952 Science is the antidote to Religion

One theme running through my book en.light.en.ment is that religion is harmful ... an important aspect of the modality of religion is that it must be taught to children. This is paramount to the survival of any faith. It is a truism that once a child is indoctrinated in a belief system, the adult will not abandon it. As the saying goes, "give me a child until s/he is seven years of age, and I will own them for life." 

The video below "What Shall We Tell the Children?" of an Oxford Amnesty Lecture, stunningly explains just how important secular education is. Nicholas Humphrey launches a broadside against religious indoctrination, in a lecture that set the stage for Richard Dawkins' attack on religion as "child abuse". 

Let me pre-empt the professor's conclusion: Religious education is not just un-desirable for children, he concurs with Dawkins that it is harmful, indeed detrimental for children and by extension to society. The answer to his question? Science.

Right at the beginning he says, “Organized religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam … or whatever else, can be deadening.” And that’s what this talk is about. 

It is very hard for people to un-learn falsehoods they learnt in their childhood, in particular religious falsehoods, which were so forcefully and convincingly instilled in children … in fact it may be impossible. 

As a result we have in the USA a full 98 percent of the population say they believe in God, 70 percent believe in life after death, 50 percent believe in human psychic powers, 30 percent think their lives are directly influenced by the position of the stars (70 percent follow their horoscopes anyway, just in case), and 20 percent believe they are at risk of being abducted by aliens. 

In fact half of the American people do not know Earth goes around the sun once a year … in short, people don’t know science and instead believe in religion.

However, he quotes, “But the remedy (for depression) is Mysticism, or Life ... do not leap or turn pale at the word Mysticism, I do not mean any religious thing, or any form of belief …”


This line of thought is supported in my previous blogs about Albert Einstein (blogs 946 and 949), who in fact was a - as everyone knows - a great scientist, but few know that he can also be called a great mystic. His ‘belief’, if one wants to call it that, is that while science must always provide the parameters of human conduct, wisdom and indeed spirituality & mysticism may be able to give life meaning.