'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net
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'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... Upcoming Events: Aug 11th - Edinburgh Aug 11th - UK Aug 18th - UK Oct 20th - Oxford Oct 21st - Oxford Oct 23rd - Oxford For more events see here Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Reason : In the News | Print | Comments Imagine No Religion by Richard Dawkins About this site Mailing List Signup: Enter your email Imagine, sang John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7 Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Kashmir dispute, no Indo/Pakistan partitio Israel/Palestine wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no Northern Ireland 'troubles'. Imagine no T blowing up ancient statues, lashing women for showing an inch of skin, or publicly beheading blaspheme apostates. Imagine no persecutions of the Jews - no Jews to persecute indeed, for without religion they long ago have intermarried with the surrounding populations. Submit Go to The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science Can You Volunteer? Richard Dawkins Articles | Comments | Tour Journal Atheist Resources | Local Groups Database of Lecturers Debate Points | Latest Responses MySpace | FaceBook 'Imagine No Religion' Flyers Of course today's religious killings and persecutions are not motivated by theological disputes. IRA gu don't kill Protestants (or vice versa) over disagreements about transubstantiation. The motive is more li be tribal vengeance. It was one of 'them' killed one of 'us'. 'They' drove 'our' great grandfathers out ancestral lands. The grievances are economic and political, not religious, and the vendettas stretch b long way. But although the tribal disagreements themselves have nothing to do with religion, the fact that there a tribes at all has everything to do with religion. There are, no doubt, tribal distinctions of genetic or lin origin, but in Northern Ireland what else is there but religion? The same applies to Indo-Pakistan, S Croatia, and various regions of Indonesia and Africa. Religion is the world's most divisive label of group i and hostility. If a social engineer set out to devise a system for perpetuating today's most vicious enmit could not come up with a better formula than sectarian education. Faith schools that taught all re comparatively might do some good. But the whole point of faith schools is that the children of 'our' tribe be taught 'their own' religion. Since the children of the other tribe are simultaneously being taught th religion with, of course, the rival version of the vendetta-riven history, the prognosis is all too predictable. What can it mean to speak of a child's 'own' religion? Imagine a world in which it was normal to spea Keynesian child, a Hayekian child, or a Marxist child. Or imagine a proposal to pour government mone separate primary schools for Labour children, Tory children, LibDem children and Monster Raving children? Everyone agrees that small children are too young to know whether they are Keynes Monetarist, Labour or Tory, too young to bear the burden of such labels. Why, then, is our entire society to slap a label like Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, on a tiny child? Isn't that, when you think abo kind of mental child abuse? I once made that very point in a broadcast debate with a Roman Catholic spokeswoman. I've forgott name but she was probably some kind of agony aunt, and a stalwart of Thought for the Day. When I said primary school child was too young to know whether it was a Catholic child or a Protestant child, she b "Just come and talk to some of the children in our local Catholic school! I can assure you they know ve that they are Catholic children." Well yes, I believe it only too well. The Jesuit boast - "Give me the child first seven years, and I'll give you the man" - is no less sinister for being familiar (in various versions) point of clich?. 1 of 7 But, you may ask, what if religion is true? (What if my particular religion is true, you should rather s 8/5/08 be child mutually contradictory beliefs can't all be true.) Surely sectarian indoctrination would not 2:22 PM abu saved the child's immortal soul? Despite its smug presumptuousness, I can see how you might take that you sincerely believed you had the God-given truth. Let me, then, be ambitious if not presumptuous, and persuade you that you do not have the truth. Your confidence in your God is simply wrong! 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... Comments 1 - 14 of 14 | Sort Comments By: Reload Comments | Back to Top | Page Numbers 1. Comment #1732 by S.Aiyer on October 16, 2006 at 6:42 am Religion flowers in spiritual poverty, loneliness and ignorance, it seems to give hope to the hopeless but in reality it helps them live a lie. Most people do not want to take responsibility for their lives, environment and society.Priests,preachers, Gurus and Ayatullahs are parasites who live off this ubiquitous ignorance of their flock. One needs intelligence to stand alone. Being part of a tribe or a faith group requires weakness on the part of an individual.But to think deeply and question established values requires strength. 'Voices of Science' DVD 2. Comment #34800 by coolwainy on April 25, 2007 at 9:26 am Imagine a world without religion - welcome to a world of total anarchy, no morals and a society in pieces. Dawkins is living in fantasyland if he thinks a world without religion (or should I say Christianity), would be a better place. How can a society work where as long as the majority agree with something it becomes acceptable? And don't cite religion as the reason for violence - it would still exist to an even greater degree. Hitler and Stalin did not need religion as an excuse to start a war. Also don't make the mistake of tarring all religions with the same brush - you cannot blame law-abiding Christians for the acts of Muslim terrorists, that is just naive. Other Comments by coolwainy Audio Books 'Break the Science Barrier' DVD The God Delusion Read by Richard Dawkins & Lalla Ward 3. Comment #34801 by scottishgeologist on April 25, 2007 at 9:41 am Yes, just imagine it - a world composed of countries like the Scandinavian ones. Just think how crap that would be. Much better to have a world composed of countries ruled by the Pat Robertsons and Benny Hinns of this world. Counterbalanced of course by several nations ruled by throat-slitting bearded a-holes waving their AK47s about. I've an idea. Lets all get together and pray for such a world..... religion has obviously got SO much more to offer than social democracy and science. Other Comments by scottishgeologist 'The Four Horsemen' DVD The Ancestor's Tale Read by Richard Dawkins & Lalla Ward 4. Comment #34802 by GodlessHeathen on April 25, 2007 at 9:41 am Coolwainy; I do wish y'all would read about a little before posting. You're not saying anything at all new, and more to the point, not saying anything that has not already been refuted in a number of ways. On the Origin of Species Read by 'AAI 2007 Conference' DVD Other Comments by GodlessHeathen 2 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... Richard Dawkins 5. Comment #34807 by _J_ on April 25, 2007 at 10:08 am 2. Comment #34800 by coolwainy 'How can a society work where as long as the majority agree with something it becomes acceptable?' Marvellous question. Whereas, if we determine twenty-first century social acceptability in terms of adherence to the opinions of a vocal minority in the bronze age Near East, clumped with some later additions hobbled together from existing mythologies, selectively edited and then subjected to several centuries of varying interpretation, translation and reinterpretation – that way, utopia lies. Yes, of course, it's all so obvious. Step this way; mind the graven images. Other Comments by _J_ Links: 'Root of All Evil? The Original Program' DVD 6. Comment #58343 by Your_Noodly_Master on July 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm RD makes the claim that children, who have given no thought to their religious beliefs, can not accurately be described as having a religion. However, in other articles, he theorizes that the spread of religion occurs because the minds of children are open to be easily programmed. His stated goal for his book is to get people to question the validity of their religions, which implies that most people don't. These ideas seem contradictory; people are programmed with religion as children and largely don't question it, but it is improper to describe some people as members of whatever religion for that same reason. Other Comments by Your_Noodly_Master 'Root of All Evil? The Uncut Interviews' DVD 'Growing Up in the Universe' DVD More Links Quotes of Note: "Religions do make claims about the universe--the same kinds of claims that scientists make, except they're usually false." Richard Books by Richard Dawkins The Oxford 3 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... Dawkins "Leon Lederman, the physicist and Nobel laureate, once half-jokingly remarked that the real goal of physics was to come up with an equation that could explain the universe but still be small enough to fit on a T-shirt. In that spirit, Dawkins offered up his own T-shirt slogan for the ongoing evolution revolution: Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators." Richard Dawkins "The fight both for and against slavery in the United States was waged first along scriptural lines. . . . There was also the theory of the descent from Ham which attained great vogue and still does in certain quarters. . . . With the superseding of religion by science the battle of inequality shifted from a scriptural wording to a scientific one. Now it was no longer what "God had said" but what color, hair, and skull showed. . . . In other words, the 7. Comment #58348 by Goldy on July 24, 2007 at 2:59 pm Noodles, I'm confused. If a child has not been given religious thoughts (like my child) then hopefully they can't have been programmed to have a religion. If they are told that God is the one true god and all that and that they have to believe, they will. Most people do not question the validity of their belief - see Dianelos in other posts, or BizzaroDawkins - they accept and do not question their unique interpretations of the God thought. RD said, as I recall, that no child is born a religion. They are born a colour, a shape, a sex but not a religion. It is like nationality - I am English, my wife is Chinese, my daughter is born in NZ. Is she a Kiwi then? (Yes, by birth) Is she English? (Yes too - through me - and she is a dual national) Is she Chinese (through mitDNA yes but as my wife lost her Chinese nationality once she took NZ citizenship, no). See the confusion? Nationality is an artificial construct, like religion. Parents decide their religion, on the whole. Like circumcision, the child has no say in the matter, a matter that can follow on into adulthood (here's an article that makes one think http://news.independent.co.uk/world /asia/article2795629.ece). Children believe in Father Christmas, the bogeyman and the tooth fairy - as they question those, they stop believeing. God is the same as those childish ideas (given to the children by adults) but unfortunately the belief in this idea is so widespread that no one really thinks about it. Sometimes, if they do think about it, there are serious repercussions (see article above and consider the Egyptian mufti's recent comments about changing religion). Other Comments by Goldy Book of Modern Science Writing by Richard Dawkins The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins Read the 1st Chapter! 8. Comment #58389 by Your_Noodly_Master on July 24, 2007 at 5:13 pm I agree that no one is born with a religion; my point is that from then on, indoctrination occurs. Trying to determine exactly when a child's beliefs are such that they could be considered a member of that religion seems impossible and pointless. Therefore, deciding whether it is appropriate to describe a child as Christian, Muslim, etc. would have to be done on a by case basis. Other Comments by Your_Noodly_Master The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins Read the 1st Chapter! The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins Read the 1st Chapter! 4 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... pro-slavery faction and the antislavery one had entered the stage in new costumes. Underneath were the same bodies." Joel Augustus Rogers "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." Richard Dawkins "The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive...but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born." Mark Twain 9. Comment #58397 by Goldy on July 24, 2007 at 5:28 pm That's the point, isn't it? You can't describe a child as anything but a child. When a person understands what religion means and either rejects it or embraces it, that's when the name calling can start :-) However, I was a Christian from, well, a month after my birth. Christened in Dec 1969. No matter what i thought, I was C of E, end of story. For some, I'm C of E until my last breath, no matter what. We could go on a case my case basis, but generally, a child is deemed of that religion from when it is born. Ethnic Malays are Muslim by law, no matter what their beliefs (you may recall the recent story of a woman, I believe called Joy, who wanted to change her classification to Christian. This was disallowed, to the cries of Allahu akbar, becasue once a Muslim, always a Muslim. Did anyone ask her if she wanted to be a Muslim at birth?). In some cases, there are a few preliminary priestly mumbles and maybe a spot of mutilation after birth to "welcome" the child to the fold after the actual birth, but generally, there is no choice. I think the child is not really important in the equation other than existing, which is why it has been described as abuse. Personally, I don't think a child should be labelled anything other than a child. Even if they decide they want to be known as Christian or Muslim or Tea Potters, at a young age they are probably only mouthpieces of indoctrination (see this article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/world /asia/24madrasa.html?ref=world) and don't fully comprehend what it is they are meant to be thinking. Again, the theists arguing here are a good example of this, to me at least. In some cases, te indoctrination is so deep, evidence has to be interpreted with a god in it to make it understandable. Ideally a case by case basis for description is right, but it doesn't happen that way. Other Comments by Goldy Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins Read the 1st Chapter! Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins Read the 1st Chapter! More Books by Richard Dawkins 10. Comment #61728 by mikecbraun on August 6, 2007 at 2:14 pm Religion does NOT give hope to the hopeless, on the contrary, I think it makes them more hopeless. A hopeless inner struggle of questioning every thought and every action and wondering, "Is this what god would want me to do?" "Am I going to hell?" "Are my family members going to hell?" Forcing this hopelessness on others, especially children, is a great evil. Unfortunately, our children are empty vessels waiting to be filled with others' racist beliefs, religious beliefs, etc. We can't keep them under our protection at all times to filter out the garbage and keep them pure in the quest for truth (pure in the sense that they can wait until an age when they can come to conclusions for themselves). Therein lies the evil of society: influence. The drug dealer, the priest, the racist all have almost equal time with our kids. Parents who hold these poisonous beliefs have carte blanche with their kids, and thus the vicious cycle will continue, which is a shame. Rationality, atheism, and science will always have a struggle. Let's hope that it will not always be an uphill struggle! Other Comments by mikecbraun 5 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... More Quotes Other Recommended Reading 11. Comment #61735 by pewkatchoo on August 6, 2007 at 3:05 pm oh bloody hell, we have another one of the mindless 'weeflea' type nutters in here talking ballocks. Yet another one who thinks he understands the purpose of religion better than the assembled cast of this website. I have given up with them and will simply treat their rantings with contempt. Someone else, I am sure, will take up the challenge of trying to get sense out of the senseless. Other Comments by pewkatchoo 12. Comment #61740 by Nails on August 6, 2007 at 4:05 pm The Moral Animal Robert Wright 2. Comment #34800 by coolwainy on April 25, 2007 at 9:26 am Shouldn't you change your log in to "loony"? Instead of picking holes in your post, I would merely invite you to read TGD (if you already have, then read it properly this time) and watch your words disappear down the u-tube, where they belong. Other Comments by Nails 13. Comment #119553 by Steve Zara on January 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm Conciousness Explained Daniel C. Dennett How can a society work where as long as the majority agree with something it becomes acceptable? Representative democracy. Having an indirect democracy helps to prevent the views of the masses dominating over the rights of minorities. Other Comments by Steve Zara 14. Comment #121912 by rthille on February 4, 2008 at 10:46 am Kluge Gary Marcus Josh, do you see any problem with me reproducing this (printing on 8.5"x11" sheets, or mayby 1/2 sheets) with the "Imagine No Religion (twin towers)" images on the other side to hand out? Other Comments by rthille Reload Comments | Back to Top 6 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM 'Imagine No Religion' by Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net http://richarddawkins.net/article,1,Imagine-No-Religion,Richar... Breaking the Spell Daniel C. Dennett Comment Entry: Please Login Register a new account Username: Password: login Why Darwin Matters Michael Shermer Home | Reason | Science | Columns | Newsletter | Calendar | The Richard Dawkins Foundation | Store | Archives | Contact | Forum | Website Banners | Tour Journal | Converts' Corner | Good, Bad, Ugly | Update Log Read the 1st Chapter! More Books RichardDawkins.net : The Official Richard Dawkins Website Email: firstname.lastname@example.org · Website Design by Josh Timonen / Upper Branch Upper Branch Los Angeles Office: 1427 N La Brea, Suite A LA, CA 90028 USA 7 of 7 8/5/08 2:22 PM
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I say silly stuff.