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Get them while they're young - Comments

sirmailbox's Avatar Comment 1 by sirmailbox

Wow, this is well produced stuff. Somehow the production value reinforces the idea that atheism isn't a fringe viewpoint.

Mon, 30 May 2011 01:31:54 UTC | #632220

Munski's Avatar Comment 2 by Munski

I saw this film . . . . my daughter showed it to me, and said I should see it. It was nicely done, and had excellent production qualities despite the simplicity of it all.

But then, I taught her to question everyone . . . especially me. And she does, constently, but at 22, she is indoctrinated into nothing, and has proven the intent of that film absolutely right.

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:02:15 UTC | #632226

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 3 by Bipedal Primate

"By refusing to pledge blind allegiance to the beliefs of past generations, they discovered what they were the day they were born."

An example of evolution happening right in front of our eyes?

As for "the day they were born" and "children are natural born atheists": I thought children were natural born creationists? "Some rocks are sharp so that animals can scratch their backs on them" and similar statements from kids...

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:15:03 UTC | #632228

Fouad Boussetta's Avatar Comment 4 by Fouad Boussetta

I now realize how lucky I am to have had parents rather uninterested in religion. Very lucky indeed.

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:36:41 UTC | #632230

Munski's Avatar Comment 5 by Munski

Comment 3 by Bipedal Primate :

As for "the day they were born" and "children are natural born atheists": I thought children were natural born creationists? "Some rocks are sharp so that animals can scratch their backs on them" and similar statements from kids...

From a 'not-knowing' point of view, they apply those qualities to things, but given the opportunity to seek out knowledge, which is naturally part of their nature to 'want to know', I've always thought of that as more of a 'blank-slate, playful innocence' than being 'hard-wired for creationism'. The hard-wired natural need to seek out knowledge tends to override any childish superstitions eventually, which if left 'unmolested', tends to lean towards a natural evolution towards reason. When I saw it, and based on my own experiences as a parent (not as a scientist), I just took the film at the artistic or metaphorical message of the 'ultimate result if unmolested mentally or spiritually' as opposed to the starting point.

But yeah, from the Dawkins perspective, purely scientifically, kids are dualistic.

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:48:11 UTC | #632233

Munski's Avatar Comment 6 by Munski

And after reading the 'God Delusion', I do believe that 'innocence' and dualistic factor of Dawkins to be true, just to be honest about my own beliefs, but in hindsight of my own childhood, the creation of imaginary friends are more of 'wishful thinking' than anything . . . and it is something you lose fast if left alone. My own kids began questioning 'Santa Claus' by the time they were old enough to be in kindergarden (6, in Canada), and at least Santa actually left behind proof of his existence.

And got fatter on milk and cookies, I'll add. Cheers!

Mon, 30 May 2011 02:54:42 UTC | #632235

tboulay's Avatar Comment 7 by tboulay

Comment 6 by JMunroe :

And after reading the 'God Delusion', I do believe that 'innocence' and dualistic factor of Dawkins to be true, just to be honest about my own beliefs, but in hindsight of my own childhood, the creation of imaginary friends are more of 'wishful thinking' than anything . . . and it is something you lose fast if left alone. My own kids began questioning 'Santa Claus' by the time they were old enough to be in kindergarden (6, in Canada), and at least Santa actually left behind proof of his existence.

And got fatter on milk and cookies, I'll add. Cheers!

I love the Santa Claus comparison to religion. One of the hosts of 'The Atheist Experience' ran through one day (I'm paraphrasing here)

When you're a kid, there is a massive world wide conspiracy to get you to believe in santa claus. Your parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles, teachers etc. all tell you santa claus is real. Store clerks will ask if you're anxious for santa to come. You send a letter to the north pole, with Ho Ho Ho as the address on the envelope and you actually get a letter back from santa. On Christmas eve, all the news channels actually track santa's progress across the world. You leave out cookies, they're eaten, milk is gone in the morning and presents are under the tree from santa.

But then One day near christmas you see a gift in your parents closet, and a couple of weeks later it's under the tree and address to you "from Santa" .. and that's it, everything falls away. no matter how many people are in on it and no matter what they say or do, you no longer believe in santa claus, it's over; just like that in an instant.

When you tell your parents, look I don't believe in santa claus any more, they admit that it was them, ask you not to spoil it for your little sister until she figures it out in a couple of years and that's it.

If a single generation did that for Jesus and Muhammad we'd be in a hell of a lot better situation around the world.

Mon, 30 May 2011 04:01:59 UTC | #632242

Quine's Avatar Comment 8 by Quine

Nicely done video.

Mon, 30 May 2011 04:18:34 UTC | #632245

Munski's Avatar Comment 9 by Munski

Heh . . . yeah, with me, at a very young age, I couldn't help but notice that Santa and my mom had the same handwriting on the present tags . . . and the funny thing is, I remember having that revelation about the same age as my kids, even though I was partially indoctrinated into religion as a kid (via strangers and grandparents, for the most part). Thing is, I still liked getting presents and watching all the cartoons, eating lots of food and 'being in the moment of paradise' instead of having to die to get it.

It would be nice if the whole world did have that same revelation . . . that for the most part, 'God' seems to have the same handwriting as the Pope does. Then we can all get fat on milk and cookies and live in the moment with the people we love. That's about all the purpose I need. :)

Mon, 30 May 2011 04:34:36 UTC | #632247

kidchicago's Avatar Comment 10 by kidchicago

Here's to the dawning of the real dawning---a profound shift in the winds of the Zeitgeist towards rationalism and away from what's left of theism and deism in its many forms, especially its most orthodox forms. Real human hope now clearly rests on this change. There simply aren't enough believers left to drown out the oncoming chorus which backs up our fabulous four horsemen!!!!!!

Mon, 30 May 2011 05:57:19 UTC | #632253

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 11 by Vicktor

This is nothing compared to young children who are scolded and beaten into performing the 5 daily prayers (every day of the week). And this is not a compulsion in some obscure "sect" of Islam. It is absolutely and unequivocally true for every Muslim on the planet who has ever lived and remains true to this day. No imam will tell you otherwise. And Allah obviously protects these imams because miraculously no one, believer or disbeliever (prominent atheists included), ever takes them to task about it.

The daily prayers are not "optional". Even if a Muslim somehow escapes the toil of prayer (usually through adulthood and having a life), he cannot be freed of the psychological baggage that he is not a "good Muslim" unless he keeps doing them.

Mon, 30 May 2011 06:09:57 UTC | #632257

rorymeister's Avatar Comment 12 by rorymeister

Why do some people lack the ability to question faith, or, come to their own conclusion on whether or not a deity really exists?

I was raised a Christian and learning about evolution changed everything. Evolution didn't make me an atheist, what did was my common sense.

That sounds arrogant but it is the only way I shall put it.

Mon, 30 May 2011 06:30:16 UTC | #632261

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 13 by Vicktor

Comment 12 by rorymeister

Why do some people lack the ability to question faith, or, come to their own conclusion on whether or not a deity really exists?

Perhaps because they are severely reprimanded or physically abused if they even try.

Mon, 30 May 2011 06:33:42 UTC | #632263

jonowl's Avatar Comment 14 by jonowl

Ironically, isn't this the very thing that is being done when humanism is taught to young children?

Nobody is unbiased. Everybody has an opinion based on axioms.

You're right that somebody believing in something without thinking it through is a fool. This also applies to atheism and agnosticism.

The same question could be asked "Why do some people lack the ability to question atheism, or come to their own conclusion on whether or not a deity really exists'?

If somebody does think it through and finds a theological standpoint as being valid, why then should we berate them?

Mon, 30 May 2011 06:57:21 UTC | #632268

Anvil's Avatar Comment 15 by Anvil

Yeah, nice video. Feel slightly uneasy about the end quote. Are we born Atheists? Obviously, I'm aware that no-one is born catholic, or muslim, or jewish, or marxist - but are we born atheists?

I felt the same unease about the billboard, early last week, which read: 'Atheist by Default'.

Am I being picky here?

Put a gang of kids on an island, Swallows and Amazons style, and whammo - I'll bet you get some of that old time religion thing going quicker than you can say "Holy Mary Mudda a God".

I'm aware that having a billboard which says "Evolved to have an over-active agency detection system which has been easily and readily co-opted by similarly evolved systems to create and perpetuate a belief in magic!" isn't quite as catchy as "Atheist by Default", but at least it's a truer, and more informative, explanation of why I believed in 'Santa Jesus'.

We are hard-wired for it, aren't we? Same way I'm hard-wired to enjoy that fat-filled, salt-soaked burger with the sweet sugary sauce.

Sorry. Possibly whingeing about nothing. What can I say. Bad back. (edit: in a sense, hard-wired for that too. Damn!)

Anvil.

Mon, 30 May 2011 06:58:25 UTC | #632269

mmurray's Avatar Comment 16 by mmurray

Comment 14 by jonowl :

Ironically, isn't this the very thing that is being done when humanism is taught to young children?

Nobody is unbiased. Everybody has an opinion based on axioms.

You're right that somebody believing in something without thinking it through is a fool. This also applies to atheism and agnosticism.

Atheism isn't a belief it is an absence of a belief. So I don't see how this applies.

Michael

Mon, 30 May 2011 07:22:01 UTC | #632270

Anvil's Avatar Comment 17 by Anvil

Comment 14 by jonowl

Ironically, isn't this the very thing that is being done when humanism is taught to young children?

Well, there is a difference between lying to a child, and telling the truth to a child.

Nobody is unbiased. Everybody has an opinion based on axioms.

And axioms are postulates presumed to be self evident and true.

You're right that somebody believing in something without thinking it through is a fool. This also applies to atheism and agnosticism.

I find it difficult to imagine adopting a position of atheism or agnosticism without thinking it through? "Hello, I'm an atheist." "Why?" "Don't know, really? Never thought about it?"

The same question could be asked "Why do some people lack the ability to question atheism, or come to their own conclusion on whether or not a deity really exists'?

Again, this brings us back to my previous point. In my mind I read your question thus: "Why do some people lack the ability to question Reason, Rationalism & Logic, or come to their own conclusion on whether or not 'Santa Jesus' really exists?"

If somebody does think it through and finds a theological standpoint as being valid, why then should we berate them?

Well, mainly because they haven't thought it through. 'Santa Jesus' does not exist. Simples.

Anvil.

Mon, 30 May 2011 07:38:37 UTC | #632274

jonowl's Avatar Comment 18 by jonowl

Oh come on now...Let's call it a 'concept' of the universe and everything contained in it.

Atheistic and agnostic parents teach their children their 'concept' of the world. We do the same thing that the religious do — train our kids from an early age.

This same movie could be just as relevant if you were to put an atheist child rejecting the atheist concept for a religious concept. Atheist parents would be just as horrified. The atheist kid could claim the same indoctrination e.g. I was never given an alternative because my atheist/agnostic parents were so dogmatic that their way was the only way.

This is a very weak argument.

Atheism isn't a belief it is an absence of a belief. So I don't see how this applies.

Michael

Mon, 30 May 2011 07:43:44 UTC | #632277

jonowl's Avatar Comment 19 by jonowl

@Anvil

Spoken like a totally dogmatic religious person — I believe what I believe because I'm right.

Anvil you are indoctrinating your child in your world view. The same arguments you argue can just as easily be argued from a religious point.

Can you not see that you are being dogmatic — isn't that the whole point of this video? — children are being taught one way as the right way by parents that have made up their minds?

How are you any different?

You're not.

Mon, 30 May 2011 07:49:17 UTC | #632278

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 20 by bendigeidfran

I've just had kittens indirectly and have been asked who made the first cat. How tedious. The questions don't stop there. I have to explain electric too. They can be annoying, these small persons. Hard to bluff 'em now at 6 and 7. Some kind of threat to shut them up would be handy.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:28:04 UTC | #632283

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 21 by bendigeidfran

I actually was Santa Claus one year, for the playgroup, and despite the proper kit from a pro-thespian outfit, the boy said later 'that's funny, you've got the same voice as father christmas'. I was going for Richard Burton.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:33:52 UTC | #632284

BenS's Avatar Comment 22 by BenS

I love it when atheists are accused of 'indoctrinating' their children. For the most part, nothing could be further from the truth. We educate our children, not indoctrinate them - and part of that education is to question what you're told so as to help prevent indoctrination by others. I don't know of a single atheist who, when explaining why they're an atheist to their child, has said "Just because that's the way it is, don't question it!". We actively encourage our children to question, not prohibit or dissuade them from it.

Indoctrinating, indeed. Nonsense.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:34:52 UTC | #632285

Anvil's Avatar Comment 23 by Anvil

Comment 19 by jonowl

@Anvil

Spoken like a totally dogmatic religious person — I believe what I believe because I'm right.

Well, more back pain than dogmatism, but I'll take your point. Dogma is an interesting word:

dogma (plural dogmas or dogmata)

An authoritative principle, belief or statement of opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true regardless of evidence, or without evidence to support it.

1) The unforgiving dogma of Stalinism is that what the party leader, however cruel and incompetent, decrees, however absurd, must be accepted as dogma

2) A doctrine (or set of doctrines) relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth authoritatively by a religious organization or leader. In the Catholic Church, new dogmas can only be declared by the pope after the extremely rare procedure ex cathedra to make them part of the official faith.

I don't believe I am being dogmatic in my position of atheism or agnosticism, Jonowl. They are not faiths.

Anvil you are indoctrinating your child in your world view.

Well yes, I agree. In a sense, at least. Both my children have long flown the coup, however I hope I provided them with a set of tools through which they could make sense of the world through the application of reason, logic, experience, an appreciation of aesthetics, and evidence, and an ability to develop their own ethics and morality based on the above. You may call that indoctrination if you wish. I would not use that word to describe how I have brought up my kids.

The same arguments you argue can just as easily be argued from a religious point.

No. That is based on Faith. On Dogma. On Belief. On - I'll use the word, here - Indoctrination.

Can you not see that you are being dogmatic — isn't that the whole point of this video? — children are being taught one way as the right way by parents that have made up their minds?

I made up my mind that my kids were going to have to make up their own minds. I admit I was quite dogmatic about that.

How are you any different?

Friggin' hell, Jonowl, I would have thought it obvious.

You're not.

I am.

Anvil.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:35:19 UTC | #632286

Munski's Avatar Comment 24 by Munski

Being an atheist with children isn't necessarily perfect, and children are naturally curious and it's very common for them to seek parental approval and natural for them to want to sometimes emulate what their parents do, so it is hard to maintain an impartial balance at times. And yes, a person does want to try and protect their children from what they perceive as 'harm'.

But an upbringing of an atheist sort, one that's strictly observed, even so far as to ridicule religious people in front of the children, is an indoctrination that has power that only goes as far as a very mortal, and very flawed parent.

It's not unusual to have that since many people that are older may have a grudge with faith, because it hasn't been that long since we've just achieved the ability to have an opinion that runs contrary to faith. It wasn't that long ago that it was socially acceptable to strike a child across the face, even in public, for using the Lord's name in vain . . . nowadays, it's socially unacceptable, even illegal in some countries. So yeah . . . sometimes, atheists can be somewhat 'evangelical' . . . I'm certainly no exception in my writing, and try as I did, I tried to keep my non-belief to myself, but I can't say I was perfect in executing it.

But any true atheistic stance still forces the very notion that everything must be questioned, and explored, even if it's indirectly taught. So even the world view of the parents must, by virtue of the general 'rule' of atheistic questioning or searching for the truth involves questioning everything . . . including parental advice or words. In that regard, the 'harm' that is being prevented is the lack of wanting knowledge, or exploring the world beyond the words of ancient people that arbitrarily used to sacrifice their children in order to appease some invisible being, with an invisible product.

In the case of religion, now you have the evangelical belief of a being that's far more 'tangible' than the Santa fable, and certainly far more lasting in being either loving or cruel, because one thing you do realize as a child is that when Santa comes, he only seems to bring presents to the kids, so you get used to the concept that eventually you'll get too old for Santa. But the religion, with or without the rituals, is very permanent in one's life. In changing your values of that world view, you need to question something you've been taught to trust unseen, unknown, and untested by anyone. And beyond needing to challenge your parents, you have to challenge a being you've been taught to believe in for your entire life, and risk not only alienating your family or angering them, you have to psychologically separate yourself from the very being that has defined your very existence, your 'soul', and possibly even come to the realization and deal with the possibility that your consciousness is limited to the physical.

From that point of view, leaving atheism is embracing something that might be far more enticing to one's fantasy, and far more pleasing to one's thoughts in that they will someday get to have the 'answers to all' once they die, and can take comfort in the fact that even when they are alone, they are loved.

For one leaving the indoctrination of faith, it's more of the equivalent of getting 'off' the fantasy, potentially facing your limited mortality depending on how far one wants to discard belief, and is more akin to coming down from an addiction . . . all while facing not only growing apart from family, but the imaginary friend you thought you used to have.

In that case, the child that's protected from harm by a religious parent, the 'harm' is the eternal soul, and even in more frequent cases, the 'harm' a religious parent is protecting their child from isn't just the child, but the faith itself.

Atheism, while I acknowledge is very rabid as I am about it sometimes, doesn't have any power of a god to command from an invisible throne that it be spread. It's all from a very human source, and the claims it makes are all very human, and fallible.

The Pope, on the other hand, is not.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:52:50 UTC | #632288

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 25 by bendigeidfran

It's cute when they're young.

Mon, 30 May 2011 08:54:21 UTC | #632290

Drosera's Avatar Comment 26 by Drosera

Comment 15 by Anvil :

Put a gang of kids on an island, Swallows and Amazons style, and whammo - I'll bet you get some of that old time religion thing going quicker than you can say "Holy Mary Mudda a God".

Quite possibly. But I bet their religion would be totally unlike any of the main ones that we are inflicted with. They will surely not come up with a god who sent his son to Earth to have himself crucified, etc., etc.

I sometimes wonder what other idiocy the Christians of today would believe in if the Romans had been successful in eradicating Christianity. It would probably be something exactly as ludicrous. The believers would be exactly as adamant that it was all real and unquestionable. People would have been killed in its name.

It should be a crime to indoctrinate children with religion.

Mon, 30 May 2011 09:13:30 UTC | #632294

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Comment 18 by jonowl :

Oh come on now...Let's call it a 'concept' of the universe and everything contained in it.

Atheistic and agnostic parents teach their children their 'concept' of the world. We do the same thing that the religious do — train our kids from an early age.

How do you know how I raise my kids ?

Atheist parents would be just as horrified.

And you know this about me because ?

Michael

Mon, 30 May 2011 09:18:45 UTC | #632296

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 28 by drumdaddy

This video is low-key, realistic and hopefully non-threatening to the brainwashed, although I doubt many of them will ever view it. Well done.

Mon, 30 May 2011 09:35:15 UTC | #632298

Anvil's Avatar Comment 29 by Anvil

Comment 26 by Drosera

Comment 15 by Anvil :

Put a gang of kids on an island, Swallows and Amazons style, and whammo - I'll bet you get some of that old time religion thing going quicker than you can say "Holy Mary Mudda a God".

Quite possibly. But I bet their religion would be totally unlike any of the main ones that we are inflicted with. They will surely not come up with a god who sent his son to Earth to have himself crucified, etc., etc.

I sometimes wonder what other idiocy the Christians of today would believe in if the Romans had been successful in eradicating Christianity. It would probably be something exactly as ludicrous. The believers would be exactly as adamant that it was all real and unquestionable. People would have been killed in its name.

It should be a crime to indoctrinate children with religion.

Will Self - who can really annoy me at times - penned a novel the title of which (I think?) is 'The Book of Dave'. I don't think it's great literature, but it is, nevertheless a fantastic description of how, following the destruction of our civilisation by rising sea levels, the remnants of society develop a religion based on the scribblings of a London taxi driver called Dave.

It's overly long, but highly recommended - if only for its vision.

Between Self and Hicks, I've never looked at a crucifix the same way since.

Anvil.

Mon, 30 May 2011 09:39:19 UTC | #632299

jonowl's Avatar Comment 30 by jonowl

dogmatic |dôgˈmatik| adjective inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true

You have principles that you believe are incontrovertibly true.

indoctrinate |inˈdäktrəˌnāt| verb [ trans. ] teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically • archaic teach or instruct (someone)

I don't believe I am being dogmatic in my position of atheism or agnosticism, Jonowl. They are not faiths.

Anvil, it also applies to a view that's held as strongly as yours. You are dogmatic - inclined to lay down your principles as incontrovertibly true. Yes you argue that only you use logic - the same arguments as the religious.

Well yes, I agree. In a sense, at least. Both my children have long flown the coup, however I hope I provided them with a set of tools through which they could make sense of the world through the application of reason, logic, experience, an appreciation of aesthetics, and evidence, and an ability to develop their own ethics and morality based on the above. You may call that indoctrination if you wish. I would not use that word to describe how I have brought up my kids.

I'll bet that the 'tools' you 'gave' or 'convinced' them to use were the only tools you believed were incontrovertibly true. I doubt very much that you exposed them to alternate foundations of reason, because, in your opinion your 'tools' (biases, personal reasoning) are the only 'true' tools.

This is the same argument that the religious use. Both sides use the same arguments to convince their children that their way is the only way. Are your children atheists? If so, you have done exactly what this video was saying was so outrageous. You have 'forced', 'convinced', 'persuaded', 'indoctrinated' your children in your dogmatic view.

No. That is based on Faith. On Dogma. On Belief. On - I'll use the word, here - Indoctrination. See above comments - It does not just apply to faith.

I made up my mind that my kids were going to have to make up their own minds. I admit I was quite dogmatic about that.

Also read as: "I made up my mind (was convinced my way was the only way) and ensured that by not exposing my children to other foundations of reasoning (indoctrination), they came out thinking just like me."

How are you any different?

Friggin' hell, Jonowl, I would have thought it obvious.

You're not.

I am.

Anvil.

No you're not. But you've deluded yourself (just like the terrible religious people that breed children to take on their world view) into producing kids indoctrinated in your world view.

What a terrible hypocrisy.

Mon, 30 May 2011 09:45:36 UTC | #632302