Saturday, April 21, 2012

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, and my experience with a Christian Group

I was for several years a member of an anabaptist church.  They were among the most gentle, peaceful people I have ever known.   They were pacifists,opposed violence and abuse in all of its forms.  They attempted to live by a supremely compassionate interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.  I found the close cooperation and support among the members a model, in some respects, of community. 

However, as I came to understand the way they taught and educated their children, many of them home schooled, some of them sent their children to specifically Christian schools, I became alarmed by patterns I saw emerging.  The children were often taught by adults who were not educated themselves, they taught them falsehoods about evolution, history, and virtually nothing about science.  Some of the children, mostly the girls, went to college, but avoided confronting the obvious falsehoods they were taught.  They boys mostly did not go to college, but instead went into jobs that do not require formal education.  Some of them were the typical, "all I want to do is get my truck".

The reason I mention all of this is the section of Dawkins' The God Delusion that calls religious upbringing a form of child abuse.  It was a painful experience for me to see what happened to many of the children raised in the church and I have ended up agreeing with Dawkins here.  The children's futures are being determined by the teaching of the church and their parents to perpetuate ignorance of the natural world.  It furthermore limits the life choices these children can make later.

I was also concerned when I observed, after the merger of two churches, that the congregation was becoming more political, anti-homosexual,  and right-wing(to the point of hysteria).  I am disturbed to think that the adults are passing this on to their children. 

Now that I am a nonbeliever(again) I see this subculture as doing a lot of damage to children.  While I still approve of their commitment to pacifism, I cannot on the whole see the group as a force for good.  I feel I am more compatible with pacifist minded secular humanists than I am with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment