Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Should Kids Be Classified Under Religious Sects?

When it comes to matters concerning religion, theists and religious groups tend to get away with many of our liberties, with blantant disregard to secular norms and human rights. Rationality and reason, it seems, are applicable to many issues, but when matters of religion are concerned, no amount of reasoning, it seems, can seep into the fabric of entrenched religious dogmas.

Altar boys of a Catholic Church: Catholic Children?

Muslim Children?

Or Just Simply Children?

The minds of children are, metaphorically speaking, untainted blank sheets of paper. They are not born with any inherent beliefs, nor do they have the slightest dogmatic thoughts of invisible deities. Because they are born as such, learning becomes paramount to their existence, for even in a civilized world, knowledge is necessary to keep the child away from harm's way, as well as equipping them with the basic necessary skills for communication and survival. Hence, the idea that children can be attached with any sort of religious identities is not only ludicrous, it inhibits and limits the child's niche to a very selective community.

Richard Dawkins, an eminent atheist and professor, opined that no sane parent would call their child a Tory child, a left-wing child or a liberal child, yet they have no qualms calling them Catholic, Protestant or Muslim children. Such a degree of biaseness, it seems, has nothing to do with the child's beliefs.

All too often, religion is forced and shoved down the throats of children who are barely old enough to discern and rationalize the tenets of various beliefs, and religious folks will tell you that indoctrinating young children is easiest, since their minds are the most pliable at ages below ten. As children, their minds are "programmed" by natural selection to take orders without question. This evolutionary trait of compliance, it seems, allows children to learn the necessary skills for survival within the shortest time frame.

Unfortunately, this very trait has become a form of exploitation by parents who unwittingly indoctrinate their children to obey their respective religions blindly, without seeking any forms of justification, logic and rationality behind their faiths.

By labelling kids in accordance to the religions of their parents, there is also this tendency to segregate these kids from other kids who do not share their parents' religious backgrounds and creeds. Children in a Catholic school, for example, would likely not mix around as much with Protestant children as their catholic counterparts.

Another form of segregation of a more sinister kind may be that parents tend to imprint on the impressionable minds of their children that their beliefs are right, and the rest are outright false, and those so-called "infidels" who do not believe in their exclusive religion would find themselves burning in the raging fires of hell. This abject exclusivity leads to condescension and leads to further arrogance and segregation, for the child who harbors such fire and brimestone beliefs will not see eye to eye with people, possibly showing scant (or worst, disdain) respect to people who do not share their creeds and beliefs. Chances are, such children will stick to their own niche, seldom or never venturing to mix around with friends outside their own little band of religious kids and folks.

While I am not suggesting that classifying kids in accordance to their respective faiths that they are brought up in constitute child abuse, it is important to realize that children are far to young to make up their minds with regards to certain creeds and philosophies, and to label them as religious only serves as just another dastardly means of segregating them from an ideological and religious level.

-"What can it mean to speak of a child's 'own' religion? Imagine a world in which it was normal to speak of a Keynesian child, a Hayekian child, or a Marxist child. Or imagine a proposal to pour government money into separate primary schools for Labour children, Tory children, LibDem children and Monster Raving Loony children? Everyone agrees that small children are too young to know whether they are Keynesian or Monetarist, Labour or Tory, too young to bear the burden of such labels. Why, then, is our entire society happy to slap a label like Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, on a tiny child? Isn't that, when you think about it, a kind of mental child abuse?"

-Richard Dawkins, "Imagine No Religion"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Do you REALLY want America to be completely Republican-Free?

According to Rassmussen Reports, voters are continuing to flee the GOP so fast that for the first time ever the number of Republicans has fallen into third place, behind not only Democrats (who they now trail by over 5%) but also behind the number of unaffiliated voters. Comparing the 31.0% of American voters who considered themselves to be Republicans now to the 37.1% of American voters who claimed to be Republicans on election day 2004, it appears that fully one out of six Republicans have left the party in only a bit over two years. Most have apparently become unaffiliated voters, though even the most expensive health care system in the world can only keep the Barry Goldwater-loving, Joe McCarthy idolizing, 'the only Democrat they liked was Wallace-- the old Wallace' generation of paleocon dinosaurs alive for so long. Some of them have gone on to a nice, very warm vacation by now.

If we project this rate of decrease linearly, we see that the by the end of the next decade, Republicans will vanish entirely from the earth. And because of their opposition to cloning, stem cell research and universal health coverage, they won't even be able to ward off their own extinction.

I believe the time to do something is now. We must not let this happen. We must apply the provisions of the endangered species act, and create a preserve where Republicans can be protected from all the causes of their ills. Only FOX News will be allowed to broadcast within the preserve, and a continual supply of rosy news will flash across a ticker, right under the quadruple rows of barbed wire fence.

We might even create a captive colony of 'breeder Republicans' in a zoo somewhere, where they can help promulgate the species. Yeah, I know-- you are claiming that they won't because they are afraid of fornication. Well, let me tell ya, that isn't a problem. Truth be known, Republicans love to fornicate. They just don't want anyone to know they liked it. So we will make sure that the Justice Department security cameras that have a little cutout of Alberto Gonzales on them don't show a few select areas for them (though if both the fornicating Republicans are of the same gender, the rest of the captive colony will likely cook them and eat them.)

We cannot let these beautiful creatures die off. After all, they are like a record cold day in May-- you need one once in a long while to remind you of why you are glad it is May.

So just send your check or money order for $100 to the address on your screen...