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“Christian Children”, “Muslim Children”, “Jewish Children”
Posted: 25 August 2010 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Like Richard Dawkins, there are very few things that make me angry like adults referring to a child by the religion of his/her parents.  I just sent the e-mail below to an organizer at a politically-correct “interfaith” organization, and I encourage people to take a zero-tolerance attitude toward this.  The Ground Zero Mosque debate may very well bring this kind of language to the fore, providing an opportunity to criticize it.

Hi Sara,

I was reading your News & Events (http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5456/c/479/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=23025).  I couldn’t help notice:

Join us on Tuesday, September 7th for a screening of “Abraham’s Children,” a feature documentary on Muslim-American children from the New York Tri-State area.  Doors will open for this event at 6 PM.  The screening will begin promptly at 6:30 PM.

Children are in fact not “Christian” or “Jewish” or “Muslim” because they haven’t yet had an opportunity to choose an ideological belief system.  It constitutes child abuse and a human rights violation to refer to a child by the religion of his/her parents, thereby imposing that ideological belief system on him/her.  This is the source of much of the tribalistic violence that you claim to be trying to eliminate.  It would be a testament to your actual respect for human rights if you refrained from doing that.

Thanks,
Reece

[ Edited: 25 August 2010 10:30 PM by Reece]
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Posted: 26 August 2010 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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But Reece, how then are children going to learn intolerance and hate if not from their parents?

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Posted: 27 August 2010 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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ch5563 - 26 August 2010 05:51 PM

But Reece, how then are children going to learn intolerance and hate if not from their parents?

Ah, but don’t you know that even coming from a moderately religious family, these children may become intolerant, religious and hateful? 

I think that biased religious teaching in schools is very detrimental to the progress of kid’s minds.  It fills them with non-sense and because these are taught in school, at such young children, they fall for it and it becomes the seed of many hateful religious teachings.

Gareth Wilson in his book, The Plain Truths of Religion explains it succinctly. 

Humans are estimated to have each been born with around a hundred billion brain cells, known as neurons. During infancy, children develop a highly complex mental network between neurons, the structure of which reflects how they have adapted to their home and school environment through physical, cognitive, social and emotional activities. At about the age of ten, a child’s brain begins to mature into a more efficient thinking unit, by discarding unused connections (memory traces) between neurons.

Although new connections can be made (and thus learning can take place) throughout adulthood, the network in place by this time largely determines how humans go about thinking and learning as grown-ups. So, given the potentially permanent implications of the primary school experience upon thinking patterns, it would be logical to assume that subject matter being
taught at such a crucial stage of children’s mental development should therefore consist of life’s essentials: a program of key skills and moral tuition designed to expertly craft the future of a developed and modern nation, by producing logical and numerate individuals, fully capable of adapting to a global economy bricked with diverse inhabitants and, furthermore, of taking a lead within this setting, in demonstrating peace and goodwill toward fellow
humankind. Unfortunately this was not my experience and is still not the experience of today’s pupils of British primary school education.

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Posted: 30 August 2010 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

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Posted: 31 August 2010 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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ch5563 - 30 August 2010 06:30 AM

That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

that’s what smileys are for, i guess.

but seriously, i have always (for 50 years) known that children have no religion until they choose for themselves.  i’ve been told i’m jewish because i was born into a jewish family, with jewish parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.  always, i’ve replied that, no, i’m not jewish.  i’m a nontheist.  it’s hard for people to understand.  they usually respond with “hitler would have gassed you, as a jew,” to which i always reply—that’s not my problem; i’m not jewish, no matter what hitler thinks.  it’s what i think that matters.

children should begin learning philosophy in kindergarten, with simple logic.  they are innately curious, and philosophy is all about the whats, whys, and becauses —which lead back to more whats and whys, ad infinitum.  the important thing is to teach a child how to think, not what to think.  this is the most important thing anyone can learn in school — how to use their mind, not mind their elders or peers or authority figures, etc.  we need to be training future citizens, not automatons.

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Posted: 01 September 2010 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Hollis-

Could not agree more. I was baptized a Presbyterian before anyone ever informed me of the choices I had. My parents tried to make church a regular thing but it just never took. I have three siblings and we are split down the middle, two believers, two non-believers. Makes for some interesting dinner conversation when we manage to get together. At some point in my life I became interested in philosophy and read everything from Camus to Kant and eventually became a Hobbes-ian, Locke, Hume empiricist kinda guy. There is nothing more liberating and powerful than the knowledge, “Cogito, ergo sum.”

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Posted: 02 September 2010 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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hollis - 31 August 2010 02:29 PM
ch5563 - 30 August 2010 06:30 AM

That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

that’s what smileys are for, i guess.

but seriously, i have always (for 50 years) known…


Huh? Hollis, are you 50??? How recent is your avatar?

Ron

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Posted: 02 September 2010 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Reece, I like your email to the organizer, and I applaud you for taking a stand on this. However, I don’t know if I would quite categorize it as “child abuse.” Sounds a bit harsh. And although I agree that it’s a detestable practice, I wouldn’t go so far as to equate it with actual physical abuse. That’s my opinion anyway.

But, good luck to you. Glad you’re taking them to task!

Ron
grin

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Posted: 02 September 2010 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:31 PM
hollis - 31 August 2010 02:29 PM
ch5563 - 30 August 2010 06:30 AM

That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

that’s what smileys are for, i guess.

but seriously, i have always (for 50 years) known…


Huh? Hollis, are you 50??? How recent is your avatar?

Ron

i’m 56, and the avatar is 28 — that’s half a lifetime ago.  but i still look pretty much the same.  it’s amazing what makeup can do for one.  wink

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Posted: 02 September 2010 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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hollis - 02 September 2010 07:53 PM
MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:31 PM
hollis - 31 August 2010 02:29 PM
ch5563 - 30 August 2010 06:30 AM

That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

that’s what smileys are for, i guess.

but seriously, i have always (for 50 years) known…


Huh? Hollis, are you 50??? How recent is your avatar?

Ron

i’m 56, and the avatar is 28 — that’s half a lifetime ago.  but i still look pretty much the same.  it’s amazing what makeup can do for one.  wink

Wow - there IS a God! I mean, there isn’t. Wait… I’m so confused.

Ron

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Posted: 02 September 2010 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:55 PM
hollis - 02 September 2010 07:53 PM
MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:31 PM
hollis - 31 August 2010 02:29 PM
ch5563 - 30 August 2010 06:30 AM

That’s one of the things that is difficult about the written word. It is nearly impossible to “type” a tone of sarcasm. I wrote my last post with tongue firmly in cheek, bud.

that’s what smileys are for, i guess.

but seriously, i have always (for 50 years) known…


Huh? Hollis, are you 50??? How recent is your avatar?

Ron

i’m 56, and the avatar is 28 — that’s half a lifetime ago.  but i still look pretty much the same.  it’s amazing what makeup can do for one.  wink

Wow - there IS a God! I mean, there isn’t. Wait… I’m so confused.

Ron

i’m not trying to mislead anyone.  i don’t mind telling our ages (me and her — my initials are her, so i call the girl in the picture “her”).  i just happen to like the picture, and i remember my husband taking it like it was yesterday.  i even take a good driver’s license picture, and you know how hard that is!  it’s those russian cheekbones, i guess.  i have another picture of her on my blog site.  i remember John taking that one, too, just like it was yesterday.  in fact, it was the day after George Foreman fought Randall “Tex” Cobb.  Tex wasn’t in Foreman’s class, but he was great in Raising Arizona.

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Posted: 03 September 2010 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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oh, i forgot — there are about 10 more pix of her on my facebook page, if you’d like to see them.  one of them, with my best friend (my cat, Pooh — his ashes are in the urn with my husband’s), was autographed by Kinky Friedman!  my favorite one is of about 1/4 of my face — nose and eyes — covered with noxzema.  there are two pictures i can’t find, that i would love to have — one day (it was a sunday), i was sitting on the porcelain throne, doing the sunday times crossword, with my head bent over it.  i heard a click; my husband had just taken a picture of me.  i looked up and laughed, and as i laughed, he took another picture.  i’ve always thought they would have made a good diptych.  grin

there’s also an album of some of my favorite Andy Goldsworthy sculptures — he works with nature, mostly outdoors, unless it’s a commission for inside a building.  he even put a full-length tree in a ha-ha, which is on my album.  what he does with snow, ice, leaves, and trees is amazing.  have a look.

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Posted: 03 September 2010 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:41 PM

However, I don’t know if I would quite categorize it as “child abuse.” Sounds a bit harsh. And although I agree that it’s a detestable practice, I wouldn’t go so far as to equate it with actual physical abuse. That’s my opinion anyway.

Oh, I think it could easily be worse than physical abuse.  I know adults who were, say, slapped on the head for misbehaving as children and they turned out okay, although I don’t think it’s excusable.  I went to elementary school in rural Texas and received corporal punishment, but while I’m sure it had a deleterious effect on me I’m equally sure it has never motivated me to bomb any buses or fly an airplane into a skyscraper.  Ingraining in different children’s minds that they’re members of fundamentally different religious tribes seems to have far worse consequences.  See, e.g., “On Being Certain” for a citation to research showing that the brain’s neural pathways develop according to what children are exposed to and solidify early in life.

[ Edited: 03 September 2010 07:41 AM by Reece]
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Posted: 03 September 2010 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Reece - 03 September 2010 11:34 AM
MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:41 PM

However, I don’t know if I would quite categorize it as “child abuse.” Sounds a bit harsh. And although I agree that it’s a detestable practice, I wouldn’t go so far as to equate it with actual physical abuse. That’s my opinion anyway.

Oh, I think it could easily be an order of magnitude worse than physical abuse.  I know adults who were, say, slapped on the head for misbehaving as children and they turned out okay, although I don’t think it’s excusable.  I went to elementary school in rural Texas and received corporal punishment, but while I’m sure it had a deleterious effect on me I’m equally sure it has never motivated me to bomb any buses or fly an airplane into a skyscraper.  Ingraining in different children’s minds that they’re members of fundamentally different religious tribes seems to have far worse consequences.  See, e.g., “On Being Certain” for a citation to research showing that the brain’s neural pathways develop according to what children are exposed to and solidify early in life.

reece — i couldn’t agree with you more.  god is not GREAT has an entire chapter on the child abuse that is religion.  it is not their bodies that are abused, necessarily.  their minds, their intellects, their capacity to learn how to think — all of these are being undermined, and that, to me at least, constitutes abuse.

the earliest stages in a brain’s development need to be nurtured, not stifled; fed, not starved; encouraged in their curiosity, not discouraged from asking the why questions.  teach children to read, not to recite; to think, not to chant; to relish asking questions, not to refrain from being heard.  when a parent no longer has the patience to answer a why question without just saying because or because i said so, it is time for that child to read for itself and try to find answers in books.  of course, they will find more questions, but that’s the good thing about reading — it encourages and stimulates curiosity.

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Posted: 03 September 2010 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Reece - 03 September 2010 11:34 AM
MrRon - 02 September 2010 07:41 PM

However, I don’t know if I would quite categorize it as “child abuse.” Sounds a bit harsh. And although I agree that it’s a detestable practice, I wouldn’t go so far as to equate it with actual physical abuse. That’s my opinion anyway.

Oh, I think it could easily be worse than physical abuse.  I know adults who were, say, slapped on the head for misbehaving as children and they turned out okay, although I don’t think it’s excusable.  I went to elementary school in rural Texas and received corporal punishment, but while I’m sure it had a deleterious effect on me I’m equally sure it has never motivated me to bomb any buses or fly an airplane into a skyscraper.  Ingraining in different children’s minds that they’re members of fundamentally different religious tribes seems to have far worse consequences.  See, e.g., “On Being Certain” for a citation to research showing that the brain’s neural pathways develop according to what children are exposed to and solidify early in life.

Hi Reece. I hear you. But would you rather have your child sexually abused by someone or have him/her be referred to by the religion of his/her parents? You can be “deprogrammed” of your religious brainwashing, but you can never be “de-sexually molested.” I hesitate to put the two experiences on an equal footing. Also, bombing buses and flying airplanes into buildings are extreme examples of relgious conviction - not the norm. That being said, I, like you, detest the practice of categorizing children by the parent’s religion. I detest religion, period! I really do. And I really do like what you’re doing. I just hope your message isn’t dismissed as the rantings of an alarmist (I don’t think of you that way - but THEY might).

Best wishes,
Ron
PS - Glad you mentioned “On Being Certain.” I recently purchased that book, but I haven’t had time to read it yet. Looks like a good read. Thank you for the reference.  grin

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Posted: 03 September 2010 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Further clarification…

I agree that religious brainwashing of a child constitutes a form of child abuse, but your OP merely refers to the act of categorizing the child after the religion of the parents. That’s different, and I think less egregious.

Ron

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