Where I ended this Sunday morning works really well. We had just come full circle and were able to come back to the scripture of my youth with a clean slate, so to speak.

I sometimes think that indoctrinating children into religion is both good and bad. It’s good in that the young get exposure to the idea of something greater than themselves (which in the world of today, is sorely lacking any controls on their little, ahem, egos) as well as the idea that there is more to life than making money. But some churches go to far in the indoctrination for my taste. It’s great to familiarize children with Bible verses and stories, but when you start instilling the religious zealousness we see growing around us, I think you do them harm.

Telling children about God is like the old story about children and sex:

Little Billy walks up to his Mother and asks, “Where did I come from?”

Knowing that this would come up at some time, she had prepared and went on to tell her child about the birds and the bees.

Upon completion, she looked at Billy and said, “Does that answer your question?”

Billy paused for a second and then replied, “I don’t know, Tommy’s from Cincinnati; where did I come from?”

Most children are not ready for deep theological arguments of creeds and doctrines and telling them that their little friends are going to Hell because they are not _______________ (fill with your denomination or religion) is actually quite hateful. It’s bad enough that in the name of safety and concern we steal our children’s innocence away from them, but must we start them down the road of closed minds regarding explanations of that which most of us don’t understand?

After having made my way around the track and coming back to the Gospels, I could see what was there and even though the programmed interpretations still popped up on occasion, they were controllable since I knew them for what they were. It’s one thing to believe what we are told and do it knowing that we are following another’s teachings, but it’s another thing completely to do it without realizing it. I run into so many people who spout theologies that they have learned in church from their pastors, but have no idea where they came from. Funny, though not one of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses against the church; he translated the Bible from Latin to German so that the people should have access and the authority to read the scripture for themselves.

I sometimes wonder why people even give their children Bibles. Not the children’s Bibles that are basically story books using scripture as the source, but actual Bibles. If these people ever actually read the book, they would never put one in the hands of a small, immature, child. There’s murder, sex, nudity, hatred and other things that are not appropriate for kids.

Now don’t get me wrong, I happen to love the Bible and find it to be an excellent body of work to learn from, I just think that it should get at least a PG-13 rating (Strange that the same people who feel that the Harry Potter books are too much for kids will hand a child a Bible that makes them look tame).

I have been accused of being very tough on Christianity and Christians in general, that I paint with a very broad brush. To some degree it is true, I am tough on the followers who make a general ass of themselves without taking the time and energy to understand what they are saying. I am also tough on it because it is the dominant religion in this country and (as has been seen lately) being publicly overrun by zealots who are not that different from the Fundamentalist Muslims they like to rant about.

I had someone say, when I made the above comment, that “at least Christians were not telling each other to blow themselves up in the name of God and take as many innocents with them.” Currently, no (though a few have hinted at doing just as heinous acts) but our history as Christians is just as bloody and vile with Crusades, Witch-hunts and the Dark Ages. We have no business casting stones from our glass towers.

I have noticed in the study of Religious History that most groups tend to deify some aspect of the sources. The Jews deified the Law of Moses, the Christians–Jesus, the Muslims seem to be deifying the culture that the Prophet Mohammed lived in. The tendency is usually followed by an egocentric explosion to the “unclean” which certain sects of Muslims are currently experiencing. The only true difference between Christians then and these Fundamentalist Muslims now are the tools of destruction are infinitely more devastating.

I wrote someplace else the following:

The origin of the problem lies in the egocentric idea that most religions and schools of thought promote in their students that they have the “one and only TRUE way” (emphasis usually implied). The difficulty is that when one questions their tradition, the assumption becomes that one is implying that their path is not a “true way”, when actually the question should be; is it the “one and only?”

When you get past the cultural referencetraditionsitions and get to the actual messages, you find that Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Lao Tzu and a plethora of others all were saying the same thing: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Or as Krishna puts it in the Bhagavad-gita; “Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

This article has 2 comments

  1. avatar
    Brendan Reply

    It is, however, impossible to raise children in a vaccuum. They will be aware of your values no matter what. The best thing is to instill in them the tools to make value judgements of their own later in life.

    Of course, I have no children, so I can potificate on how to raise them ad nauseum. ;)

  2. avatar
    Spirit Geek Reply

    Expressing values is not the problem, it’s the indoctrination of ideas in a vacuum that becomes rote programming since it is “wrong” to question them… Making little automatons.

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