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Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism... 
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Post Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism...
This thread is for discussing Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism, and Feminism. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.





Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:13 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.

I was struck by the following comment on the last page of Chapter 3:

Like most other nineteenth-century freethinkers, Underwood underestimated the durability of conservative religion and overestimated the likelihood that an avowed atheist would ever be recognized as one of the most eminent figures of any American era. Values are handed down more easily and thoroughly by permanent institutions than by marginalized radicals who, even if they change their minds in their own generation - as the abolitionists did - are often subject to remarginalization in the next. Every brand of religion maintains and is a permanent mechanism for transmitting ideas and values - whether one regards those values as admirable or repugnant. Secularist movements with their generally loose, nonhierarchical organization, lack the power to hand down and disseminate their heritage in a systematic way.

I think she is right. I believe there are two things we should be doing to bring Humanism into the mainstream.

1. Create Humanist organizations which attract large numbers of members and enthusiastic support. To do that I suspect they should be focussed on many things - not just anti-theism. e.g. book clubs, music, arts, science, charitable activities, dining groups, humanist spiritual practice, etc. etc.

2. Support Education Vouchers so that there is a chance to create Humanist Schools. I think we need schools where kids can be taught that traditional religion is false and a dead end, and what it means to live in a supportive Humanist community. Because I support the idea of separation of church and state I think you cannot do this in a state school. The original Renaissance humanists (the umaniste) were very closely identified with, almost defined by, the fact that they ran schools. Don't you think Humanist schools could provide the kind of permanent institution that Jacoby is talking about?




Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:29 pm


Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
Quote:
2. Support Education Vouchers so that there is a chance to create Humanist Schools. I think we need schools where kids can be taught that traditional religion is false and a dead end, and what it means to live in a supportive Humanist community. Because I support the idea of separation of church and state I think you cannot do this in a state school. The original Renaissance humanists (the umaniste) were very closely identified with, almost defined by, the fact that they ran schools. Don't you think Humanist schools could provide the kind of permanent institution that Jacoby is talking about?


Ken, I can't say that I agree with you here. I have no problem with creating a Humanist based school, but I have an issue with using the Education Voucher system. How is the voucher system separating church and state? The way that I understand it, vouchers could be used for religious schools, as well as, other charter schools. This is still government support, just in another form.

Also, I believe that these schools would be preaching to the humanist choir. The majority of children who attend Catholic schools have Catholic parents. The majority of children who attend Protestant schools have Protestant parents. It is likely that the majority of children attending a humanist school would be humanists. Although I have no problem with teaching the concept of humanism in schools (public or private), attempts to convince children to become humanist (or theists, or communists etc.) should be done at home or through non governmental organizations.




Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:49 pm


Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
Well, I guess I'm aware that we pro-voucher atheist humanists are in something of a minority. I don't think government should be attempting to establish a monopoly in education - to me it seems even less appealing than a government monopoly of television and newspapers. I once heard a Catholic teacher explaining that it is very important that religious points be raised in the normal context of other subjects. Though I think he is seriously misleading his pupils I definitely defend his right to do that. When the state comes in and insists that we can teach morality without basing it on religion, it is making a strong religious statement. And of course it is impossible to educate children without moral issues coming up all the time - in history, in literature, they are ubiquitous. So for the state to try to make those discussions totally non-religious seems to me to be egregiously wrong.

What makes it worse, of course, is that this system has been imposed upon us using the state's police power. They take away from the average family enough money to educate 1.9 children at about $8000 per child per year. That money is extracted under the threat of arrest and imprisonment. And they do that because the majority claims the right to decide how my children will be educated. I resent that very deeply. Of course I have the right to send them to private schools (which I have exercised) but when I do that I am being penalized by paying taxes of, say, $200,000 and then having to pay the school fees on top of that. In the end this is no different from saying that you are 'free' to send your kids to private schools but you will be fined $8000 per child per year that you do this. They call this a free country!

So I find it absolutely galling when people complain about vouchers amounting to public subsidy of religion. They take away all of the money we want to spend on educating our children, they spend it on a state dominated education system which teaches views which are absolutely in opposition to the teaching of our religions, then when we tell them to stop doing that - to give back the money so we can spend it on educating our children the way we want to - they say that that violates the separation of church and state. (Expletive deleted!).




Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:51 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
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The majority of children who attend Catholic schools have Catholic parents.


As a Catholic school kid of 12 years...I can say that sending kids to Catholic school is the best way to drive them away from the religion...so long as us "humanists" try to reach out to them and show them a different way to think about what they are being taught.

I am not sure who did it for me, perhaps my personal thought, perhaps some teachers in HS, but around the end of grammar school and the beginning of HS, I started getting sick of the hypocrisy from the teachers and priests. By the end of HS, I was done with jesus.

I dont know if separate schools are the answer. It will just create more division. We, as humanists, should reach out and try to talk to people, educate them and show them a different way of thinking. Not preaching, or proselytizing, but talking and reasoning. Let them think on their own.

This works well when talking to someone who is young enough to accept new things, but old enough to be able to break away from the parents.

I was doing this with a Jehova's Witness I knew. I honestly saw that he was searching hard for a way to reject the crap he told me they feed him. So I tried listening and talking and I just hope it helped him out. I do not see him anymore since he left the employer we worked for together.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

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Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 7/12/05 4:23 pm



Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:22 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
Nick,
My kids went to a Lutheran grade school and are now at a Catholic High School. I had some fear that the Christian indoctrination would get to them, but we took that chance (I think my wife was hoping it would get to them:) ) But they are now in grades 9 and 11 and seem well on the way to a happy atheism!




Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:34 pm


Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
P: I dont know if separate schools are the answer. It will just create more division.

I have some concern too, Nick, but....

1. the most 'extreme' people are already homeschooling their kids or sending them to private schools, so it probably won't get a lot worse

2. the biggest enemy of freedom is the fear that the general populace cannot be trusted. I think that most people will want to send their kids to school where they will be taught the importance of tolerance and diversity.




Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
Holy Glockenspiel, batman! I just transcribed this same passage and came here to post it.


If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984




Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
I really think values are transmitted more through human interaction than through deliberate indoctrination. Fundamentalism will die off as the children of fundamentalists discover that gay kids can be good friends, that atheists can be less arrogant and judgmental than fundamentalists, and that the larger world isn't scary because it's secular but because people can be *mean*, and meanness isn't confined to non-religious circles. It only takes a few living examples to override stereotypes. Only by separating and demonizing groups can stereotypes be kept alive, and we live in a culture that encourages interaction between people of different beliefs. Even kids who go to private Christian schools will interact with different people later on, perhaps all the more curious because they weren't allowed to do it earlier. I don't think separate humanist schools will do it. Rather, the battle over creationism and other issues will get people talking and bridging differences. Only complacency could help fundamentalism gain influence, and complacency may be over. People are actively discussing issues they used to ignore, and that alone will create much of the social chemistry that will lead to fundamentalism dying out.

Michael




Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:12 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
I know that as a public school teacher I should have some comment on the above posts. However, I came to post on Ernestine Rose. Jacoby lists her among the people who, "fully deserved those labels[atheist and infidel] and gloried in them". I am happy to say that like Ernestine Rose, I am a freethinking, atheist, feminist, even if a minister said that, "We know of no object more deserving of contempt, loathing, and abhorrence than a female atheist". I am laughing, but really it is sad that
1. women were referred to as objects
2. the minister from the 1800's can think of nothing worse than a female atheist
3. the minister feels that female atheists deserve contempt and loathing
4. there are still people out there today who might agree with numbers 1,2, and 3




Mon Aug 01, 2005 3:15 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism.
So true, and several indviduals who fervently believe those things are currently working in the White House, determining national policy for our great nation.

What a country!!

heh

WW




Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:41 pm
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