I applaud your website. I almost shot milk out my nose when the angels told me I was now an Atheist. By the way, I wish you would tell my mother. She is a fundie Christian, and maybe then she would stop praying for my soul.
I am a (mostly) practicing Catholic who took a long spiritual journey that ended up being a big circle. In that time, I came to what I believe is a basic fact: You cannot force people to believe what you believe. Even people who think they believe the same thing usually don’t, if they buckle down and compare notes. I think the hate mail and arguments from fellow atheists that you get seems further evidence for my theory. It seems to me that everyone has a belief system, and the only way to change your personal beliefs is to decide for yourself that X evidence is suitably compelling, or be brainwashed. Brain washers like my mother’s ilk are up their with child molesters in my book of disgusting examples of humanity–which is why I think creation myths should be taught in schools.
Hear me out. I think all theories of creation of matter and energy, including evolution, should be taught in social studies classes, as cultural information. That way, no one could bitch about being left out. Science class should focus on teaching people how to find scientific conclusions to important questions, not focusing on anyone’s pet theory; either supernatural or natural universal creation. That way their would be more time to actually teach kids useful information, and less time to try to program them for a person or group’s own cultural whim.
I’m interested to hear a rational Atheist’s opinion on this solution, which I think is the most politic answer to a pointless cleft in our society. It’s too bad that it is so hard to find a rational Atheist: it seems that most people I meet who claim the label “Atheist” are less that than just anti-Religion. They don’t believe what they do for any rational reason–they are just full of bile and hatred for others who believe differently than they. I can do without that. I get enough of that from fellow Christians, and frankly, I’m sick of it.
I hope to get a response, but if you are too busy fighting off the haters, I understand. Just keep up the good work, and remember: I may not share your faith, but I share your heart. At the end of the day it matters not one whit what happens when we die: only how we treat our fellows during our life matters.
May only good happen around you
I agree that change from within is the most likely candidate for religious change. That is why I encourage people to examine their own beliefs in depth.
As for teaching — I agree that many facets of religion should be taught in schools. However, I think that we should be very careful to separate religious studies and scientific studies. Teaching evolution in social studies classes might too easily give the impression that evolution is cultural knowledge (as creationism is) as opposed to scientific knowledge. Too many religious people are working to blur the line between religion and science — and too few people really know how to tell the difference — for me to be comfortable risking making the situation worse.
I am also in favor of teaching the Bible in schools as literature and culture. The problem with this — and with teaching comparative religions — in American public schools is that when attempts are made to do so one of two things usually happens: either religious people get upset because their religion is being taught as something other than the absolute truth, or the class ends up being taught by a teacher with an agenda to show the superiority of his/her own religion as opposed to really teaching about other religions. Sad, isn’t it?