Atheists turn to billboard sites

The group behind a controversial atheist bus-poster campaign is urging parents not to label their children with their own religious faith.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has launched a series of billboard advertisements in capital cities.

The posters are part of a campaign to challenge state-funded faith schools.

But a representative of the Christian Schools Trust questioned who would “fill the vacuum” if parents did not pass on their fundamental beliefs.

Professor Richard Dawkins, who has part-funded the BHA campaign in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, says labelling children as “religious” is a form of brainwashing.

The posters show one or two young children surrounded by religious labels, such as Catholic, Muslim and Hindu, mixed with secular descriptions including Marxist and anarchist.

The advert’s slogan says: “Please don’t label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself.”

Read more: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8366225.stm

My question, why isn’t ‘atheist’ on that list of labels? That is a label, just Christian or Muslim. But if an athiest parent chooses to pass or indoctrinate their child with that belief, that is just fine in the Humanist’s eyes. No mention of the ‘atheist’ belief whatsoever in this billboad campaign.

What hypocrisy!

Well, “atheist” is just a word for not having belief in gods.

There’s a difference sometimes drawn between implicit and explicit atheism. People who don’t believe in gods but have never given much thought to the issue are implicit atheists (all babies, for example, are implicit atheists); people who have considered the issue and concluded that they do not believe in gods are explicit atheists (so an implicit atheist could grow up to be an explicit atheist, or could become a theist).

I’ve known a few atheists who grew up in atheist families. They were never labeled in any sense. Their parents never taught them about not believing in gods, they didn’t go around calling themselves atheists, or anything else. In fact, their parents encouraged them to learn all about religions.

This issue about “labeling children” is one of Dawkins’ pet issues, and I think he’s coming at it mainly from the point of view of violence in Northern Ireland and children being taught to think of themselves as “protestant” or “catholic” (and therefore enemies of each other) – in fact, children are implicit atheists, usually never having the time or freedom to think critically and independently about religion for themselves.

Personally, I don’t think that “labeling children” is the biggest issue in the world to worry about, and it’s pretty far down in my list of priorities, but I don’t think “hypocrisy” is correct.

[quote="AntiTheist, post:2, topic:176849"]
This issue about "labeling children" is one of Dawkins' pet issues, and I think he's coming at it mainly from the point of view of violence in Northern Ireland and children being taught to think of themselves as "protestant" or "catholic" (and therefore enemies of each other) -- in fact, children are implicit atheists, usually never having the time or freedom to think critically and independently about religion for themselves.

[/quote]

Like most things Richard Dawkins speaks about, there is a lot of sense in this. I think Catholics might find themselves upset because we hold objective truths that can only be good for society. Dawkins probably would offer examples like Northern Ireland and Palestine to counter and this is a good point.

The thing is for me, we need to put something good in our children's glasses before someone else puts something bad in there. They need to be able to judge right from wrong and have a sound moral basis for their decisions. They will choose--this is inevitable, but bringing them up with a solid philosophy gives them options for what they are choosing between.

I would add that Dawkins vociferous anti-theism is certainly religious and no less brain-washing than bringing your children up with any mind set. He starts from the premise that faith in God is false and that's just poor thinking IMO.

[quote="FightingFat, post:3, topic:176849"]
The thing is for me, we need to put something good in our children's glasses before someone else puts something bad in there. They need to be able to judge right from wrong

[/quote]

Personally, I have no problem with parents raising their kids any way they want. But it's worth noting that you certainly can teach your children good principles and how to be well-behaved members of society without indoctrinating them into a particular religion and without labeling them a particular religion.

EDIT: In response to "I would add that Dawkins vociferous anti-theism is certainly religious": it doesn't seem that way to me. As far as I can tell, Dawkins bases his opposition to religion on concrete, practical examples of harm produced by religion and on demonstrably poor reasoning on the part of believers.

Please forgive me if it sounded as I thought that people with no religion were always failing to teach their children right from wrong, it was far from my intention. Certainly it forms part of my belief that we share “natural Law” which transcend all creeds and cultures and binds us all together as a human family. I think there is an issue as far as morality is concerned however, I do believe that failure to adhere to objective reality leaves us open to dangerous relativism and therein lies the problem.

I don’t believe in athiests.

[quote="FightingFat, post:5, topic:176849"]
Please forgive me if it sounded as I thought that people with no religion were always failing to teach their children right from wrong, it was far from my intention. Certainly it forms part of my belief that we share "natural Law" which transcend all creeds and cultures and binds us all together as a human family. I think there is an issue as far as morality is concerned however, I do believe that failure to adhere to objective reality leaves us open to dangerous relativism and therein lies the problem.

[/quote]

Yes but kid raised by atheists grow up to be self-centered little people, who are either full of self pride or utter despair.

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:7, topic:176849"]
Yes but kid raised by atheists grow up to be self-centered little people, who are either full of self pride or utter despair.

[/quote]

Whoa. My friends who were raised in atheists families would strongly disagree. They seem to me to be perfectly well-adjusted people.

Soutane:

I don't believe in athiests.

I know you don't. That might be the reason that so many people point at you and laugh when you make silly statements like that in public.

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:7, topic:176849"]
Yes but kid raised by atheists grow up to be self-centered little people, who are either full of self pride or utter despair.

[/quote]

Isn't that a bit of a generalisation? I mean if someone posted that all Catholic kids tend to turn out x, y or z, wouldn't you feel offended?

I've heard much mention of "natural law" being applied to atheism as the compass for a religious upbringing, however could that same train of thought be applied to social law as well? Should we merely teach our children that if it "feels" right to YOU, then it's OK for everyone. Should we as adults ever impose our will over our children. Dr. Spock? I know "time outs" have worked well for the past few generations. Haven't they? :shrug:

"Dr.Spock apologized later in his life that he had made terrible mistakes in research on the subject of child rearing and he felt a great deal of responcibility for having given misguiding advice on child-rearing to a few generations of parents. A few generations of children were brought up with the non-confrontational methods of child rearing he had advocated in his books. He woke up to the fact that all children are not equal and need different forms and amounts of discipline (exactly as my UniversalDemandLaw.com predicts) to achieve optimal outcomes. He noticed that his grandchildren did extremely poorly under the methods he had advocated for almost two generations." universaldemandlaw.com/?PageID=197

It is would seem to me that we must "nurture" our children. I could plant a flower and wait for it to be watered naturally. Odds are it may survive, .... but if I hand water, fertilize and weed, I believe that it stands a much better chance to thrive.

I just listen to Dr. Kreeft's talk on C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" where he quoted C.S. Lewis firmly believing that "atheists must be snobs." To paraphrase, ' they believe that the 99% of the world's population have got it all wrong and should believe the way they do.'

He may have been onto something. :thumbsup:

Children that are raised in religion may change religions, but given no religion are not likely to discover it on their own.

[quote="fcpilot, post:10, topic:176849"]
Should we merely teach our children that if it "feels" right to YOU, then it's OK for everyone.

[/quote]

That sounds pretty dumb. How about we teach them not to hurt others, not to steal, and to generally be nice to their peers? You don't have to believe in any supernatural critters to think that those are all good things.

"Dr.Spock apologized later in his life that he had made terrible mistakes in research on the subject of child rearing

Would you mind citing that from a reputable source? Not that it's relevant to the thread, but I was just googling to find confirmation somewhere else, and I have been unable to locate his "apology." It'll be a good chance for me to learn something new.

C.S. Lewis firmly believing that "atheists must be snobs." To paraphrase, ' they believe that the 99% of the world's population have got it all wrong and should believe the way they do.'

I don't really care if you think I'm a snob. I go where the evidence points. If that makes me a "snob," then so be it.

Children that are raised in religion may change religions, but given no religion are not likely to discover it on their own.

And what does that say about religion? If religion were true, if there were good reasons to believe in it, then there would be no reason to instill it in a child before that child has a chance to develop the critical thinking faculties.

I know a lot of people who Have found religion on their own. I also know people who have lost religion on their own.

Well what does it say about atheistism when someone with no help from others find religion? If atheists were right. Surely People wouldn’t need to put up billboards telling everyone about atheistism would they? They could just rely on peoples “critical thinking faculties” Or are you disregarding all the millions of Christians who grew up in faithless homes? One day athiests will learn that the realm of rational thinking doesn’t belong to them alone.

[quote="latin_rite, post:12, topic:176849"]
Well what does it say about atheistism when someone with no help from others find religion?

[/quote]

I haven't the foggiest idea what it says about "atheistism" because there's no such thing as "atheistism." What it says about atheism is that people change their minds about things all the time -- atheists become religious and religious people become atheists all the time.

I was specifically responding to the point that children raised without religion often do not become religious (and thus that is a reason for raising them with religion). I have no way of knowing whether that's true or not. But if it is true, it would seem to imply that religion is something that needs to be "planted" early in the psyche.

But maybe it's not true. If it's not, then why not raise children without a specific religion, and let them choose for themselves when they get older? Seems like that would make their choice freer and more significant.

Now look, I don't really care how parents raise their kids -- they can raise them any way they please -- I'm just looking for a little consistency in arguments here.

I also have no way of accurately knowing whether people who are raised to “choose their religion for themselves” are more likely to be theists, agnostics or atheists. In my limited experience, people who aren’t raised in any particular religion are are more likely to be agnostics while young. The critical thinking skills about religion and philosophy take effort. To them, religion can be stifling since it often places restrictions on actions and makes demands on time. I think spirituality (which walks hand in hand with religion) takes some time and effort to blossom as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people who are raised without religion change their minds in college once their world views are challenged and they become open to new experiences.

If I am blessed with children, I intend to raise my children as Catholics. I don’t do it to brainwash them, but rather to teach them what they need to know to live life to its fullest. I intend to teach them that loving God is synonymous with charity and the golden rule. I do this, because I believe my religion is correct and the path to fulfillment. If I believed it was bogus, or a half truth, or a useful collection of fairy tales to make people “nice” I wouldn’t bother teaching it.

I respect that other people philosophically disagree with my faith and will raise their children in another religion or none at all. If they are following what they believe to be right, and are not harming the child and not teaching the child to wage jihad or some other nonsense, then I tolerate it even though I disagree with their path.

Dawkins can’t seriously believe Catholics would let their children pick their own religion, because that implies that Catholic parents don’t actually believe their faith to be fully true or rational. Or maybe he thinks we only do it for cultural reasons; then it wouldn’t really matter what religion kids pick…

[quote="fcpilot, post:10, topic:176849"]
I've heard much mention of "natural law" being applied to atheism as the compass for a religious upbringing, however could that same train of thought be applied to social law as well? Should we merely teach our children that if it "feels" right to YOU, then it's OK for everyone. Should we as adults ever impose our will over our children. Dr. Spock? I know "time outs" have worked well for the past few generations. Haven't they?

[/quote]

Natural Law is the way St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul II explained our unity as a human family:

The Council refers back to the classic teaching on God's eternal law. Saint Augustine defines this as "the reason or the will of God, who commands us to respect the natural order and forbids us to disturb it". Saint Thomas identifies it with "the type of the divine wisdom as moving all things to their due end". And God's wisdom is providence, a love which cares. God himself loves and cares, in the most literal and basic sense, for all creation (cf. Wis 7:22; 8:11). But God provides for man differently from the way in which he provides for beings which are not persons. He cares for man not "from without", through the laws of physical nature, but "from within", through reason, which, by its natural knowledge of God's eternal law, is consequently able to show man the right direction to take in his free actions. In this way God calls man to participate in his own providence, since he desires to guide the world — not only the world of nature but also the world of human persons — through man himself, through man's reasonable and responsible care. The natural law enters here as the human expression of God's eternal law. Saint Thomas writes: "Among all others, the rational creature is subject to divine providence in the most excellent way, insofar as it partakes of a share of providence, being provident both for itself and for others. Thus it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end. This participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called natural law".

  1. The Church has often made reference to the Thomistic doctrine of natural law, including it in her own teaching on morality. Thus my Venerable Predecessor Leo XIII emphasized the essential subordination of reason and human law to the Wisdom of God and to his law. After stating that "the natural law is written and engraved in the heart of each and every man, since it is none other than human reason itself which commands us to do good and counsels us not to sin", Leo XIII appealed to the "higher reason" of the divine Lawgiver: "But this prescription of human reason could not have the force of law unless it were the voice and the interpreter of some higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be subject".

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor_en.html

  1. In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.(9) Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.(10) In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor.(11) In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin.

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

. Romans 2:16-16*Cf*

[quote="AntiTheist, post:13, topic:176849"]
I haven't the foggiest idea what it says about "atheistism" because there's no such thing as "atheistism." What it says about atheism is that people change their minds about things all the time -- atheists become religious and religious people become atheists all the time..

[/quote]

OMGZ!!! i misspelled atheism. If i knew you was going to make a such a big song and dance about it I would have made a effort to spell it correctly. But meh. I'm aware of my numerous spelling errors so when someone tries and belittle me over it The only thing that pops into my head is ":grammar nazi":rolleyes:
But anyway.

[quote="AntiTheist, post:13, topic:176849"]
I was specifically responding to the point that children raised without religion often do not become religious (and thus that is a reason for raising them with religion). I have no way of knowing whether that's true or not. But if it is true, it would seem to imply that religion is something that needs to be "planted" early in the psyche.

[/quote]

They often do not become religous? where is evidence of this?
You say religion NEEDS to be implanted. So you do reject or ignore all the millions of former atheist who were raised in faithless home who have become religious

[quote="AntiTheist, post:13, topic:176849"]
But maybe it's not true. If it's not, then why not raise children without a specific religion, and let them choose for themselves when they get older? Seems like that would make their choice freer and more significant..

[/quote]

Well why not raise them with religion and let them choose for themselves when they get older? Seems like that would make their choice freer and more significant. Wouldn't that be just the same?

[quote="latin_rite, post:16, topic:176849"]
OMGZ!!! i misspelled atheism.

[/quote]

Well, sloppy spelling can be indication of sloppy thinking, as I will demonstrate with the rest of your post.

They often do not become religous? where is evidence of this?

It wasn't me who claimed this. It was fcpilot who made the claim. I specifically said that I don't know whether it's true or not, but -- and here are my exact words -- "if it is true, it would seem to imply that religion is something that needs to be "planted" early in the psyche."

I'm saying that if a claim made by fcpilot (a Catholic) is true, then it implies that religion needs to be planted early.

You say religion NEEDS to be implanted.

I don't. I say that an argument made by some other guy implies that it does.

So you do reject or ignore all the millions of former atheist who were raised in faithless home who have become religious

No more than I ignore millions of Christians who have become atheists -- the fact that individuals change their minds all the time isn't really relevant to the point.

Well why not raise them with religion and let them choose for themselves when they get older? Seems like that would make their choice freer and more significant. Wouldn't that be just the same?

Um. I don't see how raising children with the idea that one particular faith is correct will make their choice freer. I do see, on the other hand, how raising them without a particular faith and then letting them investigate religions for themselves will make their choice freer -- i.e. will make the choice one that is not coerced by beliefs drummed into them as children.

Surely you see the difference.

No. But you agreed with it. You even based some of your arguments on it.

Sure. But your whole argument relies on the fact that all people of faith Brainwash their kids into following their faith. This is a rather childish and pathetic view of religous people held by athiest. And tell me how are children suppose to find religion if All avenues to it are blocked by athiest groups?

Putting your misunderstanding of my other posts aside for a minute, could you please elaborate on how you think “athiest groups” are blocking “All avenues” to religion?

That should make for an amusing read.

[quote="fcpilot, post:10, topic:176849"]
Should we merely teach our children that if it "feels" right to YOU, then it's OK for everyone.

[/quote]

Actions can be determined to be right or wrong by virtue of their consequences. It has nothing to do with how it feels to the person performing the action or with what someone who allegedly spoke to a god wrote down thousands of years ago.

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