Indoctrinating Children


When we use the word “indoctrinate,” we usually have religion in my mind. Many atheists have long spoken against the idea of indoctrinating children into religion, but in reality, all parents indoctrinate their children. Some of us raise our children to be good members of society. Some of us raise our children to be racists, and some of us raise our children to be religious. None of this changes the fact that all children are indoctrinated. So, what is important is what children are indoctrinated to believe.

Say what you want about the religious, but if they actually believe that non-believers are going to burn, how can we expect them to not teach their children about God? This is something I’m concerned about, and so, I can only conclude that some amount of religious indoctrination will always have to be excused. If someone strongly believes that “meat is murder” it cannot be expected that the person won’t teach their children the same.

Of course, some teachings are so horrible that they cannot be excused. There may be certain teachings that are so abhorrent that teaching is tantamount to child abuse. Should we take a child away from her KKK member parents?

I think the only thing people can do is to refuse parents the right of isolating their children. Children need to be introduced to the age-appropriate things society has to offer. Parents may play the biggest role in a child’s life, but society as whole can play a part. This can be done in schooling where thinking skills need to be taught.

Nevertheless, I’m skeptical that society could play a big role, and I’m skeptical that proper schooling will teach actual thinking skills, as opposed to teachers’ biases.

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Do Atheists get their Morals from Christianity?


I’m not one of those atheists who completely ignore theology or apologetics, but now, unless I uncover a book containing an argument that is unique, I feel like I’ve put in my time. I’ve read theology, apologetics, and watched many video lectures by the more prominent theologians. I’ve even taken a 300 level philosophy of religion course. (I am aware this doesn’t make me a theologian.) Not to mention, I’ve read the Bible several times.

Recently, a commenter recommended a book. I looked at the book on amazon, and the book’s premise was that even atheists use Christian morals. I have heard this argument before. The premise is usually a variant on the idea that people, here anyways, grow up in a largely Christian society, and this is where atheists get their morals. Thus, an atheist’s moral values originate from Christianity.

While no one can doubt that Christianity has had a large effect on many societies, I think the idea that all atheists nowadays are following and should follow Christian morality is wrong. The fact of the matter is that people know, without the Bible, that murder is wrong. Yes, the Bible points out certain things are wrong that most of agree on, but other pre-Christian ethics have done the same thing. The Code of Hammurabi predates Mosaic law with eerie similarities in some places. (Here’s a wikipedia article on it.) The Code of Hammurabi has laws on slander, theft, and more. Still, I do not claim to follow The Code of Hammurabi or the Bible. Just because some of the prohibitions are good doesn’t mean the entirety of the text should be kept, and just because we can all agree on some things, like do not kill, doesn’t mean we got that rule out of the Bible. I do not think most of us would ever be that barbaric with or without the Bible.

Now, I think most atheists keep their morality simply by contemplation. However, their is a wealth of content on morality from philosophy. Moral philosophy has been going on since the ancient Greeks, and I for one try to look at these systems of beliefs. (Although, my work is not done.) I suggest others consult moral philosophy as well. I have posted before that I think any good moral system should look at sources such as psychology, moral philosophy, sociology, and neuroscience. We can turn morality into a system that works for everybody. I think we should try our best to do this.

You Don’t Choose What You Believe


I’m not going to address free will here; although, I could add that to this equation. However, I won’t. My concern is this: you cannot change your beliefs like you change your clothes. I’m not saying people don’t change their beliefs; because, they obviously do. However, people can’t just change their minds without good reason. People cannot just simply choose a belief system in order to make someone else happy, or because, it would be really nice for a belief to be true.

Some people truly believe in a deity, but they have their reasons. Deep down they feel that their belief is correct. Their faith makes sense to them, and they have experiences that confirm their beliefs to them. (Of course, I’m not claiming their experiences are good evidence for a deity.) They may have been indoctrinated as well. Unless something happens to them whether internal or external, they will maintain their belief.  In order for disbelief to occur, faith in a deity has to stop making sense, and their has to be a realization that maybe their experiences are not what they thought they were. Likewise,  an atheist cannot believe in a deity , even if they wanted to. Until a deity makes more sense, an atheist cannot  truly believe.

Doubt is real. It’s a voice deep in the mind, that is echoing what makes sense to an individual. In some cases, people use a double think to stick with their belief in a deity. People will tell themselves they are going through a phase. People seek pastoral counseling, in order to be further indoctrinated. Some people accept the doubt as a part of faith, which has never made much sense to me. (I don’t believe in God right now, but hey, I’m Christian.) A person’s doubt might be telling them that they’re unsure about a deity or that they are an atheist. However if people aren’t exploring their doubt and revaluating what make sense to them , then they are just lying to themselves. A person can confess that they believe in a deity all they want, but that doesn’t make it true. Deep down no matter what a person tries to do to themselves, they know the what their true convictions really are.

My point is this: no more self deception. There is nothing reprehensible about being unsure  about a current belief, or even deciding it’s not true. However, we all need to ask questions on our own, in our own good time. Look at both sides and decide. Don’t be ashamed of doubt. Don’t attempt to self-deceive. It won’t work. The doubt will not go away, if the belief doesn’t make sense anymore. Forced belief isn’t true belief. It’s time to stop playing pretend.