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Friday, October 10, 2008

Ray Comfort Admits He's an Atheist

"The God you don't believe in doesn't exist." -- Ray Comfort (October 10, 2008)

And you doubted Dave's earlier proof.

47 comments:

  1. "(The God you don't believe in doesn't exist. He is nothing like what you perceive Him to be)."

    That sentence is horrible! Extraneous 'what' syndrome at its very worst...

    I have said it before, Ray doesn't so much write his books as type them.

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  2. I wish Ray was always this concise.

    It always amazes me how the rational theories relating to the development of life and the structure of the universe are so conceptually simple, elegant and concise - evolution, the big bang, inflation, gravity, atomic and quantum theory to name just a few - and yet they lead to such wondrous complexity and diversity. I've been able to explain the basics of each of these to my eight year old son quite clearly.

    On the other hand, the religious arguments rely on immense quantities of verbiage, presupposition, interpretation, filtering, squinting and hand waving and yet are still completely underwhelming. The same eight year old son became an atheist of his own accord as a result of listening to the stories told in the religion class at his primary school. He asked to be excluded from the class not long afterwards.

    I've been very conscious not to indoctrinate my kids either way. I prefer them to reach their own conclusions independently.

    He still has at least half a belief in Santa Claus and a complete belief in the tooth fairy. That says something for the relative quality of evidence for these three imaginary constructs.

    At least Santa and the tooth fairy leave tangible evidence of their existence.

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  3. I should say, my son remained an atheist - he never professed a belief in a god and it is the default state of course!

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  4. I agree, Mr. Wooller.

    It's amazing to me that he spends this much energy NOT thinking about what he's saying (or writing).

    ---

    Alpha, I've said it before and will repeat it here: the lack of precise meaning is what drove me (in part) away from organized religion. How people can say so much while communicating so little is obnoxious (and generally dangerous, when it comes to issues of eternal torture).

    To be fair, this is typical of middle-eastern cultures. The art (verbal/written) coming from that part of the world is amazingly expressive for this reason - but this style of communication isn't particularly effective at communicating anything other than emotion & feeling.

    Makes me wonder what would have happened if Jesus had landed in Japan...

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  5. A.G. -

    I would welcome the opportunity for there to at least be the option for religion classes in the U.S.

    Belief or non-belief is a choice when presented with the opportunity to make that choice.

    The one-sided-ness in U.S. public schools leans more toward indoctrination (imo).

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  6. Laof,

    You said,
    "I would welcome the opportunity for there to at least be the option for religion classes in the U.S."

    Most fundamentalists take their kids to church and sunday school on Sunday, Wed evening services, make them read the bible all the time, constantly conditioning them on their beliefs at home.

    And you want it offered in school too.
    Therein lies the first problem. What sect, out of the hundreds of competing theologies would you choose to have this class taught?

    Religion is a personal belief system and as such it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their kids in the theology of their choice.

    Astrology and such are personal belief systems too. Would you want that "taught" in the schools?

    You have countl;ess hours to brainwash your kids into any belief system you want.

    Public schools are for teaching facts as we know them. Once a kid gets through that he can go to seminary or bible college and immerse himself in any belief system he wants.

    Or, you can send your kid to a church run school if you want them to end up as mindless cretins.

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  7. "Belief or non-belief is a choice when presented with the opportunity to make that choice."

    How can you choose what you believe? You're either convinced or you're not.

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  8. Froggie and TSS -

    Are you saying I'm not allowed to voice my opinion on this?

    A.G. -

    Which 'sects' (as Froggie put it) are presented in your schools, and I guess I should confirm - are these public schools?

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  9. TSS -

    Perhaps I should have stated it as:

    A person can make a more informed decision when presented with all sides of an argument.

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  10. Froggie -

    Also - as far as your 'fundies do this at home and that at church' (paraphrasing of course) - 'Fundies' and most other children are inundated with stuff such as the current political crap-ola at home and, sadly, at church (or other extracurricular activites).

    Yet I know and have evidence of public school teachers expressing (or perhaps better describe as 'injecting') their politcal beliefs into their class room and lessons (other than 'government' and 'politics' class). I don't appreciate that myself, as it is yet another less-than-objective viewpoint (indoctrination).

    IMO

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  11. Livingasonefreed,

    "A person can make a more informed decision when presented with all sides of an argument."

    I agree, but at the end of the day you have to truly be convinced a god exists otherwise you're not a real believer. Same works with other beliefs, I'm either convinced magnet therapy can heal people or I'm not. Regardless of the evidence against it, I may just not be convinced it's bunk because of past experience, how fallible my memory is, how my brain functions cognitively, etc.

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  12. Sorry for the rag-tag posts.... again, catching this in brief lulls here..

    TSS said:

    "How can you choose what you believe? You're either convinced or you're not."

    Are you sure you stated that as you wanted to state it?

    A person bases their belief(s) on their experience(s) or (acquired) knowledge of a subject. They aren't born with a belief on each & every subject.

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  13. Living as one freed,

    I'm not sure I follow you. Each person has different experiences and reasoning skills and I think this is a big part of why people believe what they believe. I can't force myself to believe a god or gods made the universe.

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  14. TSS -

    Exactly.

    But, in all fairness (if you believe in fairness), a person should be given all available information to make a decision.

    Not the most popular - or the least popular, for that matter.

    BTW, if these are state-sponsored (public) schools in Aus. that AG speaks of, why wouldn't Froggies argument of 'fundies' here in the U.S. hold just as true?

    I sometimes would like to visit Aus., just to meet the people. Plus there seems to be more public-endorsed freedom of choice there [although I am basing my belief on my limited knowledge of that country :-)]

    Peace be with you all. I really think I need to work. At least the weekend is upon us.

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  15. TSS -

    Ok, just one more quick one.

    I don't believe in forcing anyone.

    Let's put it in political terms. No matter how strongly you feel for 'your' candidate, didn't you at least check out the views of the other before making your decision?

    I'm trying to express the desire for freedom of choice. I really don't care much about thier choice, but I think they should have all the info they can.

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  16. Livingasonefreed,

    "But, in all fairness (if you believe in fairness), a person should be given all available information to make a decision."

    I completely agree, I would never raise any potential kids of mine saying "god is not real".

    The thing with Australia in terms of freedom is I don't think gay people can marry there so imo it's less free in that area then other countries.

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  17. Oh well may as well (waste some more time, that is...).

    TSS -

    "The thing with Australia in terms of freedom is I don't think gay people can marry there so imo it's less free in that area then other countries."

    I state this only as an honest question - in which countries (not states) is it legal for homosexuals to marry?

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  18. Livingasonefreed,

    Here in Canada and I'm sure in some European countries too. I forget exactly which ones.

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  19. TSS -
    Only cuz I don't have another way to ask this - the 'second foundation' you want to read - Asimov's?

    I read when I was either 13 or 14. Quite boring (although I found his short stories just my style).

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  20. Livingasonefreed,

    Oh, I like Asimov's short stories and that's why I wanted to read his novels. Do you think you would have still found them boring now?

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  21. laof,
    we have religion classes in German schools. And Germany is a much more secular country than the USA. But we have the advantage of only two main christian confessions, catholic and protestant (mostly Lutherans, Calvinists and Unionists, that are a combination of both).
    Actually having religion classes can easily piss you off. I started opposing Christianity in a protestant religion class, partly because of an annoying teacher. Later I went to an ethic class and was much more happy with that.

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  22. laof,
    about gay marriage: I know about Danmark and Germany but I'm sure it's legal in most European countries now. (I only know about Danmark because it was one of the first countries to allow gay marriage)
    In Germany some protestant bishops also approve a kind of blessing of gay couples although they avoid calling it marriage.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. Teh sorcerous one said: I can't force myself to believe a god or gods made the universe.

    True (and I don't think that you need to try, either) - but that's because you're coming to the table with a pre-existing belief. Or at least, a pre-existing skepticism.

    There are lots of people who are unsure as to whether a creator-deity exists. Religious education might actually be quite valuable to them.

    However, I do agree that religion has no place in the public school system in any form other than simple historic / comparative studies. There are too many belief systems to be able to treat them all fairly (which is what they seem to be asking for).

    In reality, the people who claim they want religion taught in public schools, imho, are only talking about the specific religion they believe in. I haven't seen anyone suggest Islam be taught side-by-side with Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, Buddhism, etc

    EDIT: deleted the original post as I suggested you believed God doesn't exist, which I don't/can't know about you.

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  25. Whateverman,

    I should probably clarify I'm pro educating people about religion and not sheltering them, whether that should be done in school is a different thing. I think that you can teach people about what beliefs are out there, but what they believe can't be taught.

    "EDIT: deleted the original post as I suggested you believed God doesn't exist, which I don't/can't know about you."

    I'm an atheist, so suggest away.:)

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  26. laof said:

    But, in all fairness (if you believe in fairness), a person should be given all available information to make a decision.

    How does this statement support your argument that religion should be taught in public schools? Are you saying that churches/parents aren't doing a good enough job in this area and that further support from the schools is needed to really "hammer the point home"? Or perhaps help legitimize religion in the eyes of the curious child? I don't think that's what you mean, but it sounds like it.

    I have a 10 year old son. My husband and myself have never discussed religion or God in any way shape or form. We've never discussed our beliefs or lack thereof (I'm atheist, my husband is agnostic) with our children. God is never mentioned. My son has only attended public schools, AND HE BELIEVES IS GOD. I make no judgments on this. If he wants to believe than that is HIS choice.

    Where do you think he learned about God? In America, belief is assumed and God permeates most of society. Keeping it out of public schools doesn't change this fact.

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  27. The Skeptical Sorceror wrote: I should probably clarify I'm pro educating people about religion and not sheltering them, whether that should be done in school is a different thing. I think that you can teach people about what beliefs are out there, but what they believe can't be taught.

    Then maybe this is just an issue of sematics; I was thinking that teaching people about the various beliefs can lead to personal belief - though not necessarily.

    I'm guessing we both agree. I certainly agree that other than public school containing education about ALL religions, it would be impractical for it to try to have a class that teaches Christianity (for example).

    Courses like this are excellent when they're optional (re. college), but not when the taxpayer is footing the bill.

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  28. Whateverman,

    I think we are both saying the same thing.

    "Courses like this are excellent when they're optional (re. college), but not when the taxpayer is footing the bill."

    Especially when there are so many other valuable courses that are being ignored, if we are going to spend money I think other courses would be a better investment. I went to a catholic school (which are government paid for in Canada) where courses like psychology and anthropology were forfeited so the school could have enough teachers to teach western religion courses. The students are the ones who pay the price in the end, like I'm currently doing a minor in psychology and I had to study alot harder in first year than the other students in my class who took psychology in high school. I think stuff like that would happen to kids from public schools if the schools focused more on religion.

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  29. LivingAsOneFreed said...
    Froggie and TSS -

    "Are you saying I'm not allowed to voice my opinion on this?"

    No. State all the opinions you want. Just don't expect people to agree with you.

    A.G. -

    "Which 'sects' (as Froggie put it) are presented in your schools, and I guess I should confirm - are these public schools?"

    Yes, public schools. A church school would, of couse present it's own theology.

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  30. Tilia -

    TSS sent a good link for the countries that allow/condone/permit gay marriage (whichever word works best).

    Not necessarily all of Europe, if that link/site is accurate.

    TSS - I appreciate the link. Also, about any of the 'Foundation' trilogy - I don't really know. I know that I have very little time to myself to read anymore. Quite busy with other things. I can honestly say I didn't like EVERYTHING Asimov wrote. Time permitting, I may attempt to read again (perhaps after I retire - if I don't die first!).

    Liz -

    You make some charaterization and/or assumptions that I feel are unwarranted.

    I believe you are assuming I meant that religion MUST BE taught in schools. I only suggested that it be offered (as an option). See my original post.

    By your post, I believe you assume that I think ONLY the Judeo-Christian religion be offered (by your use of the title 'God' and not 'Allah' or 'TFSM'). I used the broad term 'regligion'.

    Your post also tends to imply that I think the public schools ('the state') should pay for this. Nope. I think that each local 'congregation', as it were, should be allowed to offer a presentation of what they believe, either during the school day or aftewards. Of course, this could even be put to the voters or members of that school district as a referendum or school board item. Many organizations that could be considered 'religious' use public facilities for meetings, seminars, etc. They do this under the policies allowed by federal and local governments - rent the facility, allowed to use it as 'equal time' use when similar organization have used the facility before, etc.

    As far as your son - good for him! Not that he realized his faith, but that he did it of what seems to be his free will. From your post, he seems to be an inquisitive person. I have only this question for you, as his parent(s) - do you now do anything to disuade him? I would greatly appreciate it if you can give me an objective answer to that. I ask this as a new acquaintance and I am not implying that you do anything to dampen his enthusiasm. As a parent (many times over), I am guilty of 'dampening' a child's spirit (no pun intended) once or twice in the past. I hope that it doesn't come back to haunt me (hasn't yet)(also no pun intended with the spirit/haunt thing).


    As in your post - your son found out about God (I'm assuming Jehovah/Yahweh here, again) on his own. I'm not sure where he found out about Him, but I hope that he found sources that he can trust. I would shudder to think that he found out from someone who has a twisted belief system and uses God as an excuse to perform some heinous (sp?) act or crime. And, to preclude any knee-jerk reaction by ANYONE here - NO, not all believers are armed and ready to blow up an abortion clinic, kill doctors or 'string up' someone who says they are gay.

    I present my views here because it is an open forum. If I feel I can defend them rationally and fully, I will do my best. I try to keep emotion out of it. I would like to compliment Whateverman on his arguments. To have his way with words, knowledge and PATIENCE - wow! Good jobs, usually, W.E.M.!
    Also Rob Penn - ditto.

    I am not one of the more 'ivy league'-educated person - I didn't get into Harvard, Yale or Princeton as one of my first choices of college. I had to settle for a state university.

    I am also not the most eloquent speaker (and writer). I often 'trip over my tongue', so to speak, much the same way as Ray Comfort (and yes, others here) does/do.

    However, I do have beliefs that I may not be able to defend to anyone else, but have long ago found the evidence I need to consider it one of my core beliefs.

    That said - have a good day! (insert smiley face of your choosing here).

    BTW - has anyone noticed how the 'hang in there, baby' cat posters of the '70s are sorta making a comeback? Now, THAT's something I would really like to prohibit from public places! (j/k)

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  31. Froggie -

    As far as execting anyone/everyone to agree with my opinions - that is far from anything I've expected here.

    And to tell the truth - I don't want a bunch of cattle here. That would be boring.

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  32. Froggie said:

    ""Which 'sects' (as Froggie put it) are presented in your schools, and I guess I should confirm - are these public schools?"

    Yes, public schools. A church school would, of couse present it's own theology."

    Actually, that was directed toward alphgeek. Do you have foreknowledge that he meant public schools, either through previous discussions of this? Or did you think I was asking you? Or, are you assuming?

    I know it may seem self-evident, but I was trying to confirm this with 'the source' - A.G.

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  33. I'm assuming. I thought the question was for me.

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  34. Understood, Froggie.

    I've made that mistake many times.

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  35. Speaking of admiting something...

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  36. *removes the Magma42 mask*

    (Crossposted from AC, since I'm not entirely sure this wouldnt be sufficiently embarassing so as to survive comment moderation)

    As absolutely predicted in the Bible! The Dow Jones Industrial Average represents the highest performing stocks, or put another way, the stars of wall street, and the way they have so drastically fallen is foretold directly in the Biblical prophecy... which states... alright, I give up.

    I completely give up.

    I can't keep pretending to have been "converted" any longer. I can't keep trying to parody the insanity. There's no point. Everything I could possibly say to intentionally make the Fundies look like inconsiderate, self-righteous, loathsome misanthropic sociopaths, they are, I have come to realize, only to happy to say such things themselves. There's nothing I can possibly say in jest they wouldnt say in earnest, and I just can't keep the act up. I don't hate the world enough to be able to convincingly pretend to be "converted" anymore, and I can't bring myself to hate science and reason enough to keep twisting logic and rhetoric to make pathetic arguments, and indeed, I don't even need to try, since given enough time, those insane arguments will appear independant of my intervention.

    And the truly wretched thing of it all is how many people I successfully convinced of my "conversion." I know from comment posts and private messages how many people I successfully convinced, and there were as many Atheists as "Comfort Christians" in the lot of them. I won't name names, as I know full well how many will say they were never fooled and I'm lying as I did then, and would use the opportunity to ask themselves the honest question: If they were convinced when I was acting intentionally insane, what does that say about how they themselves percieve their own faith?

    But, as I say, I can't even be bothered anymore, its all too depressing to get myself into that mindset. I dont hate women as much as Mark does to tell them all they have to do is keep their legs shut, that is unless their overwhelmed with their sin of fornication.

    I dont despise doctors as much as Dawn does to actually buy an old and obviously false urban legend about doctors at an abortion clinic ready to perform the operation at, apparently, the end of the 9th month, then deliver the twins, then drown them both.

    I cant pat myself on the back as nigh does when he fantasizes about all the people who will, in heaven, thank him personally for saving a guy who saved a guy who saved a guy who saved them, nor can I even fathom the ego necessary to be capable of as much.

    I cant insist, as Keith has done repeatedly, that calling all other religions a lie is not intolerance, but that disputing a particular interpretation of the Bible actually is, because its actually true, nor that every other religion invented its "Gods" to help them justify their disbelief in the only Real God, who is not invented because I believe as much to be true.

    (It was incidentally funny to me that I basically made the same claim as Keith had, and before he had made it too, and that Keith's comment, rambling and incoherent as it was about medicine and mathematics, Ray made as a full on Post, ignoring mine. Mayhaps he could tell I was insincere, but again, what does it say when this kind of madness is so easy to mock?)

    And finally, I cannot hate, I cannot despise my fellow man with anywhere near the fury nor passion that Ray Comfort does, to insult the intelligence, reasoning, motives, personal lives, ethos, morality, and general humanity of anyone who dares, with malice aforethought, to not automatically believe that Ray's particular interpretation of scripture is both the only correct one, and absolutely true.

    I can't handle it any more. I'm completely spent.

    I do wonder though how this will go over though. Don't think it'll be ignored, maybe a quick response from Ray saying "You fooled nobody but yourself" and then more preaching-at, but I'm hoping for a cartoon by brilliant artist and renowned with Richard Gunther, probably with a wolf in a bad sheep costume boasting that he has everyone convinced when clearly nobody is, in order to better pretend that nobody actually was convinced.

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  37. Rex,

    You have returned from the abyss.

    You had a good run. I was laughing one day when you made a comment and some atheist newbie was arguing and another older comenteer said, "Don't worry, he is one of us."

    It is apparent that when the depression hits, you could start a ministry. You had the lingo down pretty good!

    I remember your conversion, it seems like quite a long time ago and I made a comment here somewhere to the extent that you had gone bat shit crazy!

    Welcome back!

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  38. laof said:

    I believe you are assuming I meant that religion MUST BE taught in schools. I only suggested that it be offered (as an option). See my original post.

    I actually didn't assume that from your post. You'd like it to be taught, not you WANT it to be taught. Sorry if my comment insinuated that.

    By your post, I believe you assume that I think ONLY the Judeo-Christian religion be offered (by your use of the title 'God' and not 'Allah' or 'TFSM'). I used the broad term 'regligion'.

    I have no problem with a course in "Comparative Mythology" being taught ;)

    Seriously though, if was to be all inclusive and completely objective (which when it comes to the subject of religion I think is fairly impossible imo)then I wouldn't put up much of a fight against it. But in your response you stated that each denomination would pay for their specific class lessons or something along those lines. What if a church couldn't pay or find someone to give the lesson, are they then excluded? I think it would have to be state funded in order to be all inclusive. That's only an opinion. I'm sorry if I have misunderstood this part of your comment. I'm working and blogging at the same time. Not a great combination.

    I have only this question for you, as his parent(s) - do you now do anything to disuade him?

    Absolutely not! I even go so far as to cover the front of atheist books I'm reading so that he can't see the title. These types of books are kept off the regular bookshelf. If he asks me about god I usually try and turn it around and say "Well, what do you think?" and he'll state what it is and then I usually just go "OK". He hasn't pressed me to elaborate at this point. He recently asked me to go to church and I said OK. I'm still trying to figure out where to take him though. I was raised catholic but really don't want to take him to a catholic mass. As far as his beliefs, I'd say they are pretty generic at this point. He believes in a creator God and some form of an afterlife.

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  39. liz said:

    "He recently asked me to go to church and I said OK. I'm still trying to figure out where to take him though."

    SOOOO... wouldn't a comparative class on religion be something that would help him decide on which faith his beliefs are based? Help him 'find himself' so to speak?

    :-)

    Do you know anyone who is of a faith that can objectively answer his questions? I mean, as much as you try to hide it from him, wouldn't it serve his interests best if he could talk to someone who really believes?

    I couldn't be that objective, I admit that. but perhaps someone you know and trust?

    JUST a suggestion.

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  40. laof asked:

    Do you know anyone who is of a faith that can objectively answer his questions?

    No. Not objectively. My mother is a deist, my brother is an atheist, I have an aunt who practices Hindu and a cousin who is a Buddist. Otherwise, everyone else I know is either Catholic or agnostic.

    I agree that he should compare and contrast in order to make an informed decision, but at this age (10) I think it might only confuse him more, since children can be rather impressionable and lack all the necessary reasoning skills at this point to truly understand the intricacies (sp?) of each faith.

    I want him to make his own decision based on his own research. If that research leads him to believe, than I would support this decision 100% because it was his decision. I only wish I had been given this opportunity instead of being thrust into it at the age of 5.

    BTW,

    I'm not one of those atheists (nor do I think others here are) that think religion should simply be abolished and everything would be awesome. People NEED religion, I get that. Some more than others. Some of the fundies over at Ray's seem to insinuate that if it was ever proven beyond a reasonable doubt that their god doesn't exist they would either commit suicide or become raging moral degenerates. So obviously I would like them to continue to believe for the sake of society.

    It also totally pisses me off when fundies (I'm honestly not including you in this generalization, which I probably shouldn't be making but generalizations aren't really fair, and I am really only speaking of those who follow Ray's type of narrow dogma in this comment)assume that if religion was abolished we'd become a society similar to the city of "Rapture" from "Bioshock", which is an awesome game btw.

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  41. "Bioshock", which is an awesome game btw.

    I am gonna give you a big high-five in support of that one...

    Back on topic, however, I think beliefs like that simply reinforce the idea that religion is fond of using fear tactics. What better way to validate your belief system than by asserting that without it, we'd all be eating McBaby meals.

    It's so transparent at times...

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  42. @liz -

    10? that's a good age... I mean, because he's just becoming a person who can reason, is inquisitive, his ability of discernment is developing.. I think a good age to make this type of decision.

    I'm sure he appreciates - or will appreciate - the freedom you give him at this time in his life.

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  43. Whateverman:

    Of course they feel that way. Their own dogma teaches them that they are disgusting and wicked in the eyes of their own god. He pretty much despises them unless they are constantly prostrating themselves before him asking for forgiveness. This extreme dogma is disgusting. I'd rather live in Rapture than swallow that bullshit.

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  44. laof:

    I really enjoyed our discussion today. You've given me some things to think about, and that's always a good thing :)

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  45. I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with something which exposes your son to religion without proletizing - or saying anything which you (Liz) might be annoyed by.

    Really, lots of the kids' stuff is specific to one religion or another. It's hard to find anything which treats them all as equals, while also not dismissing "non belief".

    A lot of it is also geared for kids older than 10, too.

    A quick Google search didn't reveal anything which jumped out at me - sry

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  46. livingasonefreed said:

    "Which 'sects' (as Froggie put it) are presented in your schools, and I guess I should confirm - are these public schools?"

    Sorry, I've been away.

    The school is a public school. Requirements vary from state to state but in Victoria a school must put in a religion class if a group offers to run it. This usually isn't 'comparative religion' but is essentially church in schools, of whatever variety offers to run classes.

    When I went to primary school in NSW my multicultural school had religious classes in Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and a Pentecostal type group. The two Hindus, the Sikh and I sat in the library and read while classes were on.

    I'm not exactly happy with the system as it is fairly arbitrary as to what religions will be available in which school. I would personally prefer to separate it out from the state system altogether.

    In general though, Australia is much more secular that the US, even though we have far less constitutional type protections. Even free speech is not guaranteed here in our constitution.

    The secular nature of Australia means that it is fairly easy to keep formal school curricula away from what most consider irrelevant subjects like creationism or ID. School curricula are governed at state level and local school councils have very little power to affect the curriculum.

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