The aspect I introduced in the last post about better not having children, might suggest I hate them. Actually, I don’t. And I feel sad when I think about what they learn from books of christian religion, since I find it inappropriate for the goal of living a satisfactory life later. The other day I came across a book of religion for children starting primary school. The frontpage contains a portrait of Jesus. The first page gives the youngling a basic concept about christianity, summarized in the following list:
- God exists
- God loves us
- God takes care of us
- Praying is the method of talking to God
- We can express love and gratitude by praying
- God listens to our prayers and feels happy about it
On the next couple of pages, the author gives advices about how to behave, goals for being a children worthy for the love of God. Illustrations are mainly about young children that the reader can identify himself with, and drawings of the trinity in the clouds. God, as the father aspect, looks like Santa Claus dressed as Aristotle, the son is Jesus, and the holy spirit is a pidgeon as usual. The rest of the pages are mainly giving details about how to and what to pray.
This pretty much sums up everything I don’t like about christianity, and leaves me with a sad feeling if I imagine a child having no principles of religion getting introduced to this. As satanism claims, we all have holes inside that we must fill with something. Some of us needs the idea of a supreme, non-physical kingdom of pure perfection and security, and that’s okay like that. Atheists can live with the feeling of being alone, while many other people can’t, so they escape to religion. It is more than comforting to suppose there is a wise old man who watches our every clumsy step, takes care of us, gives advice, and helps us on our faithful life by his mighty presence in general. It is good to feel ourselves so important that even an omniscient, omnipotent god exposes his own son to suffering as a human life form, just for helping us with that. It is heartwarming to know that there is a non-physical conscious concentration of pure goodness somewhere out there, and it even inspires, helps and protects us. And there is nothing wrong with that, as long as our religion helps us to live our lives better. I could not, however, by being a christian.
The first item on the list, God exists, is giving the child a feeling of security. Someone is out there, who looks like his grandfather, and takes care of him. God is the joker card. He is everything. He helps, he protects, even if something wrong happens, he is totally in control of the situation, he only teaches us by his misterious ways, sometimes by ways of suffering. This belief is helpful and not at the same time. It helps people to get over on loss of family members, to get through depressive stages of life, even to behave correctly. However, it is not necessarily needed, and it even seems harmful as many of us grow up using this same image of God over time, and the more we antropomorphize God, the more we’ll defend our own image of him instead of trying to understand other people. Children are taught to believe in Jesus, as an aspect of God itself, while islam considers him only as a prophet. These, usually small differences of the wrapping often lead to irreconcilable and violent disagreements between representatives of different religions. According to the Bible, Jesus advised to follow him, not to worship him. And what are most christians doing nowadays? They worship Jesus as if he were God itself, instead of only a wise man. They build churches and decorate with the crucifix, the symbol of human cruelty, and focus on his suffering thus raising guilt in themselves. The teachings of Jesus has little presence in his death, it has far more in his life. Most of his statements can, and should be looked in a modern point of view instead of cry-praying ourselves in churches, or confess our sins that we don’t really regret, and will be doing the same way next week. However, Pope Francis (I just can’t stop to mention him enough times) discovered that christianity should focus on joy, not on suffering. If this will ever change in a proper way, I’m pretty sure he will be involved in it.
Okay, I already have pointed out what I don’t like about christianity, but gave no advice how to do it better. If I were responsible for the teaching of christian religion in primary schools, I’d take christianity, without the father figure, the overcanonized, overworshipped Jesus, the suffering Jesus, the suffering saints, and at least half of the liturgy. I’d also take out the emphasization of guilt, and the separation of the supreme entity. I’d add some principles of satanism, like “live and let live”, and the pursuit of feeling well. I’d teach religion for kids in a pantheistic and deistic way. There would be no heaven, no hell, no omnipotent grandparents. What would this whole thing being called? Ethics, maybe. Since I believe we are intelligent enough for being capable of living without the concept of divine control. We are intelligent enough to decide what’s right and wrong, and don’t need to ask supreme beings on it. We even can get over the loss of a family member without God. It might be harder, and might be unnecessary to take that way, but instead of teaching a kid for religion before he can decide what to believe in, seems inappropriate to me. Religion is intended to teach us to live an emotionally satisfactory life. Ask yourself a question: does my religion help me to feel better, to live better? It should.