Exposing the scams, shams, and damn shames of modern life.
My op-ed, today, on religion's role in public/civic life (hint: it has none).
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Steve, you express your points very well! I agree with you. As for the topic of religion being taught in schools, if we could ensure a non-dogmatic approach and qualified teachers, wouldn't it be great for students to learn about all the religions? I recently watched a relevant presentation by David McAfee on teaching religion to children. It's on YouTube, about thirty minutes long. He, too, argues we need a more intelligent and respectful approach to religious education.
Thank you, Jenny. I have no problem with coursework that teaches religion as a topic, as if it were history or current events or any other subject worthy of teaching and discussing. What I object to is indoctrination, or more especially indoctrination in the guise of education. Which is the kind of "teaching" a lot of these bible thumpers have in mind.I'm reminded of a heated argument I once had (at least on my side of it) with a Jehovah's witness who kept popping up at my door, disturbing my concentration in the middle of my workday. This happened 3 or 4 times over the span of a couple of weeks. When I told him and his female partner not very nicely to get the hell off my property and leave me alone, he said "Why can't you live and let live?" As if I were in the wrong. Live and let live? Which one of us is going around bothering people? Which one of us is knocking on other people's doors? I'm more than willing to let even the most dogmatic religious fanatic live and let live as long as he does his living and letting inside his own four walls. But when his notion of "live and let live" means I have to tolerate his intrusions into my world, then that's a perversion of the concept.
Yes, indoctrination is just annoying. Your JW story is funny, in hindsight. I totally understand your frustration. I've had the thought that I wouldn't mind a bit if neighbors wanted to just come inside and chat awhile, so we can get to know each other. If I had time to talk, of course, and if they really had no agenda other than friendliness. But that never happens. It's only the ones who come bearing religious tracts and the intent to evangelize who want to "talk" to/at you about their religion. After a recent visit from a couple of them, I sat down and typed a "Dear Church Ladies" letter. Didn't send it, of course, for how would I know where to mail it? Writing the letter was actually a fun exercise and a way to vent my frustration at the position these people place us in when they come bearing their "good" news. I can sort of admire their nerve, but they really take advantage of people by putting them (us) in the uncomfortable position of rejecting their message without rejecting them as people. I hate sending someone away feeling offended, but the very fact of them being there in the first place is kind of an offense. "Which one of us is going around bothering people?" In general, I'd be glad to talk to them if not for their ulterior motives.
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