Google, she’s a funny creature. I like to read the list of how people found Meddling Kids through Google for a variety of reasons, but I must say I prefer the swing-and-a-miss searches. I first encountered this years ago (and long before this blog) when I had written a short nonfiction narrative about the day I got robbed. It contained phrases like how having a gun to my head made me fear I was going to piss my pants and how my face was wet with homemade pepper spray. Someone found it by typing “wet pee in my pants”. Why they would be searching for that is anyone’s guess.
Today, someone found our site by searching “why religious knowledge is required for kids”. I can only assume that they were sadly let down they took a look around and realized this was an atheist’s site, and I would have nothing to say on the topic, but it made me want to post on the topic, so here we go.
In a world where I was the lord of everything, there would be no need for religious knowledge because the people would not have religion holding them back. However, we don’t live in a world where I am the lord of everything, and obviously we’re the poorer for it, so I do believe that religious knowledge is required for kids. As an atheist hardened in the fires of skeptical thinking, this may strike you as an odd stance to take, but I believe that religious knowledge is vital to the development of the human animal. But the key caveat in my stance is that they should be given religious knowledge, not religious indoctrination.
It all comes down to knowing your enemy, and I do believe that religion is the enemy of human development. The faithful, in all their different shades, hold opinions granted to them by their faiths that dampen human experience, scientific growth, and enlightenment. I would love to see children raised in such a manner that they are exposed to the teachings of various faiths and shown how those faiths simply do not hold water. The most effective atheist debaters are those who, like me, have a solid foundation in at least one religious faith and know it for what it is. That way, when someone starts talking about the good side of their religious beliefs, we are there to say, “Yeah, but what about the acceptance of slavery?” or “…But doesn’t your God of loving forgiveness ask that you murder children for misbehaving?”
I firmly believe that time will be the death of all religion, provided that knowledge is not lost. Sadly, we have a history of chaos and violence that usually ends with people walking away from wisdom in favor of comforting myths. But our society is progressing at an alarming rate, and we are learning more about the truth of our existence than we ever have in the past. Right now, religion is on the ropes. Accommodation weakens it, and more and more people are saying to themselves, “Wait a minute, if I’m supposed to only believe some of this, how do I know what is actually real?” which is gateway thinking towards accepting that none of it is real. Not everyone will go down that road, but there is a growing movement of people who have seen the man behind the curtain and walked away from their faith in favor of finding out what’s actually true.
The more we educate children that these stories are remnants of our past which do not stand up to scrutiny, the less we will allow the bullies in religion to have their way with us.
Children accept that they do not understand the world. They look to their grown-ups as people who can guide them on the things they do not understand. The more they are exposed to the truth of the world and the untruths told by those who would bamboozle them, the safer they will be.