Sunday, December 20, 2009

four score and seven years ago...

Many Atheists try to say this country (USA) wasn't founded upon Christian principles, yet many of these same people say the only reason people ever even become Christians is because they were "brainwashed" by their parents or "indoctrinated" by society.

I will fight the battle of why our forefathers left England another day. For now I'm just thankful we live in a country where we are still allowed to have freedom of religion.

But I'd argue the opposite is true when it comes to indoctrination. Ponder these things and come up with an explanation why young people still come to Christ.

Most kids spend about 8 hours a day at a public school or on the school bus.
The spend a lot of time on the internet looking at many things they shouldn't.
They play sexually explicit and violent video games.
They listen to sexually explicit and violent music.
They watch the same type of movies.
All the magazines they read are marketed to make them think they need to look and act a certain way.
And all advertising is focused on the flesh. If it tastes good, eat it. If it feels good, do it. It's your life so live it.

Let's compare that to all the brainwashing going on. Most Christians kids spend about 2 hours a week in church. Most don't even open a Bible outside of church. And most Christians families usually only pray together before meals. And that's only a couple times a week if there lucky.

Yet every day young people still seek and accept Jesus as their Savior. It's not easy for anyone to live a life for Christ, let alone young people. I mean it just ain't that cool to be a "Jesus Freak".

So if there is any brainwashing going on, it certainly isn't that there is a God, if anything, just the opposite.

Peace, feeno


  1. Not sure where to begin, but I'll start with the issue most dear to my heart.

    Jesus was very much against materialism, and it's certainly not part of Christianity by any stretch of the imagination. The overwhelming majority of people in the US are Christian. Ergo, America couldn't possibly be materialistic... except we observe that it is. Why is that?

    The answer is simple: this is not a nation that was initially built on Christianity, nor is it a nation that adheres to Christian values. America has no solid roots, Christian or otherwise. Many people who lived in the colonies were not even English. Things like "In God We Trust" on currency and "under God" in the pledge are 20th century additions aimed at fighting a perceived threat of atheistic Communism during the Cold War. Deistic notions of an absentee God were very popular among the intellectual elites who organized the revolution. Try to imagine the feelings of atheism that were increased by the growing hatred of a King who claimed divinely mandated power.

    The Puritans were a political group who lost power in England and left because they wanted to practice their... unique ideas. They make up a miniscule, almost insignificant part of what became America. Don't believe me? Check with your local Puritan Church. The closest you will find are museums in New England, because their ideas failed and their religion died.

    As for the media and brainwashing bit: have you seriously ever read the Bible? There's plenty of violence and sex in the Bible. Also, you might notice a growing trend in atheism among the young because they are not being inundated with religion as often as their parents.

  2. 'Sup Geenks

    Well, I'm not an expert on the whole "why we left England" thing. That sounds more like something JD would know a lot more about than I do? Although I have my opinion.

    However, I have had a lot of experience with young people. I also have noticed that they still want to hear the Bible taught. And the ones that seem to be desiring it the most are the ones who have had little or no exposure to Christian teaching. Nobody requires anything from these young people as far as religion is concerned, yet they still desire a relationship with their creator. My point is just that people don't need to be brainwashed to seek Christ. They are drawn to Him.

    Dueces, feeno

  3. Fee -->"For now I'm just thankful we live in a country where we are still allowed to have freedom of religion"

    Yeah... Just a pity it comes at the extreme cost of our freedom "from" religion also.

    Feeno did you give considderation to being that religion has played such a big part in our societies for so very long,then surely it must also be very much to do with what our societies have become.

    Yes our communities have some things that seem of bad taste.Yes many people care less.Yes to what ever else you wrote that you thought is bad.

    But whos to blame? ..Have religions and gods helped keep families and communities together.Have they been such a great role model.

    Ginx makes excellent points ..Crikey take a decent good honest look in that book you read for once Feeno.

    Typical aint it.Christians kindly flood our world with their divisive cancerous curses,and then like to try and blame the outcomes on non believers also.

  4. I find that interesting, Feeno. In what context/capacity do these young people come to you? How young are they?

  5. LX

    Nobody "comes" to me necessarily, but I've taught youth groups at church for many years. So they come to church, not to see me, but to check "church" out.

    I am a horrible speaker, however I have many friends around town and am often asked to come speak at different youth activities and youth functions. I mainly am dealing with 7th - 12th graders. At my church now I work with the Jr. High. 6th-8th. We have a Awesome couple who are the official Sr. High "Youth Pastors".

    So if you don't want feeno to indoctrinate your kids, keep them away from church. But many of the older kids I deal with drive themselves to church once or twice a week. Yet there parents have never set foot inside a church. Some of these kids will eventually bring their parents to church, some don't, some drop out all together. My daughter has friends who will go to church with her, and some like it a lot and continue to go.

    Is that kinda what you wanted to know?

    Later Holmes, feeno

  6. Feeno, if you want to know how "Christian" our founding fathers were, I suggest you search for the Jeffersonian Bible. Yes, Thomas Jefferson has his own Bible.

    The Pilgrims. likewise were a a very small splinter group driven out of England for their radical views. They in no way represent the majority of early settlers.

    As far as kids becoming indoctrinated into a lewd culture, statistics show that healthier societies with less violence have a greater amount of atheists. England, for example, is about 75% atheistic. Similar statistics reflect the Netherlands as well.

    If you really want to be scientific about it, and if you want kids to stay away from a culture of violence, you should encourage them and yourself to become atheists.

  7. feeno: if you work at a church, you're going to meet the young people who are interested in learning about God. If you worked at a rehab clinic, you might think all kids were drugs addicts. If you were a police officer, you might think everyone was breaking the law. If you tutored kids in writing, like I did, you assume everyone is illiterate.

    That is a phenomena called "selection bias." It's totally natural to allow our experiences to shape our opinions, but it's good to keep perspective on the overall picture, because we tend to only see (and intensely focus on) a tiny part of the whole.

  8. Yes, thanks Feeno. It doesn't surprise me that the whole thing appeals to newcomers. It's designed to, not that that's a bad thing in itself.

  9. Hello Monkey,

    I'm surprised that them Queen lovin', tea sippin' soccer sissies are only 75% atheist?

    Peace be with you.


    Is "selection bias" why cops are so snotty?

    Anyways, I really don't care why these kids show up, I'm just glad they do. I agree with you about selection bias, I mean that makes sense, but people are still drawn to God.

    I believe Monkey is accurate about England tho. I knew a young girl who went over there as a Missionary who brought back a similar report. Not that I take a Missionaries word over Monkeys?

    Late, feen


    Thanks, Yes, some are attracted and then fall away, but then some still finish the race.

    Dueces, feeno

  10. Feeno-

    All little kids love hearing stories, myths, legends, and fables! My mother read me Madeline Engles' "A Wrinkle in Time" series and C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series every night before bed when I was too young to read. But my imagination was vivid!

    Of course kids like the Bible stories... because they're entertaining stories!

    The difference is, after the book is closed and is resting quietly on the shelf, when mother says theses books over here are all make-believe, we believe mother. Mother wouldn't lie, she loves us.

    And when she says everything in the Bible is literally true, factual, we say okay, and go to bed. (Well, actually... we ask why, why, why... until Mom gets tired and states dispassionately, 'Just because.' Then we go to bed). But mother loves us, she would never lie, right?

    So people get indoctrinated into believing something. And that belief is not only instilled, but perpetuated, by reinforcing the belief that it's true... keeping the faith that it is true.

    Reasonable doubts are brushed aside in order to make way for devotional convictions. Skepticism is quelled by doctrinal decrees making it sacrilegious to ask too many questions, and there are religious safeguards in place to make sure nobody thinks too differently (otherwise they get branded a heretic or an apostate or an infidel and are stifled or gotten rid of), and so fear of being ostracized becomes a good motivator in not allowing children to doubt such bed time stories. (And all this authoritarian influence--whether it be the institution or parental--looms over the child's imagination; they may not be aware of what's going on; but if mommy believes in it... that's good enough for them.)

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  12. Contd./

    Then later, the child finds out the tooth faerie and Santa Claus aren't real. Most often because our parents reveal it to us, or our friends do, and they continue to ridicule us until we conform to the social norm. However, if religion is the social norm, and doubting is suppressed or not allowed, then nobody questions the stories validity, and certainly nobody is going to boldly say that it's absurd. So it's easy to stop believing in Santa, because when you reach the age of reason, everyone makes a habit to point out how fictional he is. The same cannot be said for the stories and fables of religion. They may state it's good to think for yourself... but don't doubt faith... that's true. Stay the course lil' Susie. Santa is fake, but Jesus is the real deal! If only it were that simple.

    Then there is the additional fear of causing a rift between those most precious to you for admitting a dwindling faith later on. Almost a sense of shame for letting everyone down, since they worked oh so hard to keep you in the heard along with all the other unquestioning sheep.

    Mommy will get angry at me if I tell her I don't believe in unicorns, sea monsters, talking donkeys, chatty internally combustible shrubbery, magic-man Jesus, demonic pigs, and seven headed dragons... she'll be furious... her feelings will get hurt... I couldn't bring myself to break her dear old heart... she'd worry about me constantly... I don't want to hurt my poor mother. I'll just go along with it.

    Taddah! I believe! I do... because mommy says so.

    *And that's right, logically sound from the standpoint of children. We do depend on our role models, our parents, and authoritarian figures to inform us, to teach us, instruct us. It's much more difficult to learn to think for yourself, and then in retrospect, look back on everything your took for granted because nobody ever questioned it, and then do the rascally things and... raise your hand wanting to ask a question which will bring you nothing but persecution. That takes a stronger conviction than any faith. That takes real courage, integrity, and most of all, the unimpeded desire to discover the unadulterated truth.

    After all, little kids do eventually grow up, and then they put childish things behind them.

  13. T-Vick

    "chatty internally combustible shrubbery" Very nice!

    "That takes real courage, integrity, and most of all, the unimpeded desire to discover the unadulterated truth" You say that like it only applies to those who don't believe in god? Why is that. I agree with that statement, problem is you act like Christians don't have those same qualities. I think an Atheist could posses those qualities, just not because he "unsaw the light".

    "after all, little kids do eventually grow up, and then they put childish things behind them".
    My thoughts exactly, but your a sly one to sneak that one in. (1st Corinthians 13:11), but some how I think you already knew that.

    Shalom, feeno

  14. SmartLX said... "Yes, thanks Feeno. It doesn't surprise me that the whole thing appeals to newcomers. It's designed to, not that that's a bad thing in itself."

    Yeah i think maybe i kinda hear what you saying, maybe kinda like smoking ciggys too huh SmartLX.Its not such a bad thing in itself that its appealing and addictive and hey some folks are lucky and dont get to die from it.

    Its still the very good possibility of cancer thats still the very real problem though.

    The thing i personally find extra kinda funny also is, seems even just like the tobacco firms who will always fight tooth and nail to keep the obvious possible harms of smoking tobacco silenced! against all available evidence and at any cost whatsoever even if its human life lost.

    In this other situation we often discuss though, instead its often the priests church companies fighting to keep peddling their deathly wares.

    Whats the rub with that, is it just a simple coincidence?.

    Or more likely simply "corelative" to the pride greed and money?...Or something else

  15. Feeno-

    I sneak a lot of scripture into my dialog. I stopped referencing the verses though, because it just gets annoying in regular talks. Maybe in an essay I'll quote something with a citation, but I expect more from Christians who are trying to argue their position, and often times they know squat about what the Bible says.

    I have the first half of the book of John memorized, and tons of other segments of the Gospels, but I really want people to think about what the phrase is saying, what the message is conveying, not what the presupposed authority of the text may or may not be. I find when people reference scripture, they're not saying "the argument is this... and this... and so I believe this... because this makes sense to me..." but instead are staying... "the Bible says this... and I believe it because it's the Bible..."

    That just doesn't cut it for me.

    As for the your fist concern, I'm not saying Christians are incapable of discovering the truth, I'm just saying half of them don't want to and the other half discard it when the evidence doesn't mesh with what they *want to believe!

    It takes a little something more to go above and beyond the limitations of understanding. Most people don't have the time or energy to even bother, and I'm not expecting them to, but if they want to really defend their position, really truly, then they have to try harder than what they probably are accustomed to. And I like to push that in what I say by making challenging statements like that.

    I'd be more than happy to be proved wrong. Just go the extra mile with me, and we'll see!

  16. Sure, some youth are attracted to Christianity. So what? Some are also attracted to New Age harness-your-inner-energy crap. Sometimes it's a feeling of being a part of something larger than themselves. Sometimes they need social support. Sometimes their friends are going to church and they don't want to feel left out. Sometimes they're just truly curious about this stuff that all these people believe but they've never really heard about.

    What's more interesting to me is that there seems to be a growing emphasis on individualistic "spirituality" rather than explicit religious traditions. That's already evident with the evangelical idea of a "personal relationship with Jesus" that has, well, let's say limited basis in scripture. So perhaps the kids you know are accepting Jesus, but their ideas about religion and their beliefs may be a hell of a lot different than yours or your parents/grandparents. Some of them may end up mixing Christian ideas with Buddhist and New Age ideas and coming up with their unique blend of religious mush. And depending on the pastor you talk to, that may or may not send them to hell.

    Let's not forget the emergent church movement, which has a very post-modern flavour to it, and completely rejects the idea of doctrine and religious belief and focuses on having "conversations". Lol some of those people probably "accepted Jesus" as well, but their religion is much, much different than yours. I just find it interesting how much religion itself has shifted toward this individualistic, materialistic notion that you blame society and culture for. Maybe this idea of Christianity is more tied up with culture than you thought...

  17. feeno: no, cops act like that because the best job they could get was being a cop.

    I think Jeff almost hit the nail on the head. There's a growing trend of people claiming to be "spiritual, but not religious." In the end, this means nothing and leaves most "believers" seeking something more, even something real. The community of the chuch provides the things these people crave: reassurance from others, emotional or even financial support, and structure.

    I have no idea what "structure" is, but I hear some people crave it.

  18. If anyone out there is truly interested in exploring America's Christian heritage, I highly recommend my favorite site on the subject Dr Newcombe periodically updates the site with a different trivia question concerning this nation's history and you can access the archive for previous questions. For example, the current question up at his site is....

    We celebrate the birth of the Redeemer every Christmas. Which US president said the following in a private letter (after learning of his brother’s death)? "I must soon follow him, and hope to meet him and those friends who have gone before me in the realms of bliss through the mediation of a dear Redeemer, Jesus Christ."

    a. James Monroe
    b. John Quincy Adams
    c. Andrew Jackson
    d. Woodrow Wilson

    Access the website for the answer.

  19. There's no doubt that every founding father I can think of was from a Christian background, and it was only a few who renounced it (Jefferson comes to mind, and the Deist stance of Washington and some others isn't very Christian). However, one thing I think people overlook is the "brand" of Christianity most of them adhered to. Most held ideas of Christianity modern Christians would find incorrect, or even offense. The same would likely be true for the founding fathers looking at Christians today. How many out there are Quakers? Many of our Presidents were.

    One thing I am sure of: most would have strictly opposed the plastering of "God" on money and the use of it in the Pledge of Allegiance. I imagine most would have even opposed the idea of the Pledge altogether as being far too Federalist. Government policy involving God is a flagrant violation of the first amendment, and we overlooked this fact at a time when we were conducting equally unconstitutional Communist witch hunts.

  20. Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin were each self-proclaimed deists. But Franklin's true religion was science, according to those who knew him, and as for Jefferson and Paine, they approached Christianity as purely nonbelievers, and there is the 'Jeffersonian Bible' and the "Age of Reason" to prove their disdain for the Christian faith. In fact they behaved more radically than a fired up Christopher Hitchens, and their words were thrice as imposing.

    Although anyone who has read the "Age of Reason" is hard pressed to deny the higher criticism Paine inflicted on the "good" book, as he tore it to shreds (figuratively speaking) to find anything good about it. Most priestly defenders of the Bible resorted to pure ad hominem attack against Paine because they couldn't find fault with his purely reasoned arguments about all the inconsistencies he found which discredit the Bible.

    In his day, that took real courage, if not a truly enlightened and worldly perspective which saw tradition, even religious tradition, as man made. And I love the fact that while Paine was in prison in France he began to review his critics who said he had no comprehension of the Bible, and when he got out of jail he began his devastating critique, and showed how the reverse was true, and anyone who reads can comprehend it, and that most have not read the Bible and understood it, but those who have are filled with disgust for what is contained in almost every page. (Paine refers to the OT as the Bible and I am using it as such here)

  21. Part of the disdain for Christianity was likely directed at the close ties between Christianity and politics at the time. The King of England derived his power from "Divine Mandate," and the non-Catholics (the vast majority of the colonists) hated the Pope with a passion. Add to this the fact that the modern concept of "atheism," being one who rejects the idea of the existence of gods, is largely a 19th century creation.

    It's almost impossible to clearly understand or compare them to modern ideas because of the massive strides in philosophy that occurred after the fact. The entire idea of Deism is one which rejects the Christian idea of a personal deity, and instead favors the idea that God created the universe with physical laws that self-govern all of existence (usually termed Natural Law). This idea would later evolve into atheism, but not for many decades after the Revolution.

    So one thing is certain: the founding fathers were not atheists, if only because they lacked the term. However, some were skeptics of organized religion (just as some adhered to various sects of Christianity).

  22. as for Jefferson and Paine, they approached Christianity as purely nonbelievers, and there is the 'Jeffersonian Bible' and the "Age of Reason" to prove their disdain for the Christian faith

    I would say with "organized religion" more so than " the Christian faith". I don't think Jefferson was as cut and dried as alot of people think.

    I posted this a couple of months ago.

    "I basically asked him (Jerry Newcombe) if, while researching his book, he came across any information that would lead someone to believe that Thomas Jefferson was more evangelical in his beliefs than the typical deist that he is commonly portrayed as. Dr Newcombe stated that he didnt really know if Jefferson (or Benjamin Franklin for that matter) had actually made statements that they put their faith in salvation in the Blood of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary's cross. He did mention a couple of items though that could give someone pause and wonder if in fact that was the case. First was that Jefferson OK'ed federal monies to be used in missionary efforts among Native American tribes. Secondly, while attending church service at the US Capitol Building (they were held there until about the 1880's) Jefferson once brought in the Marine Band to play during the service there. Could you imagine if something like that happened nowadays? The ACLU would have a heart-attack!"