In Reason We Trust

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.

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