Monday, October 04, 2010

A MODEST PROPOSAL

HOW TO EASE THE CLASH OF RELIGIONS.
I propose that all the religions of the world be forced to compete on a level playing field. Perhaps a world---weary of religious strife--finally traced the problem to its roots: ---THE INDOCTRINATION OF CHILDREN. What if we finally realized that INDOCTRINATION IS CHILD ABUSE---and we made it Illegal. Parents could still share VALUES with their children but not doctrines. Children would then reach age 12 or so with their minds more open. And when they demonstrated sufficient mental competence and curiosity--- would be allowed to visit the ---------RELIGION WAREHOUSE----------

Kids are gathered outside at eight,
Doors are opened at nine.
They are here to sample religions of the world,
All strung out in a line.

Row upon row---every living faith
Represented in spacious booths.
And every booth has people anxious
to share their"eternal truths."

They have pamphlets and films and all 27
Major "Holy Books"--
The Bible, the Koran, The Bagavad Gita.
Every kid's invited to look.

As they wander up and down the aisles,
Believers of every bent
Urge the children into their booths
Like barkers at a side show tent.

The Christian section has 200 booths,
Each with a different slant
On God, salvation, Jesus and Heaven
That they wish to implant.

There are nine different versions of Islam;
Six different kinds of Jews,
A host of Buddhist sects;
A hundred types of Hindus.

The new age section is replete
With people pushing "spiritual" stuff,
Smiley faced believers in a thousand things,
Like crystals and superstitious fluff.

The American Indians drummed up a crowd
With dancers adorned with feathers
Truly believing that Shamans can heal
And Kachinas can change the weather.

Cults took up a whole wall---
"Gurus" of every stripe--
Dominating tyrants trolling
For the total submission type.

The Atheist booth had scrappy folks,
Dead sure in their conclusion
That religion is the opiate of the people:
A dumb and deadly illusion.

Agnostics had a cheerful booth
With banners above and below.
The upper said: keep an open mind;
The lower said: Nobody Knows!

The Mormons were talking 'bout golden books.
The Quakers pushed peace and hope.
The Amish urged us back to the land.
Catholics said: Obey the Pope.

Back in the corner were the Unitarians;
Of all the churches most odd;
The only church that didn't claim
To have a message from God!

Muslims were a backward lot;
Their religion frozen in time;
Their nations ruled by autocrats;
Their women treated like slime!

Voodoo believers sacrificed chickens;
Spiritualist summoned ghosts;
Urantia folks told of flying saucers;
Tantrics urged sex uppermost.

On and on the religions stretched;
Children came and went until;
In a day or a year, their minds were clear;
Or perhaps just had their fill.

Then back to the world, having chosen
"truths" that suited their taste.
Most took bits from several faiths
With a job of "cut and paste."

Gone was arrogance and dogmatism;
Their study of religion and history,
Lets them tolerate ambiguity;
Embrace the human mystery.

In a few short years, religious wars ceased;
All nations made a truce:
Every civilized person now agrees:
INDOCTRINATION IS CHILD ABUSE.

Freedom to choose your religion
Is a universal human right.
Parents stopped laying their "trip" on kids
And the world sleeps better at night.

8 comments:

Storm said...

Funny how you dismiss using reason, evidence, and of course compassion as a "dumb and dangerous illusion", and at the same time celebrate not thinking at all... The solution to religion is not more religion, that is to say avoiding critical thought, it is embracing critical thought.

Randy said...

Storm: Have I failed to be clear? If you are referring to the verse about the Atheist booth--it is religion that is considered to be a dumb and dangerous illusion. For once we are on the same side--celebrating reason and evidence. And I (of all people) do not recommend more religion. Was this a careless knee jerk reaction on your part? If so I forgive you because we both are big fans of reason and evidence---even compassion, intelligently given. And when you get time to respond, I'd like to hear your opinion of the central thesis: Indoctrination is child abuse.

Boonie said...

If Indoctrination is really child abuse, what is your solution/punishment for the public educational system, NPR, and THE BBC?

Anonymous said...

Don't parents have the right to educate their children the way they please. Where does teaching end and indoctrination start? I'll answer my own question. When they teach their way is the only way. Tell us about your indoctrination Randy. It seems you became a free thinker despite it and perhaps a better educator because of it.

Bob

Boonie said...

Forgot something in the earlier comment. I would be interested in your reaction to the so-called "Splattergate" video on You Tube. It fits in perfectly with your theme of indoctrination of children.

Storm said...

Randy, yes it is an unclear line and no there was no knee jerk reaction. "That religion" reads quite different from "that religion" in this context. The former seems to imply that atheism is itself a religion.

Jim said...

==========
According to dictionary.com, one definition of religion is:
"something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: [for example] to make a religion of fighting prejudice."
==========
If we stipulate that definition, then atheism could be considered a religion. But then so could one's insistence on flushing the toilet after every three wads of paper.
==========
sail4free
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Ricardo Furioso said...

I love your poem.
The trouble is that "my dad's righter than your dad" is the way it all ends up.
Nobody ever flew a plane into a building for atheist beliefs, or nonbeliefs.
I found this definition a long time ago and saved it:
Atheist ~ n. A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others.
Keep the shiny side up.