Okay, this post is in response to a conversation I am having with a friend and his friend. It became to long to post on the current forum, and started becoming enough to post here, so I did.
Alright. Deterring violence in a non religious way. Easy. Teach your children that life is precious, because we only get one. There are no do-overs. It doesn’t matter how much someone bullies you, or treats you like trash, you do not have the right to end their life. How do you know that they aren’t just insecure and try to exert some form of dominance on others just to get some attention? Just a little to feel like they mean something? Or maybe they are just a horrible person, and just like to watch the world burn. You need to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. You need to be humane, because it is the right thing to do. Stand up for yourself, but not at the expense of your honor. Teach your children how to defend themselves. Fear of retaliation is a great deterrence to violence. If you know someone can kick your ass, you probably won’t pick a fight with them. But what about the people who pick fights no matter what? Well, if you’re a good parent, your children will know about them, and hopefully be prepared. But teach them that they must their power only when necessary, abuse of power is what the bully is, do not descend to his level just to teach him a lesson.
Michael hit it when he mentioned families. Your family can have a large impact on your future psyche. But his assertion that current violence is also due to a “lack of exposure to religion” implies that atheism is inherently violent; and disbelief in god causes one to lose morality become angry and violent, and that a belief in god and exposure to religion will inherently create a moral upstanding individual. This view is unfounded and arrogant.
But let us flip this argument, taking and replacing choice words to see the argument from the other side:
“But his assertion that current violence is also due to a “too much exposure to religion” implies that religion is inherently violent, and belief in god causes one to lose morality and become angry and violent; and that disbelief in god and a lack of exposure to religion will inherently create a moral upstanding individual. This view is unfounded and arrogant.”
Belief or disbelief is irrelevant, it is what choices one makes that determine his morality, deeds one decides to do, that ultimately determine whether he is a horrible human being. Two prime examples, Stalin and Hitler. Stalin, following in the footsteps of Lenin, held the view that religion was a cancer, to be eradicated from humanity, and worked to that end with fervor. A lot of people died. Hitler, a believer, held the view that all those not of the Aryan race were inferior, and to be eradicated from the human race, and also worked to that end with vigor. A lot of people died.
Did Stalin kill and murder as a direct result in his disbelief in god? No, to assert such is preposterous. He did so because he fervently believed in his mentor’s belief’s, and acted accordingly. Did Hitler kill and murder as a direct result of his religious upbringing? No, the very idea is horrendously insipid. People are not evil or good because of religion or lack thereof, they are evil or good because of what they have as a prevailing guidance. In many places in the deep south of America, where Christianity is very strong, admitting to disbelief in god is a bad idea; your life will be a living hell. Why? “BECAUSE RELIGION!!” Many atheists will exclaim. Bullshit. It is this way because people take their religion way to seriously and anyone who doesn’t agree with them isn’t worthy of equal treatment . I could go on with any comparison, where people take belief’s too seriously, and persecute any who disagree. I am guilty of this, and I hope I will outgrow this. Guns don’t kill people, people do.
I have long held the view that if god was a farce, and we really were evolved from animal ancestors (a view which I agree with now, by the way), do you know what would happen? “WE WOULD ALL BE BROTHERS IN PEACE!!” Bullshit. Man will always find reasons to fight. Because someone will always want something, and if someone or something stands in the way of the acquisition of said item, man will either do without it, or resort to whatever means possible to attain it. Belief in god(s) could end today, and we would still fight and kill each other. God or not, man is man, and will find a reason to kill his fellow-man. What he uses to justify his reasons, and what he uses as a means to accomplish his designs does not mean those things are evil, and that their presence is what caused him to do the things he did. He did what he did because he wanted to, and whatever belief’s he did or did not hold are not the cause of his actions, merely the means of justification.
One does not need god in order to be a good person, one who contributes to society, lives a good life, and lets others live as they please (something I am still learning to do), one merely needs to do unto others as he wishes them to do unto him, and have this important truth instilled in him. That is how you deter violence without god.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you teach your children, as much as what your children do with those teachings, but if the example you set is good and trustworthy, you will have a great effect on your children’s views.