Atheism and One-Way Indoctrination

The international atheist conference in Melbourne hasn’t even started yet, but that has not prevented some noted God-haters from letting off a bit of pre-conference steam. A small piece in today’s press tells of one anti-God big wig who is spitting chips about religious parents.

Those religious types who seek to educate their children in the faith are guilty of “child abuse”. Yep, you got it. Lock up the whole bunch of ‘em and throw away the keys. How dare they suggest to their children that there might be a God and an afterlife? Let’s make that a criminal offence – maybe we can even bring back the death penalty for this horrendous activity.

Of course atheists have long been making such idiotic claims. Atheist high priest Richard Dawkins for example said much the same in his The God Delusion. He said there that parental religious instruction is nothing more than an attempt to “indoctrinate” children, and that it is a “preposterous idea” that society even allows such a terrible thing to occur.

And on his website he has an article entitled, “Religion’s Real Child Abuse”. In it he says, “The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse”. He also says this: “Priestly groping of child bodies is disgusting. But it may be less harmful in the long run than priestly subversion of child minds.”

Getting back to today’s press, we are told that Atheist Foundation of Australia’s David Nicholls is quite hot under the collar about the evils of religious instruction for children. As the Herald Sun article puts it, “President David Nicholls said it was time to rip religion out of schools and urged Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to stop allowing religious views to affect political discussions.”

But wait, there’s more: “‘Anybody who tells a child “you will go to hell or heaven” and says it’s the truth … that’s child abuse,’ he said.” Yep, straight out of the Dawkins’ songbook. These atheists seem so faithful in parroting the words of their revered masters.

Although in this case it is usually the doctrine of hell that gets the God-haters so agitated. But here our good president is suggesting that even to say a child is going to heaven (a rather bright prospect I would have thought) also renders a person guilty of child abuse! My, my, there is just no pleasing some of these guys.

And of course we are meant to believe that no atheist parent ever tells his or her children that atheism is true. Oh no, they would never do that. Indeed, they claim they will simply let their children make up their own minds on the issue.

Strange, but that is exactly how every religious parent I know of operates. Of course they share their faith in the home, and let their kids know where they stand, but I am not aware of any Christian parent at least who forces his or her grown up kids to embrace the faith, or else.

Mind you, I mentioned Christians here. Many Muslims of course do consider apostasy from Islam to be a serious matter indeed, one which is in fact punishable by death. But I am referring here to Christians, who do not share such a view about leaving one’s faith.

One would love to be a fly on the wall in the homes of some of these militant misotheists. I would love to see just how “neutral” and “hands off” they are when it comes to the religious instruction of their own children. And I use the word ‘religious’ purposefully here.

The truth is, atheists are just as religious as anyone else. They have their own worldview, their own way of looking at life and the big questions. Most of the earlier atheists freely admitted as much. But in America especially, where religion is now banished from schools, the atheists and secular humanists have had to change their tune, and try to convince the government that they are not in fact religious.

And the claim by Nicholls that religion should somehow be driven from any political discussion is ludicrous in the extreme. No one comes to any important political – or social or cultural – discussion without religious presuppositions, or a particular worldview.

It is simply impossible to discuss any vital political or moral question without an appeal to some sort of worldview, some sort of overarching religious point of view, even if that viewpoint happens to be atheism.

Everyone comes to the public square with his or her pre-existing beliefs and understanding of the world. What Nicholls is demanding is simply impossible to achieve. And if he really wants to be taken seriously here, then he should be the very first one to simply shut up. Why should his religious views on this matter be allowed to be heard, while everyone else’s – that is, those he does not agree with – must be silenced?

This is the usual hypocrisy and double standards from the God-haters. They only want their point of view heard, and expect everyone else to just meekly sit down and shut up. Sorry, Jack, but it just ain’t happening. As long as we live in a genuine democracy, Christians and other believers have as much right to speak into the social, political and ethical issues of the day as anyone else.

Nicholls, Dawkins and the other God-botherers can preach all they like about how religious instruction is somehow child abuse, and how religious discussion in the public arena is evil, but most people with even a modicum of sense will take this foolishness for what it is, and treat it accordingly.

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12 Replies to “Atheism and One-Way Indoctrination”

  1. Thank you Bill for another great article.
    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps 14:1) These God-haters prove God right. By what comes out of their mouths, it seems they deny God and taken leave of their senses. Hatred causes people to do and say irrational things. All they are doing is making the furnace seven times hotter for themselves.
    We need to pray for them.
    Des Morris

  2. Thanks Des

    Yes we certainly need to keep praying for these folks. Pray that they too will turn from their delusion to a full knowledge of the truth, just as so many other former atheists have.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Another good article Bill. This falsehood promoted by Nicholls et al that the state must be “secular” and therefore no “religious” view should be heard, has taken far too great a hold in the collective psyche. What I find most unfortunate about it is that most Christians and churches appear to have been sucked in by it.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  4. The world is not divided between those who believe in God and those who do not. It is divided between those who believe in the God of Abraham and Jacob and those who are idolaters. Atheists turn themselves into Gods, as the one point of integration, against which to measure everything.

    David Skinner, UK

  5. If we were to take Nicholls definition of indoctrination than everything that a parent authoritatively taught their children about morality, politics, history etc (in fact anything spoken in a manner of a truth statement) would be considered “indoctrination”. Nicholls agenda is best analysed within the Burkean tradition. Burke appealed to the concrete, the experienced and the accumulative wisdom of past generations as opposed to abstract ideologies which more often than not disguised prejudices cloaked in the veil of “reason”. We know from the Burkean methodology that a religious upbringing (more specifically a Christian one) is not ‘child abuse’ (people will often speak of their cradle faith as providing a good moral foundation) and that a teenager when grown up more or less has a free choice in either disinheriting his childhood faith (politics, morals etc for that matter too) or embracing it more fully. Speaking of my own experiences I can resoundingly say that in no way was I “abused”. The Nicholls/Dawkins crusade on this particularly issue is just a solution in search of a problem. People have been raised in such a manner for generations upon generations without a problem especially in modern society and if anything what Dawkins/Nicholls suggest as the fascist “solution” in carrying out their crusade is in fact far more terrifying to think of then any “problem” they can conceivably identify.

    As a side note: This week’s Q&A promises to be one of the ABC’s worse efforts yet in providing any balance on the show. Be sure to expect a conservative Christian slaughter with Dawkins, uber-liberal nun Veronica Brady and a Labor-supporting Patrick McGorry recruited as the three non-politician guests. The only social conservative I can identify on the panel is Labor’s Tony Burke.

    Francis Kesina, Canberra

  6. Hi Bill – Maybe we should come up with a new brand of hate crime: theophobes or Christophobes? Adding “-phobe” to something seems to give it a protected status. Of course I’m merely being facetious. We don’t believe in hate crimes – you can’t criminalize hatred in spite of the many attempts today. You criminalize behaviour.
    Ed Sherman

  7. Francis:

    (in fact anything spoken in a manner of a truth statement) would be considered “indoctrination”

    …exactly so!

    This is where relativism has taken us. And these people are blind to the impossible logic of the position that all ‘truth’ is relative, and all absolute statements are rejected.

    It has always been an attack upon Absolutes ie the True God of the Universe, as Schaeffer explained.

    John Angelico

  8. Bill, I couldn’t find the original article by Nicholls.

    I was too late to post a comment to the effect that he is trying to restore the crime of Blasphemy, only in respect of a different ‘god’.

    John Angelico

  9. Thanks John

    It was just a small piece in Saturday’s Herald Sun, p. 38 I believe. It did not seem to make the online version of the paper.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. Maybe Ed is on to something. If people of other religious and sexual orientations can have others prosecuted for someone different causing them to be “offended”, maybe this emperor can be exposed as having a wardrobe malfunction if Christians use the same laws to show how ridiculous the whole facade is. “I was deeply hurt when he called me a heterosexual. I was made to feel inferior and vulnerable.” “I was offended by his comments that God was a monster. It is deeply offensive to my faith for someone to say that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead…” and so on. Is there a kind of jujitsu there which can be righteously employed? I wonder…
    Mark Burnard

  11. Bill,
    You are misrepresenting Dawkins ;o)
    When it comes to actual child abuse such as pedophilia, Dawkins refers to “gentle pedophiles” and thinks that too much is being made of it.
    As for Adolf Hitler’s Nazism he stated,
    “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.”

    As for parents who raise their children according to their faith,
    “It is evil to describe a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labelling children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy issue.”

    At least, he has standards—or, something!!!

    Also, the same atheists who claim to “celebrate reason” are refusing to debate Christians whilst down under for their self-congratulatory conference:
    “Atheism—celebrate reason” while absconding from reasoning

    Mariano Grinbank

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