At 1/7/13 05:42 PM, Step wrote:
At 1/7/13 05:19 PM, jpbear wrote:
Italy has a ridiculously low church attendance rate yet has confirmation rates extremely high (a catholic ritual about age 15 in italy)The Maltese side of my family (not the English side) is strongly Christian, my grandparents especially, so I was taught exclusively Christianity when I was young. Like everyone else I also had to go to catechism classes, get baptised, confirmed, go to mass every Sunday, learn Christianity at school from a young age, and all that. At one point in secondary school our religion teacher flat-out said that he thinks atheists are idiots.
Probably about 1 in 50 people at age 18 still attend mass. (at most)
Proof that teaching things at a young age does not come close to brainwashing.
But then as I grew older I started disregarding all that I learnt, so clearly the "brainwashing" didn't work on me. Same story for a number of people I know too. I think that thankfully our generation, being exposed to the internet, allows for more open-mindedness (in fact here in Malta, the percentage of elderly people who believe in God is muuuuch larger than the percentage of teenagers who don't).
Still, I think this "brainwashing" does still happen. There's a reason why, taking the example of Malta again, most of it is Christian. As far as I know, when we're kids, we believe what our parents tell us and it gets imprinted into our minds a lot more easily than when we grow up, and I bet that if all the devout Christian teenagers and adults here had been brought up somewhere with different religions, most if not all of them would not be Christian.
...And it's almost needless to say, and it's because parents don't teach their kids to be open-minded about religion, they teach their kids their own religion. So all of a sudden, out of the hundreds of religions out there, your religion or lack thereof would rely very heavily on your upbringing, and not on your own self-conscious decisions.
Yeah I type too much.
If you actually believe in something, why wouldn't you want to share it with others, especially your children? I was raised with a certain set of beliefs, but I would by no means consider myself brainwashed. Everything can and should be questioned, but that doesn't mean that we should toss out the idea of the existence of God in the process. It is quite possible to believe in God and still be rational.
In fact, I would argue Christianity is entirely rational, if viewed correctly. The problem is most people have no idea what Christianity is. For most, Christianity is "that annoying thing my parents used to make me do. "
The only reason we have the great works of ancient philosophy today is because of Christianity, Catholicism in particular. Even the modern and post-modern philosophers must give credit to the importance Christian thought throughout the history of philosophy. Descartes studied Aristotle and Plato as well as St. Aquinas and St. Augustine (who came up with "I think therefore I am" a thousand years before Descartes).
Rational thought is imperative to true Christianity. I have no problem with people choosing one belief system over another, but ultimately we all have to believe something. Dismissing the Bible as a load of rubbish because it was written thousands of years ago is a weak approach to dismantling Christian belief. Aristotle also wrote thousands of years ago, and people put great worth into his words.
I won't fault anyone for choosing to believe what they will, nor will I fault parents for passing their beliefs off to their children (even if I disagree with them). That's part of what makes us human. It doesn't mean we are bound to believe what our parents believe, but religious belief (or lack thereof) is deeply embedded in the human experience.
tl;dr - Evolution/sciency things and Jesusy things are not mutually exclusive.