If people around the world come to realize how much harm is caused by brainwashed individuals, do you think it will become illegal to brainwash your own children? Could it be seen as a form of child abuse?
To imagine that such thoughts were supported by actual parents is horrifying. I haven’t seen the Dawkins shows, but have seen documentation of parents approving of horrific tactics toward innocent babies.
I think that to brainwash a child into an atheist is a crime. All instincts within man are drawn to the creator. He created us this way. To deny a child his own instincts to believe in and even love the creator, that is a brainwashing crime.
When Middle America wakes up to the harm caused by the conditioning/brainwashing of children by non-Christian religions, dare we suppose that our public schools would teach a course on the subject? I’m thinking of a round-table discussion in which teacher and students, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and any other, could each discuss the conditioning that molded them into their particular ‘faith’ - how it limits them, sets them at odds with others, if it makes them bigoted or not, and look at how religious people are at war with each other around the world. Also, how it might give one an advantage in a given culture. (as George W. Bush is able to get the vote of the blue collar fundamentalists, etc.) I’m thinking of a class in which all the ramifications of condtioning/brainwashing are discussed.
In the proposed public school class, mentioned above, the atheist child would also be at the round table, discussing what made him an atheist - his parents, or reading ‘The End of Faith’, or his own observations, etc. If his parents were modern physicists, maybe he would tell the religious faithful, that the realities of science were much more miraculous and awe inspiring than their odd little folktales and superstitions. Religious people talk as though they had a corner on mystery and marvel, poetry and joy, when, in fact, their illusions severely limit them in those fields.
Brainwashing an innocent child into religious doctrine is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable I believe. By doing so you are forbidding him/her from being his/her true self (in my understanding, realising one’s true self is part and parcel to one’s very purpose, and therefore, happiness…); filling them with lies about the nature of things and so his connection to the real world is involuntarily mystified, and his contributions to the world (if he doesn’t break out of it) begin from a false pretense. No good is all.
[quote author=“jon”]in Richard Dawkins’ newest shows he talks to an English psychologist who works with children who have been scarred by images and thoughts of hell. it is quite interesting.
Is that to be found somewhere on the Net, or is that some TV shows he does? I’m not from U.S. so I don’t know I’d like to read or see that…
I think that to brainwash a child into an atheist is a crime.
Sorry champ, but this statement shows, once again, your overwhelming ignorance. You started out as an atheist, everyone does, without exception, and were probably brainwashed into your present mindset by well-meaning but nontheless horrific parents.
The first thing they did, as was attempted in my case, was to convince you that you were guilty of this thing called “original sin.” What a crock! Then you were informed that the only way you could acheive release from eternal damnation was to worship whats-his-name, and nothing else would do or you would burn for eternity.
Do you think that’s a nice thing to do for a child? You are still reeling from it, and you don’t even know it. You were an innocent, carefree little boy, and they turned you into a terrified child. Boy, that’s parenting! I’ll bet you dont even remember a time when you weren’t concerned for your “immortal soul.”
[quote author=“lorenzium”]Is that to be found somewhere on the Net, or is that some TV shows he does? I’m not from U.S. so I don’t know I’d like to read or see that…
Here are the links to the torrent files for the episodes. It was a two part series done by Channel 4 in England. Make sure you have a program like Azureus for torrent downloading. If these links don’t work I can find new ones or someone else may be able to post some as well if these don’t work out. Just copy the links.
Why must everyone be so hung up on atheism? No child is born an atheist. Atheism means you are certain that there is nothing in the proverbial world “box”—or rather the unknown that we are trying to explain. To me, Harris seems to take a more agnostic point of view in his thesis even if he does not intend to: it is the questioning, discussing, and rationalizing that make us superior—rather than resorting to labels and claims of absolute certainty about something we simply do not have the tools to prove. You cannot condemn a religious famliy for instilling faith in their children: people have a right to believe crazy things until their beliefs start crossing established legal borders.
[quote author=“unsmoked”]Religious people talk as though they had a corner on mystery and marvel, poetry and joy, when, in fact, their illusions severely limit them in those fields.
Yes unsmoked! I think you’re right on here.
[quote author=“alkaimakhan”]You cannot condemn a religious family for instilling faith in their children: people have a right to believe crazy things until their beliefs start crossing established legal borders.
I can and I will. This goes to the core of the problem Sam is writing about. We can condemn instilling faith when those beliefs are used as reasons to justify crimes (crossings of established legal borders). We can condemn instilling faith when it provides cover to fundamentalism which, if -no when- followed, does cross established legal borders (in fact it demands it). Again, as Sam points out, because “it removes questions of ethics from human suffering” we can condemn it as it allows justification for ANY action (our laws however do not allow any action and they do not match this) That is the beliefs are a tautology, adding nothing): a person can choose to be nice (because for example Jesus says so) or not (because Jesus says so). Put another way, there is no way to both love thy neighbor (by not killing him) and then to love god by killing him. I know binary logic doesn’t apply to everything but here is it not appropriate? (both can’t be true right?) Remember the Bible and Koran do not map to our laws in any way. Their ethics are not situational ethics like our legal system uses (for crimes like murder/manslaughter). When pointed out that Christian family NextDoorNeighbors are overall “good” people, I point out that they don’t need the bible (or any belief system) to be so. Lastly I would like to say explicitly that I’ve condemned the behavior (instilling beliefs) not the family. I don’t confuse the two.
Next, it does not follow that the separation of church and state = you have the right to believe crazy things. To further your legal borders point: people aren’t prosecuted because they’re allowed to believe whatever they want (including crazy things); they’re not prosecuted because they’re presumably obeying the law. So it’s true you can believe whatever you want and not be arrested until you break the law but that doesn’t mean you have the right to believe whatever you want until you break the law. It’s not true someone believes something and their belief changes because they’re arrested and after breaking the law have lost the right to that belief. Behavior here is ultimately what is important. Now I realize above you, alkaimakhan, are not saying this but understand that the arguments arguing for allowing any kind of belief (even in crazy things) masks this fact. That point is so critical I will state it another way: right now any dialogue (media/politics) about religion doesn’t focus on the behavior the belief system produces (including crossings of established legal borders - removing human suffering from ethics) our dialogue only justifies relgion, the bevahiors produced are irrelevant. Paraphrasing one of Sam’s lectures, “It’s not religion that caused engineers to fly planes in to buildings; it’s a lack of educational opportunties/economic development” and so on… This is not acceptable.
Finally, what about the duties attached to such a right even if it were to exist? If it’s against the law for me to murder you without justification, clearly I have the duty not to. If we say, you have the right to believe whatever you want (including crazy things), again, what’s the duty of society to fullfill this right? If you and I have an argument and then move from the argument to using belief systems, the use of propositions to justify the argument positions stops. In order to resolve the argument we have to go back to the argument itself. This is why we should condemn instilling a belief system (which prevents this). This also means a “belief” in atheism or science or anything else. I’m not saying thinking nothing (or anything) is true. I’m not saying believe in nothing. I’m saying don’t own beliefs when you think.
[quote author=“TheChampion”]I think that to brainwash a child into an atheist is a crime. All instincts within man are drawn to the creator. He created us this way. To deny a child his own instincts to believe in and even love the creator, that is a brainwashing crime.
Brainwashing children is a crime, Champ. Now, do you know of any atheist brainwashing the children? Here is my story.
I married for the second time in 1993 and I am watching my young son, now 8, going through his own world investigation. I never discussed with my son the God issue. At some point we had Catholic friends and my wife, who is formally Catholic but practically a pagan wanted to expose our son to the “Church and religion experience”. I was amused and laughing loud when all the attempts she made ended in a disaster. My son was scared by the church “experience” and luckily she didn’t decide to subdue him by force. (Treblinka, in case you listen: my son was baptized, yet if I was a believer I would interpret his reaction as a proof that some Jesus hating demon had possessed him, that is how strong his reaction was and that is how goes your theory of the purifying nature of baptism). So far, my son’s only religious experience was to comply with requests of his grandma to pray with her before going to bed. Luckily, grandma spent only short time with us and all that nonsense, of which I wasn’t even aware for some time, stopped. By the way, grandma is one person I know who is struggling with a fear of death, which probably explains her committment to indoctrinate my son. On the other hand, my father, a committed atheist is quite stoical about the death issue at the age of 86. So, the religion cannot even score in this department.
Now coming back to my son’s exploration of the world’s secrets. Once, when we were in a car together, he started a conversation about how people came about. In school he got two theories to consider from his friends. One, the usual religious crap and the other some sort of dinosaur stories. I was very proud of him when he spoke in favor of the dinosaur theorey, whatever that was. However, at this point not all of his questions have been answered. I don’t get it - he said - there were no people when the dinosaurs lived so where did the first people came from?
Anyway Champ. My son is doing fine mentally and otherwise. Aren’t you jelous that at the age of 8 he is absolutely guilt free and demonstrates no inhibition in the sex department either? Actually, my plan would be to arrange for a mature women, a family friend, to initiate him sexually when he starts feeling the urges. Unfortunately, such simple (and time honored solution) is not possible in this country thanks to religious freaks like yourself.
Some good points—but perhaps not what I’m really trying to get at. I suppose my use of rather vague wording is to blame for this. I thought we were talking about brainwashing as child abuse here—condemn here would mean penalize. (Obviously you have the right to find fault in parents teaching their children that infidels are the path to paradise—and should). But should we penalize parents who brainwash fictions of Santa Clause and fairies into their childrens’ minds? That is another question entirely.
I completely agree with you: do not own your beliefs. But then again we don’t live in a perfect world. Be careful that you do not create your own Juggernaut—an iron clad belief that prevents you from attaining even more productive goals in society. The potential hazard here would be: religious people are delusional and need to stop buying into lunacy because it exacerbates the misery of this world. What Sam Harris is doing is great: he’s bringing this controversial topic to the masses so we can talk about it. But even if a rationalist revival begins tomorrow and “converts” (forgive my use of words with religious connotations) we will still have many religious believers for years to come and we need to be able to deal with these people whether or not you think are wrong (even the “dangerous” moderates). As rational people, we have the ability to do that because we should/do not have this juggernaut defining our actions to the extreme. Like Harris said, you cannot choose your beliefs—therefore in the mean time we have to show this world that religion is a fake and we are will have to reason with the moderates because last time I strapped a Southern baptist to the strappado and tried to convert him to rationalism, it didn’t work;)
So it’s true you can believe whatever you want and not be arrested until you break the law but that doesn’t mean you have the right to believe whatever you want until you break the law.
I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, but people can believe whatever they want as long as the actualization of their beliefs don’t get them in trouble with the law (e.g. kill somebody, suicide bomb, encourage mass suicide, sodomize children). Luckily we can because many of us live in a society that protects our right to different beliefs. Be wary of trying to purge people of their religious beliefs—that’s a fast track to the neo-inquisitions (bit harsh, granted). I’m not talking about you personally, but everyone on this forum is getting so worked up about manifestos and legal consequences.
Is President Bush, however, culpable, because his religious beliefs lead us to undesirable results when they provided the impetus for an Iraq incursion or when he supports a ban on stem cell research? That is the type of thought policing and one-ness of thought that I don’t want to get started in.
[quote author=“alkalmakheim”]I’m not talking about you personally, but everyone on this forum is getting so worked up about manifestos and legal consequences.
I feel like I’ve been challenged since I was the strong proponent on the Manifesto and legal consequences.
First, let me praise your excellent post (above). Now, let me explain why the Manifesto and legal issues are important.
Manifesto is the first step in “coming out of the closet”, of being heard. It seems like a very necessary requirement for starting anything meaningful.
The legal issues are also important. Look at the Europe not knowing how to overcome the mistake of naively believing that their culture of tolerance and openness will somehow miraculously transform their immigrants.
My point in legal matters is that religion has a visible position in society and must be regulated for similar reasons we regulate commerce. Commerce deals with the urge to make profits at all cost and is not capable of policing itself in this department. Similarly, there are religions who have the urge to go out and dictatate to people what they should do. The kind of regulations I demand would be some kind of accountibility for religious activists who appear on public forum. Enforcement of regulations as I propose them would at least assure that the most retarded and uneducated idiots will be purged from the public view. If moderates take their place so much better for all of us.
If a child shows up at school with suspicious welts and bruises, we trust that the teacher will take appropriate action and a social worker will visit the home to make inquiries etc. If the same thing happens again, and again - even if the child refuses to explain the bruises, we expect our laws to protect him and he or she is removed from the abusive household.
Bruises and welts to the brain and intellect are not hard to detect. They can’t be hidden under clothes like physical injuries. Let’s face it, there are no laws on the books at this time to protect children from brainwashing. We end up with legions of people, like Champ, who can’t make the simplest scientific deduction - stuck forever in infantile fantasies, and determined to do the same to any child they can get his hands on. Champ is the tip of the iceberg. Here and in countries around the world the mullahs are cranking out mass murderers, and there’s is no law to prevent them. Is there?