Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints polygamist ranch in Texas
Are you surprised, or perhaps even outraged by this story? While extreme, this is basically one of many examples of the religious brainwashing that our young are subjected to on a regular basis. Children by nature trust their parents. What children are taught at an early age stays with them for life. It is impossible for a young child to make a judgment regarding faith. They are too young to understand these supernatural ideas. Therefore, it is not possible for a child to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or whatever their parents happen to be. When parents force their superstitious beliefs upon their children, this is a form of brainwashing.
Religion is like a virus that infects the majority of the world’s population and we are passing this infection on to our children. It teaches them to believe in things that can not be tested or proven and in reality is superstitious nonsense. Religion is like an infection of the masses that continues to spread generation after generation. It’s a virus that causes delusions of the ultimate imaginary friend.
Why is this bad? Because it teaches children not to think. Religion teaches them ancient superstitious beliefs, rather than facts and it is a slippery slope that often leads to segregation, bigotry and hatred. Religion is a destructive force that has caused anger and bloodshed throughout human history. “My God is better than your God” or who’s imaginary friend is the real God? In reality, there are no gods. For those who are able to think – in spite of childhood brainwashing and social pressures – it is clear that believing in an invisible friend up in the sky is just ridiculous. Also, religion is not necessary in order to give children a moral foundation. We should practice “the golden rule” because it’s the right thing to do, not out of the fear of God or Hell’s fire.
If world peace can ever be possible, we must break this cycle and stop brainwashing our young. Children should be taught facts, not superstitions, so that they can grow up to be open-minded, thinking adults who are able to form their own objective opinions. Their is a difference between teaching a child about the religions of the world and scaring a child into thinking they are going to burn in hell if they don’t believe in whatever particular god their parents worship. They should be taught history, science, literature, mathematics and most importantly critical thinking.
It’s time for free thinkers to step forward and say, enough is a enough. In order to become a global community, we need to move beyond these ancient myths and taboos; we have plenty of real-world differences and problems to overcome. Once a child has been infected with the god virus, it is almost impossible to cure them. As always, prevention is the best medicine.
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
– John Lennon
Cindy, I 100% agree! Very well said.
How cool is that!? Amanda, people like you give me hope for the future and you and I have a lot at stake. Our kids will need a better world, more so than most.
Cindy, I’m just amazed by the ignorance in religion. I am a facts-based person – the facts don’t add up and just “having faith” in something that may or may not be is absurd. People need to focus on WHAT IS, not who’s right or who’s wrong. Religion is based on superstition and made-up stories that were created to get people to conform, and the circular reasoning just blows my mind. I could really go on and on, but you hit the nail right on the head. I will be passing your blog post on to my sister – she is quite passionate about these same issues.
Exactly Amanda and “Having Faith” is just an excuse for ignorance. Problem is that children are taught that if they don’t understand something, it must be the work of a god. For example, in ancient times, people didn’t understand why the sun would rise and set, so they assumed it must be the work of the Sun God. Honestly, I wouldn’t really care what crazy things people choose to believe, except that religion tends to be such a destructive force, that it has an adverse effect on all of us.
If not for the religious right, George Bush would not be in the white house today and look at all the damage he manage to do in such a short amount of time. And consider all of the fighting and blood shed that religion has caused over the centuries. It is just plain absurd that it’s all based on nothing but superstitious nonsense. It’s time to fight back and stop pussyfooting around the topic of religion before it’s too late.
Here in the US, the first step is to uphold the separation of church and state and keep religion out of our public schools. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.
Hello again, my dear Aunt,
Well, as you know, this is where we disagree. 🙂 The last time I sent you a long impassioned treatise on religion, I don’t think you responded. I like to flatter myself and pretend it’s because my points were all 100% irrefutable. haha. But anyway, to avoid repetitiveness, I won’t reiterate all that. Instead of talking about the beauty of religion in the abstract this time, I’d just like to point out what I see as a few flaws to your own argument.
QUOTE: “…this is basically one of many examples of the religious brainwashing that our young are subjected to on a regular basis. Children by nature trust their parents. What children are taught at an early age stays with them for life. It is impossible for a young child to make a judgment regarding faith. They are too young to understand these supernatural ideas. Therefore, it is not possible for a child to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or whatever their parents happen to be. When parents force their superstitious beliefs upon their children, this is a form of brainwashing.” ENDQUOTE.
As you may recall, one of my main problems with anti-religious invective is that it doesn’t apply the term “religion” generally enough. That is, it doesn’t see that ideology is widespread anywhere, and that “organized” religion is the same as so many other creeds in so many ways. This issue of children is a perfect example.
You’re right: parents’ influence on their children is incalculable. But that’s not only true of religious upbringing! For example: do you *really* expect me to believe that when Aaron complains about Bush or talks about Hillary as though she is the Messiah, it is because he has done a great deal of independent research, consulted numerous erudite sources, and finally after much soul-searching come to an educated conclusion? Of course not. He is really just parroting back everything he has heard you and Rich say.
Thing is, I don’t despise that like you seem to despise religion. Of course a child is going to take after his parents in some ways; it’s inevitable and there’s no other way, but moreover I think it’s wonderful that he is caught up in something exciting, challenging, and fundamentally good. So is religion.
If there are differences between political faith and religious faith (and yes, your faith in the Democratic party is *far* more devout and fundamentalist than half the religious faith I see out there — no lie), then talk about those, but I think it’s disingenuous to slander religions as “cults” and religiosity as “brainwashing,” especially in connection to something as extreme as this polygamist cult. That’s just ludicrous, and kind of offensive.
And by the way, believe me: if you think that it is “impossible” for a child to shake his parents’ religious influence, then you haven’t been around many religious people, or even many teenagers. Because you couldn’t be more wrong about that. Not in this day and age. You really do seem to think that every religious person is like one of those unthinking polygamists or their victims, but that’s not the case at all. Aristotle said it best: Man in his nature desires to know. What that means for me in this case is that you can’t stop people from asking “why?” And from rebelling. And so in the real world you will get some people who accept and some who reject their parents’ faith, just as you will get some people who accept and some who reject their parents’ lack of faith. Some for good reasons, some for bad, some with a lot of thought, some with not much. I know people, many people, who fit ALL those descriptions.
Religious education is not so different from other family traditions and influences, and is not as much of a threat, as you think it is.
QUOTE. “It teaches them to believe in things that can not be tested or proven and in reality is superstitious nonsense.” ENDQUOTE.
Come on, Auntie Cindy, this is such a contradiction! You say that religion addresses something which cannot be proven, cannot be known for sure, but then you turn around and say you are CERTAIN it is superstitious nonsense!
Religion does not address itself to scientific hypotheses, anyway. You can be religious and scientifically minded at the same time — most religious people are, and many scientists are — if you acknowledge that religion and science are answering fundamentally different questions.
Story. A friend of mine recently took a course in school called “Views on Creation: Genesis and the Big Bang.” It dealt with questions of creation, intelligent design, the Big Bang, and the origins of life and of the universe, from both “scientific” and “religious” points of view. That is, it was co-taught by a religious scholar and an astrophysicist and enrollment was split evenly between religious studies majors and physics majors. Almost to a one, the religious studies majors were open-minded and accepting of the astrophysicists’ claims, and thought there was no conflict at all between the religious studies’ and the physicists’ perspectives; they acknowledged that the two views were addressing different sides of the question. It was the physics majors who were haughty, arrogant, and dismissive of the religious component of the course…the supposedly “tolerant” and “enlightened” ones were the ones who couldn’t bring themselves to admit that their materialist world view doesn’t cover the entire picture of human reality.
Although I wasn’t there, my friend’s account of the course corresponds to what I have read of the likes of that moron Richard Dawkins. Atheism (particularly that which hides behind scientific “reason”) is frequently as much of a blind faith, and as fundamentalist and intolerant, as any religion ever has been.
QUOTE. “It’s a virus that causes delusions of the ultimate imaginary friend…Also, religion is not necessary in order to give children a moral foundation. We should practice “the golden rule” because it’s the right thing to do, not out of the fear of God or Hell’s fire.” ENDQUOTE.
This is another thing that gets my goat. People are always accusing Christians of completely contradictory things. In one minute they accuse us of wishful thinking and imaginary friends who smooth over all the imperfections of life and make all our suffering magically go away; in the next, they accuse us of fear-mongering and masochism and an inability to allow ourselves to enjoy life because we’re so obsessed with guilt and sin. So which one is it? Of course the religious world view is far more complex than any of its critics will allow. We live in a dynamic tension between these forces, which those looking in from the outside seem neither to understand nor even to perceive.
I also want to point out that your view of religious people is hopelessly caricatured. Do you really think that every religious person is as simplistic as all of this? Again, Man in his nature desires to know. You have to give people more credit than to imagine them walking around talking to an “imaginary friend” without ever questioning whom it is they’re talking to! I have met a lot of religious people, and I’ll admit, some of them are crazy — I do not deny that reality for an instant. It is scary and tragic and I think they’ve affected my life far more intensely than they’ve affected yours. But thankfully, they are in the minority. Most religious people, if you bothered to talk to them (look at me, or your husband! two very different sorts, which illustrates our variety), worry about God’s silence and take comfort in his presence in equal measure. And we do not do good out of fear of Hell. That is just silly. Our God is a God of love; that has a major, major impact on our consciousness and our daily life. You can’t just harp on one half of the picture, such as the “hell” side, and only address the other side, the “heaven” side, when it presents itself as an easy target for one of your random insults.
QUOTE. “If world peace can ever be possible, we must break this cycle and stop brainwashing our young.” ENDQUOTE.
As for world peace…here I have to quote from my last email:
Look at the “religious wars” of today. Are you saying that family, nation, ethnicity, and politics are not as deeply imbricated in Ireland, Israel, and the Middle East as religion is? In these cases religion — again, understood not as a monolithic thing with a certain set character but a mediation of human nature itself, which has all these contradictory colors and motives, which also finds expression in works of peace and love — has indeed been used to justify warfare and murder. But religion is just one possible mouthpiece for a tyrant. Without religion the tyrant’s ultimate concern with territory and sovereignty would remain…because his human nature would remain. Should we then do away with family, clan, nation, and culture, too? Or do you think that Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Rape of Nanking, the Killing Fields of Pol Pot, the atomic arms race, the Vietnam war, the scourges of Idi Amin, the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and all the other ugly blots on today’s world that have so absolutely little to do with “religion” in the conventional sense could have been avoided if people had long ago stopped believing in God?
…And you say that eradicating religion is necessary for world peace!
People like to quote Marx, and proclaim self-righteously, “religion is the opiate of the people.” But they always quote him out of context. His full statement read like this: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed. It is the heart of a heartless world, the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opiate of the people.” I agree with Marx on this! You may think that it is an opiate — that it is fundamentally untrue — but to claim that it is the source of humanity’s problems is just idiotic. Religion speaks to a world marred by war and inequity and cruelty; it does not, on its own, perpetuate it.
QUOTE. “Their is a difference between teaching a child about the religions of the world and scaring a child into thinking they are going to burn in hell if they don’t believe in whatever particular god their parents worship. They should be taught history, science, literature, mathematics and most importantly critical thinking.” ENDQUOTE.
Incidentally, I was never taught that I would burn in hell if I didn’t believe in God; and I went to Sunday School for six years. Maybe some extremist Protestant evangelicals do believe this, but you cannot generalize about all religion on the basis of a few rotten apples.
I agree with you that people who try to force Creationism into school curricula are doing something very harmful…that is my one concession to you. But that is a uniquely Confederate American problem. Apart from those few, I wish you could show me proof that religion smothers critical thinking, rather than just saying so and expecting me to take your word for it. That’s my challenge to you, then: show me proof! Because your argument sounds well and good in theory, but it simply doesn’t hold up when you look at actual religious people. I think you’re basing your thoughts on caricatures inherited from TV, rather than the fundamental reality of contemporary religious life.
One last thought! My friend Edward — the same friend who took that Big Bang course — also sent me this beautiful quotation about Christians from the great theologian Karl Barth:
“However great may be the solidarity which Cristians feel and practise in relation to the world, their way can never be that of the world–
and least of all that of the supposedly Christianized world. From the point which inspires them, they have to go their own way in great and little things alike, and therefore in their thought a speech and attitude they are always at the bottom, although in some cases more markedly than others, aliens and strangers who will give plenty of cause for offense in different directions.
“To some they will appear to be far too ascetic. To others they will seem to affirm life far too unconcernedly. Sometimes they will be regarded as individualists, sometimes as collectivists. On one and they will be accused as authoritarians, on the other as free-thinkers; on the one hand as pessimists, on the other as optimists; on the one hand as bourgeois, on the other as anarchists. They will seldom find themselves in a majority. Certainly, they will never swim with the stream.
“It is only occasionally and against their true character that they ever tolerate the official and officious. Things generally accepted as self-evident will never claim their absolute allegiance, even when they take on a Christian guise. Nor will they command their complete negation, so they can hardly count on the applause of the revolutionaries of their day. Nor will their freedom [as disciples] be exercised by them in secret, but revealed openly in free acts and
attitudes that will never be right to the world. And the world will not like this.”
My dear nephew Nick, so much to reply to and so little time. We have a crazy week here and I’ve got Eric and Anthony home sick. But I have a few minutes. First, I understand that I’m not going to have any influence in people who deeply believe in a god, just as they will not change my mind either. I do admit that I have a scientific mind and so I would need proof to believe. I really put my opinions out there so that closet atheist will know they are not alone and that their voices need to be heard. Because I think organized religion and the power they hold in the world is more bad than good.
QUOTE: I think it’s wonderful that he is caught up in something exciting, challenging, and fundamentally good. So is religion. END QUOTE
I disagree that religion is fundamentally good and I think history speaks for itself.
QUOTE: For example: do you *really* expect me to believe that when Aaron complains about Bush or talks about Hillary as though she is the Messiah, it is because he has done a great deal of independent research, consulted numerous erudite sources, and finally after much soul-searching come to an educated conclusion? END QUOTE
At least Bush and Hillary are real. That’s a key difference.
It is interesting how much science has changed religion over the years. The more we learn about the real world, the more the need for gods shrinks. Once we learned that the earth was round, we no longer needed a sun god. Once Darwin figured out natural selection, Adam and Eve became a myth. As we learn about our universe and the many more beyond it, now he is some sort of cosmic fine-tuner that decided there would be people on planet earth, so he put all the right chemicals here and made the atmosphere just right, etc. etc. God is just an excuse for things we don’t understand. Once we figure out the truth, we won’t need the gods anymore.
QUOTE: Aristotle said it best: Man in his nature desires to know. END QUOTE
And his desire to know is science, not superstitions.
QUOTE: but to claim that it is the source of humanity’s problems is just idiotic” END QUOTE
True that it’s one of many things people fight about, but it is the most absurd because it is superstitious nonsense (I know you disagree, but to atheists, it’s just an idiotic thing to fight over.)
QUOTE: Incidentally, I was never taught that I would burn in hell if I didn’t believe in God; and I went to Sunday School for six years. Maybe some extremist Protestant evangelicals do believe this, but you cannot generalize about all religion on the basis of a few rotten apples.” END QUOTE
The evangelicals in this country do believe this and they are far from few, plus they have a lot of political clout. You should watch some of their sermons on youtube, scary stuff.
QUOTE: This is another thing that gets my goat. People are always accusing Christians of completely contradictory things. In one minute they accuse us of wishful thinking and imaginary friends who smooth over all the imperfections of life and make all our suffering magically go away; in the next, they accuse us of fear-mongering and masochism and an inability to allow ourselves to enjoy life because we’re so obsessed with guilt and sin. So which one is it?” END QUOTE
The latter. I honestly don’t have a problem with people having imaginary friends and I do think that religion helps to ease suffering for some people. I also think that believing in a higher power is a built in defense mechanism for humans that is very difficult to overcome, because people are afraid of death. They can’t cope with their own mortality, so the thought of going to a better place after death helps them to deal with this fear.
QUOTE:” Our God is a God of love” END QUOTE
This is a big part of the problem. Who’s imaginary friend is the real god? And a bigger question, who created that god?
I’m probably going to stand alone in saying this: I think polygamy should be legal. But for the incest, it probably would be legal. I really don’t care if people want to have 5 wives. If a woman makes a “freewill” decision to marry a man with 2 other wives, that is her choice. Unfortunately a lot of the time, these women feel like they don’t have the choice.
I make arguments all the time as to why gay people should be allowed to marry whomever they’d like, or why children shouldn’t have to say “one nation under god,” those are all decisions that center around one’s religious beliefs. If someone has the freewill to marry someone of the same sex, why shouldn’t they have the freewill to marry 3 people of the opposite sex. I know there are legal issues, etc but I think those things can be worked out if we stop rejecting things that are “different” and to me that includes polygamy.
Just my 2 cents.
Hi Pamela, thanks for visiting and for taking the time to write.
I actually agree with you regarding polygamy, as long as the relationships are between consenting adults. The problem I have with the ranch in Texas is that children were led to believe that having sex with adult men was something God wanted them to do. Even worse if the individual (child or adult) feels that they have no other options.
In general, it is difficult for human beings to get past primitive superstitions, if children are brainwashed into believing in any kind of supreme being from birth. It’s tough to get past that strong early influence and see reason.