In Reason We Trust

Posts in category Religion

Indoctrination

President Carrie Henson’s Comments at the August 1st, 2017 KPB Assembly Meeting…

In continued protest of the unconstitutional invocation policy here at these meetings I will continue my discussion on why mixing religion with government affairs is a bad idea. When people have learned that I am an atheist the next question they ask is why?

To put matters at their simplest, the major reason for the continuance of religious belief in a world which might otherwise have long moved beyond it, is indoctrination of children before they reach the age of reason, together with all or some combination of social pressure to conform, social reinforcement of religious institutions and traditions, emotion, and it has to be said ignorance of science, of psychology, of history in general, and of the history and actual doctrines of the religions themselves. Despite my aunt’s best efforts, I was never indoctrinated.

Religious doctrine could possibly be useful in a philosophical sense, but once they are considered an ideology centered upon belief in, worship of, an obedience to a deity or deities, from whom or from which come the commands that construct the correct form of life and belief for the devotee, from this tension comes much harm, to individuals and societies both.

It is hard to make literal sense of much archaic theological and religious discourse, which is the reason religious apologists, when pressed, resort to claims of ineffability concerning the central religious subject matters and the inability of human minds to grasp them.

Often the faithful try to make a moderate version of their religion by cherry-picking the bits they can live with but the moment anything more serious in the way of commitment and belief enters the frame, threats immediately arise for women, gays, human rights, and peace itself. Whether you are in the Christian southern states, Jewish ultra-orthodox settlements in Palestinian territories, Muslim majority countries, or any community anywhere in the world the true versions of these religions are by their nature fundamentalist.

How do we free the mind of humankind from attitudes and practices which are among the biggest impediments to peace and human progress, and to adopt in their place the humane outlook that is seriously concerned to promote both, and has a real chance of doing it?

I personally have found other sources of individual comfort and inspiration that are far better than religion, they include love and friendship, family life, art, the pursuit of knowledge, and the outlook and principles of humanism. My world view is premised on observation, reason and science, and excludes any kind of faith-involving element, and specifically excludes belief in or invocation of a being or beings of a transcendent, supernatural, divine or mystical nature.

Freedom from coercive ideology is both a human right and a fundamental civil liberty, which is why freedom from religion should figure in any codification of human rights alongside the freedom to have a religion.

The Pitfalls of Purity

daddydance

First, I truly believe that having a dad-daughter dance is lovely. Taking time to connect and tell your daughter how much she means to you is admirable and something more parents should take time to do.

But taking a pledge to guard her virginity may sabotage your most sincere intentions. Here’s why… By putting emphasis on your daughter’s virginity as something that needs guarding, you are sending a message that a) her sexuality (virginity) is the focus of her value, and b) she needs a man to make her decisions for her. Several long-term national studies of thousands of teens have found: 90 percent of girls who pledge abstinence until marriage do not keep that promise; those who have taken a purity/virginity pledge have significantly lower rates of condom and birth control use when they do have sex; teens who take abstinence pledges have similar rates of STDs as those who don’t despite delaying onset of intercourse and having fewer partners; teens who take a virginity/purity pledge are more likely to engage in oral and anal sex than those who do not, often thinking these activities do not count as losing their virginity.

We can’t be there 24/7, 365 days a year. As teens get older, they make more of their own decisions, whether we like it or not. What we can rely on is what we’ve taught them. So for goodness sake, please teach your daughters (and sons) about how to love with respect and responsibility. Giving information about condoms, birth control, and other pleasurable activities other than oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse could keep them healthy. It will also arm them with accurate information for their peers, who may not hold the same values your family does. Talking often about values, relationships, and standards can help your teen and others.

Are you sending a message that you believe in your daughter and trust her to make great decisions for herself because shes’s a strong, independent, worthy human on the planet? Or are you sending her the message that she needs to rely on you and other men to protect her, that she is somehow weaker, and that if she does have sex, she’s somehow damaged? Think of all the activities you can do to strengthen your relationship with your daughter that don’t focus on her sexuality. Is there a special trip you can take to honor an interest of hers? Would it be fun to start a tradition of cooking a special meal together once a week? Do a service project together that honors an interest of hers? These are ways to value her courage, her integrity, her intelligence, her kindness, her spirit; that don’t focus on her virginity or sexuality as a commodity to be preserved in order to increase her value in anyone’s eyes. If you want to go to a purity ball, by all means do. But don’t stop there. Show your daughter she’s valued for more, so much more.

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