Sunday School for Atheists

Original article here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1686828,00.html

Ahh, the world never ceases to amaze me…  Time Magazine published an article in their December 3, 2007 issue titled, “Sunday School for Atheists.” 

As stated in the article, “…The lives of these young people would be much easier, adult nonbelievers say, if they learned at an early age how to respond to the God-fearing majority in the U.S. ‘It’s important for kids not to look weird,’ says Peter Bishop, who leads the preteen class at the Humanist center in Palo Alto.”  What?!  Can someone please tell me, since when, in this post-modern society we live in today, has being a ‘non-believer’ looked weird??!  I was really under the impression that now, more than ever in our lifetime, it’s almost preposterous for someone to believe in God.  At least that’s what general society is telling us more and more.  Our culture, as a whole, is now trying to push God out of everything in the United States, a nation that was founded on Christianity.  But let’s move on…

Humanist, or Humanism defined: a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities — particularly rationality. It is a component of a variety of more specific philosophical systems and is incorporated into several religious schools of thought. Humanism entails a commitment to the search for truth and morality through human means in support of human interests. In focusing on the capacity for self-determination, humanism rejects the validity of transcendental justifications, such as a dependence on belief without reason, the supernatural, or texts of allegedly divine origin. Humanists endorse universal morality based on the commonality of the human condition, suggesting that solutions to human social and cultural problems cannot be parochial.
(Taken from Wikipedia – emphasis mine)

The article continues saying that  “after a neighbor showed him the Bible. ‘Damian was quite certain this guy was right and was telling him this amazing truth that I had never shared’…”  While I would be more inclined to say ‘good for you for not just believing it only because someone else says it’s true,’ as we all probably should do to a degree, I will say that I have done my fair share of research and studying of the Bible to believe without doubt that it is indeed True. 

“…singing empowering anthems like I’m Unique and Unrepeatable, set to the tune of Ten Little Indians, instead of traditional Sunday-school songs like Jesus Loves Me,” is one thing I had trouble with.  I’m reminded of an old Saturday Night Live skit with Michael Jordan, and his line was, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me!” 

This place “gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have.”  Morality.  Such a long debated word throughout history.  Where does one get morality from? What is it, that is so rooted in our human behavior, that causes a general sense of morality?  Is it subjective? Is it, “what’s right for you may not be right for me” or better, “what’s right for me, doesn’t have to be right for you.”  Could it be that, “the requirement of the law is written on their hearts…” (Rom. 2:15)  Could it be that indeed, God did write these laws of morality on our hearts?  Could it be that if you have a moral law, you  have to have a moral law giver?  Who gave us that law?

“He tried to get them to see that people who are coerced into renouncing their beliefs might not actually change their minds but could be acting out of self-preservation–an important lesson for young atheists who may feel pressure to say they believe in God.”  Self-preservation in today’s society is to say they believe in God or else? Have I had my head in a hole while all of this has been going on?

“…she felt socially isolated and even tried taking them to church. But they’re all much more comfortable having rational discussions at the Humanist center. ‘I’m a person that doesn’t believe in myths,’ Hana says. ‘I’d rather stick to the evidence.'”While it may be unfortunate if she did in fact have a bad church visiting experience, I think there may be a breakdown in thought somewhere between there and the next sentance.  Myth, no.  Lack of evidence in the Bible? Absolutely not.  I could go for pages on this subject, and perhaps I will soon, but for now…

I don’t mean to just sit and knock on every other sentance in this article. It is sad to me to see some of the logic going on in this world.  It is sad to me to think that Humanism is actually gaining that much ground, and that God is getting pushed further and further away from out culture.  If you seek it out, you will find it.  If you look for God, the one true God, you will find Him.  It’s not ‘belief without reason,’ or illogical.  It’s there. It’s real. And it’s true.

Matthew 19:14 says, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”


 

Share
2 comments to “Sunday School for Atheists”
  1. We try to cover/fill in the space created by the creator with whatever we feel/think is will answer or satisfy us. It is very clearly written in the Bible that one of the names of Satan is the Deceiver and the Angle of Light.Feel sorry for those parents and people who try to keep the the Loving God out of their lives.

  2. Okay… a few things here.

    I will say that growing up with religion and having a lot of your friends and family as Christians does bring a certain pressure to one who isn’t, necessarily, ready to accept God as truth, such as myself. However, over the big picture, I don’t think there is a great pressure “to believe in God.” I will agree it is the opposite in our society today.

    As I said before, I’m not necessarily ready to accept God, but I’ve also not given up on the possibility that one does exist. In saying that, I am one who questions a lot and will probably not believe anything anyone just tells me without my own long thought, discussion, and research. I think this should be the norm for everyone, including Atheists.

    What’s kind of funny, is this article sounds, to me, like it’s their own little “religion” if you will. I think this program is more similar to Christian Sunday School than you think. I do have a problem with this “Atheist Sunday School” thing, however, it may be a little different than some.

    The problem I have with this and with even regular Christian Sunday School is the fact that in each one, for the most part, our children are just told what to believe. As kids do, they take it as truth and go on about their lives. I think too often these kids grow up without even believing in the possiblity of something else (closed minded if you will). People stop questioning this, that, and the other thing and this is where the problem comes in.

    I understand that having programs for children is a good thing and it helps with their ability to grow and socialize and what not and that’s all well and good, but I don’t think we should ever force anything on our children in such a way that they are afraid to question it.

    Kids are gonna be raised, usually, how their parents were raised and I don’t have a problem with that. The problem comes when all this stuff has been beaten into our kids heads from the getgo and they eventially just “accept” it as truth, but don’t really “believe” it as truth. We as parents don’t really ever give our kids the opportunity to question it and choose for themselves. Thus, walking blindly into whereever they walk and never being able to tell someone why they believe what they believe because they don’t really know. Maybe it’s because, as adults, we’ve already “accepted” whatever or maybe we found “this” or “that” to be true already so since we are good, we think that our kids should just believe whatever we do.

    We, as adults, need to give our children the opportunity to find out for themselves what it is that they want to believe. Sure, I think, we can raise ’em however, put ’em in Christian Sunday School or the local recreation program or just have a family barbecue out in the back yard… Whatever, it doesn’t matter! We just need to stop getting so upset when they question what we believe or if they decide to believe in something different than us, which I think more often than not, we do.

    I’m done for now……

    Troy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *