Tags: Atheism, Creation Museum, Creationism, dinosaurs, Religion
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Tags: Atheism, Religion
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Tags: Judaism, Rabbi, Religion
Several days ago I posted, Your god is a psychopath with a twisted sense of humor. It begins with a story about some odd religious practices engaged in by a sect of orthodox Jews. My post was precipitated by a discussion with a a group of friends, a few of whom are Jewish, who told the story of a rabbi in their home town who, to their surprise, engaged in this practice.
A few years ago I had occasion to meet the aforementioned rabbi in a quasi business situation. To be perfectly clear, this meeting took place in the secular world, where I live, and had nothing whatsoever to do with religion. When introduced to the rabbi he was so completely detached it was as if I were invisible. I’m not the most social person in the world but I do have a considerable amount of experience being introduced to people, and understand how people generally behave upon meeting one another. This man wasn’t even on the same planet with normal behavior. During the hour or so the group was together I happened to encounter the rabbi a few times and attempted to be polite and was completely ignored. I noticed that he was amiable with other men and women in attendance and wondered what the hell his problem, with me, was. At one point I did check the mirror to see if perhaps I had, by some strange twist of fate, become invisible…I had not. I concluded that the rabbi was simply a major jerk-off. Of course, now that I know the somersault story it occurs to me the guy may have rolled on his head one too many times.
I mentioned the rude rabbi, later to another member of the group, a somewhat knowledgeable Jew, who explained the rabbi’s sect segregates men from women and he doesn’t deign to speak with women unless absolutely necessary. I maintained that is all well and good in his own little religious community, but if he chooses to venture out into the real world he should respect its social mores and conventions…just as I would be expected to respect those of his community should I visit; which I plan on doing as soon as the temperature in hell drops to below freezing. I expressed the belief that if it’s not possible for him to manage some slight behavior modification perhaps he should either: not venture outside of his community, or live in a place where his behavior is the. Should I/we be expected to adjust my/our behavior to accommodate the religious beliefs of the outsider, or should the outsider respect the rules of the culture he is visiting ? My Jewish friend, who I suspect might be biased, thinks I’m dead wrong. What say you? I’m very interested in what others have to say about this.
Tags: Atheism, Christianity, god, Religion
In recent discussions with an atheist who happens to be coupled with a non-atheist (read christian) some thought and concern was given to how the hypothetical children might be raised. This got me to thinking about the basic differences in the approaches to child rearing between religious folks and atheists.
Clearly I cannot speak for all atheists, but I can speak from my own experience and my observations of others with whom I am personally acquainted and share my non-beliefs. My ex-partner in marriage shared my views on religion and god so it was rarely, if ever, an issue of discussion in our home.
When we had a child we didn’t raise our child to be an atheist. In fact, since god seems to be everywhere…and not in the religious sense…it was inevitable that our child would be exposed, on some level, to god and religion. To us, this was not a problem; we both believed our child should be allowed exposure to any and all beliefs and be allowed to choose freely. There were occasions, when coming home from school, my child discussed god. I listened and was engaged in the discussion of what had been experienced or learned, but never once did I say to my kid, “There is no god.”
Once, upon seeing an old poster from the Nixon era, in which Nixon appeared as a large dominant figure clutching dog leashes restraining his cronies in the Watergate debacle; my child said, “Look mommy, that’s a picture of god.” I asked where god was and, sure enough, the index finger pointed to Nixon. Amused, I simply replied, “So that’s what god looks like.”
Like all non religious children, my child heard, from kids at school, talk about church and god. Wanting to fit in, my kid went to church, with friends, on several occasions (at various stages of childhood) and decided against pursuing it further.
In religious families, it seems important that the children be taken to
indoctrination stations church (synagogues, mosques, etc.) from the beginning, so that young impressionable minds can be molded before the capacity for independent thought develops. By the time a child reaches puberty these beliefs have become so ingrained that it would never occur to most of them to question their teachings. Put simply, religious parents raise their children to embrace their own beliefs.
This is part of the dilemma for the atheist and the non-atheist should they decide to go forth and procreate. I suppose one solution would be for the atheist to concede and allow any offspring to be taken to the indoctrination station, and upon reaching a certain point in their lives be told, in the same sitting, there is no Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or god…it’s all just good childish fun. Though I think it is more likely deprogramming, much like that used in recovering a brainwashed child from a cult, would be required. Another approach, and to my mind a better one, would be to raise a free range child (like mine) who is allowed to ask questions and explore wherever curiosity takes him or her and when the child reaches an age where they can engage in critical thinking the religious parent can then expose the child to their ideology.
I wonder how many people would have taken a different path had they not experienced this early indoctrination. Had those with strong beliefs in the invisible magic man in the sky and various forms of religion been raised in a fashion more like my child I think the world might be, at least slightly, a more sane place.
- Grief Beyond Belief — How Atheists Are Dealing With Death (gretachristina.typepad.com)
- The Cutting Edge of Atheism (onistee.com)