- Lotta IF's!
Many freethinkers of the late 19th Century thought that religion would
die down, but it in fact increased.
I am reading Susan Jacoby's book "Freethinkers" now and she attributes
this increase in religious belief to the advent of mass media, radio
and such, that made it possible for those of faith to reach out to a
bigger audience and thus unite, if not increase, their ranks.
This has all culminated in the recent puch by religious groups in the
70's infiltrating schools boards and political offices at the hand of
Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition (a curse on them).
I do not think religion is going anywhere NEAR the wayside. It may
eventually, but not for a very long time. The questions we should ask
is how do we promote atheism and freethought...and how do we EDUCATE
the otherwise sheepish members of our society?
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Newton Joseph"
> I don't think we can distroy religion. But I think it can beweakened.
> If it were possible that atheist groups with unlimited resources in
> regards to money,we could have hour long twice daily atheist programs
> on prime time TV. If Freethought publications were given wider
> distrabution and if we had atheist columns in major newspapers. "IF"
> magizines and newspapers were not cowed by the threat of boycot from
> fanatical christian groups. If had atheist lobbyists in
> Whashington, "if".
- Mr. Pessimistic wrote:
<"The questions we should ask is how do we promote atheism and
freethought...and how do we EDUCATE the otherwise sheepish members of
Instead of promoting 'atheism' or 'freethought', perhaps we ought to
use the tactics that the religious use and seem to understand better.
That is to constantly point out the flaws in their thinking or
reasoning by asking them to explain it in terms that everyone can
understand, even those without a religious background.
We don't need to present them with other possibilities. We want to get
them to question for themselves what they accept as truth. We can do
this by asking them to continue to explain until they realize they
can't because they don't understand. When they come down to its just
faith" or some such, ask them to explain what faith is and how it
works, or how is it different than simply refusing to question, or
even to explain why refusing to question is preferable to seeking
knowledge. They will have to stop you from questioning, but if you
stop when they know you are still questioning, they will begin to
question themselves. Never try to get them to change their beliefs,
but only to know that you are curious.
The Socratic method of teaching is extremely effective no matter what
the subject. Get the student to answer questions without giving them
any new information. Instead of giving them an answer which they may
immediatly object to, simply leave them questioning their own
statements or declarations (beliefs). People really don't like
unanswered questions and they will try to find answers. When they
realize they can't get the answers they start looking elsewhere.
Giving them the proper questions is the key.
We should avoid using the standard language of belief or faith, let
them discover for themselves what these things are and how they
compare when dealing with the world in which they live.
Religions are cultural. That is, every religion is unique to its
locale. Simply asking a religious person to explain why people of one
area believe one way and they believe another is enough to begin them
questioning themselves IF you don't get them started defending their
own beliefs. People must cling to their knowledge of the world (world
view) otherwise everything they know might be wrong and that would
cause extreme anxiety.
They can be inspired to question themselves, a bit at a time, but they
can not be 'forced' to look at their entire belief structure.
Just my morning ramblings . . . . .