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Do tax-supported school systems kill belief in God?

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Interesting case:

Stone cites the seminal work of Raphael Franck and Laurence Iannaccone on this point, who meticulously tracked religious behavior over time in their own work. According to Franck and Iannaccone, “higher educational attainment did not predict lower religiosity: More and less educated people are similarly religious.” Nor did they “find that industrialized, urban life reduces religiosity: A more urban and industrialized population was associated with greater religiosity.” The link between intellectual progression/modernization and secularization is non-existent. …

It turns out that religiosity is usually determined very early in life. All the data suggest that, by and large, kids brought up in religious households stay religious and kids who aren’t, don’t. Consequently, childhood religiosity has been, and remains, the most important indicator of America’s religious trajectory. The story of religious decline in America is not the story of adults consciously rejecting the faith of their forefathers: It’s the story of each generation receiving a more secular upbringing than the generation preceding it. What accounts for this secularization of childhood over time? Taxpayer dollars.

Cameron Hilditch, “Why American Children Stopped Believing in God” at National Review

One persons’s (News) childhood recollection of Christmas in the mid-1950s: In a very cold prairie farmhouse in Canada at a clan gathering, a bunch of little girls were huddled under blankets near the stove* and engaged in a fierce debate: Are angels boys or girls?

One uncle, considered an authority, said that angels were definitely boys. But that didn’t seem right, considering that angels wore dresses and crowns and such… We fell asleep before settling the debate. But people who have ever been in such a debate are probably more likely to be religious later in life.

  • The boys who were those girls’ cousins had to sleep in a colder part of the house, to steel their mettle.
(crickets, of course) Querius
Mahuna @8, I have indeed delved deeply into the history of the early Christian writings, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, and archaeological finds. For example, did you know that over 50 people mentioned in the Tanakh, have been located in history by archaeological artifacts? Did you know that the time of the appearance and execution of the Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years before it was fulfilled, followed by the prophesied subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple 40 years later? The Hittites were once considered Biblical mythology until the ruins of the Hittite empire was uncovered in Anatolia in 1906. More recently, the ruins of what appears to have been a Mycenean town of Tall El Hammam in Jordan since around 2005, which seems to fit the requirements of the Biblical town of Sodom with *physical evidence* including a one to two meter destruction layer that included pottery sherds showing the effects of an extreme temperature event (i.e. formation of trinitite similar to that found at the Trinity atomic test site), human bones charred off above the knees, and walls moved off their foundations in a single direction. I've also delved into apparent and real textual variations and deviations in historical manuscripts of the Bible. Taken as a whole, the Bible is the most reliable (in the technical sense) of all ancient documents by orders of magnitude. There are about 24,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament from 100 to 300 years after the originals. So, maybe you can appreciate my extreme skepticism regarding your assertions. What was the name of this "competent" scholar you referenced? -Q Querius
The Catholic Church as an Organization is about COLLECTING MONEY.
Maybe consider the idea that you're oversimplifying what an organization of 1.2 billion people is all about? I mean, there might be something you're missing. Like, have you ever heard of a Catholic hospital? There are about 5,500 of them - many in the poorest of places. Most of them take patients who have no health insurance or even have no money at all. Kind of hard to collect money from those people.
THE reason to collect that money is so that bishops and such can live in nice places.
Like St. Damien of Molokai. He lived in a very nice place. A leper's island - caring for lepers. And he died of leprosy in that work, oh yes, so he could collect money from the lepers to live in that nice place.
It’s just you and God. And there is ONLY Heaven.
If there's only heaven then I wouldn't say that opinion means very much. I mean, everyone is necessarily going to get a bullseye on the target, so there's no reason to even think about it. But I'll say - no, that's wrong. There is a final Judgement. God will judge our actions, our inner commitment to the truth, and all of the sins we have committed, what virtues do we have, all the lies and falsehoods we spread, and whether or not we repented, atoned or sought his mercy. The only things we bring with us at death, to that judgement are our vices and our virtues. Those same saints I mentioned feared that judgement themselves. Did we love God's law or did we hate it (by ignoring, distorting, or violating it with impunity)? Is our virtue weak or strong - or non-existent? Anyone who mocks and laughs at such a thing has dissolved the meaning and value of their own life. Silver Asiatic
Sev @2: The same can be said for children's sports training. If you do not introduce your children to any particular sport, waiting for them to be old enough to rationally choose the best sport for them, you should not be surprised if they choose no sport at all. Children need to be raised with values and truths, beliefs and habits, procedures and norms, or else they develop into "whatever" anarchists, with no values, truths, beliefs, norms, etc., other than what they pick up from their peers or the Internet, or worse. I hope that is not your plan for raising children. You cannot develop critical thinking skills without those guidelines and experiences. As an exercise, try teaching someone critical thinking skills without applying any truth, belief, norms, values, etc. Fasteddious
Querius, peace & joy. I have ABSOLUTELY no use for Biblical Fundamentalists. Every single piece of the Bible is either a known lie (i.e., civil histories and modern archeology tell us so) or is simply copied from some REAL culture's mythology. (Um, Goliath is simply copied from a Phoenician description of a group of Phoenician mercenaries being rented out to the Greeks...) The most reasonable description of Divine interest in human life comes from the Druids (or any of the other Shamanist folks). All humans have immortal souls that survive after our physical body wears out. There is no "hell" (Hell is the invention of guys who discovered they could earn a cushy living from "donations" if they SCARED their fellow citizens). Everyone's Soul goes to Heaven. (Read the parable of the Workers: the guy who worked a 12 hour day gets EXACTLY the same reward as the guy who only worked 1 hour.) The king of Egypt was NEVER called "pharaoh". He was called "king", just like in Greece or Babylonia. There were NO CAMELS in Egypt until the Moslems brought them in around 1000 AD... etc., etc., etc. There was no King Solomon, and no King David. Jerusalem is a VERY modern city, compared with the Phoenicians or the Arabs or anyone else... So, you can study Theology and the associated History, or you can memorize myths and fairy tales. And then argue about the names of the characters in the fairy tales. I just finished a VERY modern book by a COMPETENT Christian scholar in which he discusses in GREAT breadth and length known, documented FRAUDS and misrepresentations in Christian writing between about 200 AD and 600 AD or so. There were apparently a WHOLE buncha wannabe monks and such who didn't think twice about quoting a NONEXISTENT Greek manuscript "written by the Apostles"... It's just you and God. And there is ONLY Heaven. When you're in the mood, thank God for being God. Kinda the way you'd thank your mom for giving you an extra cookie. Oh, and if you're in an adventurous mood, read the Gospel of St. Thecla. She was a disciple of Paul. And she was one of those most evil women who TAUGHT men religion... mahuna
Mahuna, When church and state unify, they will eventually determine which one is the rider and which one is the horse (to paraphrase Otto von Bismarck). Jesus told us that his kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his servants would fight. But those protestants and Catholics who create political entities and serve Mammon do not serve Jesus or the Kingdom of God. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. -Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV) -Q Querius
I'm not sure how things work amongst Protestants, but amongst Catholics the Clergy have spent most of the last half-century convincing their congregations that the guys running things are idiots who can't find their butts with 2 hands. The Catholic Church as an Organization is about COLLECTING MONEY. THE reason to collect that money is so that bishops and such can live in nice places. I can't think of a single issue, including Abortion, where the Church "Leadership" has an active (read about it in newspapers...) program to achieve and maintain practice of the established Catholic doctrine in society. The Church in Europe was dealt a mortal wound when the government of France made all clergy (regardless of Faith) civil servants whose salary is paid by the general tax pool. It's the same way with church buildings: they're owned and maintained by the government. Not being TOO stupid, French clergy now ACT like civil servants. I understand that 20 years ago, Sunday collections IN THE USA were the basis of WORLDWIDE Catholic operations. Unfortunately the Italians and Frenchmen who own and operate the "universal" Church never LIKED Americans and still don't. So within the next generation, I expect the Roman Church to go "bankrupt", whatever that might mean. I can't think of a SINGLE article of Dogma which is not currently up for grabs. Perhaps Rome will even give up on Transubstantiation. mahuna
Notice that Seversky @2 equates anything that parents teach their children as indoctrination, whereas what's taught in the schools is as pure as the freshest snow and not indoctrination at all. The difference is that children can watch and learn from the lives of their parents but the lives of their teachers are not available. A favorite film on this subject is called "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." Every teacher and professor should watch this movie along with "Stand and Deliver." -Q Querius
Should children be indoctrinated with their parents values or trained in critical thinking skills so that they can make their own choices?
If the parents don't know if their value-system is good or bad, or if they have no confidence in it, or maybe even if they think their own value-system is not a good thing to pass along - then yes, they should help their children find a way to adopt another value-system that actually is a good one. But many parents believe their values and religion are the very best for themselves, their children and society. So, clearly, they will want to indoctrinate their children in those very same values that they believe are excellent and necessary for a good life. I'd think letting children grow to adulthood without a foundation in values, hoping they'll somehow discover a good system, is to warp their growth and leave them searching for something (and maybe never finding), rather than being able to live out and engage in a good life. Silver Asiatic
Anyone trained in and capable of critical thinking skills would reject evolution by means of blind and mindless processes as the explanation for the diversity of life. ET
What this shows is that religious belief is not based on the merits of one faith over all others but what children are taught by their elders before they are of an age to be able to make their own judgements. Is that good or bad? Would you consider it good or bad if a child is raised in a liberal, progressive and atheist household?. Should children be indoctrinated with their parents values or trained in critical thinking skills so that they can make their own choices? Seversky
Very early in life = at conception. Religiosity is a talent like math and music and morality. polistra

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