113 comments on “Barry Lynn Video for Openly Secular

  • Yayyyyy!!!!!

    Thanks so much for posting this. This now makes it real secularism. This (were it emulated by other religious folk) makes the whole moral venture of true state secularism in the US actually doable. Maybe pretty soon, too.



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  • 2
    ad nauseam says:

    Neutrality in the state. Not pro-religion/non-religion, not anti-religion/non-religion, just no opinion. Finally something I can agree with.

    I do wonder though, can a religious/non-religious government official have photos, symbols, etc. in/outside their office that correspond with their personal convictions? To what extent does the regulation go?…



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  • I had never heard of Mr. Lynn. He is a very valuable man. I can’t help wondering, however, why such such an enlightened, reasonable, clear-thinking and independently-minded gentleman like this would want to be a minister? What’s in it for him? That baffles me. I am not intolerant – merely confused.



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  • 4
    ad nauseam says:

    Maybe he believes in his religion and an afterlife. Being religious doesn’t automatically make you an unenlightened extremist who doesn’t care about state neutrality.

    I mean, some of the most unreasonable people I have met have been both religious and non-religious.



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  • Neutrality in the state. Not pro-religion/non-religion, not anti-religion/non-religion, just no opinion.

    Driving religion out of the state so that it can neither be expressed nor recognised there is hardly neutrality.



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  • At its least, allowing people to promote religious justifications for policy making is to deny a proper debate. It is to encourage possibly unwarranted suspicion that future non-rational justifications for policy may follow. To not promote policy based on reason and evidence is to show bad faith (mala fides) in the process of mutuality, understanding and shared lives. At every stage the decent thing to do is to offer arguments consonant with your faith (religion) that are nevertheless reasonable and evidenced, shareable and open. Pre-faith (and attitudes to it!) is the neutral civil substrate where we can all meet as equals and upon which we may fairly build.



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  • While this is only a very short segment by Pastor Barry Lynn, it seems to be the sort of world I could live with. A clear separation of church and state would be a good template across the world. My problem is not that people believe in god or they have religious practices. I don’t particularly care and its none of my business. The problem is the imposition of one persons religious belief on another…. with all of the well known consequences that history has recorded over and over again. The imposition of a religious regime can be through government, war or even just communal social pressure on the village green. How to neutralize religion is the problem, so that people can happily practice their faith and rituals, but have no impact on another person, or a political decision. I like the model of religion being an activity for consenting adults in private.

    So I could walk in support of Pastor Lynn.



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  • That starts a little wrong. People should be allowed to make any justifications they like. That first sentence should read something like-

    When people promote religious justifications for policy making they deny a proper debate



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  • I am very concerned about religion having the ability to strongarm people’s moral thinking with its particular ability to invoke ideas of eternal punishment and reward. Evidence and reason in the service of discussions on moral matters in political arenas seems not simply benign, but essential. Religion in the same arena, even just appealing religiously to its own, belittles the the freedom of moral agency required by a democracy especially amongst the weaker willed.



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  • religion having the ability to strongarm people’s moral thinking…

    The church has been incredibly powerful for thousands of years. To invoke an (Un)Intelligent Design metaphor, you couldn’t come up with a more perfect species to be susceptible to religion and gods than Homo Sapiens. What served us brilliantly as an evolutionary survival strategy has the collateral damage of producing gods, ad infinitum. A single priestly threat of eternal damnation or virgins and martyrdom and mountains do come to Mohammed. A crazy species.



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  • 11
    Rev. El Mundo says:

    The answer to your question lies in Barry’s church affiliation; United Church of Christ.

    UCC is perhaps one of the most liberal, reasonable and clear thinking sects in the country. UCC ministers are about as close to secularism as a religious organization can be. In so many respects, UCC ministers resemble any “minister” coming from the Universal Unitarian tradition.

    Google UCC and read a little more. You’ll see what I’m relating.



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  • 12
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    I mean, some of the most unreasonable people I have met have been both religious and non-religious.

    Sure but if we were to make a “tally of unreason” among the entire population of the world (religious and non-religious), I seriously doubt we would get anything close to a 50/50 spread.

    Strong dogmatic religious belief is already a form of unreason so the deck is uneven from the start and statistics prove that there are many more fundamentalist believers in the world than atheists or agnostics.



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  • 14
    ad nauseam says:

    The percentages really don’t mean much. And what exactly is un-reason? What is strong belief as opposed to weak belief?

    Also, I don’t get the “chosen few” mentality among religious and non-religious people alike.



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  • What a strange person! Religion usually implies you are the sole possessor of the truth, and as such you have the right to force others to your view. I presume the Church of Christ is a minority church in danger from bigger churches.

    I think separation of church and state is a temporary truce not an end goal. Eventually we should eliminate delusion, using non-violent, non-coercive means. I suspect AI will not put up with it, and will coax us out of it using means beyond our understanding. They would think of it as their gift to us, cleaning up our various flaws from us having come about so haphazardly by evolution.



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  • Religious beliefs trump all says Richard Dawkins and it is so true. Therefore we must be vigilant at all times to prevent one of the religions from passing laws requiring us to accept their belief systems. Bronowski in the Ascent of Man states:

    “There is no absolute knowledge. Those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect.”

    This is very correct, but try and tell this to Republicans.



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  • “A crazy species.”
    Yes, but it’s our evolutionary “baggage”, as explained so succinctly by Andy Thomsen, MD in “Why We Believe in Gods”. Fortunately, we have the capacity to understand how we got to be this way, and to change our ways (or, as Roedy says below, have our ways changed for us).

    Steve



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  • “Consenting adults.” I like that. Let them do it behind closed doors. I really think that religious people should be marginalized, finally.

    Yes, I think we’d all rather have Lynn than Pat Robertson. (It’s all relative.)

    We should not overlook Phil’s point, however, and I share his concern about the harm that religion, any religion, is bound to cause – even with this crucial separation that our constitution says we should have. Let’s not delude ourselves. The great philosopher Schopenhauer (who I regard as a sage) said something to this effect once: A lie always does harm.

    The late Hitchens had this to say (and so much more, as I am sure you all know):

    “Christianity attacks us in our deepest integrity. It says we wouldn’t know what morality was, that we wouldn’t be able to derive ethical statements or actions if we didn’t have divine or supernatural permission to do so. So it essentially robs us of our responsibility and our freedom. It says that we are the objects of a design—I call it a supernatural, celestial dictatorship—which shapes our ends, demands things of us, plays with us, is capricious with us, and it is mythologically based. Delusions are not good for people”



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  • Fortunately, we have the capacity to understand how we got to be this way, and to change our ways..

    This is the tipping point. As you move around through the general population, what percentage to you think have the intellectual capacity to reason themselves out of religion. As a crazy species, we can’t self correct. And if you try to change people through other means, as Roedy suggests, they start shooting and bombing your. Brilliantly evolved hunter gatherer. Hopeless 21st century survivor and rationalist.



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  • “Consenting adults.” I like that.

    How would you deal with children who were, through choice, involving themselves in religious experiences and practices?



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  • It wasn’t meant to be taken literally. I was being tongue-in-cheek. It would be nice, however, if we lived in a culture where atheism or agnosticism was considered to be the norm, and religiosity—particularly religious fundamentalism—was considered to be what I am quite sure it is: an aberration. Today, atheists are marginalized to a large some extent. I think we have it backwards.

    But I wasn’t really suggesting that religious people (of any age) should be suppressed or repressed or not have the freedom to be religious or do religious things openly. That would be horrible, a form of tyranny—and unconstitutional as well.

    Orwell wrote a novel called Animal Farm. He warned us about this.—The oppressed become the oppressors, etc. We do need to be vigilant.

    I am glad you asked that question, Ewan.



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  • How would you deal with children who were, through choice, involving themselves in religious experiences and practices?

    They would only be making that choice, if they had been informed by an adult.

    That is what must stop. That is the pyramid seller scheme all religions employ to survive. Get at the children. The earlier the better. All the science you need is contained in this saying, falsely attributed to the Jesuits, “Give me the child till 8, and I will give you the man.” A child’s brain is a blank white board. If it is painted with religion while young, it lays down neural networks that make it near impossible for that child to escape. This argument has been done to death in other discussions in this forum. All the science is explained. Research brain plasticity if you want to know what happens to a child’s brain stuffed full of religion. I concur with Hitchens. To do this to a child before their brains have matured to the point where they can make informed decisions for themselves is child abuse. Leave the children alone.

    I don’t care if adults come to a position they seek out religion. It is collateral damage from our evolution that we invent gods. The statement. “Religion should be practiced by consenting adults in private” puts religion where it should be. Away from decision making. Away from kids. Away from inciting the world to war. A benign practice undertaken by adults who choose, as adults to undertake this behaviour.

    No child “Through Choice” would seek out religion unless an adult had informed them of that religion. Hands off the children.



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  • David R. Allen:

    As you move around through the general population, what percentage do
    you think have the intellectual capacity to reason themselves out of
    religion? As a crazy species, we can’t self correct.

    (Sorry… I couldn’t reply to your reply)

    Technically, I said “capacity”… in the sense of potential, which might or might not be realized. I take the rather more optimistic view: that over time, the number of rational people increases (as it seems to be doing) to the point where the crazies are able to be managed. I hope I’m right.

    Steve



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  • How would you deal with children who were, through choice, involving themselves in religious experiences and practices

    Like sex. Advise- wait until you are older. You can hurt yourself. You can be groomed. In the meantime the religious parent should advise- look at all religions and ask why this one? The atheist parent- look at all religions and none. (Quakers fall into this category too…)

    For so many out there these areas are power plays. Youth is the best time for facile arguments and religion has a ton.

    I never ask people to automatically respect adults. I do ask them to respect children. I hope you can see why.



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  • To do this to a child before their brains have matured to the point where they can make informed decisions for themselves is child abuse.

    So would you prosecute parents who brought their children up in faith, remove the children from their care and deny them future opportunities to work with children or in healthcare?



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  • As long as we are surviving well, I am sure you are correct that:

    the number of rational people increases…

    However, with the relentless increase in the world human population, we will inevitably become desparate suffering from starvation, pandemics, and probably nuclear war. During those stresses, people of the world will again turn to the supernatural to save them.



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  • cbrown
    May 20, 2015 at 12:40 p

    “There is no absolute knowledge. Those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect.”

    Some information however, is orders of magnitude, more imperfect than others!



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  • Well, certainly not because any religion is true!

    But the point well taken is that if population self-control is not implemented, the competition for natural resources (think “land” and “water”, to name two) will be a major problem. As Andy Thomson points out (“Why we believe in gods- a concise guide to the science of faith”), we have an in-born tendency to look for help in times of trouble, and religion takes advantage of this.

    Steve



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  • 32
    ad nauseam says:

    I’d say don’t teach children your personal philosophy either. Also, don’t use moral language because that is how you control and confuse them as well. Even if it is all “secular” (or whatever you want to call it) morality. Teach them about power (parental authority and society) and natural consequences (death, pain and pleasure from both a biological and a societal standpoint).

    If you teach them your own moral principles and beliefs you are brainwashing them just like the religious people.

    Of course, everyone thinks they aren’t indoctrinating kids. “Think of the children!” is cried from all sides. Probably a way to “think of the children” is to not do their thinking for them, which includes teaching any and all subjective moral codes until a certain age (that is if we are using Hitchens’ view).

    One more thing: who decides what is child abuse? And if teaching children religion (and really any philosophy of life and morals) is abuse should the state confiscate children being taught these things by their parents?



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  • I looked this quote up, and found the original, by Robert Ardrey:

    But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were
    armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and
    massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our
    treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom
    they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be
    converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be
    accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how
    magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems,
    not our corpses.

    Steve



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  • @Ewan.

    As a society we have only benefitted from asking kids to wait about sex. By raising the age of consent we also give them the tools to push back against predators and call for the help they need when they recognise a non respectful approach.

    At the same time we have only benefitted from more sex education, not just the simple mechanics but the risks, the choices, the proclivities, the love, the exploitation.

    One of the key things for younger children to know is that their education is not yet at an end. There is still much to learn and that it is too early to recount some important facts. Your brains are not yet wired to understand the problems of say lust wrought by hormones, and love. Yeah, yeah, sure we understand they brag, we’ve seen Hollyoaks and the Inbetweeners and that Mila Kunis movie. But no….no you don’t. Before committing to relationships, you need to know about grownup feelings and to understand those you need to have something akin to a grown up brain.

    Lengthening childhood and keeping it as that period before any serious choices are permitted has fueled an intellectual and cultural boom. It has netted us creative and confident kids, falling crime rates, kinder societies.

    For religion it will not come to legislation in any foreseeable future, but I suspect it will come to ridicule and social disgrace to so little respect a child that you cannot wait to share powerful grown-up ideas, rush them into lifelong relationships, that you have so little confidence in the merit of your case you cannot simply live your life as an exemplar for a while longer…

    And a reminder, education means not saying Jesus loves you, but Christians think that Jesus loves most people or some….



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  • 35
    ad nauseam says:

    Really, this is about who’s children are they, the parent’s or the state’s? Or maybe who has the final say when it comes to education, the parent’s or the state’s.

    Do you let the parents teach their kids what they want, or do you let the majority of society teach the kids?

    I think if the state decides to be the parent, then there is going to be a lot of bloodshed in the transition period. Biology and protecting offspring and all…



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  • Lengthening childhood and keeping it as that period before any serious choices are permitted…

    Presumably you wouldn’t deny children the opportunity to enter into loving relationships before their childhood was over, even though that involves a serious choice made on their behalf? For me, that was what we were doing with our children when we brought them up in the faith.

    You see faith as a grown-up idea, perhaps because you consider it a life choice which should be evidenced, rationalised, considered and understood before being accepted. I see it as something wholly natural to human existence which can be experienced at any age.



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  • a life choice which should be evidenced, rationalised, considered and understood

    I said none of that. I said a more grown up mind. A greater emotional intelligence and introspection is needed before starting a a lifelong relationship. Young children know only about loving relationships hinged upon dependency.

    Presumably you wouldn’t deny children the opportunity to enter into loving relationships before their childhood was over, even though that involves a serious choice made on their behalf?

    Yep. I would.



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  • My repaste was too late

    Presumably you wouldn’t deny children the opportunity to enter into loving relationships before their childhood was over, even though that involves a serious choice made on their behalf?

    Yep, I would if it were the result of any endorsements by me. They may well, quite by themselves, find friends and family to love or more likely form friendships with. Vetting would be involved, but the commitments should be mild.



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  • A greater emotional intelligence and introspection is needed before starting a a lifelong relationship.

    But children have such relationships with family members. Experience of loving relationships, from an early age, is important, I think.



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  • Jesus isn’t gramps. Thats utterly disingenuous.
    The comparison is more like that of an underage betrothal.

    Not to those for whom God is a loving father.



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  • Heaven, hell, no care for your real family / tomorrow / the day after tomorrow, those gays getting married/adopting, evil condoms, go forth and multiply (Africa will thank you), sins, confessions, fidelity beyond reason or the children’s happiness….

    A second dad with some heavy duty requirements. Disingenuous.



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  • Heaven, hell, no care for your real family / tomorrow / the day after tomorrow, those gays getting married/adopting, evil condoms, go forth and multiply (Africa will thank you), sins, confessions, fidelity beyond reason or the children’s happiness….

    Ah. Religion as understood through the mediation of newspaper headlines. No mention of love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next.



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  • Ewan. In this forum. You don’t want to go down this path.

    Ah. Religion as understood through the mediation of newspaper headlines. No mention of love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next.

    You are going to get thousands of responses pointing out how each and everyone of the points you posted has been abused by religion. I’ll start with the “Love’ show by the Pope’s financial director, Cardinal Pell, to victims of child sex abuse in Australia. You don’t have to read it. It has a “Click Play to Listen” button. I wept.

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4240151.htm

    This Royal Commission into child sexual abuse has been running for months. The RCC in Australia is now hiding under a rock. Ireland is about to vote in same sex marriage. In Ireland the RCC is not voicing an opinion on this referendum because they are now so distrusted in Ireland, a Catholic country, that they can now not say anything, and have it taken credibly.



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  • @Ewan

    Ah. Religion as understood through the mediation of newspaper headlines. No mention of love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next.

    Well, Quakerdom doesn’t cut it for you though you paint your personal faith as dogma free, yet you give succour to a disgraceful church and raise not a word against it. Besides we had already covered love as part of the deal (the main part of our discussion and a key part of my comparison with sex.)

    I think you are a Quaker in spirit, but read the hundreds of accounts in converts corner and you will see exactly the grooming and the power plays, the Stockholm Syndrome lives foisted upon the young by parents doing their christian duty. Your solepcism doesn’t do you credit.

    Nor was that list intended as comprehensive, only a selection of grown up attributes that a young lover of god would find themselves unwittingly up against.

    Best wait.

    The virtues you mention are the virtues any good parent should instil in a child, excepting the potential poison of the last three words and their ability to subvert present action. Also, an entirely unneeded promise made, that may result in later despair when the jig is up.



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  • 50
    ad nauseam says:

    I think this part is what you were referring to:

    For religion it will not come to legislation in any foreseeable future, but I suspect it will come to ridicule and social disgrace to so little respect a child that you cannot wait to share powerful grown-up ideas, rush them into lifelong relationships, that you have so little confidence in the merit of your case you cannot simply live your life as an exemplar for a while longer…

    So you are saying legislation would be nice (making religious education illegal I think?) but since that is not going to happen soon, just shame the parents who do teach their kids. Fine, I know what your position on ridicule and you know mine. We’re not going to agree so I’m not going to argue it.

    But, what I’m wondering is (and also taking into account the lengthening of childhood stuff):

    1) Who decides when a child is no longer a child and is “ready” and it is legal to learn about religion?

    2) How would the state enforce the law (should it ever pass which I think it very well may within a couple of decades) and by what criteria would it determine if the parents actually taught their kids religion?

    3) Would the legislation include other philosophies not connected to an organized religion (both would seem to be brainwashing the kiddos).

    4) If the parents are caught, what is the punishment? Are the parents jailed if teaching religion is defined as child abuse? Are the kids confiscated?

    5) What would be appropriate to teach the kids? Is literature excluded if it mentions religion, or the supernatural?

    It seems to me like you could potentially single out religious people and disregard all other brainwashing that is done. If that is the case, then one could have the state run educational system teach philosophy against religion. Furthermore, lets say the state defines childhood as 0 to 16 years. If they are put into the public educational system they would get a good decade’s worth of brainwashing by the state and the religious people couldn’t really do anything.

    Like what David R Allen said about the quote falsely attributed to the Jesuits: “Give me the child till 8, and I will give you the man.”

    Not saying that’s what you would do, but this whole thing is a lot more complicated than it appears (and I’m not saying you don’t see that either).

    If a majority of the society wants to make “indoctrinating” children illegal, fine. BUT if they want to still call themselves a free society then make it true across the board. This including “secular” (if you can call it that) philosophies and moral codes.

    Really, it seems to me some of the only things you could teach them would be:
    This is the law (or our law in the house) and if you disobey you will be punished. NOTHING about morality there, just cause and effect.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 22, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    So you are saying legislation would be nice (making religious education illegal I think?) but since that is not going to happen soon, just shame the parents who do teach their kids.

    “Religious education” should not be confused with “indoctrination”!
    A balanced “religious education” studies a diversity of religious beliefs. “Indoctrination” denigrates or excludes all except one!

    While many RE courses still promote far too much woo, the core elements in secular countries are moving away from divisive indoctrination, despite a reactionary backlash from entrenched faith-heads seeking exclusive access to inflict their dogmas on children!

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190260/DCSF-00114-2010.pdf

    The school community
    RE provides a positive context within which the diversity of cultures, beliefs and values can be celebrated and explored.

    The community within which the school is located
    RE provides opportunities to investigate patterns of diversity of religion and belief and forge links with different groups in the local area.

    The UK communitya major focus of RE is the study of diversity of religion and belief in the UK and how this influences national life.

    The global communityRE involves the study of matters of global significance recognising the diversity of religion and belief and its impact on world issues.
    RE subject matter gives particular opportunities to promote an ethos of respect for others, challenge stereotypes and build understanding of other cultures and beliefs.
    This contributes to promoting a positive and inclusive school ethos that champions democratic values and human rights.

    There is a problem, that this subject tends to attract the faith-besotted as teachers, who will use irrational “faith-interpretation blinkers”, to read what they want to see, into regulations and guidelines! –
    Hence the “trojan horse schools scandal”!



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  • Ewan. In this forum. You don’t want to go down this path.

    Catholic parents, like most parents, love their children and want the best for them. In general, they try to bring them up with the qualities I mentioned: love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next. I don’t see any problem with that path; it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    The Catholic hierarchy has made some appalling decisions over decades with regard to the widely reported child abuse scandals. I hope that the Royal Commission in Australia gets to the truth of the situations there and comes up with recommendations which help ensure such scandals never happen again. Again, I’m happy to see that happen; it’s a path which I fully approve of.

    Anyway, must rush. Off to the theatre!



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  • No I don’t want to legislate.

    Yes I do want to have a public discussion about this and see a shift wrought by reason and evidence to leave children maximally uncoerced in their more trainable years. (Young human children believe what authority figures tell them against the evidence of their own eyes and reason. It is the root of culture and is based on the work of Dr.Victoria Horner.) I also want to call public foul when abusive indoctrination is uncovered. This is material for stand up comics to get their teeth into. Lesser versions of this damage less but damage nonetheless.

    Most atheists are proud of seeking not to indoctrinate kids. Thats the whole point. Research shows that atheist kids are indeed the most variegated in outcome of any group. My own went their own sweet way. I even pointed them to interesting religions. As it happens, I love the results so far.

    We both lie to kids, or rather you accept that is reasonable. I think it is poisonous beyond measure. I lied to my own two as as a game we would play. In amongst a plethora of facts I would give a false fact (eg when we have flying dreams its because we hover just a millimetre or so above the bed. They got more subtle as they got older.) Later I would announce the game. They had to find the fact that was false from our earlier chats before the end of the day. They found this hard work and frustrating sometime, but they learned two things, how to disprove hypotheses and not to automatically trust grown ups. Some of them are manipulative lying bastards, and some others merely ignorant.

    Anything deemed a conjecture would have me qualify my views on that as entirely my views and other’s views (where they were common) as the various alternate positions to take.

    I would lay down the law sometimes in stressed circumstances. I asked them to trust me for some minutes or hours or days but always promised that they deserved a full account of why I did it. I always gave a full account of bans or injunctions etc. It was sometimes an interesting task, occasionally involving me admit that for reasons of unwarranted anxiety I was the only beneficiary of the ban (etc.). They would accept it anyway.

    This is the law (or our law in the house) and if you disobey you will be punished.

    I could not be more saddened by such a failure.



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  • 54
    ad nauseam says:

    I don’t mean parents teaching a survey of world religion class to their kids, but teaching them their own convictions. That’s what the context of my statements were.

    You will probably never get religious people to educate without some bias towards their religion. Which is why I am wondering (the five questions above) how would society deal with religious parents should the state decide teaching religion (the parent’s personal convictions) to children is child abuse.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I don’t mean parents teaching a survey of world religion class to their kids, but teaching them their own convictions. That’s what the context of my statements were.

    You will probably never get religious people to educate without some bias towards their religion. Which is why I am wondering (the five questions above) how would society deal with religious parents should the state decide teaching religion (the parent’s personal convictions) to children is child abuse.

    I think if children go to state schools which teach ABOUT the diverse religions of the world, the children will mix with other children and recognise that there is more than one viewpoint.
    By the time they reach their teens, they may well recognise the child abuse in some religions for themselves and rebel against it!

    That is why faith-schools run by particular religions are such a bad idea, likely to create bigotry, “them and us” divisions in societies, flawed fallacious thinking methods, and elitist or ghetto mentalities.



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  • 56
    ad nauseam says:

    Alright, no legislation. Just a shift in how the majority of parents teach their children through other means. As long as the majority is not forcing religious parents to not pass on their beliefs I can’t see a lot of problems occurring (assuming most don’t teach their children to kill others). Still, it has to be across the board, and the religious can’t be singled out.

    Most atheists are proud of seeking not to indoctrinate kids.

    Well, no one usually thinks they are indoctrinating anyone.

    With regards to Jesus Camp (I have watched it before) do you mean telling people that it is wrong? That’s fine, but I don’t see how it changes much except for people who were effected by that kind of culture and were looking for something to help them leave. The more moderate religious people will look at that and say they are doing it right and for us who think it is strange, well we already wouldn’t send our kids there anyway. It is more for comedians than anything I suppose…

    We both lie to kids, or rather you accept that is reasonable. I think it is poisonous beyond measure.

    It is reasonable for some, not necessarily for me. As for whether it is poisonous or not, its more risky than anything. If your objective is to get someone to agree with a position, lying and fabricating evidence definitely works, however should the lie be found out, you risk losing your influence. To me, lying to kids (or adults) just doesn’t seem very practical and the risks are too great (but that is just me).

    Anything deemed a conjecture would have me qualify my views on that as entirely my views and other’s views (where they were common) as the various alternate positions to take.

    Well, that sounds like something I would do.

    It was sometimes an interesting task, occasionally involving me admit that for reasons of unwarranted anxiety I was the only beneficiary of the ban (etc.). They would accept it anyway.

    Again, something I would do. You do seem to have a different take on this than others I’ve talked to (people that want to legislate). But this is an example of a stronger power subjecting a weaker power to their demands. Really nothing wrong with that though. Which leads into…

    Me: This is the law (or our law in the house) and if you disobey you will be punished.

    You: I could not be more saddened by such a failure.

    It’s not a failure, it is just how reality is. And I think it is reasonable for me to assume you didn’t run your house without punishments.

    There comes a point when while one can argue morality, in the end, if someone doesn’t relent, it comes down to a power struggle. One may think that possession of drugs shouldn’t be illegal, but the fact is if you are caught with them a greater power than yourself (the state) will punish you. It happens with parents and children too. It’s not about morality at all, just competing interests.

    It works on the opposite end to (the positive side if you want to call it that): If you gives others what they want, many times they will at least not be as large of a threat to your interests as those whose interests you attack.

    But I think we agree more than I thought we did.



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  • 57
    ad nauseam says:

    Okay, but I’m not just talking about religious schools, I’m talking about parents taking their kids to church (or wherever) and telling them that the religion and moral codes they hold are true. Some people (above in David R’s comments) are saying that is child abuse for parents to do that. I’ve even encountered people who want to legislate against it.

    So I’m asking:

    1) Who decides when a child is no longer a child and is “ready” and it is legal to learn about religion?

    2) How would the state enforce the law (should it ever pass which I think it very well may within a couple of decades) and by what criteria would it determine if the parents actually taught their kids religion?

    3) Would the legislation include other philosophies not connected to an organized religion (both would seem to be brainwashing the kiddos).

    4) If the parents are caught, what is the punishment? Are the parents jailed if teaching religion is defined as child abuse? Are the kids confiscated?

    5) What would be appropriate to teach the kids? Is literature excluded if it mentions religion, or the supernatural?

    I don’t know what your position is, but the question about religious studies in public schools wasn’t really a big part of my discussions with Phil, David, or Ewan.

    Although, in addition to the other 5 questions above: Should those schools and/or homeschool be illegal as well?



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  • And I think it is reasonable for me to assume you didn’t run your house without punishments.

    Occasional failures, but very few. The key was to learn what went wrong. Unfair constraints? Failure to apprehend risk or harm to others? Simple thoughtlessness? Only selfish behaviour got the grounding. The others got a “how can you make it up to X?”



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  • 59
    ad nauseam says:

    Something I would do too, and it wouldn’t be just obey or your grounded for me either. However, “because I said so” sometimes is all that is left if a child (or teenager or adult) will not accept the reasons given to follow a rule and the parent (or state) then forces their will (law) on the child (or citizen). The more powerful party’s objectives supersede the less powerful party’s objectives. Sometimes, I guess if the child can convince the parent to change their mind, the child was the more powerful party in that case.

    It works that way with government, and actually with god as well I suppose. I mean, I’ve heard religious people say things like “god put these rules in place to protect us” but of course some people disagree and so there is punishment (hell and/or annihilation depending on who you talk to). It’s actually a mirror of how society and the family structures work but with the supernatural dimension.

    To me, families, businesses, governments, militaries and religion all work virtually the same way. It’s all economies and competing interests.



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  • Sometimes, I guess if the child can convince the parent to change their mind, the child was the more powerful party in that case.

    No. Reason and evidence. These are the moments when I most “win”.

    I’m a bit aspie. Power plays often go unnoticed.



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  • 62
    ad nauseam says:

    I think we probably agree on quite a bit, but it’s just the way in which we come to conclusions that may differ slightly.

    Also, I will admit I am naturally more pessimistic than most, which may be off-putting sometimes.



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  • 63
    ad nauseam says:

    I mean in general, the child may have had the stronger argument and perhaps mental prowess. Not that the argument had to be right or true (or even have evidence and be reasonable), just serve it’s purpose (like maybe a religious family and a child arguing theology to get what they want better than the parent perhaps).

    In your family it would be different of course than a religious one.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Okay, but I’m not just talking about religious schools

    I think the state education I described is the best option, simply because politicians are not to be trusted very far in interfering in family life.

    As for child abuse within the home, I think intervention should be on the non-religious basis on which normal child cruelty decisions are made.

    Trying to write some one-size-fits-all blanket legislation, is a can of worms better left unopened.



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  • Catholic parents, like most parents, love their children and want the best for them. In general, they try to bring them up with the qualities I mentioned: love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next. I don’t see any problem with that path; it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    Ewan. I did all this,… without a god. God sdds an unnecessary complication. Ockham’s Razor. By adding god, you add all the sectarian them and us, evil, threats of eternal damnation, kill the infidel and on an on.

    This string is become a bit disjointed. Somewhere way above, you asked, “Would I legislate”. No. And Never. Thought Police. The answer to that has been given by Phil, which I endorse.

    As see as a goal for society that children through to emergence into adulthood have been given the educational skills to be skeptical and discerning in relation to what is said to them. Seek out their own reliable evidence. Form their own opinions. Don’t mirror those of their parents. A society of rational evidenced based people will be an exciting and vibrant place, with no need for gods, because rational evidenced based people will have the skills to discern the necessary morality.



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  • Ewan. I should add, that the “Abuse” I am talking about is the trapping of a human brain into a way of thinking, without their informed consent, usually for the rest of their lives. That is the abuse. You may have done this to your children with what you considered the best of intentions, but the world is littered with errors and atrocities committed by people with the best intentions. You have no moral permission to inflict your particular god (delusion) on an innocent. Ergo. Abuse.



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  • A society of rational evidenced based people will be an exciting and vibrant place, with no need for gods, because rational evidenced based people will have the skills to discern the necessary morality.

    But perhaps not one that is very tolerant of people who have a different approach to life. I’ve always considered that to be a mark of a mature and civilised society.

    I have fairly wide experience of Christian churches and Catholic faith schools. The children there tend to be remarkably normal. The idea that their brains have been “trapped” into a particular way of thinking, that their lives have been “poisoned” by the education they have received, that they are the victims of chronic “abuse” by their parents is not one that I recognise. It’s not one that is recognised by the schools inspectorate or Children’s Services either.

    There are child abusers amongst believing parents, just as there are child abusers amongst most human groups. But it is not the norm. Acting as if it is suggests to me a wish to interfere in and control the private lives of responsible, loving, law-abiding families. That strikes me as a bit worrying from someone who claims to have a clear vision of society’s exciting and vibrant tomorrow.



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  • You have an interesting technique for smearing words and meanings. Very adept discussion forum technique. Can you recommend any other forums for one such as me to haunt.

    But perhaps not one that is very tolerant of people who have a different approach to life.

    Why. How do you get this conclusion from what I wrote. I have written elsewhere in this forum, often, that I will go to the barricades to support you right to practice any religion you want, but will fight you on the beaches when you try to impose it on anyone else. That is an attempt to impose your supposed god given world view on an unwilling recipient. Consenting adults in private.

    The idea that their brains have been “trapped” into a particular way of thinking, that their lives have been “poisoned” by the education they have received, that they are the victims of chronic “abuse” by their parents is not one that I recognise.

    Where is your “Control” group. How can you know what a school of secular rational kids would be like. You’ve never experienced one. It may be a vibrant and energized place. So again, an interesting Smear.

    There are child abusers amongst believing parents, just as there are child abusers amongst most human groups. But it is not the norm.

    Agree. Sadly.

    Acting as if it is suggests to me a wish to interfere in and control the private lives of responsible, loving, law-abiding families.

    Refer above.

    That strikes me as a bit worrying from someone who claims to have a clear vision of society’s exciting and vibrant tomorrow.

    A joining of far distant dots to come to this conclusion. You don’t know me so I will forgive you for getting this smear so wrong. Yes we atheists can forgive. You have no monopoly.

    If a child, inculcated with religion, makes one bad mistake as a result of that indoctrination, then the abuse has occurred. A child can and will make their own mistakes, and often do, and can learn greatly from them, but to have a child make a mistake based on a belief in a god, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, is an abuse of adult responsibility to that child.



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  • Ewan
    May 23, 2015 at 3:00 am

    A society of rational evidenced based people will be an exciting and vibrant place, with no need for gods, because rational evidenced based people will have the skills to discern the necessary morality.

    But perhaps not one that is very tolerant of people who have a different approach to life.

    Secular people are usually very tolerant of views, but their morality is intolerant of deceptions and abusive actions. There is no good reason to tolerate actions based on deceptive denials of evidence, or fallacious thinking.

    I’ve always considered that to be a mark of a mature and civilised society.

    It is indeed the sign of a mature and civilised society, – historically lacking in theocracies and religion dominated cultures.

    I have fairly wide experience of Christian churches and Catholic faith schools.

    So have I, – but also C of E schools and LEA schools for comparison. What is noteworthy is the repetitive, indoctrinated, uncritical, acceptance of views and stories, from cherry-picked authority figures and role models in “faith schools” – Especially RC ones.

    The children there tend to be remarkably normal. The idea that their brains have been “trapped” into a particular way of thinking,

    Not only are many (not all) trapped into thinking in circular and fallacious thinking, but many of those adults who come here to defend those faiths, exhibit those very fallacious modes of thinking, and the use of “faith assumption” pseudo-evidence, they learned in their early years.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I mean in general, the child may have had the stronger argument and perhaps mental prowess.

    That is very unlikely before the teens or later teens, because of the way human mental capabilities and development, progresses through childhood.

    http://www.icels-educators-for-learning.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=61

    Piaget used the concept of stages to describe development as a sequence of the four following stages:


    Sensory-Motor (Ages Birth Through Two)
    Preoperational (Ages Two Through Seven)
    Concrete Operations (Ages Seven Through Eleven)
    Formal Operations (Ages Eleven Through Sixteen)




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  • But perhaps not one that is very tolerant of people who have a different approach to life.

    Why. How do you get this conclusion from what I wrote.

    David, you would interfere in the family lives of law-abiding people of faith and deny those people the right to live out their lives in the public sphere. That doesn’t strike me as particularly tolerant.



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  • David, you would interfere in the family lives of law-abiding people of faith.

    That’s not what I read. David has accused you of abusing your children by indoctrinating them in a faith-based ideology. That is his opinion (also mine) and it seems he would like to see this aspect of religious family life proscribed by law. Of course, then the religious would have to change their ways in order to claim to be “law-abiding people of faith”.

    From your post above, it seems you would not fall foul of such a law:

    Love, fulfillment, duty towards others, care for the environment, responsibility in relationships, and guidance, help and friendship throughout this world and the next.

    Although you may want to make it clear that there is no evidence for your belief in the next world.

    Telling children that there is some supernatural being watching them and ultimately judging whether or not they will suffer “in the next world” is psychological abuse. At least Santa doesn’t threaten them with hell.

    And that one about not leaning on your own understanding is asking for trouble.

    I think this video highlights the worst aspects of Christian indoctrination of children:

    Welcome to this world

    This seems to be an issue similar to smacking of children. I think our elected representatives should show more courage in legislating on human rights issues even when it seems that public opinion would not yet support it. I’ve actually changed my mind on the issue of smacking children. I think an outright ban is the way to go. Perhaps this and similar issues will be discussed before the upcoming EU referendum. Don’t know what’s in the Social Charter re indoctrination of children.



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  • David, you would interfere in the family lives of law-abiding people of faith and deny those people the right to live out their lives in the public sphere. That doesn’t strike me as particularly tolerant.

    I think you need to quote from what I said, and explain how you draw the inferences to justify this statement, that you’ve twice posted. I’ll type slowly so you can follow. My view does not impact on any law abiding citizen or how they bring up their children. It is an aspiration, that I think would benefit society, if all parents entered into this arrangement voluntarily.

    Ewan is an Exhibit A of what happens to a person who suffers this abuse from childhood. The things your write and the attitudes you express have been imprinted on your brain through repetitive and constant expose to RCC doctrine. This, through scientifically proven brain plasticity, has rewired your brain from a baseline norm, to something that is incapable of escape, no matter what you do. You could not, even if you wanted to, reject your religion. This is the abuse you suffered. It is the abuse you’ve inflicted on your children, and the school children you associate with.

    A child through childhood, should become skilled in the ability to judge skeptically, what is put before them. That way, they aren’t scammed by fraudsters. They aren’t gulled by advertising. They can see through fashion fads. They make good evidence based decisions for the rest of their lives.

    This cannot be enforced through law. It is not a compulsion. It is my aspiration. I have mounted an argument for it. You’ve failed to rebut the argument and only accused me of being some immoral dictator. So, over to you. Quote what I have written previously. And explain to the readers how you draw the conclusion that I would “interfere in the family lives of law-abiding people of faith and deny those people the right to live out their lives in the public sphere.”

    A failure to do so will leave the forum to form its own opinion.



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  • *David, you would interfere in the family lives of law-abiding people of faith and deny those people the right to live out their lives in the public sphere. That doesn’t strike me as particularly tolerant.

    *I think you need to quote from what I said, and explain how you draw the inferences to justify this statement, that you’ve twice posted.**

    David, you would have the mantra “Consenting adults in private” adopted by all parents. You say that the arrangement should be entered into voluntarily but, meanwhile, you are characterising some of those who would prefer to make up their own minds on such issues as child abusers.

    To suggest that such a characterisation “does not impact on any law abiding citizen or how they bring up their children” is disingenuous to say the least. Elsewhere on this thread, it was suggested that the best way to discourage parents from bringing their children up in faith would be to ridicule them. That’s fair enough. However, characterising such parents as child abusers is not encouraging ridicule, it is encouraging hatred.

    There are instance of real abuse taking place. I noticed a case reported yesterday of a child being removed from his Jehovah’s Witness parents because it was considered that their religious views had caused him emotional harm. I don’t think blanket accusations against believing parents help in identifying such abuses.

    Ewan is an Exhibit A of what happens to a person who suffers this abuse from childhood. The things your write and the attitudes you express have been imprinted on your brain through repetitive and constant expose to RCC doctrine.

    I became a Catholic in my 40s.



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  • Sorry David, I see in an earlier post you said you would never legislate. Yet you clearly see this as abuse and describe it as:

    trapping of a human brain into a way of thinking, without their informed consent, usually for the rest of their lives.

    Your solution is for children to be “given the educational skills to be skeptical and discerning”. But with 37% of state funded primary schools being faith schools, a lot of indoctrinated kids may not have their views challenged until at least secondary school. And 19% of state secondary schools are faith schools. The state is funding schools that are religiously biased and even allowing selection.



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  • @Ewan

    I became a Catholic in my 40s.

    Excellent. So clearly the “faith” does not need early indoctrination. It can stand by its own merits. You can actively encourage kids to not rush into it. See what other people think. Talk to them. Then make an informed grown-up choice.

    I’m happy for you and I would be happy for them.



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  • @Marktony

    It is an aspiration, that I think would benefit society, if all parents entered into this arrangement voluntarily.

    This is my view, even though Ewan seems to think this makes me a tyrant. I know I’ve got Buckley’s hope of achieving it given what you cite about the schools and especially given Ewan’s insistence that inculcating children in religion is without harm. Think this way child or you will burn in hell. No harm there, hey.

    But I like to imagine an alternative universe where we evolved a rational brain instead of the one we’re saddled with in this particular reality.

    Ewan. What were you before you were 40. Please tell the readers.



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  • @Ewan

    Elsewhere on this thread, it was suggested that the best way to discourage parents from bringing their children up in faith would be to ridicule them.

    I clarified what was worthy of ridicule and posted an example of it then said

    I also want to call public foul when abusive indoctrination is uncovered. This is the material for stand up comics to get their teeth into. Lesser versions of this damage less but damage nonetheless.

    From the greater example I hope you recognise the lesser for what it is. And think about it.



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  • Ewan. What were you before you were 40. Please tell the readers.

    Before I do that, perhaps you could make a clarification. This is a public forum, I am using my real name and a number of colleagues and friends are aware that I am an occasional contributor. So I am readily identifiable.

    You have accused me of abusing both my own children and the children I work with as a teacher. This is a serious accusation, as you can imagine. Were it to be made to my employers, I would be immediately suspended from my work while an investigation took place. And no matter what the results of the investigation, the fact that such an accusation had been made against me would remain permanently on my record.

    If you are serious about the accusation, I suggest you contact the forum administrators and ask them to forward my details to the relevant child protection authorities (Children’s Services in Britain). If you are not serious, perhaps you might consider withdrawing it.



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  • Ewan
    May 24, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Ewan. What were you before you were 40. Please tell the readers.

    Before I do that, perhaps you could make a clarification.

    The request is simply to state your earlier religious viewpoint and association if any.

    This is a public forum, I am using my real name and a number of colleagues and friends are aware that I am an occasional contributor.

    They can only be so, if you have informed them. The “abuse” claims are clearly within the religious context, and I have not seen any that are sufficiently ambiguous to relate to what is currently legally termed “child abuse”.

    So I am readily identifiable.

    I also use my first name, but remain anonymous, and therefore can quote real incidents without actual individuals becoming identified.



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  • Ewan, straw-manning won’t help. You have done nothing illegal and only behaved as an exemplary Roman Catholic.

    You will not only not be fired by your employer, you may get a raise. What is proposed is a cultural shift to have a new respect for children and the particular and new understanding of their early education, its unfiltered and totally accepting nature and the priming effect of this early “education” on all subsequent education.

    Such a respect should make nearly all question this period of training. (This period is qualitatively different from true education.) For most I hope it will be seen as a window of opportunity to maximise successful autonomy within some thriving society, rather than inculcate an identity.

    Such a cultural shift will come to make psychological luddites of those attempting, in effect, to create clones of themselves. We all know less than we think. Teach what evidence and reason can fully underwrite and for the other, simply lead the exemplary life you value.



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  • This is a public forum, I am using my real name and a number of colleagues and friends are aware that I am an occasional contributor. So I am readily identifiable.

    You have accused me of abusing both my own children and the children I work with as a teacher.

    Any accusations of abuse were specifically applied to the indoctrination of children in religious ideology. And the discussion of whether this should be made illegal. The only way your colleagues could get the impression you implied is if they only read your posts.

    You should be more concerned that your friends might witness your dishonesty in an attempt to close down the conversation.



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  • What is proposed is a cultural shift to have a new respect for children and the particular and new understanding of their early education, its unfiltered and totally accepting nature and the priming effect of this early “education” on all subsequent education.

    Educational research is going on all the time and, in time, its findings filter down to the chalk face. (For some reason that I’ve never really understood, rubbish research – accompanied by highly paid consultants, impenetrable training manuals and vastly expensive resources – moves through the system far faster than anything vaguely sensible.) If the research you refer to has bottom then it will eventually arrive at Teacher Training Colleges and LEAs and be generally adopted in schools.

    In the meantime, we teach within the strictures we are currently bound by and judged by.



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  • The “abuse” claims are clearly within the religious context, and I have not seen any that are sufficiently ambiguous to relate to what is currently legally termed “child abuse”.

    Interesting argument. Although I am accused of abusing both my own children and the children I work with, there is no question of me being accused of child abuse. Why? Because the definition of child abuse being used is not one recognised by the legal, educational or social authorities.

    When discussing child abuse, a matter of enormous sensitivity, might it not be an idea to stick to generally recognised definitions?



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  • Ewan
    May 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

    What is proposed is a cultural shift to have a new respect for children and the particular and new understanding of their early education, its unfiltered and totally accepting nature and the priming effect of this early “education” on all subsequent education.

    Educational research is going on all the time and, in time, its findings filter down to the chalk face. (For some reason that I’ve never really understood, rubbish research – accompanied by highly paid consultants, impenetrable training manuals and vastly expensive resources

    . . . and yet the basics of children’s mental stages of development have been known with confirmed research, since the 1960s and 1970s – with relevant materials available from educational suppliers – commonly used in nursery, infant, and primary, classes, and in special needs work!

    The Four Stages of Cognitive Development:

    Sensory-Motor (Ages Birth Through Two)
    Preoperational (Ages Two Through Seven)
    Concrete Operations (Ages Seven Through Eleven)
    Formal Operations (Ages Eleven Through Sixteen)



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  • Because the definition of child abuse being used is not one recognised by the legal, educational or social authorities.

    It is clear that religious indoctrination of children does not fall under the legal definition of child abuse. That doesn’t prevent people expressing their opinion that it is abuse, whether or not they would be in favour of legislation.

    I hope everybody agrees with you that we should be careful when using the term “child abuse”. Any accusations so far have clearly been specifically in regard to religious indoctrination, although your response above could easily give the wrong impression and was a dangerous way to make a point.

    You are under no obligation to discuss your religious life before you became a Catholic in your 40s, but if you were not brought up in a religious family that would certainly refute David’s argument that you are a typical result (Exhibit A) of religious indoctrination.



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  • @Ewan

    In the meantime, we teach within the strictures we are currently bound by and judged by.

    Exactly so, which is why your protests ring a little hollow.
    Your moral self, though, lies a little more exposed.

    Besides as we have discussed before on this topic, it is the direction children are given at home that is most concerning. This is the place and the time when children learn, despite their choosing or knowledge of a choice, that they are Catholic Children in a Catholic family, when the greatest credulity is available, and when you might imagine this is how identity works, like a stick of rock written through. At least without faith schools they might mix with Muslims and Sikhs, atheists and Proddies.



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  • You are under no obligation to discuss your religious life before you became a Catholic in your 40s, but if you were not brought up in a religious family that would certainly refute David’s argument that you are a typical result (Exhibit A) of religious indoctrination.

    I was brought up in a nominally but not practising presbyterian family. None of my siblings are believers. I had something of a personal religious epiphany at the age of 11 or 12 but only became a regular churchgoer in my 20s. For the next couple of decades, I moved around quite a bit and tended to become actively involved in the nearest presbyterian (or local equivalent) church. In my 40s, I joined the Catholic Church, partly for family reasons and partly because of some fairly unsubtle nudges from God.



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  • At least without faith schools they might mix with Muslims and Sikhs, atheists and Proddies.

    Faith schools in Britain tend to have quite a varied ethnic mix because they generally take their pupils from a larger catchment area than non-faith schools, whose catchment areas can be somewhat monocultural. My own Catholic primary school doesn’t currently have any Sikhs, but it does have Muslims, Protestants and non-believers amongst its pupil body, along with Rastafarians, JWs, Greek Orthodoxes, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.



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  • @Ewan

    I joined the Catholic Church, partly for family reasons and partly because of some fairly unsubtle nudges from God.

    I’m fascinated. I don’t want to derail this derailed thread but does God not approve of Presbyterians as much, or are these things like off the peg suits? The Confessional? Suits you, sir.



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  • but does God not approve of Presbyterians…

    God approves of us all, I think. And I suspect that there’s a special place in his heart for non-believers with a sense of humour.



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  • Now about the meat of my post…

    People have different views on how they should bring up their children. The freedom to do so according to one’s own lights is a fairly basic human right. Most states have procedures in place to guard against children being harmed in this process.



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  • Ewan
    May 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Most states have procedures in place to guard against children being harmed in this process.

    Unfortunately state intervention is usually belated and limited after the damage has been done – and after the politicians have been forced to stop singing the praises of their latest daft deregulation and round of selective privileged funding of pet projects! – As was seen with the Trojan Horse Schools.



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  • When someone is baptised, they join the Catholic Church, they become a Catholic.

    “Labelling” has become a rather tendentious term for this process, I feel. I prefer “describing”.



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  • ad nauseam
    May 20, 2015 at 11:13 am

    The percentages really don’t mean much.

    Not unless you look at evidence and understand statistics.

    And what exactly is un-reason?

    It is obviously the opposite process to “reasoning”! – Fallacious thinking devoid of logic!

    What is strong belief as opposed to weak belief?

    Strong dogmatic religious belief is already a form of unreason

    Strong dogmatic belief is the mind-set which is not open to evidence or reasoning.
    Weak belief is recognising the frailty of the evidence supporting a particular view.



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  • Ewan
    May 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    but does God not approve of Presbyterians…

    God approves of us all, I think.

    *God” approves (or disapproves) of anything a believer wants approved (or disapproved of)! – That’s because the brain’s god-delusion is talking to its host brain, and why there are so many versions of areas of religious approval and disapproval!
    Sometimes people change religions when they find dogmas which are a better match for their preconceptions.



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  • I had something of a personal religious epiphany at the age of 11 or 12 but only became a regular churchgoer in my 20s.

    Thank you for that Ewan. Would you care to elaborate on the epiphany. I always find these fascinating.

    I too use my read name and readily identifiable on the web. My use of the word “Abuse” in this forum is a reflection of the arguments made by Hitchens in God is Not Great. I think you would find it an enlightening book. Hitchens is an equal opportunity debunker of all religion.

    As for your post about this being some serious allegation worthy of referral to some authority, I was somewhat jaw dropped when I read your post. I am familiar with mandatory reporting in Australia and it sounds similar and you would be laughed out of the receptionists office if you tried to turn this into a serious allegation. So I will dismiss that post as you having a bad day in the staff room.

    You will notice across all religions that they all want to get their hands on the children as early as possible. “Give me the child till 7 and I will give you the man.” This works and all religions know it. I just think that it is unfair to do that to a child, when there is no evidence for the material being taught.

    There is evidence that Homo Sapiens have a propensity to create gods and religions as collateral damage from our evolutionary make up. So I see this desire by all religions to get their hands on children as a particular sinister and self serving practice and not worthy of the sentiments you expressed somewhere about about peace, love and tolerance. I would feel a great moral guilt if I participated in this behaviour. Teach children to be discerning and critical thinkers. When they’re over 18, let the free market of ideas make their pitch for adherents.

    Personally, I don’t like to adhere to anything. Like all ideologies, it predetermines your position before you’ve seen the evidence. Closes your open mind before you read the introduction.



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  • …you would be laughed out of the receptionists office if you tried to turn this into a serious allegation.

    I’m confused, David. Are you now saying that when you accused me of abusing both my own children and the children I worked with, you weren’t making a serious allegation?

    “Give me the child till 7 and I will give you the man.”

    This saying is commonly attributed to the Jesuits, though without any evidence and without any apparent awareness that their educational work is focussed on children older than 7. Though why let the facts get in the way of a good smear? Ironically enough, those on this forum who use the saying tend to be those who themselves would like to direct the education of very young children in particular ways.

    There is evidence that Homo Sapiens have a propensity to create gods and religions as collateral damage from our evolutionary make up. So I see this desire by all religions to get their hands on children as a particular sinister…

    This strikes me as evolutionary cherry-picking. You disapprove of an aspect of humanity which has evolved over time (presumably for sound reasons) so you decide that it must be “collateral damage”.

    Teach children to be discerning and critical thinkers.

    Encourage children to become caring and fulfilled people. Every family lives out its life in its own way and being able to do so is an important human right. We should trust humanity rather than trying to control and direct it.

    Personally, I don’t like to adhere to anything.

    And in a free society, you’re able to live out that philosophy. Isn’t it good that we’re able to decide such things for ourselves, rather than having them imposed on us by others?



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  • Are you now saying that when you accused me of abusing both my own children and the children I worked with, you weren’t making a serious allegation?

    You’re better than this Ewan. You know exactly what I was saying and the context in which it was said. No one who has followed this exchange is in any doubt or has taken this irrational response. Many posters have said as much. To continue to push this diminishes your standing. Just silly.

    Though why let the facts get in the way of a good smear?

    What about good empirical science. Is that also a smear. Do a little reading here and you will see why that statement is correct. And yes. I know the Jesuits didn’t say it. Doesn’t mean its not scientifically true or else no one would practice piano. Absorb some of this science and see if the statement can still be criticized.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

    After you’ve read this reference, see what happens if you do religion to a child from first cognition to late teens. See if their brains are untouched, without their informed consent.

    This strikes me as evolutionary cherry-picking.

    You’ve been on this web site long enough to have had the numerous references to the psychology involved in the creation of gods. Plenty of good references and books. After you’ve done your due diligence and exercised those rational and critical thinking skills you acquired in childhood you will see that to believe in a god is a psychological delusion. You just have to do your research.

    Teach children to be discerning and critical thinkers. Encourage children to become caring and fulfilled people.

    This is part of the bigger picture. A discerning and critical thinking adult will know that caring and self fulfillment are no brainers. They increase your happiness. They fulfill your responsibilities to have a social conscience. On and on. A rational person comes to these conclusions without god. I certainly do but I won’t speak for others in here.

    Isn’t it good that we’re able to decide such things for ourselves, rather than having them imposed on us by others?

    I’ll put this one down to an own goal. I don’t impose anything on anyone. I’m not a member of the RCC which does.



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  • A discerning and critical thinking adult will know that caring and self fulfillment are no brainers. They increase your happiness. They fulfill your responsibilities to have a social conscience. On and on. A rational person comes to these conclusions…

    I had a ponder on this on the way to Mass this morning.

    Like most of us, I suppose, I’ve known a number of people over the years who have struck me as being particularly clear thinkers and I’ve also known a number of people who have seemed especially caring individuals. Of course this is only personal experience but I wouldn’t have said that the two groups overlapped all that much.

    I wonder if it’s because discerning and critical thinking involves making careful judgements whilst the most caring people I’ve known have been particularly non-judgemental.

    I also wonder if the caring group can be separated into those who are naturally caring individuals and those who act in a caring way as a result of conscious decisions. I suppose that those in the latter group are more to be admired.



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  • Ewan
    May 25, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Like most of us, I suppose, I’ve known a number of people over the years who have struck me as being particularly clear thinkers and I’ve also known a number of people who have seemed especially caring individuals. Of course this is only personal experience but I wouldn’t have said that the two groups overlapped all that much.

    Perhaps this depends on the definition of “caring”!

    There is the self-delusional “I’ll pray for you and wait for God to help you”, type of caring, and there is the, “I”ll help you with your problem”, type of clear-thinking caring.

    The former requires no clear thinking or effective action, while the latter requires clear objective planning to achieve predictable desirable outcomes of mitigating or remedying the problems.

    I also wonder if the caring group can be separated into those who are naturally caring individuals and those who act in a caring way as a result of conscious decisions. I suppose that those in the latter group are more to be admired.

    You seem to have worked this out, but don’t seem to have made the connection in the earlier paragraph.



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  • I also wonder if the caring group can be separated into those who are naturally caring individuals and those who act in a caring way as a result of conscious decisions.

    Are these mutually exclusive. Can’t I be both. In my employment, we were psyche tested regularly. I scored very high on the empathy scale and went off the scale on decision making with my motivation being my family. Yet here I am. This brutal cold rationalist atheist son of satan.

    I have a saying. “The world needs good people” I try to live it. I encourage others to as well.

    Ewan. I suspect from your comments over time in the forum (And I encourage you to stay one with us sinners), that you would have little trouble being judged against this saying.

    A serious question. Would you be any different if you didn’t believe in god. Would you be a selfish narcissistic anatomical sphincter. I don’t think so. I suspect you are like you are because you’ve decided to be a good person. You’re not a good person because a deity has threatened to hold a blowtorch to your genitals for the next 100 billion years.



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  • Are these mutually exclusive.

    They’re not mutually exclusive but I think that there are people who are kind by nature. It is a talent that they have and, when they see need in others, they respond automatically without giving it much thought.

    They are other people who act kindly through conscious thought. Given a particular situation, they see kindness as the responsible thing to do and they do it. They make a moral choice.

    Both sorts of people have an automatic presence on my Christmas list.



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  • Three reasons for turning to supernatural: (1) overpopulation causes a reduction in the available educational institutions per capita, and (2) less educated people tend to be more religious, and (3) under stressful conditions if science is not solving problems then look for miracles by supernatural powers.



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  • What is needed is an addition to the constitution under the freedom OF religion, but the freedom FROM religion as well. It is essential that state institutions are completely prevented from any expression of any religion. It will not work (freedom from religion) if a number of state institutions strongly support any given religion. Imagine if the University of California required its professors to say Catholic prayers before each class or require students to bow to Mecca every afternoon at 3:00 PM??



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  • I am confident that children would never involve themselves in a religion if given a choice, without interference from parents or other adults demanding conformity.



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  • Scientific explanations are far more complex than simply to say “God will solve it all.” It takes considerable education free of religion to understand scientific theory. As populations increase beyond the carrying capacity and conditions become desperate and people are less educated they will turn to quick and simple explanations to understand fixes, especially offered by charismatic, bible thumping religious leaders. It is clear why Catholic bishops and priests call the use of contraceptives evil, it is because they will lose control as people become more educated.

    Look what happened during the Middle Ages and the Black Plague. All the praying and self-flagellation did not stop the bubonic plague from killing people. You can’t blame the poor people, the blame falls on those who believed religion was the solution to all unknowns.



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