Here's a book review I stumbled upon. The book is Heaven Without Her by Kitty Foth-Regner, the story of an atheist turned believer after her mother's death. This is a clear illustration of the fact that people do not turn to religion out of rational thought, but out of pure emotion. Because there is nothing rational about it.
But what particularly struck me is the opening line of the review:
We've all heard the charges: Secular colleges and universities negate the need for a Creator by teaching that evolution accounts for the universe, expose students to anti-Christian worldviews, and then teach tolerance as the highest virtue.
Could these charges possibly be true?
Say it isn't so! Our children are learning science, differing viewpoints, and tolerance in school? The horror!
It really is a shame that a lot of Christian families fear even the prospect of their children being exposed to other ideas. Simply the closed-mindedness and ignorance of that is enough for me to have a basic disgust for their type of belief.
Are they that insecure in their faith? Deep down do they realize that their beliefs can't hold a candle to science and rational thought?
My family also has this fear of education. It reminds me of the tree of knowledge in the Bible. I always wondered, why on Earth is it such a bad thing to have knowledge?
Because knowledge is power and religion thrives on the powerless.
I remember times when I would learn something new in school. Excited, I would share it with my parents when I got home, only to be disappointed by their response.
"That's ridiculous. Your teacher doesn't know anything."
At first I was a little hurt and confused by their response. Why didn't my parents appreciate the new information I had to tell them? I began to realize that my parents did not value science or rational thought. They did not value new ideas or anything that opposed their way of thinking. They were more content to keep believing whatever it was their parents had tought them, regardless of the evidence.
As an adult I am still shocked and dismayed by their reactions.
When I discussed with my brother a little while before I became an atheist how amazing it was to watch orangutans and to see the similarities we have with these relatives, my mother overheard and said, "But what about what the Bible says? That can't be true."
I replied, "But you can't take the Bible literally, Mom."
"Of course you can."
This was the first time I realized to what extent she was willing to ignore reality.
I was upset that so many people that I trusted as a child actually taught me ridiculous stories out of the Bible as literal truth. Did they really believe it themselves? How could these seemingly intelligent adults that I trusted actually believe such nonsense?
Even more recently I informed my grandparents that I had been in Berlin and had heard Obama's speech. They were disappointed when they realized I had made a trip there especially to hear Obama, and wasn't just in Berlin "by coincidence".
My grandfather warned me not to believe everything I had heard to which I replied,
"Don't worry, I don't believe everything I'm told."
But they only want me to believe certain things I'm told, they just wish they could censor the rest. Just as amusing (and/or depressing) was when they were saddened to discover that no, I unfortunately do not get the Fox News Channel in Germany. Apparently it's too risky watching other news channels because I might be brainwashed by the liberals that "run the media"! Terrifying thought, I know.
This is a fundamental problem I see with religion. It is so closed-minded that the potential of differing viewpoints even being overheard causes them genuine distress.
Of course there are people on every side of every issue who want to censor opposing viewpoints. I am in opposition to this idea no matter what viewpoint they support. But I feel that religion is especially eager for this type of censorship.
I do not oppose intelligent design in school because I fear my children will be converted to creationists. I oppose it in science class because it does not meet the requirements of a science. I oppose it because I am afraid it will lead to the total removal of critical thought and real science from the classroom and that my children will never hear about evolution. I have absolutely no problem with my children hearing about intelligent design and about religion in the appropriate venue. But that appropriate venue is not science class.
There is no fear of their children not hearing about their god and their creation story. They hear it at church. I wish they would be content to leave it at that. But the fear that their children might actually hear another side to the story is what leads them to try to censor and condemn differing viewpoints.