Raising secular children

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Raising secular children

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:32 am UTC

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Vahir » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:32 am UTC

I've never known someone who was raised religious, and I went through a catholic schooling. I'm more surprised to find that some people still think irreligious = immoral.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:49 am UTC

Heh, my parents do. Anyway, thought the stats might be useful to see.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:06 am UTC

I can't help but think that this is a self-selection issue however. Note, my personal bias is as a Catholic, born and raised. Planning to go to Church tomorrow and all.

With that said, secular people, in my experience, are people who grew up, formed their own moral systems and blazed a path... often away from their parents and original communities. Most of my Gay friends for example grew up feeling disrespected by their parents / religion, rejected the moral system imposed upon them and more or less haven't looked back. (Not to stereotype or anything, I'm just contributing my anecdote)

In any case, rejecting someone else's moral system explicitly often requires one to create a moral code for themselves.

Basically, what I'm saying is that "raising your kid to be secular" isn't what is making these kids have stronger morals. Its the parents whose life decisions have forced them along a path where they were criticized by peers. I would expect... for example... a minority Black Muslim kid growing up in the Bible Belt... would raise that child with similar moral strength as the kids in the article. As the child's peers judge and criticize the child, the child will be exposed to differing philosophies and be forced to defend his own.

As it stands, pure secularism / atheism is a minority philosophy. Living a life like that will open yourself to criticism, and the participation in moral discussions will also be dramatically higher as a result.

That's my two cents anyway. Its interesting data nonetheless.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:20 am UTC

Considering that many fundamentalist people include "fearing god" as part of their moral framework, by arbitrary definitions they will declare that atheists are immoral.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Angua » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:35 am UTC

Well, I guess it depends on where you are. If you're somewhere where secularism is the minority, then you can say that it's because they were strong enough to do what they want. But in the UK most of the people I've met here were born and raised secular and have never had any problems because no one else expected anything different. They still seem just as moral to me as people who grew up in a religious place (main difference is that I don't get things on my facebook feed from them talking about how god is great all the time).
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:20 pm UTC

I grew up secular, am an atheist, and didn't meet anyone raised *Christian* (I grew up around a lot of Muslim and Hindu people) until I went to college. (UK college. I think in America that's the last two years of highschool? 16-19) Personal account below.

Spoiler:
One thing that sticks with me very strongly about that guy was his integrity. I remember the class once getting a biology supply/substitute teacher who asked us what lesson had been planned. We were sampling ladybirds for coursework and obviously had to go outside to do this. The guy told the teacher this and she immediately told him he was a liar (this wasn't an unfounded accusation. I went to a very bad school and letting classes like the one I was in outside was a recipe for trouble).

The response floored me. Half the class immediately replied "Alvin doesn't lie!" And they were right. this guy never lied, never cheated, never swore, never stole.

When I went to university that was my first experience with the existence of a significant number of people who regularly went to church, and on average those people seem to be more pleasant than the average university student

The people who really impress me are Mormons though. I've met a lot of them (theres a Mormon mission in my university town) and without fail they've been polite and genuine people. Theres something in particular about the blokes. They manage to be incredibly *kind* without seeming weak, in a way I've not really ever seen before or since. Honestly if I could bring myself to believe Mormon doctrine I'd probably have converted by now, just on the back of what incredible people the Mormons I've met seem to be.


With regards to the linked article I wonder about confounders. From what I can tell in America being nonreligious correlates strongly with coming from professional families, degree-level education et cetera (which is the opposite of what I've experienced in the U.K). It may well be that it's not that raising children without religion makes them more moral, but that people with high levels of predisposition to prosocial behavior (wealthier background, high biological intelligence/low time preference, better education, better educated parents) are more likely to experience an environment deemphasizing religion.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:37 pm UTC

The article wrote:For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:52 pm UTC

Yeah, its a bit wishywashy, but it underlines, importantly that treating people well isn't a religious value. which is important for some religious people to recognize. perhaps especially in the context of family.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby PeteP » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:57 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
The article wrote:For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Yeah I'm always disgusted too by the way the name of some rare type of metal has become a strong positive descriptor, just silly.

But are you bothered by the annoying pretense that all secular people shared one ethical system or by declaring it an universal ethical imperative or by something else?
Last edited by PeteP on Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:12 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:07 pm UTC

All that, plus that it's a shitty account of morality anyway.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:53 pm UTC

Which is why its not the only metric given in the article.

Ormurinn wrote:From what I can tell in America being nonreligious correlates strongly with coming from professional families, degree-level education et cetera (which is the opposite of what I've experienced in the U.K)
Yeah i think the education correlation is probably most significant.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:22 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Which is why its not the only metric given in the article.

I'm not objecting to the idea that empathy and reciprocity have something to do with morality, but rather with the idea that they have everything to do with morality - as the quote says, "one simple principle" (The one weird trick theists don't want you to know about!).

If the article contradicts itself on that point, then so much the worse for it.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby elasto » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:05 am UTC

It's this kind of thing that reminds me how alien the USA is.

It amazes me that anyone in America could think that atheists couldn't be as moral and principled as theists. Weren't they already aware that European countries are generally much less religious and yet have low crime rates, favorable rates of charitable giving and so on?

Oversimplified or not; it's nice for the facts to be summarized in an article like this - but it's somewhat mind-blowing that it should have to be.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Cradarc » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:58 am UTC

I'm not sure why there is a need to prove anything. There's no line that separates "moral" from "immoral". People who claim you need to believe in God to be moral probably see religion as some kind of philanthropic club. It's like saying you have to wear jeans to be well-like. I think the stigma that "atheism promotes immorality" comes from the idea that non-believers are somehow lower in status in God's eyes.

I'm a Christian so I can't speak for other faiths. In Christianity, all people are "immoral". Everyone is equally corrupt in God's eyes. Christians are those who have accepted this, accepted God's gift of Forgiveness, and are striving to be more Christ-like.
Christians want to raise their children to be "God-fearing" not because God is some golden code of conduct, but because he is real and freaking awesome! The equivalent is atheist parents raising their children too have a love of science (not saying science and God are mutually exclusive, but I needed something general enough that all atheists can relate to)
There are some people who are "Christians" in the religious sense but have not really connected with God. These people see their faith as a handbook for living. They also raise their children to be "God-fearing", but in a different way if you get my drift. I think these people are the ones who would say "atheism promotes immorality".

At the end of the day though, it doesn't really matter how you were brought up. Once you mature you will start to form your own beliefs and your own "moral code". Regardless of your faith, you will want to raise your own children to follow your own code. People who do otherwise will seem "immoral".

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:22 am UTC

And point made!
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:13 am UTC

elasto wrote:It's this kind of thing that reminds me how alien the USA is.
The US is what it is. And before you speak about us look to your own history.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby elasto » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:23 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
elasto wrote:It's this kind of thing that reminds me how alien the USA is.
The US is what it is. And before you speak about us look to your own history.

If I went back 100 years in time I'm sure I'd find my ancestors alien too. Why would you imagine I'd think otherwise? But so what? That means I'm 'not allowed to speak about you'? Defensive much?

The point is that the UK and the US at first glance seem to be two peas in a pod. Threads like this remind me that big differences bubble just under the surface.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:52 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Defensive much?
Yep. I don't like generalizations that border on stereotypes. Current perceptions on atheists have as much to do with "godless" communists as it does anything else.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:59 pm UTC

The US was founded by the religious nuts too crazy for Britain, or at least that's the hagiography we have for this country.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:39 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The US was founded by the religious nuts too crazy for Britain, or at least that's the hagiography we have for this country.


The US was founded by several British subcultures/subethnies.
https://jaymans.wordpress.com/2013/08/1 ... n-nations/

Only later did the religious nutters subjugate the rest;
http://theden.tv/2014/04/27/massachuset ... f-america/
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Jave D » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:50 pm UTC

Well sure, of course, children raised without religion can be just as fine as those raised with religion. But better? I don't think so. It suggests my children, who (like myself) make sacrifices to the Dark One in order to sustain ourselves, are inferior to your children, who, presumably, don't. We're not better, you're not better... though we might be "better at" things we specialize in, for no other reason than that we specialize in them: such as ritual purification through suffering, chanting ominously, arts and crafts, and fundraisers.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Mokele » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:12 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:Well sure, of course, children raised without religion can be just as fine as those raised with religion. But better? I don't think so. It suggests my children, who (like myself) make sacrifices to the Dark One in order to sustain ourselves, are inferior to your children, who, presumably, don't. We're not better, you're not better... though we might be "better at" things we specialize in, for no other reason than that we specialize in them: such as ritual purification through suffering, chanting ominously, arts and crafts, and fundraisers.


Agreed, no secular child will even match the swimming prowess of one born of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. There's a reason the Innsmouth High School Swim Team has been the undefeated national champions for 300 years straight! Breathe the Deep!
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:08 pm UTC

Those raised in the Salafi faith tend to lack critical thinking and learning skills necessary for the modern world.. I'd imagine other fundamentalists are similar. So yeah, some styles of raising children are superior.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:04 pm UTC

One thing that might help in raising secular children: don't live in the UK.

Seriously angry that such a thing is possible in the 21st century.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Angua » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:43 am UTC

WTH???

I can't believe that judge was able to get away with that.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Vahir » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:22 pm UTC

Anyway, I though England was mostly Anglican? Kind of weird for it to be a catholic mass.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:21 pm UTC

The judge is Catholic. As far as I can tell, that is the only reason he had for making that ruling. What I don't understand is why all attempts to overturn what is clearly an arbitrary nonsense ruling have been rejected.
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Jave D » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:02 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Those raised in the Salafi faith tend to lack critical thinking and learning skills necessary for the modern world.. I'd imagine other fundamentalists are similar. So yeah, some styles of raising children are superior.


I wouldn't call the systemic faults with Saudi Arabia's education system a "style of raising children," one linked with religion: regardless of which (or even any) religious faith one is raised in, if "poorly trained teachers, low retention rates, lack of rigorous standards, weak scientific and technical instruction" is a major factor in education the children are going to wind up lacking skills.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:14 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Those raised in the Salafi faith tend to lack critical thinking and learning skills necessary for the modern world.. I'd imagine other fundamentalists are similar. So yeah, some styles of raising children are superior.


I wouldn't call the systemic faults with Saudi Arabia's education system a "style of raising children," one linked with religion: regardless of which (or even any) religious faith one is raised in, if "poorly trained teachers, low retention rates, lack of rigorous standards, weak scientific and technical instruction" is a major factor in education the children are going to wind up lacking skills.


Are those factors entirely divorced from religion, or does religion have a causal relationship with one or more of them?

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Jave D » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Jave D wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Those raised in the Salafi faith tend to lack critical thinking and learning skills necessary for the modern world.. I'd imagine other fundamentalists are similar. So yeah, some styles of raising children are superior.


I wouldn't call the systemic faults with Saudi Arabia's education system a "style of raising children," one linked with religion: regardless of which (or even any) religious faith one is raised in, if "poorly trained teachers, low retention rates, lack of rigorous standards, weak scientific and technical instruction" is a major factor in education the children are going to wind up lacking skills.


Are those factors entirely divorced from religion, or does religion have a causal relationship with one or more of them?


Even in a society where religion is taught, it could be nevertheless taught alongside science and maths and whatnot, by adequately trained teachers, and held to rigorous standards. Regardless of what you're teaching, these things should be there, provided for by the government. I would kind of doubt the quality of even their religious scholarship in that situation.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:53 pm UTC

1) Religious instruction takes time away from science.
2) Part of the instruction involves not just 'not questioning authority' but 'not to question authority'. "This is what Jeezus said and if you ask me any tough questions YOU WILL BURN IN HELL because Jeezus's infinite love has limits!"
3) The religion intentionally removes any contradictory teaching, such as evolution and philosophy, unless of course it's a strawman version.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby elasto » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:24 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:1) Religious instruction takes time away from science.

Science isn't the only thing that schools should be teaching: eg. Languages, history, relationships, finances etc. Whether something 'takes away from science' should not be the metric but its value in and of itself.

2) Part of the instruction involves not just 'not questioning authority' but 'not to question authority'. "This is what Jeezus said and if you ask me any tough questions YOU WILL BURN IN HELL because Jeezus's infinite love has limits!"

Any instructor from any field can teach with kindness and humility or be an asshole. That's not unique to religion. A good and wise teacher will accept that a questioning mind is the best way to determine truth - whether religious or scientific.

3) The religion intentionally removes any contradictory teaching, such as evolution and philosophy, unless of course it's a strawman version.

Evolution and philosophy don't contradict religion. Look at all the adult scientists/philosophers who are none-the-less religious in the world.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:02 am UTC

Show me the geologists, biologists, and astronomers who believe in Young Earth Creationism. Oh, you can be religious and a good scientist, I'm not denying that, just that you can't be a Fundie and a good scientist in most fields.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby elasto » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:59 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Show me the geologists, biologists, and astronomers who believe in Young Earth Creationism. Oh, you can be religious and a good scientist, I'm not denying that, just that you can't be a Fundie and a good scientist in most fields.

Sure, but your post was in response to one that made no mention of fundies. Yours made no mention of them either. Christianity and Islam are not the only religions. And not everyone who is a Christian or Muslim is a fundie.

In the West, with the exception of the US, fundies are in the vast minority - so avoid the broad brush thanks ^^

Here's the Pope's view on science, for example:

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.

The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”


The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science – most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact”.


link

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Quercus » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:46 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Here's the Pope's view on science, for example:

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.

The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”


The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science – most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact”.


link


That's a lot better than some previous Popes, but the statement that evolution and the Big Bang require "creation" in the religious sense is still not scientifically defensible, since there is absolutely no evidence that they do. That's clearly a religious statement, requiring faith, and not a scientific statement, resting on evidence. The Pope doesn't make this distinction clear, so I don't think that speech is a great example of how scientifically progressive mainstream religion is. Don't get me wrong, it's better than it was, but it's still not great.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Tirian » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:36 pm UTC

Pope Francis argues that the Big Bang occurred for a purpose. An athiest would argue that the Big Bang occurred for no purpose. I argue that it's beyond the realm of science to determine which of these arguments is correct. In the absence of evidence, rationalists tend to accept the latter theory as the less extraordinary. On the other hand, many feel that the creation of the universe was rather an extraordinary event anyways.

The whole argument strikes me as rather futile (and I don't know how the futility of religion escaped from Serious Thoughts, where it is usually batted around). In my lifetime, I've known believers of many faiths and athiests and agnostics who were fools or scoundrels. I've also known believers of many faiths and athiests and agnostics who were thoughtful and compassionate. Banning religion would be as futile and harmful and requiring it.

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Re: Raising secular children

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:12 pm UTC

And why is it outside the realm of science? Deism was big in the 18th century when we didn't have an explanation for the origin of our world, people used to claim THAT was out of the realm of science too. Then we discovered evolution and the Big Bang.

Religion belongs with philosophy, NOT SCIENCE. Explain right and wrong, explain the ought, and more importantly JUSTIFY the ought beyond 'well this is what the priests said the ancient Semitic god of war wanted in ancient times', but don't try to explain how the world is when it contradicts all the evidence.

Generally I don't see religion itself as necessarily a bad thing. For the most part, it's been a net good thing. The problem isn't the religion, it's the fundamentalism. The hostility to science and intellectualism. The refusal to adapt to modern times. We don't live in the ancient world where it was "kill them before they kill us" anymore. As a cosmopolitan, sort of, the whole tribalism mentality of Pentecostalism and all the other American Talibans is just abhorrent to me. I have no tolerance for the intolerant.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:59 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Tyndmyr
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:57 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:Pope Francis argues that the Big Bang occurred for a purpose. An athiest would argue that the Big Bang occurred for no purpose.


I'm an atheist. I think the entire point of purpose is subjective and implies an entity. Hell, the same event can serve different purposes for different people.

But hey, if they're denying less science now, I guess that's progress.

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TheGrammarBolshevik
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Re: Raising secular children

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:35 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:That's a lot better than some previous Popes, but the statement that evolution and the Big Bang require "creation" in the religious sense is still not scientifically defensible, since there is absolutely no evidence that they do. That's clearly a religious statement, requiring faith, and not a scientific statement, resting on evidence. The Pope doesn't make this distinction clear, so I don't think that speech is a great example of how scientifically progressive mainstream religion is. Don't get me wrong, it's better than it was, but it's still not great.

So the complaint about religion is that it endorses some claims that are not founded on scientific evidence?
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