Thursday, November 19, 2009


From Atheist billboards are misguided by Jan Ainsworth:

In their latest poster campaign, Ariane Sherine and members of the British Humanist Association appear to have decided that it is a Very Bad Thing that parents might try and bring up their children within a religious or philosophical framework of their choosing. They suggest it is wholly unacceptable that anyone might suggest that their own child might belong to a particular religion.

While I know I risk offending the loyal and noble readers of Cif here, I genuinely can't believe that people actually donated good money to spend on billboard advertising that proposes such a misguided and patronising argument.

It is telling that Sherine resorts to quoting Richard Dawkins when she needs to find someone to explain the rationale for the campaign: "Children are routinely labelled with the religion of their parents", Dawkins suggests. By who, exactly? And if the answer is by their parents, who are the BHA to tell them to stop?

It is surely central to the role of a parent, whether committed to a religious faith or not, to want to pass on to their child the things they value most, the beliefs and world view that shape how they live. It is also consistent with that role to want to have those beliefs and world view acknowledged and affirmed as part of their children's education.
Read the rest here.

Why does this seem to bother Jan Ainsworth so much? Her spurious arguments and reasoning can simply be reversed and used to support Ariane Sherine and to denigrate herself. Of course this would be as useless and as pointless as what Ainsworth is trying to do. Yes, people should have freedom of religion. People also should have freedom of speech. If Sherine wants to spend money to express herself, then who is Jan Ainsworth to tell her to stop? All of this seems so pointless.

Speaking from personal experience, what matters the most to me about this issue is that people can end up getting hurt. If the child makes the choice to turn to another religion, or to atheism, there is immense potential for things to get very ugly.

The indoctrination of a child into a religion puts the child who doesn’t believe in their parent’s religion in a terrible position. The child must choose between what he/she sees as the truth, and his or her parents. Were his parents lying to him, or simply misguided? This is not an easy thing to deal with. The more that the religion defines who the parents are, the harder it is for the non-believing child.

This also puts the parents in a terrible position. If they truly believe, then their child will suffer for being a nonbeliever. Look out below, my kid’s going to hell.

I realize that some parents may be able to respect the wishes of their child to not believe as they do. However, simply by definition, their religion will not allow them to see their child as whole anymore. God will not accept him anymore. If they truly believe, then how can they accept him anymore? To me, this is absolutely monstrous. I find all of this to be very hard to put into words adequately, so I hope that some sense of what I mean is coming through.

Religious people claim to be compassionate. To me, they never seem to be very compassionate when this issue is brought up.

Oh, and it’s even worse if the child is gay or has had an abortion.

Before I go, here is one final quibble. Why the hell does Ainsworth write: “It is telling that Sherine resorts to quoting Richard Dawkins when she needs to find someone to explain…” Why is this “telling?” Could someone tell me? The only reason I can think of for Ainsworth to write this is because it comes off as some kind of insult directed towards Ariane Sherine. Poor woman, she can’t think for herself, she has to quote Dawkins. Yet, it’s not an insult to say that she quoted Dawkins, is it? I hate it when people do this kind of thing. It serves no useful purpose. Is it telling when Ainsworth quotes from the Bible? (I assume that she does, frequently.)

3 comments - Post a comment :

Mariano said...

This is merely more atheist propaganda as Richard Dawkins wonders whether there is occasion for “society stepping in” and hopes that such efforts “might lead children to choose no religion at all.” Dawkins also supports the atheist summer camp “Camp Quest.”

Phillip Pullman states the following about his “fictional” books for children, “I don't think I'm writing fantasy. I think I'm writing realism. My books are psychologically real.” But what does he really write about? As he has admitted, “My books are about killing God” and “I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”

More evidence here:

Paul Thoreau said...


Oh please! Atheists spout propaganda, while the religious have evidence?

Atheism is dead? Then why do atheists seem to upset you so much?

In regards to your comment. Well, OK, then… But, what do you think about what I wrote?

Mariano said...

In other words, you have no arguments against the evidence I provided via quotations and in my post.

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