From what I have observed, all religions focus on indoctrinating children from early childhood. And this is very effective too (from the perspective of the religion). A child's mind is amazing in its ability to absorb information. And moreover children rarely have critical thinking ability. The combination of these qualities make them a perfect target for indoctrination. Also, once indoctrinated, even if the child picks up critical thinking later on, it takes a lot of hard contemplation to overcome the effects. Many never find the courage to do the contemplation needed and give up.
My opinion is that children should be kept away from religious ideas till they have developed critical thinking abilities. This would reduce much of the superstition, unwholesome traditional practices, social evils, communal politics etc. But this task is hard to do. Firstly, parents are responsible for the young children and many of the parents themselves have been indoctrinated and actively or unknowingly pass it on to their children (thats why the camps exist). The other major problem is how to inculcate critical thinking in children. I am skeptical if more books and classroom lessons provide the answers needed here.
The third thing every child is taught (after saying "ma" and "papa"), is how to pray or fold your hands in front of an idol. The systemic deception is such that it becomes impossibly tough to break away from it later on.
I agree with the opinion that logic can be taught. All the argumentative fallacies must be taught too. But then again, which government will ever do that? None.
Well I have rad this all but the one thing that I want to say you that you have to play with your kids. And I am surely say that playing can be the single best way to really get to know your kids. and I also can say you that you have to trust your kids. Show them they can trust you.
In Prof. Dr. Richard Dawkins' own voice:
"It's an appalling stranglehold that these archaic ideas have on (young, impressionable) minds warped since childhood (by relentless brainwashing sessions of indoctrination)"
10-Aug-2011, 01:30 AM
(This post was last modified: 10-Aug-2011, 01:30 AM by sojourner.)
"Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The 'ologies' will tell you how its done. Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selfless. Psychology calls it the growth of the super ego."
The above is from Chapter 13 of B.F.Skinner's Walden Two.
My older son will be 27 soon. He and his best friend (SBF) are both atheists. (The best friend was a classmate for about 10 years with son.)
Even though both son his best friend are atheists, they took different routes. I brought up both my children as atheists. Son is comfortable in his skin with his lack of belief -- I think and hope. SBF's best friend is a Luteran pastor. SBF's atheism caused a lot of problems with his father -- it was a lot more painful route for him.
I once got a call from son's physics teacher, when son was in high school. Apparently the teacher had discussed something with son and was later afraid that I would complain to the school. I cannot remember what it was -- perhaps it was freethinking or perhaps it was Christianity. (I think that it was the former.) I told the teacher that I am a freethinker myself but wouldn't have any problem if the teacher had discussed Christianity with son and that I trusted son to make the right decisions and judgments. I could see the teacher being genuinely relieved.
A few years prior to this, I walked into son's room and saw him close his desk drawer in a hurry. I asked him what he was hiding. It turned out to be the Bible which a neighbor's kid had given him. I told him that I had no problem with him reading the Bible. He quickly lost interest in it after that. I was grateful that it was only the Bible and not Playboy :-)
As Penn Jillette said, the easiest way to go atheist is to read the damn bible.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."