Religious Education, An Oxymoron



Okay, maybe not Restricted 18, but it should not be taught in schools and definitely not to children under 10. My reasons would be obvious…I hope.

When an old man/woman or a mother/father tells children something… anything… the children are likely to believe it with religious ferocity. I remember my grandfather telling me if a child drunk alcohol, their brain would turn to tomato soup… that scared the **** out of me. I would never presume to tell my kids that there was a god and if they didn’t believe unconditionally they would go to hell (And never see me again). It is a wicked a twisted thing that we mix the lessons that hold hard facts with the lessons full of vague emotional lessons and twisted morals. Children are easily convinced, especially by adults they either love or respect. A teacher or a parent can plant a seed that might turn an otherwise awesome person into a delusional hopefool, and the more I think about it, the worst it seems. Mass delusion.

The reason I thought this topic even deserved a group is because I saw that someone has flagged harmless posts in the “I am an atheist” group as R18.

What? Why is the calm wording of a non-believer considered flagable while the religious experiences are left up for anyone to see? I considered marking every religious themed post as R18, and then didn’t because that’s as ignorent as the person who flagged the atheists posts and just as useless.

Instead I hope people will consider the real age at which you can make informed decisions on the nature of the universe, I believe it would be 18. At 18 I had been learning for long enough to have a broad knowledge of science and facts to decide for myself how things worked. It is definatley not right to tell some-one who still believes in Santa that there is a Jesus and a God and also a holy Ghost. At least we come out with the truth about Santa and the Easter bunny.

If, right now, I decided that my emotional experiences held enough sway to convince me of an all loving deity; then that would be okay and legitimate, especially considering my knowledge of evolution (not claiming its vast, just reasonable)

Maybe I should have made it “I believe evolution should be taught in Sunday school”

Ideas and thoughts appreciated, Are children capable of understanding the crucial differences between science and religion?/reality and delusion? Is it okay to control the future beliefs of a child? Take a child to church?


(edited for spelling and grammer)


smebro smebro
22-25, M
14 Responses May 14, 2007

I actually just saw this,smebro. The hummmmm meant that to believe in the things you do at eighteen,you must have learned them over the years,bit by bit.if you don't learn about God in the critical,formitive years,you're belisf's will be pretty much formed. And,learning about God,to me, is also learning to live by a set of rules. To learn to respect other people and their rights and beliefs and also know that you were given free will to live however you choose. But,the choices you make have consequences.Good or Bad.And most of all the commandment to love God and no other.When you believe that what you do here on earth affects your afterlife,it has an effect on the choices you make, That's my experience.Take it or leave it.<br />

Did you decide not to step on the science in the end? <br />
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I'm not entirely sure what was meant by the sentences following 'hummmmm'. <br />
I think you are implying that people only think they know things; that we don’t really know unless we experience it first hand.<br />
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I can't be bothered going through all this again, elsewhere I go on about my thoughts on 'truth' for me truth is something changeable but based on all available evidences. There are countless evidences that have proven evolution and relativity to me. There is nothing in thousand year old literature that supports god for me.<br />
Weren’t you just quoting Time magazine and Discovery channel as if it were hard proof. I believe you went as far as to call what you saw ‘proof’. <br />
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As for your catholic story; I'm glad those people recovered from the mental anguish.<br />
No, you haven’t provided me any food for thought. <br />
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What should you care about this story anyway? If you’re so sure it’s YOUR god that’s the right one; why should saving him till the age of eighteen hurt anyone?

You said that when you turned 18, you would have enough knowledge of science and how things were formed.HummmDid you ever here of the theory of relativity? How about the theory of evolution?Do you know what theory means?An educated guess-GUESS.<br />
To believe in these 2 theory's you have to have FAITH that the people who did all this study,passed it down correctly.Or,unravelled the findings to come to the right conclusion. <br />
By the way, I know people who were "Forced" to go to Catholic school and hated it. When they got older and had problems that they couldn't deal with they turned to drugs,sex, and alchohol.When these made things so much worse and they were at the end,they threw up a quick prayer and said "What do I have to lose?"Both of these people had experiences where they came into contact with someone who had lost everything. They lost they're spouse,their child,their job,and had tried to commit suicide.They believe that God showed them that they had so much to lose-but had not lost it,yet. As time went on, they both took small steps and regained control of their lives. They're grateful and mostly happy in their lives.They credit God with saving them. Neither of them tried to commit suicide soley because of belief in the fact that they learned they'd go to hell if they would-In Catholic School. Food for thought

I'm the parent of two beautiful children. I don't attend church weekly, but as a child, I went to a catholic school and attended church weekly. I had a very difficult child with an alcoholic father. My mother was catholic and did not believe in divorce, I think this led her to a life of unhappiness and guilt and an untimely death.<br />
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On the other hand each day my best friend and I would visit church every day after school to say prayers or do the stations of the cross. You don't know how many times this ritual had given me strength to continue and courage during my unhappy childhood. Visiting church with my childhood friend is one of my most cherished and comforting memories. I believe God was truly there for me. I am ashamed to say I am not as diligent as my mother was with bringing my kids to church and teaching them about the bible.<br />
Smebro and Constant you have some very well thought out and intelligent posts and ideas.

Reading provides everybody with themes, lessons, and deep interwoven meanings…LOST also has that. On TV we can see a lot of complete rubbish, at other times we find gems of wisdom that give us warm fuzzy feelings about the human condition. I have to respect that you gain that from one source consistantly, although I think that we(or just me) can achieve the same result with a selection of fictitious works.

the vast majority of childhood 'readers' have a larger vocabulary as well as an extremely inventive imagination - well beyond that of the non-reader. when i said, "what reading as a child did for you,” i meant YOU, smebro. you've made several comments about reading as a child and how you feel it helped form who you are. as for which 'holy book' do i prefer ... argh ... there are 'truths' in each of them. there are far-fetched stories in each of them. i think it's a matter of a person's current upbringing, location, state of mind and place in life as to what they will find more relatable at the time they take on the task of reading it, if they do - not many actually take on the task of reading any 'holy book' as a whole. i'm sure that any true believer of any text is going to tell you that the entirety of the 'holy book,' whichever it might be, is of the utmost importance. although it may seem on the surface that much of it is not important and is for pure entertainment, as you read it more and more, whichever one it might be, you'll find the stories, themes, lessons, etc. become inter-woven and it simply becomes deeper and deeper. i certainly don't believe you rely upon anyone else for what a religious text means. and i don't believe you should sit there and think about it until you believe you know. it's one of those things that will just hit you and you'll know without a doubt there's no other possibility - at least not for that moment. HOWEVER, as one matures the meanings also may mature but at the root of the issue it will remain, for the most part, unscathed and the same. at least these have been my findings.

I appreciate having a relatively religious upbringing, but mine was also unusual. My mom's mom (who has always lived with us) is an uber-Catholic - still goes to Latin mass, takes Communion on her tongue and not in her hand, the whole shebang - so I was officially brought up Catholic. My mom calls herself a Catholic witch, mostly because Catholicism is a pagan religion behind all of the monotheistic claims it makes (praying to Mary? the saints? looks to me like polytheism). So I was brought up with a rather skeptical view of modern organized religions. I think Jesus was a great guy, if he existed, and I have a great moral background because of the things that the Bible says he taught, but I believe that whatever you believe is what happens to you in the end... and maybe that's ridiculous and impossible, but it's what I think right now. Of course, my religious views change frequently as I grow up.

What did you mean by this: "What reading as a child did for you” ? , Just curious, is there a marked difference between childhood readers and non?<br />
Constant, what do you make of the bible? Is it something to take as it is, or something to draw your own interpretation from? What about the Koran? What about the Babylonian Legends of the Creation? These are all texts that present an interpretable truth, but which, if any, are right? And how do you tell the meaningful parts apart from the entertainment?

i forgot ... i think it's wrong for an endoctrinated adult to teach a child about their concepts as if it's 'factual.' 9 out of 10 self-proclaimed christians admit to not having read the Bible. however, they're quick to tell you how often they go to church. so they go to church twice a week to listen to a fallible man preach his concepts, opinions, and possibly his misunderstandings. it makes no sense to me for people who've not read the bible and are not proficient with it to think they can do anything with another life.

all the holidays and 'magical' icons are paganistic. santa, the easter bunny, etc. and their respected 'holidays' have nothing to do with the Bible regardless what any atheist or christian says. i've read the Bible several times from beginning to end and there was no mention of easter nor that of christmas. there's a list of holy days we are to celebrate. none of them match anything christians currently recognize. the Bible also says that celebrating anything beyond those 'holy days' is pagan. i'm not going to lie to my children for the sake of a 'magical' childhood. i'll read to them for that. what better way is there really? look what reading as a child did for you...

Yes, as Ideas/ is a way of helping nurture the mind...although I recall my religious instruction teacher telling us with a very serious face that people in the bible lived for thousands of years. That one rolled around in my head for quiet some time, leaving me convinced that our restful convenient lives are killing us earlier then those who lived in the harsh biblical times. <br />
I think good sense comes if it will anyway.

I think that kids are capable of understanding alot...and I don't think it is unhealthy for them to be exposed to ideas about god or religion, as long as they are presented as ideas and not truths. The truths come later, if they ever really do at all. Good thoughts, and very well written. Yes, I think that god would find them.

I raised that point with my Mom, wondering where she stood on that, her answer made sense in a weird way... like religion I suppose.<br />
She said that it was all part of making your childhood magical, providing the seeds of imagination...<br />
Providing the proof that your parents will occasionally deceive you…<br />
I don’t know what decision I’ll make with whatever kids I might have, but it seems a universal norm that parents join in the mass deceit, I wonder how many don’t so that their kids grow up with a sense of false superiority because they always knew the truth while other’s didn’t. Why are things never black and white?<br />
Confusion<br />
Anyway, I stand by my opinion, I still hold it strongly, religion is for people who are old enough and educated enough to make up their own minds, anything less is the same as continuing the Easter bunny myth into adult-hood (in my opinion)<br />
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And in the end, if god is truly there, and if we raise children without god…wouldn’t he find them anyway?<br />

It's ironic that you should bring up the comparison of religion, and Santa and the Bunny. I have a problem with lying to the kids from the get-go about the former 2. When people tell their children about God, it's because they BELIEVE HE is real. When we tell kids about Santa or the Bunny, it is a lie from the moment spoken, and it takes a few seasons to undo those beliefs in children when they become old enough to "be told the truth". And what REALLY p.o.'s me about that is we try to teach our children not to LIE-- even punish them for doing so--- and yet parents, family, and people tell the BIGGEST and LONGEST ongoing LIE for the sake of tradition or entertainment. HOW WARPED IS THAT??