Pharyngula

One of those agony aunts, Dear Margo, got an amusing request for help.

Dear Margo: Our daughter started college a year ago, and we’ve noticed during her visits home that she’s not the sweet, innocent girl we sent away for higher learning. We raised her with strong Christian beliefs, but lately she’s saying that she’s joined an atheist club on campus and is questioning everything we taught her. Now my husband refuses to let her in the house and is threatening to turn her in to the FBI. I’ve tried to cure our daughter and reconcile with her, but nothing seems to work. I’ve prayed over her at night while she sleeps, enlisted friends in a phone prayer tree and even spoken to my priest about the possibility of an exorcism. I’m at my wits’ end. How can I recover my daughter and keep her from hell? — God-fearing

There’s a regular stampede of young people doing exactly what “God-fearing” describes — isn’t it wonderful? This is exactly what happens when you send your kids off to college: if it works, they start thinking for themselves, develop surprising new opinions, and aren’t afraid to share them with other people. Hooray for college students, some of my favorite people!

As for these poor parents, they shipped their daughter off to college with the wrong idea. They thought college would just confirm them in their same old traditional beliefs. We really ought to send little information packets to the parents of our students, carefully explaining that there will be little shocks like this, because their kids will come back as smart, independent human beings.

Margo’s answer isn’t bad — she tells them that it is normal for people to think for themselves — even if she does bend over backwards to give some unwarranted sympathy to freaky religious beliefs.

And that fanatical devotion to peculiar Christian dogma? Well…

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