About Me

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Deep South, United States
Consultant, inventor, mentor, chess coach,. Current projects involve No Till Farming and staving off blindness due to cataracts among other projects. I also do confidential ghost writing (without taking any published credit. My current blindness makes me put this on hold for a while. I should have one eye working again in about four months. Fact, fiction, all subjects considered. I have heard My daughter Jennifer is alive. I would love it if she were to contact me here. I understand she would like to know me. I have sent a message by circuitous route. I can only hope. My posted Email works as well. We have four decades to catch up on.
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This blog has been up for more than a year. The intent was to generate dialogues about serious problems and ideas. It has been almost exclusively a monologue. I have not been looking for large numbers of participants.

I would be quite happy with a few dozen imaginative, creative, thoughtful and inventive people who wish to address serious problems and issues. If anyone has any ideas about how to attract such a talented group I will certainly pay attention. I am not as computer conversant as I would wish. Anyone who could help in this regard would find me receptive to sharing my skills in other areas.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Heresy?

When a missionary goes into a primitive land with the backward natives and the daily challenges for survival, he may be quite proud of himself for having taken on the task of bringing the true faith to the ignorant heathen. More souls for the Lord. Of course, I speak of Christian missionaries but the principles apply with all religions and with political and nationalistic or fanatical terrorist groups as well.

These diverse groups of highly committed people have some things in common. They are “true believers” whatever their religious, political, scientific or revolutionary orientation. They may spend considerable time and effort learning the native tongue . This gives the impression that they are acquiring the linguistic skills to become further oriented to the “primitive” community, and developing a better notion of the native society. Although a certain amount of this learning occurs, It does not appear to be the central purpose of learning the language.

The real reason seems to be to better impart the new dogma to the backward savages. The missionary may learn that the naive native believes that the mountain god brings the blessed rain to the jungle. The missionary , without reflection, just knows that this notion is nonsense. He doesn’t even stop to consider it. He is too busy trying to couch scriptures in the native tongue.

And yet, it does not take much thought to realize that mountains impose a barrier to wind, causing updrafts which carry moisture laden clouds high where they will cool and drop the moisture that they contained in the form of rain. So the native “superstition” which seemed so quaint to the missionary held some nuggets of good sense.

It is hard for me to be too hard on the missionaries though, since I recognize that although I am a heretic (some have said a damnable heresiarch) I do advocate a certain open-mindedness with regard to science, philosophy and religion, and sometimes do so with considerable zeal.

One of the reasons missionaries go to strange lands to convert the primitives is that it is so practical. It works so well. They DO achieve significant numbers of converts. The primitives are at a considerable disadvantage, economically, educationally, socially. They are generally second-class in their own minds, and in the missionary’s mind, though he would rarely admit it.

This is what Sunday School is all about as well. Taking advantage of a helpless, powerless and comparatively inexperienced and credulous captive audience; using exceedingly powerful propaganda tools to persuade the little tykes before they are able to defend themselves with any sophistication at all. Young children should not be programmed with religious dogma in the absence of other balancing ideas. We are hardly conscious of this insidious missionary behavior, taking place in our churches continuously. We should be much more conscious of this kind of conditioning.

On the other side of the world in a whole slew of different countries Maddrassa schools do precisely the same sort of conditioning of millions of children who are not able to separate dogma and political propaganda from fact. We have ignored this terroristic tool for decades. Even our allies in the region have these schools operating in large numbers. A rather intractable problem. Any ideas?

3 comments:

atheist review said...

Better scientific education maybe? It's a tough one because parents who honestly believe that they're saving their childrens souls are not going to take kindly to the notion that their religion might not be in the child's best interest.

anthropositor said...

Well, clearly the typical individual is considerably more science-oriented and "trained" than was usual even fifty years ago.

Even the... committed fundamentalist can be pretty conversant with scientific matters. It doesn't seem to make sense but they manage to ignore the inconsistancies that crop up.

In politics too, otherwise intelligent people of all stripes can wind up at an impasse over issues that would seem to be resolvable.

The parents are the keys. And they have already been indoctrinated quite well with the need for the indocrination. What was good enough for them is good enough for their children.

I don't think it is fruitful to try to get the parents to stop the congregational conditioning, but rather to provide balancing perspectives and a questioning attitude.

The thing that disturbs me about the church environment is the relative absence of diversity of opinion.

The parents, whatever their faith, need to provide the children with a variety of perspectives which were not available at church. Then the child needs to exercise reason and sort it out. That is the route to being reasonable and reasoning adults.

Uncle Enore said...

Well, of course supplying opinions which differ, in a religious or Sunday school setting, is antithetical to the raison d'etre for these places.

Jesuits not withstanding, they would be foolish to offer any sort of comparative ideas lest they lead their lil students to thinking, the death knell of most religions.

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