Wednesday, 21 May 2008

'Offensive'?

Still not quite sure how the subject was raised, but I happened to inform my best friend, who happens to be a Baptist (in the UK sense of the word), that I believe she had no choice in the matter of her religion and that it was basically forced on her since her childhood.

She took immediate offense at this and said that she did have a choice and that in fact I was there when she committed to it. She does not believe that her religion was forced on her.

(When we were 15/16, she underwent her Church's Baptismal rites - in which her Pastor dunked her in a pool of water - I attended, because she wanted me there as her best friend.)

Now, in my understanding, to have a choice, you have to be given a selection of options.

Her parents are incredibly unlikely to have sat their three daughters down and told them of all the other religions available, or even that no religion is also a viable option. They are very unlikely to have said 'you can join in with us if you like, but you don't have to believe it now - make your minds up when you're old enough'.

Her parents are far more likely to have brought all three daughters up as Christians - taking them to church every Sunday, sending them on Bible Camps, having them participate in other festivals and happenings going on with their chosen church, giving them Bibles and Bible-quotes as presents and so on, so forth.

(In fact, I know for a fact that everything in my previous paragraph is true, as I witnessed most and was later told of the others.)

So I feel, that even though she may have been offended by my assertion, I was indeed correct. She was not given a selection of choices to choose from, she was given one choice and basically told from the get-go that that is all there is, 'believe it because we do'.

And this is where I have my problem. Why can Religionists not see that as children, we are pre-programmed to believe what any authoritative adult figure tells us? Children are completely open to believing whatever they are told, it is a fact of life. If they weren't so programmed, children would be far more vulnerable, and in a very real sense, would not learn the things they need to learn to be well adjusted adults.

Children learn by imitation - that's how a baby learns the language of it's care-givers (you can take a newborn 'French' baby and give him to Chinese care-givers and he will speak Chinese, not French, when he starts talking)- so it's the same with Religion. Children will imitate what their care-givers do, learning by rote the various rituals, practices and even thought-patterns of the adults around them.

So there is no 'choice' in this matter. The only people who 'chose' their religions are the people who converted to or from when they were adults, over the age of, say, 18 and when they were fully able to make the conscious decision for themselves.

So, whether or not it was 'offensive' to say so, I still feel it needs to be pointed out.

2 comments:

Psychodiva said...

Brilliant post :)
I don't think she ever had a real choice either- knowing her mum and dad as I do :) It's a shame she took offence at reality :(

Hey- I could have dunked oyu in the bathwater for fun and blamed it on religion :)

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I would say she was blissfully ignorant of her lack of choice until you so "rudely" pointed it out.