|Ah! The simpler life of barn dances, buggy rides
Erin Friar, thinks that religion makes a strong foundation for children.
I believe it makes one of the weakest of foundations, because it is a foundation built on the concept of culturally acceptable superstition. To put it into perspective, I had a couple of americans (online ones) get a bit angry when I pointed out that the Taliban’s ethos are no different from the Amish. Both believe in a simpler life, it’s just that the Amish don’t believe in modern guns and forcing other people to do their bidding while the Taliban do. They are both luddite societies, it’s just that we “like” the amish despite their insane sexism (the finest of the 17th century). Mainly because in the USA the amish are seen as harmless and quaint while the taliban are seen as backwards.
I don’t have a belief in any gods. Hinduism? Christianity? Islam? Scientology? Hippy Tree malarkey? None of it. I do not believe in any higher power as there is no evidence for these viewpoints and vehemently oppose religious indoctrination of anyone because it clouds the reality of the situation and allows people to be controlled easily resulting in some horrific abuses of human dignity throughout civilisation. From the deaths of those who opposed the believers of the Old Testament Gods to those who were sacrificed on the pyramids of central America to the million or so dead from the Partition of the British Raj. From the holocaust to the Japanese war crimes, from the crusades to the ethnic cleansing of Rwanda and the Balkans, from the encouragement of ignorance and virtual slavery of the mind to the molestation of children and bigotry, through it all religion has controlled people. And it’s why I am stating that his stance is wrong.
I don’t believe in a god, there isn’t any proof and I find that any proof provided is laughably naive. To me standing up and stating that Religion Provides a Strong Foundation For Children is like standing up and saying that Homeopathy is a strong foundation for Science or Creationism is a strong foundation for Evolution. And it shows here. Erin Friar’s article makes the implication that the USA was founded on Christian principles rather than humanist ones and that the secular founding fathers enshrined freedom of religion rather than “Christian principles” with good reason. Do you really think the vision of Christians is one that will lead to a strong and powerful USA? Or do you think it’s constructing a balanced society that doesn’t believe in magic?
Religion can provide a structured environment, but so do a lot of other things. Have schools stopped doing that? I mean it’s not even 10 years since I left high school and I vaguely remember having structure in my life. My parents also ensured that I had a structured life too. Maybe I am just weird in thinking that child care is the parent’s job rather than some guy in a robe with questionable sexual habits. Spend some time with your kids, plan things out with them. Follow the plan. Your kids will be more structured than going to a big building and following pointless ritual that doesn’t really achieve anything. There is necessary structure and unnecessary structure. If 6 to 8 PM is homework time then 6 – 8 PM is useful. If 8 to 8:30 is sit crosslegged and chant Om at an idol time (replace with appropriate religious ritual) then that’s pointless piece of structure in your child’s life. You may as well make it run around with your pant’s on your head time. The child is just learning superstition. I used Hinduism as an example because Christians will read it and go “Heh! That’s nonsense.” but the same applies to saying hail marys or reading the bible because that’s part of your structure.
|Pictured! Someone whose
family believed in Mazda.
The person who wrote this doesn’t care about structure in so much as the Christian ritual, the child is only considered to have a structured day if the child is doing a Christian structure.
Next, Erin moves onto the aspect of humility. Stating that religion encourages humility in each of us by the use of Saviour Mythos (eg. A rescue from a divine source be it Jesus or Prometheus or Mazda or Krishna).
Humility is learnt from our parents, it is learnt from being taught scale and realising how utterly brilliantly small yet monsterously large we are. The magic words of Science are “I Don’t Know”. No religion has stood up and held it’s hand up admitting ignorance when they know a lot less. Do not confuse ignorance with humility, humility is understanding your limitations and not exceeding them. I am humble enough to not give you any advice regarding dating, driving a car, plumbing, stock market investment, wedding plans, particle physics and organic chemistry. I know I can’t give any proper advice due to my ignorance in the field. But religion? Religion’s assumption of divine purpose exceeds any humility. It is a fake kind of humility aimed squarely at outdoing each other in claiming to be more humble than the next. The most important words in human civilisation are “I don’t know but I wonder how it works” not “maybe if we close our eyes and chant some words it will work out for the best”
Erin then takes a whack at the usual idea of taboo, and how it can shape you into a sensible adult.
The ideals of the church do shape people the minds of young people, they don’t know any better. Children are ultimately ignorant and stupid and gullible. These are survival traits, you are meant to impart knowledge to them which will make them stop being stupid, ignorant and gullible and to use their education and other people’s experiences to avoid the same faults. It ensures our kids learn how to be spear makers, farmers, legionnaires, alchemists, doctors and lawyers… It means we can teach them a skill set that doesn’t appear in the wild. However it also means you can teach them to fear a non existent being and give their money to a man with a special book because the book says so.
|Pictured. The result of the Church’s
measured stance of taboo on sex.
The Church plain lied about drugs, alcohol and sex. The marijuana advertisements of yesteryear are naive and the church doesn’t spread the truth about it which results in more people of faith using and doing drugs simply because they don’t hear the actual truth. Alcohol is fine in moderation, and treating it as a product of the devil makes people blame the devil for their weakness and addiction rather than working on fighting it themselves. Sex is great, the church’s stance on sex actually causes greater amounts of underage sex because kids quickly figure out the church is lying and then spend all their time trying to get the “nice happy feeling” because obviously their adults are a bunch of tools who don’t know what they are talking about. This is exacerbated by a combination of the anti-contraception and pro-life stance of the churches and by the anti-homosexual stance of it. Not all drugs are equal and many religious people treat marijuana like shooting up heroin from a needle used by a HIV patient when the only thing they have in common is that both are illegal to use.
The problem is the use of Taboo and Satanic to describe problems. Why is sex such a taboo? Why are drugs bad? Why is excess alcohol bad? Not because God Says So. But because sex needs to be taken in context of the various kinds of relationships and with safety into mind and with your own choice and dignity rather than church’s implied teachings of female servility. Because some drugs such as crack, meth and heroin are nasty as hell while some drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and LSD seem to be a lot more safer, labelling all drugs as equal to Heroin is stupid. Alcohol needs to be taken into context of normal usage and balance rather than telling kids not to do it until they leave the house when they just go nuts. The reason religious kids are so prone to going off the rails is because they are lied to about these things and a single try turns them into a life of excess. .
We finally come to the lines that state that faith in God helps fight suicide. People who commit suicide are depressed or have reached the bottom and have given up. Some change their minds due to a random occurrence and find god (I wanted to jump off a bridge but it was closed today so I saw it as a sign). Some don’t (I cut my wrists and didn’t die so I am going to hang myself to make sure.). And remember the amount of people particularly gay children and mothers who have had an abortion who are hounded and harassed by the faithful often driving them to depression and suicide by bullying.
A suicide is a person who needed help. I have read suicide notes, a few of my friends attempted it. My best friend was gay and wouldn’t come out because I was a bully myself and both of us took pleasure in the usual “gay jokes”. I found out when I found his suicide note, he hadn’t acted on it yet. I lost a distant cousin to it when he failed an exam and the stress got to him. What saved him was the luck that I came across the note and the response of me and my friends to confront him that we knew and that we didn’t care about his love of men that he was still our friend and that it was okay. That we would stop referring to things as gay or making jokes about others being gay. We basically grew up and realised how stupid we were.
Most suicide attempts that fail are failed during the ideation stage. They are foiled not by something as inelegant as god but by humanity. The brotherhood of man and the kinship between people who know what a rough day means. The words you need to know to save a suicidal person’s life is not “Believe in My god” but “Are you alright? A penny for your thoughts?”. People like the Samaritans or just passer bys in the street often show the true potential of humanity, of our limitless potential for kindness, compassion and love by spending time with a complete stranger in kinship to save a life in a little way. God doesn’t enter into this one bit and you don’t need to be superman to do this. You just need to show humanity. My one little piece of humanity stopped my friend from killing himself. I wouldn’t have had to show it if I was not a horrid little teenager in the first place but that’s the point of being a teenager. It gives you the time to be stupid and to learn. As the same friend said last year as I was the best man at his wedding. “This was the boy who bullied me at school, this is also the man who saved me from myself and gave me the chance to be here”.
To me that shows the vital difference, the note made me grow up and be responsible and sensible and good.
People kill themselves for a variety of reasons. There are the delusional, people with psychiatric issues who believe no harm will come to themselves despite the suicide or that it’s part of a greater plan. There are the religious suicides which range from the Jonestown massacre to the suicide bombers of Islam and the empire of Japan. There are the forced suicides that also come from the Islam (a lot of the suicide bombers are coerced with threats to their family). There are suicides for honour, for love, for politics… Then there are the depression suicides. These are the ones we are most familiar with, the people who kill themselves because they don’t want to live anymore. Depression is no joke and it must be faced with therapy, drugs and compassion rather than insulting their condition with the idea that somehow it’s due to insufficient faith in magic. You fight depression by teaching people to have faith in themselves, and to try and be the changes they want to be. You treat their mood and then try and encourage them to take care of themselves and find things that make them see life the way we do.
There is no right way to raise a child, each is different. If you want to raise a well rounded child then what you want is to teach them the truth about the world and you do this through science and education and by being involved in their lives rather than encouraging them to believe in a mythological creature.
Having children behave around christmas is cute but eventually they are told Santa isn’t real. Having adults behave the way they do around their myriad gods is just embarrassing.