Thursday, August 19, 2010

Discussion Group: Indoctrination is it Dangerous ~ What is your experience?

Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology.... It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.[2] As such it is used pejoratively, often in the context of political opinions, theology or religious dogma. ~ Wikipedia

I have noticed in some of my conversations recently how the level of indoctrination a person has experienced and holds on to effects their ability to engage in a discussion that requires critical evaluation.  There seems to be a point where reason turns off and the programming takes over.  Now I know that as an atheist my BS meter is probably set lower and my world view is skewed.

I wasn't always this way.  As a Mormon youth I was guilty of saying some pretty crazy stuff out loud.  Much of if I did not even give a second thought to until I got older and then I had the realization that maybe it wasn't reasonable and that is did not add up.  Even shortly after I got married the little guilt feelings would haunt me.  Not because I was doing anything wrong but because I had this programming.

I have not programmed or indoctrinated my children.  If you know me you might find that hard to believe.  While I openly speak out against religion I encourage them to ask questions to ponder the superstition and to reason through it.  I also believe there is a big difference between education and indoctrination.

So my question is how do you view religious indoctrination.  What has been your experience and do you think it has impaired your ability to look critically at your beliefs?  Do you think it is dangerous to oneself, the country, or our society as a whole?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you are praying for Christopher Hitchens Death ....... go *#&@ yourselves

As you may be aware Christopher Hitchens is dying of esophageal cancer.  He has been repeatedly asked if he will convert on his death bed.  He says not and if a person in the body of Christopher Hitchens does he was not in his right mind.

When asked if he minded if people prayed for him he said he was flattered by those who prayed for him to get well and did not really care about those who prayed for him to die.

The Atlantic Journal has a different take:

I found this candid statement from the Atlantic Journal refreshing.

Thanks again to PZ Myers for bringing it to our attention.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sexuality... Who Owns It?

I cannot figure out what we have, as a human culture against, sex education.  This video and the others like it that demonstrate mutilation of women to curb either their interest in sex of their attractiveness to the opposite sex represent the collective evil that we can do as a species to each other.

I know your thinking "now Curmudgeon, that does not happen in civilized societies like America."  Yes it does.  The same barbarous practices happen in secret here cloaked in religious ceremonies and under the guise of religious freedom.  Additionally, we tolerate in the open ritualistic psychological abuse in the form religious dogma.

Our children are taught from the earliest ages to deny their sexuality.  I was always taught that god made us sexual beings as a test to our faith and resolve to keeps his commandments.  I was taught to push back every sexual thought and feeling as inappropriate and wicked.  Of course abstinence was the key to a happy marriage and an eternal life.

The fact is that we have sexual feelings because humans are sexual beings.  It is not wrong to act on those feelings as long as you understand the risks, you aren't hurting someone else, and the parties are consenting.  

For some reason as a species we feel we have a need to own everyone's sexuality.  In the name of superstition we have taught our daughters that their self-worth is wrapped up in the physical condition of their bodies(virginity) not their contribution society.  We teach our boys and men to deny sexuality and to avoid engaging in even the most rudimentary and normal practices including masturbation.  In India girls are raised to  expect careers in brothels.  In the Middle East they are forced to cover almost every inch of skin and in Africa are subject to mutilation.  Boys in the Judeo-Christian areas of the world are subject to a now medically indefensible practice of circumcision.

In western cultures we put our men and women through reparative therapy to cure their homosexual tendencies in what usually amounts to a suppression of their selves and in many cases has resulted in depression and suicide. We operate on the assumption that based on our selective reading of the bible that homosexuality is a choice and a sin. We ignore scientific studies that indicate it is instead a naturally occurring variation in our genes.

I have struggled to come to grips with why we feel we need to be involved in everyone else's sexuality and it comes down to one thing.... control.  We changed from a hunter gatherer society to an agricultural society about 10,000 years ago and property became definable including sexual property.  It is also around that time we started forming religious dogma.  This changed the way our society functioned and the practices discussed above became ritual with that dogma.  As we awake from that haze as a culture and information flows so freely we need to realize we do not own anyone's sexuality.... but our own.  It is in that realization that we will find healthy relationships and in that realization that we can guide our children to make choices that work for them in the most healthy manner.