Go Anne Karpf

This really inspires me:

Don’t write off religion – it can be the key to a stable family

Anne Karpf
Saturday October 27, 2007
The Guardian

If Richard Dawkins had his way, a fair number of you and, as it happens, me, would be had up for child abuse. According to him, that’s what religious indoctrination of children by their parents is. And if you can sue for the long-term mental damage caused by physical abuse, he argues, why shouldn’t you sue for the damage caused by mental child abuse?If you accept Dawkins’s characterisation of religion, you’d probably agree. Religious parents, to him, are Mr Dogma and Mrs Bigot: they terrify their kids with tales of eternal hell, fire and damnation, when – that is – they’re not carrying out female circumcision or coercing them into forced marriages. Flat-earthers the lot, they’re brainwashers, fanatically opposed to science and rationality.

Isn’t it curious that we tolerate the stereotyping of religion in a way we’d never abide with race, religion or gender? I certainly don’t recognise myself in this caricature. That may be because, while I’ve encouraged my kids to experience a fair bit of religious observance, I personally have very little religious belief. I love some religious liturgy in the same way that I love poetry, the music in a synagogue can do powerful things to me, and the enduring ritual I find moving. Aren’t there contradictions like this in all but the most orthodox families? I know dozens like mine, where the children are regularly exposed to religion but are also fearsomely contrary on every subject.In fact I’m not sure what Richard Dawkins traduces more – religion or families. Certainly his view that religion is the one sphere of society in which it’s accepted without demur that parents have an absolute right over what their children believe is a bizarre one. Where does the fellow live? Parents attempt to exert control over almost every other aspect of their kids’ lives as well. And parents almost invariably fail. Dawkins himself had an Anglican upbringing but began doubting the existence of God at the age of nine.

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2 Comments »

  1. 1
    shidemn Says:

    If Richard Dawkins had his way, a fair number of you and, as it happens, me, would be had up for child abuse. According to him, that’s what religious indoctrination of children by their parents is”
    Thats because it is exactly what it is.

  2. 2
    theism Says:

    Did anybody notice this curious bit in the article you’re quoting from?

    Isn’t it curious that we tolerate the stereotyping of religion in a way we’d never abide with race, religion or gender?


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