Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Childhood indoctrination





Christian analytic theologian Randal Rauser has recently posed the question Can You Be Indoctrinated into Atheism? While I don't think that there is any doubt about the fact that a person (particularly a child) can be indoctrinated into holding almost any belief, my assertion (admittedly, it's not an argument) is that the vast majority of Christian children have been indoctrinated. By this I mean that they have been taught by their parents not to question the supernatural factual underpinnings of Christianity.

If you have any doubt about the above assertion, please explain how you get any 10 year old child (assume an age where they are beyond belief in Santa Claus) to believe that it is more likely than not that [insert any supposed Biblical miracle you like but my favorite is the supposed virginal conception/birth] actually happened in the absence of parental indoctrination? By indoctrination, I mean encouraging a child to dispense with applying their ingrained BS-detector to conclude that the "miracles" that they see performed by magicians (for example, cutting an apprentice in half) aren't real.

Now, on the flip side of this coin, I contend that children are natural born atheists. Why? Because nobody has to teach them that the suspension of natural laws is improbable. Note that I haven't suggested that the supernatural is impossible. I'm not interested in what's possible. I'm interested in what is most likely.


As you will see from the following screenshot, Professor Rauser is not at all anxious to answer this question:



16 comments:

  1. I've had what seemed to me a brush off a few times by Randal on his blog last year - I really wanted to get an answer to something and asked several times but I just got the kind of answer he gave you. He's a nice guy, I met him briefly at the the Loftus debate, I can only assume maybe he gets busy with work and loses interest/patience.

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  2. Ep, Robert M. Price (aka The Bible Geek) calls Randal "too smart for his own good" and I tend to agree. He has a razor sharp analytic mind that must push cognitive bias to the limits with the dogma he's force to subscribe to as a condition of his continued bible college employment.

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  3. Its so funny how you "atheist" work. You spend so much time and effort creating blogs, shirts, reading materials, tv programs, etc. To deny the very existence of a Creator/supreme being. Why not simply go about your life like everyone else? You guys preach against religion but your guys a religion itself. Its sad the condition that you people find your self in.

    I know I'm practically wasting my time writing to you fools but just wanted to remind you that there is a perfect, HOLY creator who wants nothing to do with sin! And if you die in your sins you will curse the day you were born.

    listen I don't loose anything by believing in Jesus Christ! If in the what I've believed in is a lie, then I've lost nothing, since I strive to live a morally God filled life. Now, if everything that us Christians (not Catholics) believe in is true; woe of you.

    Christ said "but the cowardly, UNBELIEVING, abominable, murderer's, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolater's and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone"

    the same Jesus also said " I am the WAY the TRUTH and LIFE"

    You have hope!

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  4. Yamel, I also don't lose anything by believing that my basement is full of free beer. In fact, it gives me hope. However, the fact that I don't lose anything by this belief doesn't make it any more likely to be true. Therein lies the problem with Pascal's Wager.

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  5. The other problem with Pascal's Wager is the fact that it is impossible to believe something you consider to be wholly improbable.

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  6. Yamel, I don't deny the existence of a Creator/supreme being. I'm actually agnostic on that point and have no desire to worship something which, almost by definition, would be beyond human comprehension. Once you start putting theological trappings on the supposed Creator, my denial begins. You can pray to Jesus and the Hindi can pray to Ganesha. You're an atheist when it comes to Ganesha and Thor. I just go one god further with my unbelief than you.

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  7. The sad thing is that a lot of these religious people post once and never return to read the response.

    I couldn't have said it any better than you did.

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  8. I honestly didn't even bother reading the article since there are so many so called "Preachers" that give a bad name to God.They just spreading poison and add words to Bible.

    However, I challenge you to go visit to one of these countries where God and the Gospel is not talked about. Look at its fruits! When God is taken out of a country It ushers in Communions, tyranny, oppression, perversion and so much other evil things.

    This nation ( The United States) was founded on the Christian principles and values that you atheist so freely enjoy. Go back to the constitution if you want.

    Listen, I used to be in the same predicament as you. Where I once lived in complete denial of God and the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. I found my life to be empty and vile. I tried covering everything as if everything was fine. I tried attending a so called 'Christian church" but to no success I left with more questions than answers.I now congregate where the truth is preached and mans' opinion is out of the equation.

    I know I'm not going to change your ideologies, but please think this through. I not telling you to join a religion, or become a member of a sect. You have a soul and it longs for God.

    All those gods you just mentioned are man made. If you study religion and its origin it will lead you to the Babylonian empire (which the Bible mentions).

    thank you for you time.

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  9. Yamel, screaming ay people isn't going to accomplish anything.. Jesus came to earth as the underdog and sat and ate with sinners and cured the sick with a gentle heart and even some of the people who opposed him and attacked him later joined and tought along his side. T.A.M. I appologize if you have been offended by any of my Christian brothers on your blog, I admire your calm standing and hope that one day you too will feel the love that Jesus offered to the whole world and primarily to all willing to accept his love :-)

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    1. Hello Roger,

      Thank you for response. I was only doing that because of their blind futile faith. EVERYTHING you said about Jesus is absolutely true! But keep this in mind, our God is a holy and just God, he doesn't cover up sin; he exposes sin. He is light.

      Only teaching Gods love is not enough for this generation. Apostle Paul rebuked a whole city for their own disbelief, Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees.

      Blessed be God!!

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  10. Yamel wrote: " I challenge you to go visit to one of these countries where God and the Gospel is not talked about"

    Yamel, I have visited the Netherlands and it is about as close to heaven on earth as I can imagine.

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  11. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are pretty good to.
    They have much lower crime rates that the "christian" USA

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  12. Why do you try so hard to disprove something that brings so much happiness to so many people? Are you happy about breeding negativity? Does all this honestly bring you joy? If your answer is yes to the 2 latter questions, then enjoy your life.

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    1. South African Girl is right. Just like when Christians tell people they are going to hell if they don't believe in Jesus. It's so negative. Christians just love breeding negativity.

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  13. Fuck all you bible thumpping dumb asses if that bullshit was the truth it would not have to be forced on others but it is its a good written book. For europeons by europeons good luck with that your heaven is going to suck at least in your hell you can smoke drink curse annd have sex. You not aloud to do anything that sounds more like prision your god is jealous attracted to only men and children atleast satan only wants one thing and evryone knows that that other fool all emotional like a little bitch so i just that makes you followers a bitches bitch think about. That smart moother fuckers

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