An article by Hanjo caught my attention this week and then, strangely enough, in the same week, News 24 featured an article where Ireland is introducing Atheism into their school curriculum, starting at primary level. Now Hanjo is not the first person to complain about religion, in particular Christianity, being force-fed down the throats of the very young at school.
Looking at what is happening in our schools, in particular Glenvista High and Sasolburg Hoor Skool, they’re not doing a very effective job, are they? There is nothing remotely Christian about the behaviour displayed at those schools, although you lot would say that is exactly what would be expected when a violent religion is forced down the throats of impressionable youngsters.
Until the advent of so-called Democracy, none of these things happened, and Christianity was taught in our schools then. When I was at school, prayer was how we started the day, and yet I became an atheist of the most militant kind.
My youngest son finished school a good few years ago (he’s busy completing his Master’s) and he never had Religious Instruction at school. I’ve checked with my colleagues, and their children are not receiving religious instruction at school. And if they are, it’s not force-fed.
I do know this: what is happening in the schools today, would never have happened in our time; religious instruction or not, because we had another institution: corporal punishment. Even the much-maligned Dr. Spock suggested corporal punishment as a last resort.
One of the accusations leveled at religious instruction in school is that it teaches children to be bigoted, homophobic and unquestioning godbots. Let’s have a look at these accusations.
Correctional rape is happening amongst the traditional ancestor worshipers, and that is NOT being taught in our schools. Bigotry is happening between rich and poor as much as it is between black and white and, if you read the Bible, especially the New Testament, it is utterly forbidden.
Then, the issue of turning them into mindless godbots:
“The truth, however, is that the conflict between religion and science is unavoidable. The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma, the maintenance of religious dogma ALWAYS comes at the expense of science.”
- Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, page 63
“The Party cannot be neutral toward Religion because Religion is something opposite to Science.”
- Josef Stalin, TIME Magazine, Feb. 17, 1936
“All attempts to reconcile faith with science and reason are consigned to failure and ridicule.”
- Christopher Hitchens, god is Not Great, pages 64-65
“In parts of the United States, science is under attack from a well-organized, politically well-connected and, above all, well-financed opposition.... Scientists could be forgiven for feeling threatened, because most research money comes ultimately from government, and elected representatives have to answer to the ignorant and prejudiced, as well as to the well-informed, among their constituents.”
- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, page 66
So let’s compare the scientific outputs of various countries, some more Christian than others.
The United States claims to be a Christian nation, with 76% of Americans claiming to be Christian, and their output of scientific publications is 2.3 per capita.
Switzerland, which claims to be 77% Christian has a per capita output of 4.72, while the most secular country in Europe, France, shows surprising results.
54% of their population claim to be Christian and their per capita output is 1.77.
The best example of this is, of course, Soviet Russia with a Christian population of 0% (officially) and a per capita output of zero, military research aside.
And what do atheists, not as individuals, but as a group, do for mankind?
We’ll have a look at the so-called atheist churches, and movements. American Atheists is an organisation whose purpose is freeing people from the bondage of religion and helping them see the light of reason. They also have billboards all over the USA trashing the claims of Christianity.
Then we have the First Church of Atheism, which is a misnomer if there ever was one. Their purpose? To offer fellowship to like-minded people and to marry people who want a church wedding without the religion. They also do burials.
The North Texas Church of Freethought is an interesting one. In a country where it is illegal to pray in public, where it is illegal to preach the gospel in public places, this church wants to fight the oppression of Christianity.
The Calgary Secular Church is the most amusing of all. The founder went to England for two years with his wife, who is a Christian, and he joined the choir at the local Anglican Church and enjoyed it so much that he became an active participant in the church because, as he said, ‘…they were light on the gospel and other religious teachings, but concentrated instead on charity work. The beer was also good.’
He started The Calgary Secular Church because he wanted the same sense of fellowship without all the religious trappings. So they have a choir, they do social work and drink beer.
Then we come to the little demigod of atheism, Richard Dawkins, as nasty a piece of work as Christopher Hitchens, but lacking his moral and intellectual courage.
‘The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.’
‘Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.’
‘Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.’
‘To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries’
‘It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).’
‘Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority. But a good first step would be to build up a critical mass of those willing to 'come out,' thereby encouraging others to do so. Even if they can't be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and they cannot be ignored.’
Herding cats? I think the atheists have done it quite well, if you look at the evidence offered above, and you may Google it if you wish.
Now Richard Dawkins and the American Atheists and the atheist churches and the particularly virulent atheists on this site talk about bringing the sweet light of reason to people, taking off the blindfold of religion and a number of other high-sounding ideals.
I have a question for them.
How many marriages have they saved? How many drug addicts have they rescued from the brink? How many broken homes have they restored? How many schools have they built? How many people now have hope where before they had none?
I’m well aware of the work done by Bill Gates and at least one other atheist on this site, but as a group, how much do you do?
Alberton Methodist Church, of which I’m a member, feeds, clothes and houses hundreds of people; the poorest of the poor. My son, when he was part of the Church Youth, went out to Thokoza on a number of weekends and built houses for these people. Because he loves Jesus.
If you can show me where atheists, as a general rule, do anything like that, out of a love for their fellow man, I might begin to take you seriously when you talk of reason, but I don’t believe you for a minute.
Like your hero Dawkins, who claims to be an agnostic, you are anti-theists. And that is what you would have our children taught? And this is the sweet light of reason you want to bring to people? Christianity has long been side-lined in this country and many others besides, so you are not delivering them from the bondage of religion, but to the bondage of intolerant, blind hatred of anything which does not meet your approval.
A bit like Stalin.