The God Delusion - Chapter 9

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The God Delusion - Chapter 9

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Is it a form of child abuse to label children as possessors of beliefs when they are too young to have thought about it?

Should the Bible be a part of public education?

McCulloch's question:
Is the indoctrination of children into religious beliefs morally justified?

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Post #31

Post by QED »

twobitsmedia wrote:
QED wrote:Well I don't want to look like I automatically write-off any personal convictions of this sort, but I do worry that these deep-seated feelings are being triggered by basic misunderstandings about the technicalities of the world. For example, I would like to direct you to another topic titled: Our Universe: one of many or specially designed? which describes the ambiguity inherent in our restricted observational location. It could be that the God that many people "sense" is some equally great alternate reality (e.g. an effectively infinite metauniverse from which we have self-selected our own existence). I know that people do "sense" God in this way -- it is evident in the frequent appeals to incredulity that people make when arguing how "perfect" the world is for our existence. Again we digress so I would welcome any further discussion on this point in the topic I linked to above.
I will look at it, also. Your "rationalization" of "experience" is logical based on a non-existant God.
No, I said I was worried about possible misunderstandings. I'd hoped that you would notice that my main thrust is against "certainty in the face of ambiguity".
twobitsmedia wrote:They often do, but I don't know why. It's almost like they had this experince, but they are afraid to admit it was real....for fear? for fear of being critiqued? Uncertainty about what they experienced? (These are rhetorical questions....I don't know) The Bible uses very definite words describing those who actually have had experience and the word is "know." It goes beyond belief and into relationship. But, I admit there are people who claim a relationship, but still are afraid to admit it with any certainty.
There it is again... certain knowledge in the face of ambiguity. We all experience it from time to time -- it's called instinct. Of course there's a whole lot that can be debated about where it comes from and how reliable it can be. But is it good enough to get a belief system into education and society under a free-pass? I could direct you to a ton of literature that would clearly explain why it is not.
twobitsmedia wrote:
QED wrote: That's all very convenient for theism as system of belief. It certainly sets it apart from every other human science I can think of. Yet on the basis of personal and unsharable "experiences of God" we are supposed to permit the instruction of our Children in the certain existence of a supreme being? That seems like it's just asking for trouble -- what other personal convictions may people choose to share in this way?
Maybe, but I am not sure I can define "theism" as a science, based on how science is defined. Creationism is theory based on beginnings. There are some "creationsists" who seem to have wanted to look at science to get it to back up creationism. But it's foundationally flawed as a science with "God created" because science cannot prove God. And God made no attempt to prove himself. It is just reported "God created." (No explanation).
I look upon Science as human reasoning. Theism is constantly appealing to reason.

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Post #32

Post by Confused »

I have to wonder, if parents raised their daughter and son to believe that illness was the result of lack of faith or possession, is this child abuse? If a parent raises their child to believe that the state funded school system is corrupt and encourages them to not attend, is this not neglect. If the parent encourages their child to fail biology because they believe it contradicts creationism, is this not neglect?

Why is it that instilling Christian values that support such views not considered dangerous.

I also have to alter my position a bit on the moderate side of Christianity. I realize that these aren't the extremists that try to fund Jews to rebuild their temple to usher in the 2nd coming or the ones who blow up abortion clinics, but I have to say that after reading the rest of this chapter, Sam Harris book, and Michael Ruse, they make a valid point. Moderate Christians are guilty of doing nothing to discourage this. THey don't protest against literalists who push extremist views. They don't lobby for equal rights for same sex partnerships. So moderate Christianity may not be dangerous per se, but they are also guilty of either not following the teachings in the bible where they should be doing this or guilty of not physically engaging in stopping these extremists.
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Post #33

Post by otseng »

Confused wrote:I have to wonder, if parents raised their daughter and son to believe that illness was the result of lack of faith or possession, is this child abuse?
I would say this is rarely taught among Christians. And there certainly is not much Biblical support for such a position.
If a parent raises their child to believe that the state funded school system is corrupt and encourages them to not attend, is this not neglect. If the parent encourages their child to fail biology because they believe it contradicts creationism, is this not neglect?
And I am not familiar with any parent that does these things.
I also have to alter my position a bit on the moderate side of Christianity. I realize that these aren't the extremists that try to fund Jews to rebuild their temple to usher in the 2nd coming or the ones who blow up abortion clinics, but I have to say that after reading the rest of this chapter, Sam Harris book, and Michael Ruse, they make a valid point.
In the case of using violence against abortion doctors, there are Christians that publicly denounce this. But in the case of people helping to fund Jews, why should people denounce it? It's not really doing any harm to anyone.
They don't lobby for equal rights for same sex partnerships.
If Christians don't lobby for same sex partnership rights then they are doing wrong?
So moderate Christianity may not be dangerous per se, but they are also guilty of either not following the teachings in the bible where they should be doing this or guilty of not physically engaging in stopping these extremists.
Well, all Christians are guilty of not following all the teachings of the Bible. No new news there.

As for physically engaging in stopping extremists, the only case that you mention that would make sense would be to stop violent actions against abortion doctors.

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Post #34

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:I have to wonder, if parents raised their daughter and son to believe that illness was the result of lack of faith or possession, is this child abuse?
I would say this is rarely taught among Christians. And there certainly is not much Biblical support for such a position.
Not a popular teaching, but one that occurs. This I know from experience.
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:If a parent raises their child to believe that the state funded school system is corrupt and encourages them to not attend, is this not neglect. If the parent encourages their child to fail biology because they believe it contradicts creationism, is this not neglect?
And I am not familiar with any parent that does these things.
No, instead they send them to private religious schools.
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote: I also have to alter my position a bit on the moderate side of Christianity. I realize that these aren't the extremists that try to fund Jews to rebuild their temple to usher in the 2nd coming or the ones who blow up abortion clinics, but I have to say that after reading the rest of this chapter, Sam Harris book, and Michael Ruse, they make a valid point.
In the case of using violence against abortion doctors, there are Christians that publicly denounce this. But in the case of people helping to fund Jews, why should people denounce it? It's not really doing any harm to anyone.
Not harming anyone? By funding an organization to rebuild a temple that I was under the impression, had to be in the original spot of the old temple, a spot that now is inhabited by the Islamic Mosque (spelling?). The terms of the agreement are that the Jewish nation is not allowed to tear it down. That it must stand. There is legal battles to dispute this. Should this happen, what do you think the result will be?
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:They don't lobby for equal rights for same sex partnerships.
If Christians don't lobby for same sex partnership rights then they are doing wrong?
Not directly. But by inaction, they are condoning the position of the extremists. How can they be considered moderates then? I commonly hear about how the literalists are the ones who give religion a bad name. But I think Ruse and Harris make a compelling argument that would support Dawkins in that by not discouraging such prejudice and hate behavior , they present the same illusion that the literalists do, they just refuse to acknowledge it verbally.
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote: So moderate Christianity may not be dangerous per se, but they are also guilty of either not following the teachings in the bible where they should be doing this or guilty of not physically engaging in stopping these extremists.
Well, all Christians are guilty of not following all the teachings of the Bible. No new news there.

As for physically engaging in stopping extremists, the only case that you mention that would make sense would be to stop violent actions against abortion doctors.
Let me add a few more then. How about stop interjecting in embryonic stem cell research, stop demoralizing same sex partnerships (if you don't like it, don't watch), stop trying to interfere with a persons right to chose, stop funding politician campaigns so they "owe" you and will support your position (granted, this isn't just religion that is guilty of this, politics itself is quite corrupt without religions help), stop telling parents who are non-theists that they have condemned their children to hell.

I am not meaning to come across harsh here, and I am afraid it may appear so. It just seem to me that there is entirely to much on the news today that has religious undertones and politicians are eating it up. As a result, the rest of us pay the price. (I knew I avoided the news for a reason).
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Post #35

Post by otseng »

Confused wrote:
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:I have to wonder, if parents raised their daughter and son to believe that illness was the result of lack of faith or possession, is this child abuse?
I would say this is rarely taught among Christians. And there certainly is not much Biblical support for such a position.
Not a popular teaching, but one that occurs. This I know from experience.
Yes, I know it occurs. My point is simply that the Bible does not teach this.
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:If a parent raises their child to believe that the state funded school system is corrupt and encourages them to not attend, is this not neglect. If the parent encourages their child to fail biology because they believe it contradicts creationism, is this not neglect?
And I am not familiar with any parent that does these things.
No, instead they send them to private religious schools.
Sending a child to a private school rather than a public school cannot be considered neglect.
Not harming anyone? By funding an organization to rebuild a temple that I was under the impression, had to be in the original spot of the old temple, a spot that now is inhabited by the Islamic Mosque (spelling?). The terms of the agreement are that the Jewish nation is not allowed to tear it down. That it must stand. There is legal battles to dispute this. Should this happen, what do you think the result will be?
To my knowledge, nobody has been harmed or killed over this so far.
How about stop interjecting in embryonic stem cell research, stop demoralizing same sex partnerships (if you don't like it, don't watch), stop trying to interfere with a persons right to chose, stop funding politician campaigns so they "owe" you and will support your position (granted, this isn't just religion that is guilty of this, politics itself is quite corrupt without religions help), stop telling parents who are non-theists that they have condemned their children to hell.
So, are you suggesting to limit free speech?

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Post #36

Post by QED »

Confused wrote:I am not meaning to come across harsh here, and I am afraid it may appear so. It just seem to me that there is entirely to much on the news today that has religious undertones and politicians are eating it up. As a result, the rest of us pay the price. (I knew I avoided the news for a reason).
It's the same here in the UK. The first fifteen minutes of the News on a typical day has story after story sharing the common thread of Relgion. It's all bad news too.
otseng wrote:Should the Bible be a part of public education?
And what about the Holy Qur'an? If the news is ever going to get any better I would say that people need to be educated that their faith amounts to little more than a guess at something that others have also guessed at as well. Rather than teach that faith is a virtue it should be spelt out that faith is an interpretation that could be wrong -- but that's not possible with religious faith by definition!

Thinking on this prompted me to start a new topic in current events to debate religiously motivated hate-crime.

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Post #37

Post by otseng »

QED wrote:And what about the Holy Qur'an?
If a school decides they want to teach it, I say go for it.

But the difference between the Bible and the Quran is that the latter has had practically zero influence on Western culture. Whereas Dawkins himself lists almost 2 pages (pages 341-343) worth of Biblical references in use in English literature and conversations. And that is not even an exhaustive list.

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Post #38

Post by QED »

otseng wrote:
QED wrote:And what about the Holy Qur'an?
If a school decides they want to teach it, I say go for it.

But the difference between the Bible and the Quran is that the latter has had practically zero influence on Western culture. Whereas Dawkins himself lists almost 2 pages (pages 341-343) worth of Biblical references in use in English literature and conversations. And that is not even an exhaustive list.
But as Dawkin's reminds us, the Bible has enhanced our language and literature. What other poetic riches are being ignored for the sake of an arbitrary preference for one particular brand of faith? I do not deny the enormous contribution that religion has made to art in general and understand that it stands as a great document to humanities early struggles to set out it's place in the cosmos. But how much better it would be for mankind if it was not passed-off as some kind of supernatural instruction when it ends up telling one lot of people one thing and another lot something else.

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Post #39

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote:
Confused wrote: Not harming anyone? By funding an organization to rebuild a temple that I was under the impression, had to be in the original spot of the old temple, a spot that now is inhabited by the Islamic Mosque (spelling?). The terms of the agreement are that the Jewish nation is not allowed to tear it down. That it must stand. There is legal battles to dispute this. Should this happen, what do you think the result will be?
To my knowledge, nobody has been harmed or killed over this so far.
YET!!!
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:How about stop interjecting in embryonic stem cell research, stop demoralizing same sex partnerships (if you don't like it, don't watch), stop trying to interfere with a persons right to chose, stop funding politician campaigns so they "owe" you and will support your position (granted, this isn't just religion that is guilty of this, politics itself is quite corrupt without religions help), stop telling parents who are non-theists that they have condemned their children to hell.
So, are you suggesting to limit free speech?
If I don't ask for your opinion, then I don't feel you have the right to force it on me. In other words, if I am simply going to Walmart to get X, then I should be able to go without having to drive past protesters lining the sidewalks with signs and yelling out "don't shop here, these people support homosexuality". Your free speech shouldn't have the right to make a child feel alienated because they have two same sex parents. Your free speech shouldn't be used to force a label on an OB/GYN who performs abortions for rape victims. Your free speech shouldn't be inserted where it isn't asked for.
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Post #40

Post by otseng »

Confused wrote:Your free speech shouldn't be inserted where it isn't asked for.
But if someone is not allowed to speak unless it's asked for, then it's not free speech.

Personally, what I believe is the missing element is respect. People should be free to speak their minds on whatever they want, as long as it's presented respectfully. Shouting "Baby killers!" at women entering abortion clinics is not respectful. Holding up a sign "Choose life" at abortion clinics would be respectful.

Of course the ideal situation would be what you're saying. In that information is given when it's requested for. But, sometimes one has to do what one thinks is right, even without getting permission for it.

Now, trying to steer this back to the OP.

In the case of children, we don't ask children permission before we give them information. But there is a fine balance between "forcing" a child to believe something and teaching a child something. Suppose a child doesn't want to learn to read. We know it's important for a child to read. So, somehow we need to think of a way to get the child to read.

Religious people think it's important for their child to believe in the same religion. Most do all they can to ensure this. But, would this be considered wrong? I don't think so. But, it would only become wrong if the belief was forced onto a child against his will. Especially if it is an older child.

So, the indoctrination of children into a religious belief is morally acceptable. Forcing children into a religious belief is not.

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