Re: Religion and evidence

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Wed 18 Jan 2006 - 10:30:17 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Religion and evidence"

    Price, Ilfryn wrote:
    > I hope your advice includes not force feeding the kids religion before the age of say 6 so that they are free to make their own
    > choices later rather than programmed.
    > If
    >>Oh, suspicious one. Book two is "Gifted Children: A Guide for Parents
    > and Professionals" (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, April 2006). And thank
    > you. I've been wondering how with a clear conscience I could get a plug
    > in on such a completely irrelevant list.
    > Ok, maybe not a *totally* clear conscience.
    > Kate>

    Obviously the book isn't about religion at all. Why would it be?

    But there are some interesting points, memetic and otherwise, in your question.

    Do you really believe that children under the age of 6 cannot ask questions about what they are told? My children are 3 and 6, and I can tell you that this is not my experience!

    I "force feed" my children with all manner of my own prejudices, beliefs, attitudes and morals, all the time, consciously and unconsciously. We all do. Why should religion be any different? Presumably you would "force feed" yours with atheism, amongst other things. It's what we do as parents. If we honestly believe something to be true then of course that's what we tell our children.

    BUT this doesn't preclude our also telling them that other people have different attitudes, and expecting to have to justify our own when our children ask questions. You can imagine that as the ceaselessly-questioning children of a former RE teacher and a goalie for a Sikh hockey team, mine have a better grasp of some other faiths than many children their age. They also know that most of their friends and relatives do not go to church or believe in Jesus. Just as they know that lots of other families make different choices about lots of things from us. I don't see why religion should be given special treatment in this context.

    I also don't get why religion, or anything else, should be seen as something with which we are "programmed" as small children. Case in point: my own parents "force fed" me with no claims about God, positive or negative, although they did assure me that Santa and the tooth fairy existed. Yet not only did I shed these latter beliefs at the normal sort of time, I don't even impose them upon my own children. Our family doesn't "do" Santa and the tooth fairy, although of course they know that most other families do.

    This is where I get back to meta-representation, I guess. We can meta-represent: we can reflect on what we are told, wonder whether it's true, test it out for ourselves, synthesise information and observations from a variety of sources. We aren't mindlessly "programmed" by our memes. We select them as they compete for our attention.


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