, atheism is something they turn to because of rebellion against their parents or the established order.

When I worked with campus freethought groups, there were a lot of the latter type—cantankerous “junior atheists” who were raised in a religious environment.  The few raised in a non-religious environment who were involved with the groups would patiently listen to the stories from the others of Thanksgivings with the family and the rants against people saying “God bless you” when they sneezed and the like.  This is not to say that there is anything bad about being a cantankerous atheist.  :twisted:  Just as the term “atheist” is defined by what a person is not, so to is a person’s atheism defined by the contrast between his beliefs/lack thereof and the prevailing attitudes of his environment.

Warning—the previous paragraphs contain generalizations.  smile

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Posted: 26 September 2006 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Would it be cantankerous to use the terms Sky Pixie and the Buy-bull to demistify the ideas behind them? How much did she know about atheism that she gave it up?I doubt if she had or that Turner has a deep knowledge thereof. Look at C.S.Lewis and Francis Collins.

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