Stuff I Care About

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy International Blasphemy Day- 2009

A Personal Note

In the spirit of International Blasphemy Day, I would like to say a few things.

First, I would like to clarify something. Yes, I am atheist. However, I fully support people having faith in their lives. I have met many religious people who were amazing and dynamic people; they were loving, humble, and accepting of everyone around them. Not only that, having faith can also be a catalyst that can be used to save your life while in a time of crises. When faith is used as a tool to enrich your spiritual connection to a higher purpose, what harm is in that? Nothing. Nevertheless, what I have contention with is the manner in which people use their interpretations of their religion experience to alter public policy. We live in a secular society and that is all that there is to it. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to provide an example; the ongoing debate of teaching evolution and creationism in public schools throughout North America.

Personally, I want schools to teach science to children; having this knowledge will assist in securing their future within a fast paced, technological society. While religious ideas have a place within our school system, they need to be properly placed within their ideological context. I want my tax dollars used to support the advancement of scientifically feasible, credible facts within our public school curriculum. I fully support the empirical method; I want our body of knowledge to be observable, testable, and all results subject to evaluation. It is what makes education an ongoing process.

That being said, I do not believe that religious information should not be available within our public school system. On the contrary, teaching that type of information is very important for all of us, both in our everyday ideology and our collective history. I just believe that it should be on the onus of the individual to pursue any type of specialized religious education. In a democratic society, it is not up to special interest groups to dictate how our public funds should mold the impartment and inclusion of information.

Perhaps, a great example can be found within the Jewish faith. Jewish children attend public school. After school, they attend Hebrew school where they are taught their language, culture, traditions, and codes of behavior. Judaism is taught to children in the public system in terms of historical context and the distinction of the culture. And, this is wonderful. But, there is no pressure on the public school system to include their practices within the curriculum. So, there it is.

Secondly, this blog was created for my own personal research. When I started this, I felt that I could use this as a learning tool for a project that I am working on next year. I created this with the following questions in mind- “What ideas are shaping current issues? What effect are these types of conflicts having on our public policy? What types of debates currently exist?” The postings are intended to be provocative, challenging, and even funny at times. I am using this blog as a means of becoming more informed, articulate, and theoretically balanced in my atheist views. Nevertheless, I appreciate all feedback. If I offend anyone, I am sorry. That is not my intention. This blog is solely intended on generating critical discussion of the manner in which religion saturates the media in our everyday lives.

Thank you.

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