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Is indoctrination of children child abuse?
Chloe Ze Übermensch posted a topic in Hot TopicsI had a few thoughts recently, regarding religious indoctrination of children. It's a fairly controversial topic so I suspect there will be a large amount of negative commentary on this thread, but I really would like views from all sides. I personally think that bombarding an uninformed mind with religious dogma is a form of abuse. Dictionary.com defines Child Abuse as: Mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, psychological bullying, beating, and sexual molestation. Most rational and intelligent people would agree that hitting a child is abuse. But though many places call spanking abuse, many parents believe it's not. Burning a child with cigarettes is also (obviously) considered abuse, but smoking around children - even though it is known second-hand smoke causes cancer - is not so clear. Other grey areas, such as shouting (a normal action in many households) is not abuse, but carried to extremes it can be. Calling children names or threatening them (even if the threat is not carried out), can be classed as abuse, depending on who you listen to. But the grayest of grey areas is the teaching of children. Can religious education of children be abusive? Teaching is clearly valuable, as it prepares children for life, more so when it teaches them how to think, derive answers from evidence and make decisions, but less so when it teaches them what to think. I've come to the conclusion that indoctrinating children with religion is abuse. Of course, it depends on what you teach them, but if you say 'Now Jimmy, the Bible says 'do X' and if you don't, 'Y' will happen.' What Jimmy is being told may be good, but he's being threatened with x, and that was the only reason given for doing what he was told. Most parents believe that they should teach their children what they believe. In a never ending cycle, parents who were brainwashed with religious dogma in turn brainwash their own children, whether it has been helpful or harmful. Rather than teaching children that some behaviours are harmful, religion teaches that their very natures are evil, their thoughts are impure and that they are so vile they deserve to be tortured for all eternity, unless they continually beg for forgiveness. They're told that an implacable god is watching them at all times, and he knows what they're doing constantly and will punish them for it (like a Santa-esque bully). While many adults resent the proliferation of surveillance cameras, they teach their children that a being who can see through walls is constantly watching them. It's a wonder that most people given that type of upbringing aren't schizophrenic! Stuffing immature minds with religion when they haven't the means to sort through it critically damages the developing psyche. No amount of post-adult reasoning completely frees the subconscious from all the ecclesiastical baggage. I believe that indoctrination discourages reasoning and damages critical thought; furthermore, it fosters guilt which is NEVER a good thing. However, while some teachings may be damaging, it doesn't constitute abuse in that the parent or teacher intends to harm the child, or is indifferent to the consequences. The end result is the finale of a cycle. Unfortunately, most adults never reason with what they've been taught, which means it carries on from generation to generation. Indeed, the whole idea of faith is to discourage thinking and foster acceptance. Anything that makes the mind worse or causes em otional pain may be characterized as harm, and its' inclusion as abuse. I'll be very interested to hear your comments.
Consumerism & Religion
jrrtoken posted a topic in Hot TopicsA few months ago, a church was propped up on the outskirts of the city where I currently reside. Normally these sort of events were overlooked, yet this church was different; It was massive. So, after the grand opening of sorts, the church somehow put me on their mailing list, and I received many of their advertisements. Usually I throw away crap like this, but these ads were worded differently. Every ad sent usually capitalized on some sort of pop culture icon, for example, I received Matrix, Spider Man, and even Star Wars themed ads featuring different sermons based around certain themes. I was disgusted by this blatant use of commercialization and entertainment as religious conversion tools. Not only does this completely reverse many of Jesus' teachings, but the fact that this church can be subject to legal issues for using copyrighted and trademarked also raises more questions. While the ads never featured the actual names of franchises, it was obvious that they incorporated intellectual property. I share no love for consumer-oriented organized religion such as this, and is the main reason why I left my church, and faith in general, several years ago. While this practice is nothing new, and dates back at least to Aimee Semple McPherson's entertainment-oriented Pentecostalism, does this trend of ultraconsumerism within religion attract more people to due to its culture savvy style of preaching? Or is it simply a corruption of the original, core message of religion?
There are two threads in the Senate that contain fallacious material regarding the belief in the supernatural. The OP has objected to these fallacies being pointed out in the threads he created, so I've created this one. This thread will be the place to debate the existence of the Christian god (lowercase 'g' intentional since I'm referring to the title not the name). If you have a good reason to believe in such a god, please post it here. I will provide the rational response to the supernatural. Should a good reason be shown, I will acknowledge it. Should the reason(s) alleged to be good end up being fallacious instead, I will speak to it. I have no claim to make -I'm not claiming that the Christian god is non-existent, rather, I'm saying there's no good reason that I've seen yet to believe this god (a.k.a. Yahweh, El, Elohim, Jehovah) is anything more than myth and fantasy. If the term "ignorant" is used, it refers most likely to the argument from ignorance, which basically states a speculative claim must be true since actual causality cannot be established. If the term "cult" is used, it refers to the anthropological definition, which generally refers to the followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices. If the term "fallacious" is used, it refers to the incorrect application of logic and reasoning. If the term "superstition" is used, it refers to the belief in the supernatural. Terms like "moron," "idiot," "retard," etc. will not be used and posts that contain these will be deleted. So... what is the first "good reason" to believe in the Christian god.
Atheist bus ads, atheist signs, and atheist views
SkinWalker posted a topic in Senate ChambersShouldn't they have the same consideration and tolerance as any other viewpoint? http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner~y2009m3d11-The-vote-is-in--Atheist-ads-will-be-allowed-on-Ottawa-buses In Ottawa, Canada, the city council overturned 13-7 the previous decision to restrict ads purchased for city buses by a local freethought and humanist organization which read, "There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Sound words to live by. Recent months have seen the same ads run in Great Britain, Washington DC, and elsewhere. Also there have been billboards erected around the country in places like Minnesota, Arizona, and Tennessee. The latter stated, "Praise Darwin. Evolve Beyond Belief," and was erected near the town of Dayton, TN where the Scopes Trial took place 80 years ago and it was in conjunction with the recent Darwin Day. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1878818,00.html?xid=rss-mostpopular