The year is 2015. In this age the availability of information has never been greater – and yet, the abuse that is religious teaching, is regularly foisted on children across the globe. One would think that in this information age a rational parental-agent would attempt to look for the best way to transmit the necessary cultural values to children.
I postulate this cultural transmission should involve the following –
1. The formulation of strong emotional and social attachments with immediate and extended family.
- Realizing that nothing else works without strong attachments to parents/caregivers
- Working on the social bonds that strengthen the individual and the community as a whole.
- Realizing and respecting the common goals and aspirations of everyone in similar situations – The requirements of shelter, food, security.
2. Ethical guidelines based an empathetic understanding of the needs and feelings of others – key questions would include:
- Would I like this (action, situation, circumstances et cetera)to happen to me?
- Would I like it if this person acted like that toward me?
- If everyone did what I was doing would the world/my community be a better or worse place?
3. Understanding and exploring the world would be a fact based experience.
- Listening and asking questions of elders to better understand their experience and to learn from their accumulated knowledge
- Engaging with the world via the arts – Music, Visual Arts, Writing, Poetry – etc.
Hmm, and there I go thinking that I had appropriately delimited my topic. Grrrr… The point is that, even with this small cross-section of cultural transmission, there is no need to fall back on religious teachings/ideology that have no basis in fact.
We should not have to lie to children to get them to be good human beings. Raising children within the secular bounds of an attached caring family unit is possible and a desirable societal outcome. Children should be raised without the twin detriments to healthy maturation: religious guilt and fear. Guilt and fear stunt the growth of curiosity and more importantly, the learning of empathetic ethical behaviour.
So, if we can raise good human beings without all the toxic religious mumbo-jumbo why do so many people choose to do so anyways?