From: Kate Distin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 18 Jan 2006 - 21:14:59 GMT
Price, Ilfryn wrote:
> Price, Ilfryn wrote and Kated replied:
>>>In my book sensible advice for Parents of gifted children (and others) would be to avoid religious
>>programming up to the age of perhaps 6.
> Religion is our way of interpreting the world around us. It encompasses
> morality, explanations of death, how we respond to problems, how we
> spend our spare time, who we mix with . . . How on earth do you propose
> to isolate young children from all of that until an arbitrary age, 6 or
> otherwise? Every time you answer your children's questions about this
> vast swathe of topics, every time you set them an example by going/not
> going to a place of worship, or by making a moral pronouncement, or by
> praying/never praying, you are touching on religious matters. Doing so
> in a way that's consistent with atheism is just as much programming as
> doing so in a way that's consistent with a religion.>>>
> I would say religions (in general) are one way. Secular Humanism (for example) is another.
Right - and whichever is your bag, you are inevitably making a choice on
behalf of your child. Secular humanism isn't "nothing", or the neutral
view it can sometimes be portrayed as. As you say, it is one of the
alternative religious perspectives, and giving life this slant is as
much indoctrination as any other.
>I have never proposed isolation. I like
> Dawkins appeared to on the programme am horrified when I see the kids not only exposed but completely immersed in one particular
> religion. The other kids are explained as not just different but wrong.
This is a fair point. I am also horrified by this kind of isolationism.
Of course such isolation need not be religious - it could be purely
cultural - and will be just as damaging whichever form it takes. But
your point stands.
>>>religion acquired along with language seems harder to shake of than many "stories" especially in its more fundamentalist
> Harder to shake off than what? Your parents' approach to childcare? To
> politics? Education? Nutrition? Marriage? We're all undeniably stuck
> with a family script of some sort, but I'm not yet convinced that
> parental religion has any sort of special status within this. I am
> convinced by the evidence that we are genetically programmed to acquire
> a language. But genetically programmed to acquire a particular subset
> of our parents' memes, above all others? Again, I'd like to see more
> evidence for this.>>>
> And along with the language comes its symbol system and memeplex. Its not just our parents. For kids in relatively closed
> communities the religion is a huge part. More evidence / investigation by all means but once you accept the linguistic bit
> religion is hot on its heels. Remember it is not kids like your that Dawkins is taking pity on. It is those whose communities do
> not give them as many chances.
I agree with you absolutely, as I've said, about cloistering children
and not giving them the chance to ask questions - not even giving them
an inkling that there is anything to question. But this is not a
necessary part of religion, of course. For children who are brought up
in normal society, going to secular schools and mixing with a whole
range of people, watching television, etc. I still don't see what is so
special about their parents' religion. And I still don't get the link
between language and religion. The possibility that I'm being dim about
this hasn't escaped me.
>>>>By and large (generalisation I admit) we do not bring science or politics or other meta memeplexes into kids' early up
> No, but that's partly because these subjects are too hard for them to
> understand: we don't hold back on them out of principle, but
> practicality. And, more to the point, these subjects are effortlessly
> easy to avoid. Questions about what's right and wrong, death, the
> meaning of life, etc. crop up all the time, even in the life of a young
> child. They cannot be avoided.>>>
> And religion isn't equally hard for them to understand??
There are hard religious questions. There's also quite a lot that is
very easy to put in terms that a child can understand. This does not
seem to be the case for much of science, for instance. I struggle to
explain evolution to my little ones.
> Of course those questions crop up. There are better ways of handling them than complete religious explanations especially where
> they involve threats about burning in hell or whatever if the poor kid doesn't pray harder. Again Kate not your kids but IMO and
> in fair agreement with Dawkins a lot of other less fortunate ones. Those poor kids are not just having their questions answered.
Again we're in agreement here. But Dawkins didn't convince me that what
he was showing us in his programme were typical people who have a
religious belief. I'm sure my response to the "hell house" or whatever
it was, the closed communities and Mr "it's ok to shoot abortionists"
was indistinguishable from yours. And this is the response of a
Christian - not a very special Christian, pretty ordinary as far as I
can tell from the others I know; and not so different in outlook from
the people of other faiths whom I know.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it is hard for a child to
escape the impact of any sort of lunatic family background. But this
doesn't convince me that all parental religious input is indoctrination.
I feel that we're in a funny kind of agreement about most of this. I'd
be genuinely interested to hear more about this link you see between
language and religion.
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