Belief, choice and education

1235

Comments

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.
    Faith is not only Abrahamic or even religious and you make assumptions.

    {rubs eyes] You are on some weird kick about Abrahamism with me. Why, I don't know. I haven't raised the subject. What the hell is this about? It's the second time you've brought it up in such a way that it looks for all the world as if you thought I was discussing it. What posts are you reading? They aren't mine.
    So, then, what world do I not have any experience in?

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Lilbuddha, you know, it would be very helpful if you would quote the post to which you're referring, especially when it's quite far in the past, instead of forcing me to say "What the fuck?" as I look around for your reference.

    You ask, "So, then, what world do I not have any experience in?"

    I took you at first to be referring to the idiom I just used, "it looks for all the world as if" and was deeply mystified. I finally figured out you mean this:
    Blind certainty! Lilbuddha, you have no idea what you're talking about here. Or how bizarre, and ironic too, it is to hear you ordering us to "understand that it is just faith and is no better (or worse) than any other faith." You are dismissing a world of experience you have no knowledge of--and you believe with certainty that that world does not exist.

    I beg you to consider the faint possibility that you may be mistaken.

    I'm talking, naturally, of the world of faith--particularly the world of faith that includes belief in/trust in/relationship with a god or God or gods. You are completely dismissing the experience of zillions of people because it is not one that you share or have ever shared, it appears. You have, it appears, no idea what it looks like from the inside, or how it feels to be a believer. Nevertheless you "know" from your remote fastness that all faiths are the same, and that they are all equally bullshit in terms of reality. And you demand that we agree with you.

    It is richly ironic to find you speaking as an expert on an aspect of life you have never experienced, and handing out orders--or let's make it "firmly worded advice"--to those who have.

    Would you do the same to married couples if you were a lifelong single? To parents, if you had no children?

    And would you argue that every marriage is the same, "no better (or worse) than any other marriage"--or the equivalent for relationships with children?

    Really, the time-honored way of dealing with subjects where you have no knowledge is to stay quiet and listen. Not to rubbish the experience of those who are intimately acquainted with those subjects. Let them argue among themselves, and with those who once had faith and have lost it. But as far as I can make out, you are a faith virgin. Why would you jump headfirst into a discussion you are not equipped for?***

    ***PLEASE NOTE: This is not to say that atheists, agnostics, etc. may not discuss faith in any way, which would be ridiculous. It is to discourage certain folk from making grandiose claims about subjects where their knowledge is clearly lacking and their desire to teach is in the forefront.



  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    I beg you to consider the faint possibility that you may be mistaken.

    I'm talking, naturally, of the world of faith--particularly the world of faith that includes belief in/trust in/relationship with a god or God or gods.
    This is an assumption. A fairly large one.
    You are completely dismissing the experience of zillions of people because it is not one that you share or have ever shared, it appears. You have, it appears, no idea what it looks like from the inside, or how it feels to be a believer.
    ISTM, this presumtion is based on your perception of me as an outsider. I literally do not have an opinion on theism that isn't shared by at least some theists.
    Nevertheless you "know" from your remote fastness that all faiths are the same, and that they are all equally bullshit in terms of reality.
    Show me one that is not. Show me one that has demonstrable evidence. They are called faith for a reason. This is not to say they are inherently wrong because of this.
    And you demand that we agree with you.
    Yeah, that is not a hyperbolic response.
    ***PLEASE NOTE: This is not to say that atheists, agnostics, etc. may not discuss faith in any way, which would be ridiculous. It is to discourage certain folk from making grandiose claims about subjects where their knowledge is clearly lacking and their desire to teach is in the forefront.
    Nice. :unamused: Must I raise my hand? Again, I do not know of one, solitary opinion I have made on theism that is not shared by some theists. And you are making assumptions about my spiritual journey.

    Tidied up quotes code, I hope. BroJames Purgatory Host
  • I would add: the position that spiritual truth can only be understood from the inside emphasises my point, rather than counters it.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    True, to me, means absolutely true. Verifiably true. True from all viewpoints. True at all times.
    That would make all those phrases tautologies, and they aren't, with I think the exception of 'true from all viewpoints'.
    I once read a philosophy book written in the fifties, at the height of logical positivism, that opined that the sentence, 'the far side of the moon is physically identical to the side facing us' was literally meaningless, since it could not at the time of writing have been verified. That seems to me ridiculous. The idea that the world is what it is when we're not there and not looking at it seems a fairly safe metaphysical commitment (and a sound ethical commitment). That means that there are things that are true, that are the case, that we can't verify.
    "I believe I switched the bathroom light off", for me anyway, suggests an element of doubt. I'm not "certain" and admit the possibility I may have failed to switch the light off.
    I think that's part of the connotation of 'believe' rather than the denotation of 'believe'. If you thought something stronger was warranted then you'd have made the stronger claim. That doesn't mean that 'believe' excludes the stronger state of affairs.
    (If I ask you how big your dog is and you tell me it's larger than a spaniel, I will assume it's not a great dane, because if it were a great dane you'd have said it was that big; even though literally speaking great danes are larger than spaniels.)
    That is, saying you believe something when you know it for certain offends against the maxim of quantity (be informative) rather than the maxim of quality (be true).
    My certainty that racism and sexism are wrong also doesn't stand up as absolute truth, no matter how much I want it to, because many societies across history believed that discriminating between the sexes and between races was morally correct and it would be an act of monumental hubris to believe that my morals are better than theirs.
    That might be the case if there had been no journey from the one belief to the other. But our belief that racism and sexism are wrong is the result of processes, namely taking other people's experience into account and reducing suffering and unhappiness, than are widely supposed to be error-reducing in general cases. So that to argue that they had led to error in this case would involve special pleading.
  • If I say, "I switched the bathroom light off," that implies a greater level of confidence than "I'm just sure I switched the bathroom light off." Words are funny sometimes, and pinning down levels of surety based on the dictionary definitions of the words being used is, if not a fool's errand, a bit of a difficult go.
  • If ever I said “I’m sure ... thisorthat.” my Mum would say “that means you’re not sure.”

    She was right.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    I once read a philosophy book written in the fifties, at the height of logical positivism, that opined that the sentence, 'the far side of the moon is physically identical to the side facing us' was literally meaningless, since it could not at the time of writing have been verified. That seems to me ridiculous. The idea that the world is what it is when we're not there and not looking at it seems a fairly safe metaphysical commitment (and a sound ethical commitment). That means that there are things that are true, that are the case, that we can't verify.
    We cannot reasonably say they are true because of the lack of verification. Whether our conjecture might end up being correct is irrelevant to a statement of "this is true" before any verification can be made.

    In fact, the far side of the moon is far more rugged than the near side, so no physically identical




  • RussRuss Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I always think I might be wrong

    Easier to admit that on issues that one isn't emotionally invested in.
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    What I am arguing against is the certainty inherent in calling belief truth.

    I've experienced people who say "true" when they mean "in accordance with our doctrine".

    But that's not a reason to shun the concept of truth. It's a reason to try to distinguish what people profess because they rationally believe it to be true from what they profess because they're emotionally invested in a particular view of the cosmos.

    Seems to me you're sniping at the wrong target.
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    Do you entertain the possibility that your beliefs regarding sexism, racism, and transphobia could be wrong? You’ve certainly never argued like you entertain any possibility of their falseness, nor would I expect you to.
    Those are things which have data and actual points to discuss. Not the same as religion.

    Are the reported spiritual experiences of others not data points ?

    You may profoundly disagree with the concepts that people construct to explain religious experience, but is that not something that can be discussed?

    In the same way, is it possible to discuss whether experiences related to race are the product of a single phenomenon or multiple phenomena ?

    Or are people in both cases so emotionally invested in particular concepts that they cannot imagine other ways of interpreting the same data ?

    Corrected quoting code, I hope. BroJames Purgatory Host
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    ...I was only noting that religious groupings seem to me to be unusually prone to exclusivity. I suspect that might be written in the nature of religion: not for nothing is the first commandment Thou shalt have no other God but me. ...

    And you know this from your, what, two visits to Sunday School?


  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    ...I was only noting that religious groupings seem to me to be unusually prone to exclusivity. I suspect that might be written in the nature of religion: not for nothing is the first commandment Thou shalt have no other God but me. ...

    And you know this from your, what, two visits to Sunday School?


    I hope you enjoy being sarcastic.

    I was thinking more of the Thirty Years War, Spanish Inquisition, persecution of Protestants by Queen Mary, persecution of Catholics by Queen Elizabeth I, persecution of the Jews by everyone, Shia versus Sunni, Hindu against Muslim, Buddhists against Hindus, Hindus against Buddhists, Catholics against indigenous Central and Latin American beliefs, Established church in England/Britain against non-conformists, Church of Scotland against the Free Church of Scotland....

    I mean, I could go on.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    ...I was only noting that religious groupings seem to me to be unusually prone to exclusivity. I suspect that might be written in the nature of religion: not for nothing is the first commandment Thou shalt have no other God but me. ...

    And you know this from your, what, two visits to Sunday School?


    I hope you enjoy being sarcastic.

    I was thinking more of the Thirty Years War, Spanish Inquisition, persecution of Protestants by Queen Mary, persecution of Catholics by Queen Elizabeth I, persecution of the Jews by everyone, Shia versus Sunni, Hindu against Muslim, Buddhists against Hindus, Hindus against Buddhists, Catholics against indigenous Central and Latin American beliefs, Established church in England/Britain against non-conformists, Church of Scotland against the Free Church of Scotland....

    I mean, I could go on.
    Humans naturally group. It is super-common in gregarious species. Us and Them. It does not need to become Us vs Them, but most often has. And it is a handy way to control people.
    The idea that religion somehow avoids this very basic behaviour is somewhat bizarre.
  • There are many religious groups that happily co-exist and help one another where possible. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where ecumenical events have been well supported for decades and inter-faith events are growing in popularity. They don’t make the headlines though.
  • The issue is not binary. That groups encourage exclusivity does not mean that cooperation and coexistence does not occur. And the Us v Them dynamic is just that; dynamic.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Humans naturally group. It is super-common in gregarious species. Us and Them. It does not need to become Us vs Them, but most often has. And it is a handy way to control people.
    The idea that religion somehow avoids this very basic behaviour is somewhat bizarre.
    Is anyone suggesting that religion avoids this basic behavior, or is the idea being challenged that religion is “unusually prone to exclusivity” compared to other human activities. The latter is the claim that was made and was being addressed.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Humans naturally group. It is super-common in gregarious species. Us and Them. It does not need to become Us vs Them, but most often has. And it is a handy way to control people.
    The idea that religion somehow avoids this very basic behaviour is somewhat bizarre.
    Is anyone suggesting that religion avoids this basic behavior, or is the idea being challenged that religion is “unusually prone to exclusivity” compared to other human activities. The latter is the claim that was made and was being addressed.
    I think it is more prone to exclusivity. People do not kill each other because one group really likes Marvel comics and the other likes DC, even though those things can be divisive and encourage negative behaviour.
    Those catagories which claim authority/exceptionalism/etc. enhance the feeling of exclusivity. Religion is one of those enhancers.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Again, the claim being responded to was unusually prone, not “more prone” or “avoids.”

    Yes, religion can be an enhancer for exclusivity—along with politics, ethnicity, race, desire for the resources of others, etc.

    It’s much more complicated than “religion is unusually prone to exclusivity,” because generally in the examples cited, religion is part of the mix but not the totally of what’s at play. Exactly how, for example, does one separate the religious conflict in the Middle East from the political conflict, resource conflict (oil and the power associated with it), ethnic conflict (current and historical), etc. They’re all interconnected.

  • Whilst it is true that different factors are intertwined, it feels like special pleading to reduce the effect of the factor that claims divine backing.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    It also appears to be creating straw men to say that claims that religion avoids the tendency toward exclusivity are “bizarre,” when as far as I can remember, no one has claimed that.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    It also appears to be creating straw men to say that claims that religion avoids the tendency toward exclusivity are “bizarre,” when as far as I can remember, no one has claimed that.
    It is sort of implied in the some of the reactions. Instead of addressing the fairly non-controversial POV that religion is often an aggravating factor in identification, the bona fides of the poster are questioned.


  • 1. Make an absurd claim
    2. When people push back, move the goalposts
    3. Pretend that was the original claim and refuse to be held accountable to the original claim
    4. Claim people arguing against the original claim are special pleading

    The plot so far.
  • No goal post shift at all, just an exploration of ideas.
    Nice avoidance of the addressing the contention, though.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    It also appears to be creating straw men to say that claims that religion avoids the tendency toward exclusivity are “bizarre,” when as far as I can remember, no one has claimed that.
    It is sort of implied in the some of the reactions.
    I don’t see how. Not saying it’s an unheard of idea, but I don’t think it’s implied by what was said here.
    Instead of addressing the fairly non-controversial POV that religion is often an aggravating factor in identification, the bona fides of the poster are questioned.
    In other words, I’ll see your ad hominem and raise you a straw man.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    1. Make an absurd claim
    2. When people push back, move the goalposts
    3. Pretend that was the original claim and refuse to be held accountable to the original claim
    4. Claim people arguing against the original claim are special pleading

    The plot so far.

    Fair summary. I decided to read a different book., having read one by this author before and found it to be much the same thing. Alas.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    No goal post shift at all, just an exploration of ideas.
    Nice avoidance of the addressing the contention, though.

    Ah, the tu quoque death spiral. Not playing that game.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    ...
    People do not kill each other because one group really likes Marvel comics and the other likes DC, even though those things can be divisive and encourage negative behaviour.
    .....

    But if people genuinely believed that Wonder Woman and Wasp were real, and anyone who likes Wasp better is going to burn in hell forever for their sin, and Wonder Woman fans are trying to bring down civilization, things might be diferent.



  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    ...
    People do not kill each other because one group really likes Marvel comics and the other likes DC, even though those things can be divisive and encourage negative behaviour.
    .....

    But if people genuinely believed that Wonder Woman and Wasp were real, and anyone who likes Wasp better is going to burn in hell forever for their sin, and Wonder Woman fans are trying to bring down civilization, things might be diferent.


    And that becomes religion/faith. Just saying that religion is an intensifier with more power than the others. People are going to be awful to each other and will find a reason for it, but that does not mean all reasons are equal.

  • My parents married in a C of E church and I was christened in the same church. My parents were not church goers and we never discussed religion whatsoever. I have no idea what they believed.

    However, they were quite happy to send me to two Christian Sunday schools.

    I have never been a non believer, but I did not become a believer till my late 40s
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    ...I was only noting that religious groupings seem to me to be unusually prone to exclusivity. I suspect that might be written in the nature of religion: not for nothing is the first commandment Thou shalt have no other God but me. ...

    And you know this from your, what, two visits to Sunday School?

    I hope you enjoy being sarcastic. ...
    Oh, I absolutely live for it, dahling. Heaven forfend you should actually take committed Christians seriously.


  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    My mum was C of E my dad Roman Catholic. That was the same for several people in the area. Belief systems tend to be the excuse for violence not the reason. Previous centuries were much more violent than ours. There are fewer battles but belief systems have changed little. If you talk to most people who actually believe they will tell you their system is one of peace. Human nature and belief are constantly in conflict.
  • I suppose I would buy a child this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kids-Book-World-Religions/dp/1554539811 and see what happened.
  • Galilit wrote: »

    That's a bit too monotheistic for me, but yes; it's the same principle of presenting choice and then listening to the child.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    As discussed the child gets opportunity to make a choice in all Christian systems and the majority of them go against their up bringing at least for a while and explore.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    I have a Christian friend who’s daughter went to work in soft porn. She made a choice for her self even though she was brought up in a Christian household.
  • Choice?
  • Hugal wrote: »
    I have a Christian friend who’s daughter went to work in soft porn. She made a choice for her self even though she was brought up in a Christian household.

    Well, you're assuming it was a 'choice' and that her choice is incompatible with or a rejection of her Christian upbringing. Also the choices one can make are dependent on your knowledge base. Hence the idea that the greater knowledge someone has the better they will be able to choose what works for them.

    Accept or reject the only belief you were brought up to know is a lousy kind of choice.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Most Christians would argue that porn is incompatible with Christianity because of things Jesus told us. That is not what I am arguing though. What I am saying that your upbringing doesn’t necessary influence you as an adult. In fact one of the problems is that a lot of teenagers choose not to be Christians even if they were brought up that way. A Christian upbringing doesn’t automatically lead to a Christian adulthood. You can only teach children what you believe is right. It is up to them what they choose.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Children see the world around them. They learn a lot about it by osmosis almost. Christianity lies crossways to society in many ways kids see that.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Hugal wrote: »
    Most Christians would argue that porn is incompatible with Christianity because of things Jesus told us. That is not what I am arguing though. What I am saying that your upbringing doesn’t necessary influence you as an adult. In fact one of the problems is that a lot of teenagers choose not to be Christians even if they were brought up that way. A Christian upbringing doesn’t automatically lead to a Christian adulthood. You can only teach children what you believe is right. It is up to them what they choose.
    Of course one's upbringing influences one's adult behaviour, it cannot but otherwise. What we can do is understand that influence and try to view it as objectively as possible.
    Changing one's religious beliefs is generally not because one's upbringing didn't influence; but because of that influence or in spite of that influence. Our upbringing is not our only influence, but it is typically the strongest.
  • Hugal wrote: »
    Children see the world around them. They learn a lot about it by osmosis almost. Christianity lies crossways to society in many ways kids see that.

    The church being counter-cultural to society is not necessarily a bad thing. Here are some examples of how the church can be counter-cultural.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    I suppose I would buy a child this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kids-Book-World-Religions/dp/1554539811 and see what happened.
    [tangent] I wouldn't buy it, because if the title is conspicuously missed an apostrophe - and that one is - I can only imagine how poorly edited the rest of it must be. [/tangent]



  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Hugal wrote: »
    Children see the world around them. They learn a lot about it by osmosis almost. Christianity lies crossways to society in many ways kids see that.

    The church being counter-cultural to society is not necessarily a bad thing. Here are some examples of how the church can be counter-cultural.

    It all starts with number 1. The rest is... aspirational and... tainted. Judgemental. Church is NOT family for 2. Even family isn't family. 3 really pisses me off, 'Holiness', meaning what? 4 less so, as it's mainly vapid. But still judgemental. 3/4 vinegar, 1 part honey.
  • ƒuddƒudd Shipmate Posts: 14
    Hi guys. Yorick/dogwonderer here! (Long time, etc. Love to you all, etc.)

    I think the ‘choice’ element of the OP is worth consideration. Wait, don't eye-roll! I've learnt some manners since I last ranted on this subject (on ye olde boate).

    As with most issues of such vast complexity, there are no easy answers to questions pertaining to religious belief in children. I guess most of us are prone to significant bias in our views on the reception of religion in children, subject to the influence of those very same religious beliefs! Ask me for my opinion of the harmful effects of alcohol after I’ve finished a bottle of Margaux!

    In the abstract, though, this barrier to conversation has always struck me as a shame, since it’s quite easy to imagine harm resulting simply from our acquisition of beliefs preceding the development of our capability for critical thinking. Thus, a young child who comes to believe in a tri-omni god may end up getting hurt in the later struggle to reconcile those beliefs with the problem of evil, for example. (Is anyone here familiar with this?). I can imagine many other similar hypothetical situations, and even ones in which third parties may come to be hurt.

    Although this is a REALLY tricky subject (not least due to the highly explosive mixture of stuff about which we may care more about than just about anything else), I feel we may usefully look at the issue of personal choice in the childhood acquisition of religious beliefs. Would anyone here disagree that, in principle at least, it is ethically preferable that religious (or other important) beliefs should be acquired by free will rather than through indoctrination* in any circumstances?

    *With apologies for the negative connotation of the word. Happy to substitute with something more respectful if anyone can suggest a suitable alternative.
  • Hugal wrote: »
    Most Christians would argue that porn is incompatible with Christianity because of things Jesus told us. That is not what I am arguing though. What I am saying that your upbringing doesn’t necessary influence you as an adult. In fact one of the problems is that a lot of teenagers choose not to be Christians even if they were brought up that way. A Christian upbringing doesn’t automatically lead to a Christian adulthood. You can only teach children what you believe is right. It is up to them what they choose.

    What most Christians would argue is irrelevant. It's down to the individual.

    You cannot avoid being influenced by your upbringing. Whether you choose to adopt your parents' beliefs as your own or reject them, the influence is still there. That oil and water do not mix does not mean they are unaffected by each other.

    It is not a problem if teenagers choose to reject their parents' beliefs. Quite the opposite: it is a sign that they becoming independent.

    There is no imperative to teach your children that what you believe is right. What you believe is particular to you and may not be relevant to them. You inform them and let them choose.
  • Hugal wrote: »
    Most Christians would argue that porn is incompatible with Christianity because of things Jesus told us. That is not what I am arguing though. What I am saying that your upbringing doesn’t necessary influence you as an adult. In fact one of the problems is that a lot of teenagers choose not to be Christians even if they were brought up that way. A Christian upbringing doesn’t automatically lead to a Christian adulthood. You can only teach children what you believe is right. It is up to them what they choose.

    Choose?
  • Hugal wrote: »
    Children see the world around them. They learn a lot about it by osmosis almost. Christianity lies crossways to society in many ways kids see that.

    The church being counter-cultural to society is not necessarily a bad thing. Here are some
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Hugal wrote: »
    Children see the world around them. They learn a lot about it by osmosis almost. Christianity lies crossways to society in many ways kids see that.

    The church being counter-cultural to society is not necessarily a bad thing. Here are some examples of how the church can be counter-cultural.

    It all starts with number 1. The rest is... aspirational and... tainted. Judgemental. Church is NOT family for 2. Even family isn't family. 3 really pisses me off, 'Holiness', meaning what? 4 less so, as it's mainly vapid. But still judgemental. 3/4 vinegar, 1 part honey.

    I understand your reaction to 4. Your reaction to the article caused me to read it again. I agree with your points. It certainly is not my position either. I apologize for posting it.

    Let me try to give some personal examples of how the church can be counter-cultural.

    My denomination came out 20 years ago with a statement on human sexuality that said same sex orientation was not sinful. Since then it has certified people for ministry regardless of sexual orientation. This brought a strong reaction from within the denomination with about 1/3 of the congregations leaving. Other Lutheran bodies have now accused us of no longer being Lutheran. I can tell you it is very hard to witness to the ELCA position on conservative pages so I have begun to withdraw from them.

    I recall Jesus saying if you go into a new community and say peace be unto you but that peace is not returned, walk away shaking the dust off your feet.

    In addition to my congregation being open and affirming, we have set out on being intentionally welcoming to all. We have had several same-sex couples over time, and we have various nationalities worshiping with us. When a sizable group of Americans wants to limit immigration it says something when my pastor invites people to say the Lord's prayer in whatever language they are comfortable with. Currently, we have people in our congregation who speak Swahili, Spanish, and Chinese in addition to English. We have a few people who identify as asexual too, Our congregation has taken an active role in the local Gay Pride parade for the past 20 years. Our bishop has said our congregation is the most integrated congregation in her synod.

    In a country that idealizes individual rights and a culture that has become more disconnected in spite (or because) of social media, our congregation emphasizes being a community of acceptance instead of judgment.

    Again, I am sorry for posting an article I did not fully read.

  • This is a powerful story about how classmates stood up for a boy who was being adopted by a same-sex couple in Utah. What struck me was that the two young girls who intervened are members of the predominant religious group in the region. They knew what was happening was wrong and moved to try to stop it. One girl tried to change the subject, but the bullying kept going, so the other girl went to the principal's office to report it.

    Those actions took a lot of courage because while they took the right course, they still have to grow up in that community where many families are likely homophobic and that is reflected among their peers. I am pleased Daniel has two classmates who stood up for him.
  • It is not a problem if teenagers choose to reject their parents' beliefs. Quite the opposite: it is a sign that they becoming independent.

    Isn’t it also a signal of becoming independent if they choose to adopt some beliefs and reject others? Surely the key thing is making up their minds, which can include positive as well as negative choices?
    There is no imperative to teach your children that what you believe is right. What you believe is particular to you and may not be relevant to them. You inform them and let them choose.

    That’s a pretty solipsist view. You don’t have to take a realist / positivist view of knowledge to contest that; instead one can argue that (social) realities are jointly constructed. From a social constructionist viewpoint it’s difficult to say a belief is a particular to an individual, when the knowledge it is based on arises from the understanding of a community. This is concordant with the idea you expressed about not being able to avoid being influenced by your upbringing, but goes further - all the alternative views that one might be attracted to are also social constructions, and you don’t stand above them and pick them so much as participate in them.



  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    ƒudd wrote: »
    Hi guys. Yorick/dogwonderer here! (Long time, etc. Love to you all, etc.)

    I think the ‘choice’ element of the OP is worth consideration. Wait, don't eye-roll! I've learnt some manners since I last ranted on this subject (on ye olde boate).

    As with most issues of such vast complexity, there are no easy answers to questions pertaining to religious belief in children. I guess most of us are prone to significant bias in our views on the reception of religion in children, subject to the influence of those very same religious beliefs! Ask me for my opinion of the harmful effects of alcohol after I’ve finished a bottle of Margaux!

    In the abstract, though, this barrier to conversation has always struck me as a shame, since it’s quite easy to imagine harm resulting simply from our acquisition of beliefs preceding the development of our capability for critical thinking. Thus, a young child who comes to believe in a tri-omni god may end up getting hurt in the later struggle to reconcile those beliefs with the problem of evil, for example. (Is anyone here familiar with this?). I can imagine many other similar hypothetical situations, and even ones in which third parties may come to be hurt.

    Although this is a REALLY tricky subject (not least due to the highly explosive mixture of stuff about which we may care more about than just about anything else), I feel we may usefully look at the issue of personal choice in the childhood acquisition of religious beliefs. Would anyone here disagree that, in principle at least, it is ethically preferable that religious (or other important) beliefs should be acquired by free will rather than through indoctrination* in any circumstances?

    *With apologies for the negative connotation of the word. Happy to substitute with something more respectful if anyone can suggest a suitable alternative.

    I'll bite (hi, dude! Missed you around). Yes, I will disagree with you. I think indoctrination, otherwise known as "teaching," is ethically neutral or positive when it comes to "important beliefs"--particularly such things as "brush your teeth," "wash your hands," "don't hit your brother with a brick," and "say please and thank you." Along with quite a few more similar items.

    (And before you say it: yes, there are clear and important beliefs behind these admonitions. The above-mentioned include "if you don't follow simple hygienic practices, you will suffer for it in terms of your health"; "it is wrong to cause unnecessary pain to others"; and "you should always treat others with respect, particularly Grandmas bearing gifts." ALSO and-before-you-say-it: assuming that they are true (and that's a discussion for another thread), religious beliefs fall squarely in this category, treating as they do of the big questions such as who you are, where you fit into the universe, what your purpose and meaning is, and how other people fit into all that--who THEY are, and so forth. No one can sensibly argue that such questions are unimportant, or even less important than tooth-brushing standards.)

    The reason for indoctrination-at-a-young-age-even-against-one's-will is frankly, because people in general have tendencies to be illogical, foolish, lazy, and selfish, and these appear to be inborn. It is an uphill battle teaching a child to be a civilized adult; if you leave the job till high school, it's going to be nearly impossible. Adult temptations and choices presuppose that you've got certain basics of faith and morals covered--and if you don't, you (and others!) are likely to suffer for it. And at that age, nobody can force you go undergo remedial humanization against your will. (They can try...)

    The same is true in a different sense when it comes to imparting scientific and cultural knowledge. I have had the experience of playing catch-up with the education of an adult who did not know what the solar system was, or that the moon appeared in the daytime as well as at night. Let me tell you, it is not easy trying to lay a foundation that should have been laid in childhood and wasn't. Adulthood and adult opportunities like college (which I was preparing her for) presuppose that you have certain basics in knowledge. Trying to learn in young adulthood what you should have learned in primary school really sucks. There just isn't time, what with the other demands on you at that point. And many of the decisions you need to make that happened to be based on the understandings you missed out on--well, those decisions won't wait until you can do the remedial work. Why would I put my child, whom I love, through all of that?

    So yes, as a decent parent determined to do the best I possibly can for my child, I am going to freaking teach (indoctrinate) him. I'm going to give him the best I can possibly give him, based on my own best understanding and experience. It would be unethical, nay immoral, for me to do anything else. (Go do your homework, kid...)

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