The worshipping baby

Discuss

98 Responses to “The worshipping baby”

  1. lottakatz says:

    Marjoe Gortner comes to mind, a preacher at around 4-6 he became a whistleblower on his profession as an adult. If you haven’t seen his movie “Marjoe” it’s a real gem and worth the search.

  2. Anonymous says:

    wrong on so many levels

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who doesn’t consider this child abuse has clearly been desensitized to the abuse themselves. How you can do this to a child and find it beautiful in some twisted way is utterly and totally disgusting.

  4. robcat2075 says:

    People like swaying in time to music. That’s the only explanation I have for some churches. And clubs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I’m torn… between awe at watching the process of a child learning to interact with the world around her, amusement at the mimicry of already over-the-top physicality of some worship services, and sadness at the unreason her parents will likely attempt to introduce into her life at an early age.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kinda horrified.

  7. IronEdithKidd says:

    With a 19 month old in our house, we see/hear alot of parroting. It’s what neurotypical toddlers do in the natural course of development.

    • Jupiter12 says:

      “the seeds spawned of religious indoctrination…tantamount to child abuse.”

      I respectfully disagree. If a parent finds something in life that makes them happy, I would expect them to share it with their children. My cousin and her partner are Buddhists and they are raising their daughter, quite nicely I might say, in a Buddhist home environment. I don’t see how you could consider this to be child abuse. When their daughter is old enough to chart her own course she may choose a different religion or no religion at all. That’s fine. For the time being, however, her parents are doing no harm by sharing the values and teachings of the faith that makes them so happy and content.

  8. Patrick Austin says:

    I’m an Atheist, but I’m not one of those that thinks religion is valueless. A lot of people need it and would have a hard time coming up with their own framework for how to live. You think there’d be less violence and hate and bigotry in this world without religion? I know plenty of hateful “lets bomb the hell out of them!” type people who don’t believe in God. If it weren’t a preacher it’d be Glenn Beck.

    This is *way* less creepy and destructive than taking your kids to the mall or letting them watch TV, IMO.

    Children are shaped by the environment their parents provide. I’d love to know what people think the alternative is.

    FWIW, the existence of Atheists is proof that kids have a choice to reject their religion later in life. Chill out.

    • muteboy says:

      Not all Atheists are the children of religious people. But I guess somewhere along the line there was an ancestor that said no.

  9. pwandz says:

    This is truly horrific :(

  10. Wendy Blackheart says:

    I don’t know, I think its cute. Its a kid being a kid – doing what the adults around it are doing. I used to beg my mom to let me go up and get communion when I was a kid, coz everyone else was doing it. Its what the people around me were doing.

    And I know this might seem amazing to people but there IS a middle ground between ZOMG CRAZY RELIGIOUS PARENTS and ZOMG RAGING ATHIESTS.

    My parents are Roman Catholic. Its actually kind of situational these days, but it was a big thing when I was a kid. We had religion classes, we did all the RC things like Baptism, Communions and Confirmation.

    However, despite all this, I am not Roman Catholic. Haven’t been since I was 13 and started questioning things and searching for something that had meaning to me. Now, I’m a pagan with an eclectic tradition studying Shiatsu, Reiki and and alternative medicine. One of my sisters is catholic, one is questioning.

    Do people go over the top? Yes. On both sides. I have to say, some of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever met are Atheists. Surprisingly, most of the super religious people I’ve met have at least understood the nature of faith, even when its not their own.

    Hell, I had a therapist who was a Messianic Jew who was more respectful about my beliefs than most atheists.

    Anywho, the kid is adorable and dancing. I enjoyed it.

  11. lakata says:

    Surprising that no comments here are saying “Oh, isn’t that cute” or “Oh, isn’t that beautiful” (which seems to be what the makers of the video were hoping for).

    The good news is that the church is mostly deserted. This baby might the last parishioner.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @JIMWICh Is it just me, or does that look like the EXACT SAME BABY?

  13. Amelia_G says:

    Reminds me of an article from a Japanese history class I took last year that mentioned that before WWII mothers used to start teaching their babies to bow by pushing them down in their cribs. It became highly instinctual.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It reminds me of those little girls they’ve taught to prance around provocatively like full grown women in beauty pageants.

  15. DMStone says:

    The kid might be imitating the hand motions, body movements, and facial expressions common to contemporary evangelical devotion, but it is a huge leap to assume this kid is, or will be some sort of evangelical clone.

    Have you ever met a teenager? I don’t think any amount of indoctrination can circumvent the processes of growing into adulthood and making your own choices.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What I find at least equally disturbing to the scene in the video itself, is the obvious lack of any halfway _sane_ person around this imitating child who react differently than just filming it.

    What are the recording people, presumingly the parents or church people, about to do with this material, impress their fellow believers during some sunday tea hour how dedicatedly the kid is worshipping Gawd? Would anybody of the receivers suggest that something is going very very wrong here, and that the presence of the holy spirit(tm), anticipated, real or projected, is something that should at least be PG-rated? I think not. And I have been there.

    Raise kids in these mindnumbing ecosystems of both lack of common sense and lack of wise religious reflection (no serious god could ever support such action), and they will gladly evolve as sectarian idiots that carry belt bombs, slit people because they are possesed, or shed venom on Focks news – or at least will remain hurt for their remains lives, never fully getting over it, yet in a “god-loving” way. I told you, I have been there.

    Hallelujah!

  17. Anonymous says:

    The next meme. I wanna see Worship Baby at a Kanye West concert.

  18. InsertFingerHere says:

    Creepy and sad….

  19. Anonymous says:

    I just have to shake my head at some of the comments being posted here. I can be as rational and scientific as the next guy, and once upon a time I was a militant jerk who would lay into anybody who professed an ounce of faith, as if they had admitted to some kind of war crime. The mod who made that very astute comment about modern culture and sports being “a sick cult based on desperate clinging to manhood rituals” could probably include internet trolls in the same category. I understand you’re proud of your science, folks, but one day you’re going to wake up and realize it doesn’t do jack to explain the fundamental fact of existence. All we’re doing with science is assigning names and plotting out mechanisms–and even if we map out every grain of reality we can detect, and learn how to predict its behavior, it still won’t tell us why any of it IS.

    Religion can have a place in human affairs. A faith can save a psychology from devouring itself. And, for the “manly” types, softness does not have to equal weakness.

    As for the baby in the video above, she doesn’t have the least clue what she’s doing, she’s just imitating the adults and while that look on her face may seem “old”, “robotic”, or “depressed” I guarantee you she’s just as happy as a toddler can be, because she’s playing a game. Not that I think her parents should try to force the faith on her, but in theory she’ll grow up and have just as much chance to question herself and her outlook on the world as any of you.

  20. Giovanni says:

    First one to make a video where the baby is shooting fireballs from her hands wins!

  21. inkfumes says:

    My dog likes to watch TV, at least that’s what I tell myself when he is sitting next to me facing the television.

  22. lovelystrangeness says:

    That small child looks like a depressed old person, or maybe a robot, but definitely not a normal small child. *shudder*

  23. thatbob says:

    Culturally specific? That’s exactly how I act when listening to Dio.

  24. relawson says:

    this only supports my view that religion is “learn’ed”

    way to brainwash your kid! w00t!!!

  25. Stickermaker says:

    I find this oddly terrifying.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is awful. So sad.

  27. Anonymous says:

    And two posts above this one, there is a discussion about Martin, a woman from feministing.com, and how she is coming to terms with her own version of feminism, and how that differs from the feminism of her liberal parents and particularly her mother, and, well, just saying….

    sk

  28. hhex65 says:

    These “devotions” will also fit in nicely at the death metal concerts she’ll be at in about 14 years.

  29. Viktor says:

    Poor cute monkey!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cult indoctrination is child abuse.

  31. Jupiter12 says:

    Oops, sorry. My previous comment was a response to benher, not IronEdithKidd.

  32. Jewel says:

    Of course, kids aren’t brainwashed by school, MTV, or the culture at large, whew. They are all safely independent minded and not conformist in any way shape or form.

  33. happytweak says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this is incredibly disturbing.

  34. iaaaaaaaaaan says:

    can I get a Hadouken!!!! ??

  35. skeptacally says:

    it’s a miracle! just a few months ago, that baby couldn’t even stand on it’s own! and now it can DANCE! hallelujah!!! amen!!!

  36. Jupiter12 says:

    I don’t think this is anything to be horrified about. The kid is simply imitating what she sees. My parents have old movie footage of me, as a four year old, sitting at the dining room table during one of my dad’s poker parties. Like my dad and his buddies, I had a cigarette in my mouth and pretended to drink from an empty can of Budweiser. That should certainly trigger more concerns than a kid swaying to church music, but it was just a matter of a child being a child.

    • benher says:

      “I had a cigarette in my mouth and pretended to drink from an empty can of Budweiser. That should certainly trigger more concerns than a kid swaying to church music…”

      I don’t agree. Consumption of chemicals may certainly affect the individual’s health in a negative way, but the seeds spawned of religious indoctrination bear fruit as least as bitter. It’s tantamount to child abuse.

      • DMStone says:

        Comparing a parent teaching their kid their faith to child abuse is flippant rhetoric.

        I believe you would be hard-pressed to put any concrete argument together on how this might be harming the child.

  37. Jake Bullet says:

    There was a video posted here a while back that was similar-ish to this one. That video featured a 3 (?) year old boy delivering a sermon, complete all the intonations of your typical Southern US preacher.

    My google-fu is failing me now, but I’m sure someone has the link handy.

  38. ck says:

    Christians are brainwashing toddlers to their own beliefs!? GASP! You think Christians are the only ones?

    Firstly, toddlers ape what they see. It doesn’t mean that she’s been moved by the spirit of anything but Mommy. Baby sways to the music and Mommy laughs…positive reinforcement! Do it again but bigger this time. More positive reinforcement. Repeat.

    Secondly, this is Florida. You see an empty church. I see a service on a Wednesday night.

    This baby will grow up embraced by the social norms of its environment. She will go to church every Sunday with all of her friends and classmates and pray before every meal. It doesn’t mean she’ll be some crazy zealot. Nor does it mean she’ll rebel and follow Marilyn Manson on tour. Typically children believe what their parents believe unless they’ve been taught about other religions and given a choice.

  39. Talia says:

    It’s videos like this that enforce my belief going to live in a cave is the best course of action.

    Although, weirdly, I just now had the epiphany that, rather than a sinister sign, it should be celebrated as people blossoming into one of their vibrant many types, alabeit far different from my own. A fascinating insight into diversity.

    It’s weird. Having that thought, I’m both disturbed and fascinated. I don’t know.

  40. DeWynken says:

    In this enlightened age, I think it (as a parent) grossly unfair to indoctrinate a child who hasn’t the intelligence to question the unknown, into religion. Let them be learned, and make the decision themselves to usurp rationale with belief.

    To a child, the entire world around them is faith in the unknown to BEGIN with…we strip this away as we grow, and lose that child like wonder..only to grasp at it in small futile ways behind arched doors and stained glass windows.

    This video isn’t cute…it’s a travesty.

  41. Anonymous says:

    hey, i do that, at this age (with METALLICA’s songs), and all of you too. I’m studing pediatrics, and it’s normal, if mom dance hip-hop then baby dance hip-hop too . . . the problem is when the child can’t.

  42. travtastic says:

    One down!

  43. murray says:

    Most religious people that I know were born to religious parents.

    Coincidence?

    Sadly, most of them don’t understand that they didn’t choose their faith.

    • Jack says:

      Most religious people that I know were born to religious parents.

      You obviously have not met anyone who is “Born Again” (Christianity) or “Baal Teshuvim” (Judaism). There is 100% nothing that hammers home the brain washing aspects of religion than to watch someone go down either of these paths. Any other faiths have equivalents to this?

      Oh this kid. Clearly learned behavior. And the fear I used to have of writing/typing God (instead of the more supposedly modest “G-d”) thankfully subsided in my 20s since I only went to Hebrew school a few years. And more of a Yiddish Hebrew school at that.

      I pity this poor kid.

    • Jeremy Hill says:

      Why does having religious parents preclude you from having a choice about religion?

      Many atheists I know came from religious parents. At some point they decided that they didn’t believe.

      I’ve chosen to continue to believe. It’s still a choice I’ve made of my own will. I have chosen my faith.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jeremy, I agree with your comment 100%. I was raised around religion–and I had it patiently explained to me by my father–and it still never sat right with me. When I got old enough, I made my own decisions about what I thought about it all. And I still refuse to call myself an athiest, because I really don’t believe anyone can be that sure. I am a proud agnostic. I’m okay with uncertainty in my life.

  44. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    Quick; someone schedule an Intervention!

  45. Lady Katey says:

    Toddlers simply respond strongly to live music. I’ve witnessed plenty of this type of ‘behavior’ in ‘secular’ environments, such as when the local Farmer’s Market has live bluegrass musicians and such. The little kids are fascinated and really get into it.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I fled to a metropolis from Lakeland (where I was born and raised) several years ago. Chances are, little Ava Grace will probably be swaying to the power of Jesus when she’s all growed up. That’s just how a lot of Lakelanders (holy) roll. *Zing!*

    It’s a town of mall churches, Wal-Marts, and top ten baby names. I am not surprised that that’s where the video was taken.

  47. kytyn says:

    Ever notice how many athletes thank God when they win — but none of them ever blame Him when they lose…

  48. Joe Helfrich says:

    An interesting choiec of content given your current guest blogger. “I think we should all wince when we hear a small child being labeled as belonging to some particular religion or another. Small children are too young to decide their views on the origins of the cosmos, of life and of morals. The very sound of the phrase “Christian child” or “Muslim child” should grate like fingernails on a blackboard.” — Richard Dawkins

  49. DoktorH says:

    judging by the way Ava Grace keeps looking at the camera and then away, I think she’s being coached by someone just off camera to wave her arm around and grimace like that.

    And I don’t think it has anything to do with religion, or at least religious observance isn’t the primary motive here. I think this is like those pictures/videos parents make of their kids in embarassing yet adorable outfits. That’s right: This video exists purely for the LOLz.

    Years later, when Ava is an angsty teenager, Mom and Dad will look at this video and remember that under all that leather and eyeliner she’s still just a goofy kid.

  50. Anonymous says:

    this is just wrong and creepy poor kid and shame on the mum.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Some of you, poor morally righteous staunchly-whatever souls, don’t even recognize that you are indoctrinating your own children as much as this little girl’s parents. Your children, in a different milieu, will imitate you just as much as she imitates her parents. Except your children will say (with their nose in the air), “I don’t eat meat–that’s murder.” “What? That’s not organic! Oh my god, I’m being poisoned!!” And of course, your children will feel morally and intellectually superior to everyone religious, everyone of the working classes (except “oppressed minorities” who they’ll pity), and everyone from the Southern U.S. — all before they’ve reached the age of reason. CHILDREN IMITATE THEIR PARENTS and some of you are just as harshly opinionated and have as many rules for what’s iyo RIGHT as any follower of any religion.

  52. muteboy says:

    My brother had a video of his toddler “dancing” to ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order. Where does that fit in?

    • rtresco says:

      I think I see what you’re saying about New Order and learned/inherited likes and beliefs, but the analogy is a stretch because no one (or country) will ever make war, die, or kill because of how seriously and blindly they believe they are right about New Order.

      This is like the baseball comments earlier. Manufacturing a like of baseball in a child can still be perceived as harmless due to the severity of belief in religion and it’s effect on world politics. Therefore, maufacturing a religious belief is not something to be taken lightly – which I think is a main cause for outrage of this video.

  53. Antinous / Moderator says:

    This is no more disturbing than parents inducting their children into sick cult activities like “baseball” or “watching television.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Baseball is just a game and television is just entertainment. When religious beliefs are widely understood to be “just beliefs” and therefore nothing to take too seriously, your statement will make sense.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Baseball is just a game and television is just entertainment. When religious beliefs are widely understood to be “just beliefs” and therefore nothing to take too seriously, your statement will make sense.

        O RLY? Do you know how much money is spent on cramming sports brands down the throats of a glaze-eyed and gullible public around the world? Do you know what happens to boys who don’t want to play catch with Daddy or play sports in school? It’s absolutely a sick cult based on desperate clinging to manhood rituals.

        Do you know how many hours per day Americans spend watching television, being bombarded with messages about how ugly and poorly dressed they are and how happy they’d be if they would only just buy whatever is being pimped on screen? After sleeping and work (and not always that) people spend more time staring at the TV than anything else that they do in life. You don’t think that that incessant bombardment of commercially-oriented cultural propaganda has a bigger effect on people than the religion that they think about once a week?

        Virtually every aspect of our lives is an inducement to conform to financial/sexual/ethnic/whatever stereotypes, of which religion is only one.

        • Jack says:

          O RLY? Do you know how much money is spent on cramming sports brands down the throats of a glaze-eyed and gullible public around the world? Do you know what happens to boys who don’t want to play catch with Daddy or play sports in school? It’s absolutely a sick cult based on desperate clinging to manhood rituals.

          Hear, hear! And not to say other countries don’t have issues with masculinity, but the U.S. has an odd way of assimilating immigrants based on this. Which also means bullying “others” because of this.

          I like watching sports, but I’m not into blind team loyalty. I like the game and I like the players. And man, I cannot tell you how many times I have been given crap for saying something like “Ugggh, but that guy was good…” or “You know, we sucked. They were better…”

        • Jonathan Badger says:

          Yes, people get tribalistic over sports teams, car brands, operating systems, programming languages, text editors, etc. but with the possible exception of British football hooligans, they don’t murder people over their differences in such cases, nor do their preferences in such matters interfere with their acceptance of scientific or social progress. This makes these obsessions trivial in comparison to religious tribalism.

          • Jack says:

            This makes these obsessions trivial in comparison to religious tribalism.

            I think you miss the point. I can attest that my parents bought whatever baseball teams jacket they could find from local discount stores. Being immigrants and poor, warmth was more important than team loyalty. When they got me a Mets jacket back in the 1970s, I was beat up and harassed. My friends who didn’t? The retarded hispanic classmate, black classmate, and the very cute deaf girl… A group that similarly got crap all the time for doing nothing else but being different.

            Oh yeah, this all happened to me in 1st and 2nd grade. Also known as when I was 6 and 7 years old.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You really get that many murders based on religious tribalism in San Diego? Damn! I’ll just stay out here in the desert.

          • Jonathan Badger says:

            Not so much the murders, no, but religion certainly is interfering with acceptance of scientific and social progress here in San Diego. We have a Creationist museum here, for crying out loud. And the Mormon Church (which coordinated contributions amounting to more than half of the $45 million dollar campaign to defeat gay marriage in California) has a huge garish temple in town.

          • Jack says:

            I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have a Krishna Temple 3 blocks away from me, a Mosque 1 block away, a Baptist Church 3 blocks in another direction, about 3-4 Pentecostal Churches sprinkled in storefronts nearby and a Mormon Center a 15 minute walk away.

            All that so-called “tribalism” seems to have 100% nothing to do with the cops coming to the neighborhood to deal with homeless folks, drug dealers and others.

            Then again, I grew up in a neighborhood filled with Synagogues and knew lots of folks involved in ticket scalping, book making, prostitution and drug dealing. I though we were all such nice Jewish kids! I guess all those Synagogues created a tribal vortex of crime!

          • lovelystrangeness says:

            There’s no need to exaggerate the argument here. No one is claiming that religion somehow attracts crime and evil. Instead, it provides people with an unassailable belief that what they are doing is right (something that baseball and MTV do not do). And yes, we all believe that our morals and ideals are right and everyone else is wrong, but we don’t all have a church instructing us to believe things out of fear, hatred, or greed and threatening us with eternal damnation if we do not obey. Religion alone has that frightening power.

          • Jack says:

            A lot of non-religious folks are involved in cults of their own whether they like it or not.

            You obviously have never been to a Red Sox versus Yankees game. Or been outside of 1515 Broadway when TRL was taping.

            It’s also the main reason I loathe reading Apple tech news. So much of it rotates around “What has Steve Jobs said?” that I find it the anti-thesis of the pragmatic, practical and wonderful world of personal computing I remember in the early 1980s.

            Someone waiting in line to get an iPhone or a PS3 is no different than someone waiting for a house of worship to open in the morning.

          • lovelystrangeness says:

            I’m going to have to continue to disagree. No one hates gay people because they’re a Red Sox fan. The difference between the “cults” you are referring to (sports, media, tech) and religion is that no one believes they will go to Hell if they don’t listen to Steve Jobs. Religious belief infiltrates all aspects of your life. It motivates you, directs you, and implies punishment for failure. This can be a wonderful thing (Christian charities, etc), but it can be terrible and destructive as well.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            No one hates gay people because they’re a Red Sox fan.

            I’m guessing that you’re straight. Sports mania is a pretty significant co-factor in anti-gay violence. Ask any gay person whether they’d feel more comfortable walking through a crowd of people leaving church or a crowd of people leaving a baseball/football/basketball/etc. game.

          • Epizephyrii says:

            Are you honestly saying that sports have a worse influence than religion does regarding gay people (or things in general)? I don’t hear many highly respected public figures that are the heads of sports teams saying that gay people are sinning and will burn in hell, unlike the Catholic Church and its pope.

            Similarly, although sports might make people think unreasonably about sport related things (my team is better than every other team in the world, etc), religion makes people think unreasonably about EVERYTHING in life. It teaches and trains people to believe things without evidence and to mindlessly follow rules without considering the consequences. And this is said from someone who doesn’t bother with sports in the least. In my life I’ve seen far more damage done because of religion than sports.

            Same goes for TV viewing. Sure, it might warp your reality a bit (hey, so can video games, comic books, novels, blogs, and virtually every other form of entertainment out there), but no where near the extent of the impact religion has on many people.

          • Anonymous says:

            religion makes people think unreasonably about EVERYTHING in life. It teaches and trains people to believe things without evidence and to mindlessly follow rules without considering the consequences

            My religion teaches that God is expressed in the world around us, and that science is a worthy investigation into the nature of God, and that people should observe the world and draw their own conclusions about morality and faith.

            Sadly, I don’t expect you to believe in the real world; most anti-religious types are immune to all reason; you’ll probably ignore any evidence you don’t like and simply chant your “religions are all the same” mantras like your non-priests tell you to do.

            God loves you anyway. A God that loves the digger wasp can love anything.

          • Epizephyrii says:

            “My religion teaches that God is expressed in the world around us, and that science is a worthy investigation into the nature of God, and that people should observe the world and draw their own conclusions about morality and faith.”

            So… where does God fit in, in your religion, then? And how do you know there is a God? Your beliefs (and I’ll try to say this as inoffensively as possible) strike me as one of a very watered down religion where God is still a part of it because you want to cling to the idea of a God.

            My major point is that believing in a God without evidence thereof is irrational. The vast majority of religions (not necessarily all of them) attribute faith (defined as believing without evidence) as a positive attribute and I can only disagree with that.

            “Sadly, I don’t expect you to believe in the real world; most anti-religious types are immune to all reason; you’ll probably ignore any evidence you don’t like and simply chant your “religions are all the same” mantras like your non-priests tell you to do.”

            I’m not sure I understand what you mean by not believing in the real world. I do, I see evidence around me that I exist in a world and that there are physics and interactions, etc. Technically I could go all Descartes and contemplate that I could be living only in my mind, but that is a functionally useless hypothesis as it can’t be proven in any meaningful way. So instead I take the realistic standpoint that I am part of a world.

            If you could also expand on what you mean by being immune to all reason. I’d like to think that my entire existence is focused specifically on reason, logic, and evidence. So far, I’ve seen nothing to the contrary as most claims of reason in religion has to do with personal experience and “other methods of knowledge” in which people “just know” but can’t explain.

          • Anonymous says:

            Your beliefs (and I’ll try to say this as inoffensively as possible) strike me as one of a very watered down religion where God is still a part of it because you want to cling to the idea of a God.

            Thanks for the politesse, it’s appreciated. You’ve got a couple memes hidden in the quote, here – let me tease them out so we can communicate.

            When you use the (very common) phrase “watered down religion” you are revealing that you have negative associations in your mind that are your primary conception of religion. Consciously or not, you think that a “strong” religion (in the sense of strong tea or strong beer) is one that manifests the things you dislike about religion. So, a religion that accepts science (as many do) or promotes human dignity (as many do) seems less “strong” compared to religions that practice human sacrifice (symbolic as in Christianity, or real) or deny reality (as many do). Am I right? Think about the religions that are strong or weak in your estimation, and see which ones you dislike more.

            This meme is poisonous. It is just an inverted restatement of the anti-science screeds that the nastier religions push. Look at it bare:

            Anti-science: Science is bad because h-bombs killed innocents. Science always does these things because there is no moral guide in science. Scientists that help people are not really practicing science, because science is bad. At best they are weak scientists if they actually help people.

            Anti-religion: Religion is bad because the Inquisition killed innocents. Religion always does these things because it prescribes behavior to its adherents based on antique dogmas or corrupt priesthoods. Religious people that help others are not really practicing their religion, because religion is bad. At best some religions are weak religions since they do somethings that might be beneficial.

            Every single statement in each screed is false. People who cannot see this have either discarded reason, or they do not understand how to recognize circular logic and category errors in the English language.

            Until you can purge this idea that religion is inherently bad from your mind, and look with a fresh viewpoint, you are unlikely to agree with me about anything. You’re just going to say “well, that guy has something that works for him, but he’s really not religious, because religion doesn’t work”. It’s a self-defeating circular logic pattern- just look at any post by Jonathan Badger to see how it works.

            With that out of the way, yes absolutely I do want to cling to the idea of a God. There are extremely good logical reasons to do so. It’s also empirically the right thing to do, because anyone who follows the scientific method, and wants to be optimally happy and healthy, will want the good aspects of religion that science has identified.

            This is getting really long. Sorry!

            Most people, across all races, cultures, and time periods, have manifested a need for spirituality and ritual in their lives. I hope you don’t dispute this? Hit google for hundreds of books and scholarly dissertations, many with scientific trappings like peer review and statistics and such.

            People have an impulse to God, just like most people have an impulse to eat sugar.

            But when I look at what happens to people who indulge in sugar, I see just bad results. Obesity, diabetes, exploitation of workers, it’s all bad. So I stopped eating sugar more than twenty years ago and I’m happier and healthier for it.

            When I look at what happens to people who recognize the existence of God, though, I see both bad and good results. Obviously, the Inquisition was bad, and the Catholic Church’s 1500 years of state-sponsored pederasty are bad, but there’s also Handel’s “Messiah” and Michelangelo’s “Pieta” as well as thousands of other works of art and music that are explicitly created from the exaltation of God. And obviously religious foundations that do great good in the world are a dime a dozen; they are at least as numerous as non-religious foundations that do evil.

            So it is logical to observe that instead of eliminating religion, one needs to purify it, to make it stronger by eliminating the bad elements. This is the opposite of the toxic meme we identified earlier, you see? Get the good things without the bad, that is empirically a worthwhile tactic.

            I want to engage in the human cultural richness that god-language allows and imparts. I want to gain inner tranquility from contemplating the poems of Rumi, I want to joyfully ring the bells with my family on solstice morn, and shout “Deus Sol Invictus” and dance in the snow and throw snowballs at the sun. I want to meditate on the essence of loving-kindness and merge my mind with the universe. I want these things because they make me happy, and healthier than less joyful folk, and this is scientific fact as repeatedly proven in many studies.

            Personally, I am a pantheist. This means that I have absolutely no conflict between science and religion. I can read Rumi and say “Yes, he is right, God is beautiful” and know God loves me. I can read the latest scientific reports and say “what wonderful things I’ve learned!”. It all works for me and makes me happy. It would be stupid to choose to reject these things that I love, so yes I cling to religion just as I cling to clean air and water. I could drink bad water and breathe foul air, it would just make me unhappy and unhealthy.

            There are other religions that work too, and many that have no conflict with observed reality. I like pantheism mostly because I like to approach divinity as a participant, and not a supplicant.

            If you could also expand on what you mean by being immune to all reason. I’d like to think that my entire existence is focused specifically on reason, logic, and evidence. So far, I’ve seen nothing to the contrary as most claims of reason in religion has to do with personal experience and “other methods of knowledge” in which people “just know” but can’t explain.

            That circular logic I referenced earlier. Pre-defining God as “that which does not exist” or “a being with characteristics that are incompatible with reality” will always lead you back to square zero. For example, if you prove there are no bearded sky-men you haven’t proven anything unless you pre-define God as a bearded sky-man. Bearded sky-men are for weak religions.

            I like Spinoza’s geometric proof of the existence of God, personally. It is falsible; all you have to do to disprove it is demonstrate some physical object that is in all ways greater than another physical object which contains it. Others like Descartes’ ontological proof but I think it’s bunkum, because most people can believe six impossible things before breakfast.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, people get tribalistic over sports teams, car brands, operating systems, programming languages, text editors, etc. but with the possible exception of British football hooligans, they don’t murder people over their differences in such cases, nor do their preferences in such matters interfere with their acceptance of scientific or social progress. This makes these obsessions trivial in comparison to religious tribalism.

            More Hitchens! I want to live in your world, so beautifully uncluttered by actual facts. Do you ever quote Hitchens’ defense of Stalin, I wonder?

            I fear for the day you learn how to use a search engine, and all your crystal cathedrals shatter in the cold winds of reality.

          • Jonathan Badger says:

            Actually, I’ve have never read Hitchens, and whatever similarity in arguments is coincidental. Unlike religious folk, atheists don’t need to find their beliefs in a book as they think for themselves. As for Stalin, something that the religious ignore is that the fellow went to seminary! Yes, Uncle Joe was on the pathway to becoming a priest! Much of what was wrong about him can be more easily understood in that context — he was horribly anti-Semitic, as understandable coming from the same Orthodox Church which organized pogroms, and his obsession with portraits as a focus of his personality worship makes perfect sense given the Orthdox obsession with ikons.

        • Anonymous says:

          While all your points are valid ( and I wholeheartedly agree), I think the point that was being made is that indoctrinating children to religion in this way is a sick, harmful, and abusive thing to do.

          Seeing this video, to me, is like watching child abuse. It is absolutely deplorable.

  54. mermaid says:

    Its creepier that they posted this video of her with her full name.

  55. mermaid says:

    The lead in to this post is one of the more thoughtful descriptions I have read.

  56. Anonymous says:

    this is sickening

  57. delt664 says:

    As Richard Dawkins would say: “There are no Christian children, only children of Christian parents.”

    • Anonymous says:

      “There are no Atheist children, only children of Atheist parents.”

      I was a child of atheist parents (not a capital A). I am a research scientist and, since the age of 23 (after completing my undergrad degree and starting my PhD), I have been a Christian.

      Like Jeremy Hill, I’ve chosen my faith. Jack – I chose it freely, before I’d had significant interaction with the organised body of the church, which at least diminishes the possibility of brainwashing.

      I’m grateful to my parents for leaving it, as best they could, to be up to me. I now face the dilemma – do I raise my children in my faith or do I trust that what I believe to be true will become evident to them too as adults? I don’t know the answer to that.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Madeline Neumann – Age 11 – Died March 2008

    Madeline suffered in agony for 30 days before her death while her parents prayed for god to save her life instead of taking her to the hospital. A simple insulin shot would have saved her life.

    Neil Beagley Age 16 Died June 2008

    “The condition, which doctors say is easily treatable, caused kidney and heart failure.”

    Kent Schaible Age 2 Died Jan 2009

    “The young son of Herbert and Catherine Schaible died from bacterial pneumonia after his parents relied on prayer to heal him.”

    Caryn Still Age 9
    Monica Johnson Age 9
    Tina-Louise Johnson Age 13
    Nancy Evans Age 5

    Five children have died in a measles outbreak here in the last 10 days, all of them from families that belong to two fundamentalist churches that preach a reliance on prayer, not medical care, to cure disease.

    “We have records of 140 cases in the last 15 years in which children have died after medical care was withheld,” said Rita Swan of Sioux City, Iowa, a former Christian Scientist who formed a group urging children’s health care

  59. ericmartinex1 says:

    Yeah, what a robot, should strive to be a non-conformist like me

  60. Anonymous says:

    Silly constipated baby.

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