Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Raising a daughter as an atheist

I just read a beautiful essay by Natalie Angier called Raising Children With Secular Values in a Religious World.

Of her daughter, Katherine, she says:

She also said that she likes to see things for herself before believing in them. If a friend told me, guess what, I’ve got a flying dog, I’d say, can I see it. Katherine said she has friends who claim they’ve seen god. One of her close friends told her she’s seen bright lights in the middle of the night that she knows were signs from Jesus. So Katherine asked her if she could do a sleepover, to check out the light for herself. Oh, you’d never see it, her friend replied. Only people who believe in god can see it.

As Richard Dawkins has said, “With religion, there’s always an escape clause.”
On the meaning of Atheism, Angier writes:
So to me, this, more than anything, is what being an atheist means, an ongoing devotion to exploration, a giving of pride of place to evidence. And much to my dismay, religion often is at odds with the evidence-based portrait of reality that science has begun, yes, only just begun, fleshing out.
There you have it. Religion is just a curiosity-stopper. It's just a way of saying Don't think about this, Don't explore that. Religion either claims that a) the knowledge is inaccessible, or b) that the knowledge is forbidden. Invariably, such claims lack evidence, and frequently they rely solely on the authority of bearded gentlemen. Piffle, I say!

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