Brainwashing Kids In Religion
Wednesday - May 30, 2007
I went to Kahala Mall one day and there was a group of children singing jazzy versions of I Want To Be Like Jesus and Yes, Jesus Died For Me, arms swinging and hands a-twirling.
Yes, I thought, Christian indoctrination in America does start at an early age. I went - briefly - to Sunday School at age 8, not because I had a clue what it was all about; I went because so many of my playmates went.
Mind you, I have no issues with individual faiths. It’s the pervasive indoctrination without cross-examination that troubles me.
No kid is ever told: Now on one hand we have the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but on the other hand have you ever seen evidence of a person dying, being entombed and then walking away? What do you make of that?
Or, the Gospels tell of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Have you ever heard of anyone being raised from the dead in modern life? What do you make of that?
It’s called critical thinking - subjecting belief and theory to tests of their probable truth.
The late mathematician-philosopher Bertrand Russell said if he claimed a teapot too small to be seen by any telescope orbited between the Sun and the Earth, we’d call him crazy. But if you’d been told about it since you were a child starting school, you’d say “So what’s new? Everybody knows about the teapot.”
Critical thinkers are taught never to question faith. It’s impolite to ask someone at a party if he believes in God. It’s also not done, I think, because for some people answering yes or no might be embarrassing. Most people brought up in a Christian home call themselves Christians. They really haven’t given much thought to why that is.
The biologist-author Richard Dawkins opines that there are probably many more atheists out there than we know about because so many won’t answer yes in a poll.
“I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented,” declares Dawkins, the famed Oxford professor who wrote the best-selling The God Delusion.
Then there’s the issue of adult indoctrination in America.
Christians and Jews tend to promote laws and symbols which reflect their values. Their lobby is much stronger than that of atheists, Muslims or Buddhists. But to tell you the truth, that cross that stood above Camp Smith never infringed on my un-religion at all. Neither did those fish emblems some lawmakers put on their doors at the Legislature. Anyone who’d paste a fish on his door isn’t a thoughtful lawmaker in my book. He should be working at Tamashiro’s.
I am, however, offended if a bailiff in court asks me if I’m telling the truth “so help me God.” I’d rather hear “do you swear upon penalty of perjury to tell the truth?” But I answer “yes.” Life’s easier that way.
What would make better sense in America would be pure reason. But religion is faith, not reason. Some prefer to live by the reason of the Bible. If that’s the case, why not heed what the Byzantine emperor Manual Peleologus said in the 1300s? “God is not pleased by blood and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature.”
I can tell you why. The Old Testament is filled with exhortations from God for his believers to “kill every thing that breathes.” It’s a book about a vengeful God. Christians try to ignore that part of the book.
Please don’t read this as a bashing. I don’t run a crusade against religion that’s come by honestly and thoughtfully.
It’s that “spread the word” that turns me off, especially when it’s spread to kids without an equal dose of reason tossed in.
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