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A Christian child? - Comments

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 1 by irate_atheist

You're expecting a rational response from Daily Mail readers.

Shureley shome mishtake.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 08:24:20 UTC | #881398

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 2 by Stevehill

How old was the child? Most Mail readers would probably support the idea that there is no such thing as a "Christian" new-born baby, but say a 7-year old in a Christian family who regularly goes to church and Sunday school, and is educated at a UK faith school might be another matter?

I suspect the line you crossed, for them, was the age old custom that you can't criticise another parent's style of parenting... not without getting an earful, anyway.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 08:46:45 UTC | #881410

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 3 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Anything involving children is always sensitive. Although you got a hostile reaction, you may have planted a seed of reason in some of their minds... which is a good thing.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:20:52 UTC | #881430

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 4 by Alex, adv. diab.

I recently responded online to a Daily Mail report

You are a braver person than I. Anyhow,

About the reaction, what was said above, and possibly the fear that someone in some sense wants to take away the child from its parents (not physically, but its "soul").

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 11:30:05 UTC | #881447

danconquer's Avatar Comment 5 by danconquer

The bulk of Mail readers subscribe to the now-mainstream British popular view that public displays of religiosity are highly undesirable and that religion generally has been a source of alot of aggravation, so articulating this usually garners a widespread murmur of concurral... However, they also tend to hold individualistically authoritarian views on 'family values' with a special emphasis on parental responsibility and the 'right' of adults to bring up their children as they see fit... Unless of course "as they see fit" happens to include same-sex or single parenting, in which case Mail readers tend to descend even further into inconsistent hypocrisy!

Mail readers (like alot of scattergun, muddy thinkers) often respond in amusingly predictable thinly-coded ways. So when someone in public life gets into trouble for saying something outrageous (comparing homosexuality to bestiality, for example) the comments forum will be full of talk about how "you're not allowed to speak your mind anymore" or "another nail in the coffin of free speech". Why can't they just openly admit that they secretly approve of such bigotry? If they were really fussed about 'free speech' they wouldn't be reading the most censorious newspaper in the land.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 11:59:05 UTC | #881455

Layla's Avatar Comment 6 by Layla

Comment 5 by danconquer

The bulk of Mail readers subscribe to the now-mainstream British popular view that public displays of religiosity are highly undesirable and that religion generally has been a source of alot of aggravation, so articulating this usually garners a widespread murmur of concurral...

Yes, I think it says quite a lot about Britain that even on the Daily Mail you'll still be positively received if you criticise religion.

I recently responded online to a Daily Mail report which referred to a "Christian child". I felt it was my duty to raise the consciousness of Daily Mail readers (yes, I know, probably a waste of effort in most cases!) to the inherent falsity of this description.

Now, I have responded to various religion related articles in the said newspaper and have been generally surprised at the positive reaction to my atheistic comments. However in this case the response was positively hostile. Clearly I had touched a very raw nerve! But just what is this nerve?

I'd say the nerve was probably appearing too politically correct because your complaint was about the use of words.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 13:09:26 UTC | #881477

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 7 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

I've also noticed this apparent inconsistency in comments from Daily Mail "readers".

I think it may be something to do with people being referred to Daily Mail articles en masse from sites such as this one or the National Secular Society website; or from religious websites in cases where you may get more a negative response. Not all the comments may be from regular readers of the Daily Mail.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 13:26:56 UTC | #881487

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 8 by Nunbeliever

Well, I find this interesting as well! There is something "holy" about the core family and especially the relation between a parent and a child. And I of course understand why people are very protective with regard to their children. Still, many seem to have this unshakeable idea that a parent knows what is best for his/her child and that we as bystanders have no right telling parents how to raise their children. Try giving a mother some advice about how to raise her children. Your well-intentioned pieces of advice are not likely to be received with delight. I don't think it would even matter if you were a professional in this regard. I don't have children of my own and every now and then at some party when the topic of raising kids comes up I might have a few opinions and try to back them up with scientific evidence. A few times some parents have actually attacked me as a person and pretty much said outright that since I have no kids of my own I would do best to shut up! This has always fascinated me. There seems to be some form of profound pride involved in this too. Might this be one explanation for why people are so hostile when an atheist says it's wrong to label kids christians, muslims or whatever? Might their hostility actually be rooted in some feeling that we are attacking them and their ability to raise their kids? Or that we are messing with something "holy". I know many people are afraid of intervening even if they for example see that a child is beaten by his/her parents. Might this in part explain why some tend to be so sensitive with regard to people who criticise others for labelling their children christians, muslims, etc?

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:01:37 UTC | #881493

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 9 by Stevehill

Still, many seem to have this unshakeable idea that a parent knows what is best for his/her child and that we as bystanders have no right telling parents how to raise their children. Try giving a mother some advice about how to raise her children. Your well-intentioned pieces of advice are not likely to be received with delight.

Having first become a father in my fifties, I've lived on both sides of this fence.

I always used to be infuriated by people who put "Baby on Board" stickers on the backs of their cars. I used to translate it as "Look at me! I'm fertile!", laced with a dose of wishful thinking that a driver likely to crash into the back of them might drive a bit better if he got close enough to read the sticker...

As a father of two toddlers, I still refuse to use such a sticker!

But I digress.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:47:01 UTC | #881505

Jay G's Avatar Comment 10 by Jay G

To nunbeliever:

I used to think as you do, but since having children, I've done a 180. There's something about "being on in the trenches" that gives a person a different understanding of the situation. I know it does not sound rational or scientific, but I think it reflects reality. I think somebody who has the responsibility (24 hours a day, seven days a week) of caring for and bringing up a child has a perspective that a person, however rational, who has no children can't understand and can't factor into his understanding of the "proper" way to raise a child.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 16:28:55 UTC | #881535

besleybean's Avatar Comment 11 by besleybean

And possibly it's ok for such people to label their own child...but we shouldn't.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 17:41:42 UTC | #881555

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 12 by Alex, adv. diab.

Comment 11 by besleybean :

And possibly it's ok for such people to label their own child...but we shouldn't.

What do you mean, besleybean?

Is that what you think, or what you think the Maily Dail readers think?

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 17:49:49 UTC | #881558

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 13 by Sean_W

Yep, I don't see what's wrong with the simplest explanation: your comment was read by people that have already committed themselves to raising "christian children".

On the topic of advice in general, in my opinion, parents that never welcome or seek advice from their peers or experts are behaving stupidly. To the advice givers, maybe you're doing it wrong. -just sayin'

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 17:56:26 UTC | #881559

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 14 by Nunbeliever

I think somebody who has the responsibility (24 hours a day, seven days a week) of caring for and bringing up a child has a perspective that a person, however rational, who has no children can't understand and can't factor into his understanding of the "proper" way to raise a child.

Well, obviously I don't have children and can't really argue against what your saying from that perspective. Still, the widely held belief that when you get children you somehow have a life-changing epiphany of sorts and gain wisdom you can't gain in other ways is just wrong. Yes, the experience of having children can of course only be attained... well, by having children. Nonetheless, the reality is that a great many parents are horrible parents who would benefit vastly from actually listening to some professionals in this regard. Just to take one example. Corporal punishment of children. I am sure there are plenty parents out there who would smirk at me for saying that beating your children just is not a good idea. "How would you know? You don't even have children of your own. Who are you to dictate how I raise my children!" I think the view that you too to some extent seem to be a proponent of is a dangerous one. We should trust science and reason in all other regards. But, when it comes to the perhaps most important task we as human beings perform. Then we should somehow discard all that and mainly trust instincts? That sounds insane to me. Corporal punishment of children is in fact a very good example in this regard. Not long ago in most countries in the western world all parents used to beat their children. It was common knowledge that it was good for them. Only in the last twenty years or so have psychologists started to understand how damaging and counter-productive this behaviour is. So much for that famous parental epiphany! I mean, the same argument is often used in other fields as well. For example drugs. I have never used any other drugs than alcohol. I don't know how many times when discussing drugs people have told me to shut up. Since I have not tried drugs I can't possibly know anything about drugs can I?

I don't deny that having children is most likely a life-changing experience for most people. But, the same can be said of using drugs. Or becoming religious. Should we regard people who have had a religious epiphany as authorities regarding religion? We are talking about subjective experiences. I even think that having children of your own might potentially be an obsticle in certain ways. We all know how common it is for parents to regard their children as innocent or incapable of doing harm. This distorted view of the world is highly damaging. If all parents would be able to take a more objective view and realize that their kids aren't so special after all then we would be much better off as a society. Hence, one can argue that you might really in certain aspects be the worst person to judge your own kids and their actual needs. And that you would benefit vastly from actually listening to others regarding some aspects of how to raise your kids. I have one great example of how irrational and stupid parents sometimes are in contrast to people who don't. In Finland we had one incident a few years ago of a pedophile in northern Finland who kidnapped and sexually molested a kid from a local kindergarten. This caused an outrage and many parents brought home their kids from school and kindergarten in the whole country because they thought they weren't safe. This resultet in a minor disaster. Still, it was one single incident 800 kilometers from where I live. The risk of your child being killed in a traffic accident is manifold higher than being kidnapped by a peadophile. Nonetheless parents acted in a highly irrational way simply because they were parents. There are many situations where parents are actually the worst to handle certain situations. Another great example is when your kid suffers an accident. Most parents tend to get so emotional and shocked that they really can't act in a way that would benefit the child. A person who is not as emotionally attached to the child is often much more efficient and capable of saving the childs life. My point is definately not to say that parents don't know anything about how to raise their children. Of course they are in many ways the best authorities. But, to say that a person who has no children of his/her own or an outsider can't in some situations have good advice and possibly even know better than you how to raise your children is in my opinion very irrational and foremost dangerous. For example, I have a male friend who's been a mid-wife for twenty years, but has no children of his own. I am pretty sure he knows a lot more about certain aspects of raising a child than most parents and that any parent should take his advice very seriously.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 19:25:09 UTC | #881587

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 15 by AsylumWarden

It's hard to say without seeing some of the comments. Do you have a link to said report?

On impulse I'm inclined to agree with Layla about Daily Hate Mail readers loathing anything that smacks of political correctness.

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 19:46:27 UTC | #881591

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 16 by Nunbeliever

To Stevehill:

But I digress.

The exception to the rule perhaps?

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 19:47:49 UTC | #881592

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 17 by the great teapot

All this labelling people by the paper they read. It's so 1970's. Who the hell wastes money on a paper these days?

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 21:57:17 UTC | #881627

secondsoprano's Avatar Comment 18 by secondsoprano

'Tell me are you a Christian child?',

Marc Cohn had it right - 'Ma'am I am tonight!'

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 23:18:59 UTC | #881644

thebaldgit's Avatar Comment 19 by thebaldgit

I have to say that i would never bother with going onto the Daily nail's website to take issue with something that has been said from a religious point of view as it would be a waste of time. I do agree with the view that these people see nothing wrong with calling their children christian, even though it is patently nonsense that is what the nail does best and they love nothing better than parroting the phrase political correctness gone mad.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 09:51:15 UTC | #881765

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 20 by paulmcuk

I regulalry post in response to Daily Mail articles. My impression is that the website is something of a beacon to those like me who go there specifically to bait the typical "Daily Mail reader". I would suspect that much of the positive reaction you get is from these "raiders" rather than from the people who actually support the normal Daily Mail stance on most issues.

I think I know the article you commented on - that of the "christian" child taken to Pakistan and forcibly converted to islam? I don't know what you said but I suspect that much of the negative reaction was because you were perceived to be concerned with criticising terminology while ignoring the bigger crime. For one thing, this story probably didn't attract the raiders like many others do. I saw it, noted exactly what you did but decided not to bother making a comment because I felt it was a side issue to the bigger story. For another, even many atheists are accepting of the "christian child" label... especially if it comes down to taking sides between christian and muslim.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 16:04:12 UTC | #881865

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 21 by aquilacane

Typo, was meant to read: Christian's child

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 18:57:03 UTC | #881899

M69att's Avatar Comment 22 by M69att

To Nunbeliever re' comment 14,

I think you make an excellent point excellently. I am a parent and also a professional who has dealt with a great deal of very poor parenting. I actually think that we have developed a culture of privileged status for parents akin to the privileged status of religion that so many of us are so concerned about. It's a ridiculous idea that someone who is not a parent should not be able to comment. For one thing we all have to share society with these kids who then grow to become adults. For another we all have an experience of being parented. And, the point that you make, that another perspective or an outside view can be incredibly valuable, is also a very important one. I recognise that it is uncomfortable to have your parenting questioned but sometimes we need a little discomfort to move on.

So, to all non or not yet parents out there, don't let anyone tell you that you are not allowed an opinion on parenting and to all parents... DEAL WITH IT!!!

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 20:41:41 UTC | #881932

Mr E's Avatar Comment 23 by Mr E

Religion was set up to control the masses and manipulate them, science is going the same way its controlled and manipulated. You want children now to be inculcated to believe that fallible man has all the answers and so instead of brainwashing children into religion we brain wash them in to science but worse Atheistic science. The problem I have with Dawkins viewpoint is that he believes in naive realism when we know from neuroscience and perceptual psychology the senses and hence sense perceptions, are mendacious. We also have the very human experience from the dawn of humanity across times and cultures of people interacting with non humans. Now I know that is true because I have had the experience myself and it just came out of the blue, no drugs involved just a normal state of consciousness and there I was with a non human being made out of light. Nothing Dawkins or for that matter anyone else, would ever be able to tell me there is no God or Spiritual entities. And when people like that die they will know for sure they were wrong and they will have the chance to go through it all again if the writer Anthony Peake is correct in his hypothesis and I think he is on the right track.

http://www.anthonypeake.co.uk/index.php

Reality 90% illusion 10% confusion. Albert Einstein

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 20:46:40 UTC | #881934

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 24 by Nunbeliever

To M69att:

So, to all non or not yet parents out there, don't let anyone tell you that you are not allowed an opinion on parenting and to all parents... DEAL WITH IT!!!

I second that! ;) No but seriously! I really think it takes some guts for a parent to admit that he/she might need some help with regard to how to raise your child in the best way possible.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 22:46:05 UTC | #881976

emastro's Avatar Comment 25 by emastro

Whatever caused the reaction, it's not something exclusive to Daily Heil readers. In the bastion of multicultural political correctness that are the child services departments of most London boroughs, the idea that a newborn child has a faith and a specific religious heritage is, well, an article of faith. So much so that most social workers will tell you (not in writing of course) that if you're an atheist, your chances of ever being allowed to adopt a child are so low that their department is not interested in going through the approval process with you: because a baby is born with the religious heritage of its parents and must grow in an environment sharing that heritage.

(this includes a borough whose social services once put a child in foster care with the family of a terrorist)

(ok, in our case there was also the problem that we were too white - but not English enough - too middle class and apparently too successful, and therefore absorbed, in our respective careers. Still religion was the main sticking point in all our discussions. Only in one case we were told from the start that they were not interested in white couples as adopters and the religion issue didn't have time to come up)

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 07:18:17 UTC | #882033

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 26 by Alex, adv. diab.

Hi there Mr E!

You sound almost sullen. It's not like Dawkinses or anyone elses happiness depends on convincing you that you haven't been in the presence of a supernatural being. If you decide that there is no way you will let science inform your judgement of the experience you had (neurologists and psychologist would surely have to say a few things about it), then that's very much your own personal problem, and your own responsibility.

As for your accusation that there is some kind of manipulation of children into thinking that "fallible man has all the answers", that is a gross mischaracterization of science. Granted, some science teachers are bad and simply ask you to memorize facts - but that's not how science is, that is just bad teaching. If we had all the answers, there would be no need to carry on doing science.

but - we do have some answers, very powerful and reliable ones, and keeping them from children who need to know them (and how we got them!) in order to obtain an accurate picture of the world they live in, would be stupid.

Comment 23 by Mr E :

Religion was set up to control the masses and manipulate them, science is going the same way its controlled and manipulated. You want children now to be inculcated to believe that fallible man has all the answers and so instead of brainwashing children into religion we brain wash them in to science but worse Atheistic science. The problem I have with Dawkins viewpoint is that he believes in naive realism when we know from neuroscience and perceptual psychology the senses and hence sense perceptions, are mendacious. We also have the very human experience from the dawn of humanity across times and cultures of people interacting with non humans. Now I know that is true because I have had the experience myself and it just came out of the blue, no drugs involved just a normal state of consciousness and there I was with a non human being made out of light. Nothing Dawkins or for that matter anyone else, would ever be able to tell me there is no God or Spiritual entities. And when people like that die they will know for sure they were wrong and they will have the chance to go through it all again if the writer Anthony Peake is correct in his hypothesis and I think he is on the right track.

http://www.anthonypeake.co.uk/index.php

Reality 90% illusion 10% confusion. Albert Einstein

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 10:34:34 UTC | #882085

Mr E's Avatar Comment 27 by Mr E

Hello Alex, Sullen no Cynical regarding materialist like Dawkins most definitely. You see, science validates the Ancient teaching that life is really a illusion and no doubt people like you are the first to jump up and down frothing at the mouth claiming the world is real. I say to you look around and open your mind because you are being manipulated and you seem to be sleep walking along with 90% of humanity. The problem is since man has been on the planet they have interacted with God, gods and spirits and other elementals and you want to claim its either all delusional or it never happened, on both counts you would be wrong. DMT is deliberately banned as are all psychedelics that open up the mind not because they are dangerous, but because they allow people to experience reality on a much deeper level. And when people do, they invariably find there is manipulation going on. I would also say that Atheism may well be a deliberate manipulation of the brain which parts of can be turned on and off and it may well be related to Autism. Autism is extreme introversion where Theist and Deist and Pantheist all experience reality in Oneness. And of course the biggest dogma in science today is that consciousness arise from the brain despite no evidence to support the assumption. On the other hand the paradigm being supported by Sheldrake et al is that the brain is a transmitter than sends and receives information. In that model all ESP/PSI is explained in the materialist model its denied and worse deliberately swept under the carpet. Anyway I digress it does not matter whether children are taught RE or Evolutionary theory they are still being indoctrinated and that means we have millions of humans growing up on this planet who have been shaped and manipulated by others who are controlling.

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 13:13:41 UTC | #882138

Layla's Avatar Comment 28 by Layla

Comment 25 by emastro

Whatever caused the reaction, it's not something exclusive to Daily Heil readers. In the bastion of multicultural political correctness that are the child services departments of most London boroughs, the idea that a newborn child has a faith and a specific religious heritage is, well, an article of faith. So much so that most social workers will tell you (not in writing of course) that if you're an atheist, your chances of ever being allowed to adopt a child are so low that their department is not interested in going through the approval process with you: because a baby is born with the religious heritage of its parents and must grow in an environment sharing that heritage.

(this includes a borough whose social services once put a child in foster care with the family of a terrorist)

(ok, in our case there was also the problem that we were too white - but not English enough - too middle class and apparently too successful, and therefore absorbed, in our respective careers. Still religion was the main sticking point in all our discussions. Only in one case we were told from the start that they were not interested in white couples as adopters and the religion issue didn't have time to come up)

I have to say I'm surprised this situation does not inspire more discussion considering that here we have children not only being labelled, to which many people on RD.net object, but this label being used to decide their whole future aswell as atheists being discriminated against.

I'm surprised Richard Dawkins has not taken up this issue or spoken about this issue as it seems to be something which ought to concern him and everyone of a like mind. I certainly feel this notion that children can be labelled as Muslim or Christian children due to parentage which the social services are operating on needs to be publicly questioned. If they do decide to open an activist area of the site this would be an area worth campaigning in.

The people charged with placing these children need to realise that their job is not to ensure that every child be given the right kind of biased view but that every child be given a balanced view. Give them exposure to their parents' religion along with exposure to the religion of other people's parents so that they may be given an objective, unbiased education and then give them the freedom to make their own mind up about the world.

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 13:46:30 UTC | #882145

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 29 by DocWebster

If you don't call the kids christian they can't claim that their numbers are growing. If they can't be allowed to pump these poor kids full of mindcrap their numbers won't be growing.

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 14:37:35 UTC | #882154

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 30 by Alex, adv. diab.

Comment 27 by Mr E :

Hello Alex, Sullen no Cynical regarding materialist like Dawkins most definitely. You see, science validates the Ancient teaching that life is really a illusion

Where and in what sense does it do that?

and no doubt people like you are the first to jump up and down frothing at the mouth claiming the world is real.

So in your world, the crazy rationalist street preachers yell at passers-by "The world is real! You can trust Evidence! Doubleblind studies are the way to the truth!" interesting...

I say to you look around and open your mind because you are being manipulated and you seem to be sleep walking along with 90% of humanity.

I think you have serious issues there. Everyone is sleepwalking, and you have the truth. And your truth is that science is a lie? The trouble with your hypothesis is that science works. Computers work, Lasers work. If you insist that that are all illusions, I'm not going to waste more time discussing with you.

The problem is since man has been on the planet they have interacted with God, gods and spirits

How do you know?

and other elementals and you want to claim its either all delusional or it never happened, on both counts you would be wrong.

You have watched Chronicles of Riddick too often...

DMT is deliberately banned as are all psychedelics that open up the mind not because they are dangerous, but because they allow people to experience reality on a much deeper level. And when people do, they invariably find there is manipulation going on.

Ah, now I understand where you're coming from. Drug-induced paranoia. That's nothing to joke about.

I would also say that Atheism may well be a deliberate manipulation of the brain which parts of can be turned on and off and it may well be related to Autism. Autism is extreme introversion where Theist and Deist and Pantheist all experience reality in Oneness.

You honestly want to convince me that Atheism is a deliberate manipulation by "them", and that reality is really an illusion? In that framework, how do you know anything?

And of course the biggest dogma in science today is that consciousness arise from the brain despite no evidence to support the assumption.

Oh there's plenty of evidence. For example if you disturb the brain ever so slightly in an electrical or chemical fashion, consciousness changes profoundly or is completely deactivated, until the brain can resume its normal operation, at which point consciousness sets in again. That alone is very much evidence for consciousness arising from the brain. It behaves exactly as if consciousness arose from the brain - if there was some kind of external agent coupled to the brain which "does" the consciousness, we would expect a different sort of effect, if any at all.

On the other hand the paradigm being supported by Sheldrake et al is that the brain is a transmitter than sends and receives information. In that model all ESP/PSI is explained in the materialist model its denied and worse deliberately swept under the carpet.

The ESP/PSI experiments are crap.

Anyway I digress it does not matter whether children are taught RE or Evolutionary theory they are still being indoctrinated and that means we have millions of humans growing up on this planet who have been shaped and manipulated by others who are controlling.

So for you learning about the world is indoctrination? What is not indoctrination for you? Teaching theistic stuff? What is your reason to justify that?

Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:32:45 UTC | #882178