Thursday, November 6, 2014

Western Civilization: Its Self-Contempt and Demise

A group neutrally named Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies (IEET) must be relatively reliable, right? Wrong! In an article entitled, “Psychological Harms of Biblical Christianity,” IEET claims:

  • Humanity has been going through a massive shift for centuries, transitioning from a supernatural view of a world dominated by forces of good and evil to a natural understanding of the universe. The Bible-based Christian population however, might be considered a subset of the general population that is still within the old framework, that is, supernaturalism… In the biblical view, a child is not a being that is born with amazing capabilities that will emerge with the right conditions like a beautiful flower in a well-attended garden. Rather, a child is born in sin, weak, ignorant, and rebellious, needing discipline to learn obedience. 
IEET is committed to philosophical naturalism – the belief that phenomena originated, are sustained, and work by strictly natural and mindless processes. However, there is not one shred of evidence for this belief. There are no experiments, findings, or observations that have been able to rule intelligence out of the equation.

From the perspective of this belief system/religion, Christianity is therefore antiquated. However, IEET takes their criticism to another level, claiming that Christianity is destructive.

IEET, in their zeal to prove their case, consistently misrepresents Christianity. Contrary to IEET’s claims, we do believe that children are extraordinary. If fact, we have a higher regard for children than they do. We believe that they are created in the image of God, endowing them with unalienable rights – something that naturalism has no rational basis to embrace.

Of course, we believe that children sin and that sin must be addressed, but does this make it wrong? If the child has a fever, shouldn’t that be addressed? Problems need to be addressed. If we didn’t do so, IEET would accuse us of neglect!

  • Because the child’s mind is uniquely susceptible to religious ideas, religious indoctrination particularly targets vulnerable young children. Cognitive development before age seven lacks abstract reasoning. Thinking is magical and primitive, black and white. Also, young humans are wired to obey authority because they are dependent on their caregivers just for survival. Much of their brain growth and development has to happen after birth, which means that children are extremely vulnerable to environmental influences in the first few years when neuronal pathways are formed.
There is no alternative but to “indoctrinate” infants. They must be socialized and learn their ABCs. All schools are agents of indoctrination. Admittedly, children should be taught to reason for themselves as they are able. However, any Einstein must first learn the ABCs, addition and subtraction.

However, IEET gives the mis-impression that they are able to bypass the inculcation of the basics, while we abusively force our children into mental strait-jackets.

Naturalists also convey the idea that they support science, while we distort children’s minds with myths:

  • If you are good and that 2000 years ago a man died a horrible death because you are naughty. Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, the Rapture, and hell, all can be quite real. The problem is that many of these teachings are terrifying.
Is it more scientific to believe that the world naturally jumped into existence uncaused out of nothing, even before there were such things as the laws of physics, than to believe that a Transcendent Being created?

Indeed, some teachings are terrifying, but does this make them wrong to teach? Should we not teach our children about sexual predators, Ebola, warfare, and evil? Of course we should! However, the Christian has a resource that the naturalist lacks to mitigate the terror. We also teach that God is totally forgiving and protecting – that even if we are killed, we go to be with Him!

If IEET is so concerned about the abuse of “teachings [that] are terrifying,” they should either teach denial or the Christian God!

  • When assaulted with such images and ideas at a young age, a child has no chance of emotional self-defense. Christian teachings that sound true when they are embedded in the child’s mind at this tender age can feel true for a lifetime. Even decades later former believers who intellectually reject these ideas can feel intense fear or shame when their unconscious mind is triggered. 
There is some truth to this. When we live unrepentantly in a way that violates God’s commands, this can produce “intense fear or shame.” However, this is a good thing when it leads to confession. The murderer should experience “intense fear or shame” if his conscience is healthy. Society would then be healthier and safer.

It is noteworthy that one of the authors of this article “describes herself as cosmist, cosmicist, upwinger, socialist-libertarian, hedonist and abolitionist. Khannea is transgendered.” It is therefore understandable that she would feel contempt for the Christian faith, regarding it as the source of her “intense fear or shame.”

  • Home schoolers and the Christian equivalent of madrassas cut off children from outside sources of information, often teaching rote learning and unquestioning obedience rather than broad curiosity. 
But what are the facts about homeschooling? Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute conducted a nationwide study of homeschooling in America. He collected data for the cross-sectional, descriptive study in spring 2008. The 11,739 participants came from all 50 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The findings read:

  • In the study, homeschoolers scored 34–39 percentile points higher than the norm [50%] on standardized achievement tests. The homeschool national average ranged from the 84th percentile for Language, Math, and Social Studies to the 89th percentile for Reading.
These findings prove that statistically children fare far better with their home-schooling parents. Also, instances of abuse are far lower.

  • Fear of sin, hell, a looming “end-times” apocalypse, or amoral heathens binds people to the group, which then provides the only safe escape from the horrifying dangers on the outside. 
Are these fears unrealistic? IEEP must first prove that these teachings are destructive myths – something they haven’t even begun to do. However, we insist that it is beneficial to prepare our children for eternity. Of course, if there is no eternity, then we have done our children a disservice. However, if there is an eternity, then the naturalist is guilty of criminal neglect.

  • In Bible-believing Christianity, psychological mind-control mechanisms are coupled with beliefs from the Iron Age, including the belief that women and children are possessions of men, that children who are not hit become spoiled, that each of us is born “utterly depraved”, and that a supernatural being demands unquestioning obedience.
This too represents libelous distortion. Instead, the Bible teaches that we are caretakers and have a great responsibility to our wives and children. The husband is called to greater forms of self-sacrifice for his family – loving his wife as Christ did the church, even to the point of giving his life for his wife.

One of my students had sent me this article. I’m glad that she did! These misrepresentations need to be addressed. We live in a culture experiencing a severe auto-immune response – attacking itself and everything that it values. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ex-Muslim, ex-Dutch Parliamentarian, and atheist, seems to understand this better than most Western intellectuals. She even promotes Christianity, not naturalism, as an alternative to Islam:

  • The Christianity of love and tolerance remains one of the West’s most powerful antidotes to the Islam of hate and intolerance. Ex-Muslims find Jesus Christ to be a more attractive and humane figure than Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
  • I have a theory that most Muslims are in search of a redemptive God. They believe that there is a higher power and that this higher power is the provider of morality, giving them a compass to help them distinguish between good and bad.  Many Muslims are seeking a God or a concept of God that in my view meets the description of the Christian God.  Instead they find Allah. They find Allah mainly because many are born in Muslim families where Allah has been the reigning deity for generations… (p. 239)
  • The Christian leaders now wasting their time and resources on a futile exercise of interfaith dialogue with the self-appointed leaders of Islam should redirect their efforts to converting as many Muslims as possible to Christianity, introducing them to a God who rejects Holy War and who has sent his son to die for all sinners out of a love for mankind… The Vatican and all the established Protestant churches of northern Europe believed naively that interfaith dialogue would magically bring Islam into the fold of Western civilization. It has not happened, and it will not happen…. To help ground these people in Western society, the West needs the Christian churches to get active again in propagating their faith. It needs Christian schools, Christian volunteers, the Christian message… The churches should do all in their power to win this battle for the souls of humans in search of a compassionate God, who now find that a fierce Allah is closer to hand. (Nomad, pp. 247, 249, 250, 251)
Naturalism and moral-relativism will never win hearts. Meanwhile, it has blindly set itself against the one resource that can!

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