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Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Religion Threatens Children with Death

While ridding the flower bed of weeds, I was listening to Stefan Molyneux's podcast "Freedomain Radio." Stefan Molyneux is one of my favorite human beings. I'm extremely thankful for his beautiful mixture of atheism, psychology, and philosophy, creating a nearly perfect listening experience. No joke. It's some of the best stuff I've ever heard. I absolutely love it.

The caller mentions to Molyneux that some atheists can be militant and aggressive, almost like a fundamentalist atheist. Molyneux asks how the atheists the caller describes as militant show aggression. The caller responds by saying that the "militant atheists" talk to people about their atheism and are very emphatic about gods not existing. Molyneux says that doesn't sound very aggressive and asks if religious people force their beliefs on others. The caller says that fundamentalists force their beliefs on others but that most religious people don't. The caller also mentions that if someone wants to believe in a religion it doesn't hurt anyone as long as they don't push their beliefs on other people. Molyneux makes the point that when children grow up in religious homes, the religion of the parents is literally forced on the children. The caller responds with a tone of new realization.

Religion masquerades as a peaceful, loving, and voluntary institution. However, religion can only continue because parents bring their children into the fold. The number of adult converts are not nearly enough to continue the legacy of religion. You need candidates that can endure years of propaganda, dismantling the empirical mind, under close supervision and isolation from outside information. Essentially, you need slaves that you can make dependent on religion so that when they reach their freedom they will choose to stay and continue the cycle. You need children.

Choice or agency only exists in the context of voluntary interactions. Here's an example: A man puts a gun to my back while in a Walmart and threatens to kill me unless I steal an expensive item.  I grab the item and both of us walk out of the building. Police saw that I stole the item and arrest us both. Who goes to jail? The guy with the gun forcing me to walk out with merchandise. I wouldn't be held legally liable for stealing. In this scenario, to say that I stole something is very misleading and extremely inaccurate. I didn't steal anything. I was met with aggression and my ability to engage in voluntary actions was stolen from me.  Similarly, children are forced to be religious. No one's holding a gun to their backs. I understand that. But, it would be suicide for a child to go against his or her parents and the entire community. That's simply not how humans work. It's not how we've evolved. We want to survive, even if it means walking out of Walmart with merchandise while a gun is pressed against the back or pleasing our parents and community so that the people providing food and shelter don't become a threat to life.  

Both scenarios are coercive. Both display a power disparity. Both threaten the victim with death. Only one is legal. Only one targets children. 

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