To All Religious Teenagers
Reblog from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RkbDUc9HBA&NR=1
Hit REPLAY to watch To All Religious Teenagers
Would you believe in Giraffism if only one person believed in it? Of course not!
Forcing children into faith is ethically objectionable
The indoctrination of children is done without their informed consent. How could a three year old child be informed? Forcing children into faith is ethically objectionable for that reason alone, but on top of this, the process deliberately:
- fosters an attitude of superiority, only one faith can be true (they are better than others)
- encourages solipsism (god loves me and created a universe just for me)
- creates enmity towards outsiders be they non-believers or members of a different faith
- plants an unrealistic, patently false view of reality (evolution is often targeted)
- stifles the mind and punishes curiosity which hampers full intellectual development
- creates fear of holy retribution, which can lead to mental stress or even breakdown
- creates guilt for infracting rules against unrealistic prohibitions (for example, masturbation)
- sets up impossible standards (critics would say this is to drive children to confession)
- infantilizes children and implants feelings of inferiority (god is great, I am unworthy)
- creates feelings of hopelessness (there is no escape from god)
- nourishes fear of human sexuality and creates neuroses about normal sexual feelings and sexual pleasure
- Faith-Healing Parents = Emotional and Physical Child Abuse (scotteriology.wordpress.com)
- The Process of Indoctrination (theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com)
- Religious education is not mindless indoctrination (thepunch.com.au)
- International Day of Protest Against Child Religious Grooming (atheistethicist.blogspot.com)
‘Christianity stole my childhood’ – Katy Perry
KATY Perry says she left her strict religious upbringing behind after her evangelical minister parents left her without a childhood.
The pop singer is on the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair magazine, where she revealed the differences between hers and her parents’ way of thinking in an interview.
“I didn’t have a childhood,” she told the magazine. She said she was not allowed to use terms like “deviled eggs” or “Dirt Devil,” to listen to secular music or to read any books but the Bible.
In March, Perry’s mother revealed that she was shopping a book about the impact of her daughter’s career on her ministry. She said she was proud of Katy but disagreed with “a lot of choices she makes.”
“I think sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up,” Katy Perry told Vanity Fair.
“Mine grew up with me. We co-exist. I don’t try to change them anymore, and I don’t think they try to change me. We agree to disagree. They’re excited about [my success]. They’re happy that things are going well for their three children and that they’re not on drugs. Or in prison.”
Perry credited her husband, actor Russell Brand, with opening her mind even more.
“I come from a very non-accepting family, but I’m very accepting,” Perry said of her current religious beliefs.
“Russell is into Hinduism, and I’m not [really] involved in it. He meditates in the morning and the evening; I’m starting to do it more because it really centres me. [But] I just let him be him, and he lets me be me.”
- Katy Perry: “My Career Is Like An Artichoke” (wlte.radio.com)
- Katy Perry On Strict Christian Upbringing: ‘I Didn’t Have A Childhood’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Katy Perry Covers Vanity Fair June 2011 (bittenandbound.com)
- Katy Perry: Yes, I really kissed a girl (via The Marquee Blog) (thespiritportal.wordpress.com)
Osama bin Laden did the world a huge service
Throughout history organized religion has been co-opted by truly warped power mad men who left destruction and horror in their wake. Osama Bin Laden and his crazed Islamic followers were such men. In a way we have him to thank for the remarkable strides Humanists, atheists and anti-theists have made in the last 10 years. He made millions of people think hard about the danger of consciously and deliberately releasing their grip on reality. Worse yet, foisting their madness on vulnerable children.
The attacks on 9/11 roused me from complacency and turned me into a dedicated foe of organized religion, for life. Whatever positive elements people find believing in fantasy are far outweighed by the danger such unquestioned belief imposes. Like Christopher Hitchens has written, religion poisons everything.
How many times must humans learn this lesson? Over and over we have had to put religion back in chains, only for this curse to break out again and be commandeered by madmen. The problem is faith and let us vow that the end of Osama Bin Laden will be the final chapter.
End the unethical practice of forcing faith on vulnerable children. End the betrayal of children by their misguided parents and guardians.
- Do we cheer the death of Osama Bin Laden? (quixoticutopia.wordpress.com)
Children discuss Jesus with the vicar
Children think of possibilities that elude grownups. Amazing creative insights come from the mouths of babes. They lack false modesty and have no restrictions on their ability to formulate ideas. Unfortunately, indoctrination weakens and possibly dulls forever this profound quality of the child mind. If adults really respected children they would treat every one of their questions with the greatest of care. The Vicar doesn’t have any answers, yet he valiantly goes on with his script and looks for an excuse to depart his small dining companions. Chalk one up for the children.
This video is cut from the popular British sitcom, Outnumbered
Awkward Questions About Jesus
At almost 300,000 views and counting (as of April 14th, 2010) this clip appears to be the most popular Outnumbered clip on YouTube. Perhaps that’s because of the slightly provocative title I gave it, or maybe just because it’s downright hilarious.
It is interesting that of the two Outnumbered clips I posted, this one has caused far more debate over the validity of religion. I guess that’s because of Ben’s rather forthright questioning of the vicar. Even though most of the questions are rather silly, I think the fact that you very rarely see these type of confrontational questions asked of the clergy, it can appear to be a little shocking to some people which, judging from some of the comments I have seen, appears to be the case.
Some have also taken offence to “using children” in this manner, but I think they are way off the mark. It’s the use of children that gives the scene authenticity, given that there are likely very few children who haven’t asked some awkward questions about religion or Christianity at one time or another.
Of all the questions in the clip, I think the one that Karen asks is the most interesting—why couldn’t Jesus find another way to tell people to be “a bit better otherwise something bad’s going to happen” (like writing to them). As I have discussed elsewhere on this blog, one of the major problems with the fundamentalist’s take on the Doctrine of Salvation is the sheer randomness of any one person’s chances of both hearing about Jesus and his death on the cross and not being told that it’s nonsense and just a story made up by people of a different religion.
For example, if you were a Muslim who had been been living in down town Mecca all your life before the advent of shortwave radio, there is not a hope in hell (pun intended) that you have had a chance of hearing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ, and yet you are supposedly “without excuse” when you die completely ignorant of the existence of the New Testament. Posted by: http://rationaldreaming.com/videos/awkward-questions-about-jesus/comment-page-1/#comment-432
From the Wiki page for Outnumbered:
Outnumbered is a British Comedy Award winning and BAFTA nominated British sitcom that has aired on BBC One since 2007. It stars Hugh Dennis andClaire Skinner as a father and mother who are outnumbered by their three children played by Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez.
Produced by Hat Trick Productions, Outnumbered is written, directed and produced by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, although parts of the show are semi-improvised.
The programme has been critically acclaimed for its semi-improvisational scripting and realistic portrayal of children and family life.” Ratings have been average for its time slot, but the series has won a number of awards from the Comedy.co.uk awards, the Royal Television Society, the British Comedy Awards and the Broadcasting Press Guild. All three series are available on DVD and a fourth has been commissioned for a 2011 broadcast. An American adaptation is currently being planned.
How powerful is childhood religious indoctrination?
Mormonism would cease to exist in just a few generations if it were not for the indoctrination of hapless gulible children. The foundation of the LDS faith rests on the Mormon Bible, which is a transparent rip off of the St James bible, as Mark Twain recounts in his book Roughing It. Not even a modest skeptic could swallow the imagineerings of the Mormon bible. Yet there are millions of true believers and that is undeniable fact.
Mark Twain Meets The Mormons
Copied from “Roughing It – A Personal Narrative” as he tried to figure out the Mormons during his two day stop over in Great Salt Lake City on his way to silver mines of Nevada.
All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few, except the elect have seen it or at least taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me. It is such a pretentious affair and yet so slow, so sleepy, such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print.
If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle. Keeping awake while he did it, was at any rate. If he, according to tradtion, merely translated it from certain ancient and myteriously engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out of the way locality, the work of translating it was equally a miracle for the same reason.
The book seems to be merely a prosey detail of imaginary history with the Old Testament for a model followed by a tedious plegiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint old fashioned sound and structure of our King James translation of the scriptures. The result is a mongrel, half modern glibbness and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained, the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern, which was about every sentence or two, he ladeled in a few such scriptural phrases as, “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc. and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass,” was his pet. If he had left that out, his bible would have been only a pamphlet.
The title page goes as follows: “The Book of Mormon, an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi. Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites – Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnan of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile. Written by way of commandment and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation – written and sealed up and hid up unto the Lord that they might not be destroyed, to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof – sealed by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile – the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
An abridgement taken from the Book of Ether, also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven – (hid up is good, and so is wherefore, though why, wherefore? Any other word would have answered as well, though in truth it would not have sounded so scriptural.)”
Next comes the testimony of three witnesses. “Be it know unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record which is a record of the people of Nephi and also of the Lamanites, their brethren and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us. Wherefore we know of a surety that the work it true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates and they have been shown unto us by the power of God and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid before our eyes that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon. And we know that it by the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it. Wherefore to be obedient unto the commandments of God we bear testimony to these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men and be found spotless before the judgement seat of Christ and shall dwell with Him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, which is one god, Amen. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris.”Some people have to have a world of evidence before they can come anywhere in the neighborhood of believing anything, but for me when a man tells me that he has seen the engravings which are upon the plates and not only that, but an angel was there at the time and saw them see him and probably took his receipt for it, I am very far on the road to conviction no matter whether I have ever heard of that man before or not, and even if I do not know the name of the angel or his nationality either.
- The LDS church is embarrassed by its own book (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- 2 Nephi 6: Someday God will force non-Mormons to eat their own flesh and get drunk on own blood. (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- 2 Nephi 4-5: Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- 1 Nephi 19: Zenos’ Paradox (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- 2 Nephi 1-3:A tale of four Josephs and loads of loin fruit (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)
- Introduction to the Book of Mormon (bomcommentary.wordpress.com)
i-am-a-post-mormon – Dustin Patzer speaks about leaving the LDS
Justin found his way out of the LDS trap. The steps he took will work just as well to spring the trap of Catholicism, Pentacostalism, or any of the other thousands of sects. The first step is to listen to the nagging doubts you have and resolve to take action. The first thing you learn is that all religious traps have the same mechanisms to keep their adherents enslaved. They all make the same claim to ultimate exclusive truth and discount all competitors. You were probably snared as an innocent child before you had any intellectual guardians at the gate to your young mind. You were taken advantage of, pure and simple.
Once you realize the truth of your situation you can look objectively at the dogma you are subjected to and see that it just does not make any sense at all. The bible is not a sacred book. The bible is an invention of thousands of men with agendas. In Justin’s case the notion that golden plates were discovered buried in a field is outlandish on it’s face.
Sample some of the other videos produced by this project. Maybe one day you will have the opportunity to tell your story.
Religionists often remark that they do not see a way to live without religion. Apparently they are unaware that approximately 2 billion people around the world live lives free of religious control. It is not difficult and now a new book by Eric Maisel tells you how it is done. Here are the reviews from leading freethinkers and authors:
“Eric Maisel is clearly the atheist’s Wizard of Oz to have created a book with such brains, so much heart, and a lion’s share of real courage.”
— Dale McGowan, PhD, editor of Parenting Beyond Belief and 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year
“Millions of people lead happy, moral, loving, meaningful lives without believing in a god, and Eric Maisel explains in exquisite rational and compassionate detail how we do it.”
— Dan Barker, author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist and copresident of the Freedom from Religion Foundation
“I find Maisel’s writings more witty than Hitchens, more polished and articulate than Harris, and more informative and entertaining than Dawkins. A 5-star read from cover to cover!”
— David Mills, author of Atheist Universe
“The Atheist’s Way offers a meaningful approach to life that is sublime, eloquent, and inspiring. This book is a true breath of fresh air.”
— Phil Zuckerman, PhD, author of Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment
“Maisel provides a foundation for making meaning and living purposefully without supernatural intervention. A book to be relished by atheists, skeptics, humanists, freethinkers, and unbelievers everywhere.”
— Donna Druchunas, writer on Skepchick.org
“How do you bravely face the world as it is and create meaning for yourself without the crutch of a divine benefactor? Eric Maisel’s wise suggestions, musings, and insights are a wonderful resource for your quest.”
— John Allen Paulos, author of Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up
“Eric Maisel has given us a lovely, thoughtful book about belief outside of the narrow confines of organized religion. The Atheist’s Way offers an uplifting positive answer for anyone interested in how to live life without gods, superstitions or fairytales.”
— Nica Lalli, author of Nothing: Something to Believe In
“With this book, Eric Maisel does what none of the New Atheists have succeeded at doing: elaborating what atheists do believe.”
— Hemant Mehta, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay
Product DescriptionIn The Atheist’s Way, Eric Maisel teaches you how to make rich personal meaning despite the absence of beneficent gods and the indifference of the universe to human concerns. Exploding the myth that there is any meaning to find or to seek, Dr. Maisel explains why the paradigm shift from seeking meaning to making meaning is this century’s most pressing intellectual goal.
- Martin Pribble’s Interview With Dan Barker (camelswithhammers.com)
- Dan Barker Interview – Prominent People Project (martinspribble.com)
- The Purpose-Driven Atheist (friendlyatheist.com)
- Book Review: Godless (spaninquis.wordpress.com)
- Robert Ingersoll: Prince of Atheists (new.exchristian.net)
- Hemant Mehta on Identifying Oneself as an Atheist (theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com)
- “Atheist v. Theist” – A Humanist’s Response (thehumanistchallenge.wordpress.com)
- The deity by any other name: Army resilience program gets a thumbs down from atheistsa (scientificamerican.com)
Lebanese Youth to Bring Down Confessional System
Protests sweeping the Middle East have given new impetus to Lebanese youths who have launched their own revolt on Facebook in a bid — albeit improbable — to bring down Lebanon’s confessional system.
Using slogans popularized by protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, several pages urging the Lebanese to bring down the Mediterranean country’s confessional “regime” or calling for a “day of wrath” against confessionalism, corruption and poverty have appeared recently on the social networking site.
“Lebanese youths, rise up against the oppression of this regime,” writes Mahmoud al-Khatib on www.facebook.com/lebrevolution, which has attracted more than 10,000 friends.
But observers and those behind the initiative say they are well aware that changing the system, in which most government and other posts are attributed according to religion rather than merit, will be a hard-won battle.
“The Lebanese are always boasting about their freedom and democracy as compared to other Arab countries,” said Hassan Chouman, a 24-year-old computer analyst in favor of change.
“But Arab countries each have one dictator whereas we have at least seven or eight,” he added, referring to the political leaders that rule in Lebanon and who represent the country’s various Christian and Muslim communities.
Contrary to other countries in the Middle East, Lebanon’s system of government is rooted in a 1943 power-sharing agreement adopted after the country won its independence from France.
Aimed at maintaining a balance between the 18 religious sects, the agreement calls for the president to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister to be a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shiite Muslim.
Other government jobs are also allocated according to religious affiliation.
“In Lebanon, competence doesn’t stand for much,” said Ghassan al-Azzi, political science professor at Lebanese University. “The leader of each community appoints members of his clan to top posts which renders our public administration rotten.”
And changing such a system is a bigger challenge than bringing down a dictator, he said.
“Here in Lebanon, if you hold street protests, it is not clear who it would target, which institution, which group. There is nothing tangible,” Azzi added.
Religion plays such a major part in all aspects of Lebanese society that even secular politicians are forced to join the system if they wish to survive, he noted.
One Facebook message put it bluntly: “This movement is bound to fail unless each confession brings down its own leader,” it said.
Antoine Messarra, a member of the Constitutional Council, said change will not come through a revolution in Lebanon but rather step by step, through education and better ties between the state and its citizens.
“We shouldn’t settle for promises but must address the problem methodically,” he said.
But for some, the current wave of upheaval in the Arab world is reason to hope that change is possible, despite deep divisions in the country pitting a pro-Western camp against a Hezbollah bloc backed by Iran and Syria.
“The lesson to be drawn from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is that we must put aside all our differences in favor of a common objective,” said Abu Reem, 39, administrator of the Facebook page titled “the Lebanese people want to bring down the confessional system.”
He said an open meeting would be held on March 6 in Beirut to plot out the next move after his page garnered more than 10,000 admirers.
“Nothing is impossible, even if it’s a long road ahead,” Abu Reem said.(AFP)
- Lebanese On Facebook Seek Change, Not Revolution (allfacebook.com)
- Hundreds protest Lebanon’s ‘sectarian’ government (sfgate.com)
- Hundreds protest Lebanon’s ‘sectarian’ government (foxnews.com)
- Hundreds protest Lebanon’s ‘sectarian’ government (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- “Beirut – Hundreds Protest Lebanon’s ‘sectarian’ Government” and related posts (vosizneias.com)
- A Tour of Lebanon: A Quick Overview of The Nation of Lebanon, Plus a Recipe for Hommus as Lagniappe (trifter.com)
Children’s Rights and the Parental Authority to Instill a Specific Value System
Essays in Philosophy
Issue 1 Liberalism, Feminism, Multiculturalism Article 10
University College of the Fraser Valley
The following is an excerpt of the Jeffrey Morgan paper.
Further, whether or not a child is initiated into a specific value system, it is possible to encourage him to be reasonable regarding his values. This is part of the work of Rawls’ concept of “burdens of judgment” (1993). The Muslim child could be raised with specific Islamic values—rejecting the consumption of pork and alcohol, accepting the values of modesty in dress, and the importance of Zakat and Hajj—but nevertheless be aware that other, equally reflective, people live differently.11 Supporting such reflective open-mindedness effectively puts limits on the degree to which the parent can indoctrinate her children.
Finally, it should be noted that children develop gradually, and that it is possible to be sensitive to the emerging identity of one’s child, while steering the child in one direction rather than others. For example, a parent may wish for his son a career in professional ice hockey, and may scaffold his son’s experiences to attain this end. He enrolls his son in minor hockey leagues, skating lessons, and other physical development activities. The father may attempt to instill in his son a love for the game, and the sense that playing hockey represents a worthwhile form of life with the potential for fame, glory and wealth. Nevertheless, such a program need not be so heavy handed that the father is insensitive to his son’s growing interest in other activities, such as philosophy, painting or poetry.12
My view is that the parent who holds a specific worldview or value system is wrong to instill that value system in her child. However, children who are raised to accept value pluralism, who are taught the importance of reasonableness and of burdens of judgment, and whose parents are sensitive to their child’s developing identity, are unlikely to become so close-minded as to be at risk of losing their future autonomy. This still allows the parent ample opportunity to encourage the child to acquire many values, both moral and otherwise, including some of the values implicit in specific religious or cultural traditions.
Noggle may be correct that children have a right to be taught values, but they do not have a right to be taught a doctrinaire system of values that is morally controversial and difficult to reject. Indeed, it is plausible to suggest that children have a right not to be indoctrinated, and that children have an interest in being protected from value systems, especially from value systems that are reinforced by relationships of love and dependence. We must, consequently, reject the alleged rights of cultural or religious groups to perpetuate themselves through direct initiation of children.
In general, Noggle’s general approach to clarifying parent-child relationships is imaginative, clever, persuasive and promising. His argument is that parent-child relationships are a special class of fiduciary relationships, but differ from the standard case inasmuch as the standard case has no analogue to parental authority.
I have not challenged this assertion, nor have I challenged Noggle’s claim that parental authority can be justified under the model of fiduciary relationships. Further, I have not challenged Noggle’s application of Rawlsian ideas to parent-child relationships; implicitly, I have accepted both his metaphor of a parental veil of ignorance and his development of the hierarchy of goods based on the centrality of primary goods. Moreover, I have not even challenged Noggle’s claim that membership in cultural or religious traditions may well be a secondary good, although I have reservations about the generality of this claim, since it appears that many—perhaps all—cultural or religious traditions have serious costs associated with them. However, I have challenged Noggle’s claim that his model of parental authority supports a parental right to instill parochial values in children.
So if cultural and religious membership is a secondary good, and thereby worth passing on to children, and if there is no parental right to instill the values of specific religious or cultural tradition, then we must pass on these values in less direct ways. Archard’s approach to transmitting cultural and religious values indirectly does provide at least one possible approach to parental authority that allows some transmission but does not permit the direct approach favored by Noggle. However, Archard’s approach will seem rather weak to many parents who want to promote their cultural values in their children.
Where does this leave us with respect to the question of liberalism and multiculturalism with which we began? My view is that there are serious costs of allowing that parents have the legitimate authority to pass on their worldviews to their child. My objections are that moral agency does not presuppose anything as strong as the acquisition of a worldview, and that there are serious costs to the acquisition of most traditional worldviews. Multiculturalism, then, must survive without the parental authority to instill value systems or worldviews in their child. That said, I think that parents can—and should—instill values in their child, but that these values: (a) ought not to constitute a system, (b) ought to be presented in the context of a thorough value pluralism, (c) ought to include values of reasonableness and the burdens of judgment, and (d) ought to be presented with awareness of the child’s emerging identity. I believe that these conditions can be met, but that they put strong limits on the degree to which the child can be subject to value systems or worldviews constitutive of distinctive cultures.
University College of the Fraser Valley
- Children’s right to secular, liberal education (endhereditaryreligion.com)
- Religions use cult indoctrination techniques (endhereditaryreligion.com)
- You cannot end the religious indoctrination of vunerable children (endhereditaryreligion.com)
- Salvation is not a legitimate argument for indoctrinating children (endhereditaryreligion.com)
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