October 18, 2020

Should the Religious Indoctrination of Children Be Illegal?

Image from page 60 of "The teaching problem; a message to Sunday school workers" (1902)

Many atheists consider at least some forms of religious indoctrination inflicted upon young children to be abusive. Some atheists go so far as to suggest that all religious indoctrination involving a young child is inherently abusive. This raises the question is whether the religious indoctrination of children should be legally prohibited in the same way other forms of child abuse are.

At the outset, I think we need to bring in some nuance and agree that just because some forms of religious indoctrination may be abusive does not necessarily mean that all forms of religious indoctrination are abusive. I suspect we could each come up with a few extreme examples that we'd all agree were abusive. We could probably also come up with many far more common examples on which we'd be unlikely to agree (e.g., a parent taking a young child to church and exposing them to Sunday school). That would suggest that the question of how we'd define abusive indoctrination is far from clear-cut.

October 15, 2020

A Christian Owned and Operated Business

restored RV

I just saw a cable TV commercial for a local business that provides RV sales and service. Since I cannot afford such a luxury and lack the time to use it even if I could, I am not sure why I watched the ad. I am glad I did, though, because it inspired this post. You see, the ad mentioned that this company was "a Christian owned and operated business." In fact, this phrase was evidently so important to the company that it was used twice - once at the beginning and again at the end of the 30 second ad. They must really want viewers to know that they are Christian!

My first thought - at least my first non-profane thought - was "only in the South." But I then remembered that the American bible belt is not confined to the South. Now I am wondering whether this sort of advertising strategy could be more common that I realize even outside the traditional bible belt. Have you experienced anything like this in your area? Do some of your local businesses go out of their way to identify themselves as Christian businesses? Do any of them offer benefits to Christian customers that are not made available to other customers?

October 14, 2020

Strong Black Women Kicking Ass in Blaxploitation Horror

New Orleans voodoo

I watched an excellent documentary a while back called Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019). As a horror fan, some of what it presented was not new to me. For example, it discussed the impact of Night of the Living Dead (1968), one of the first films to cast a Black actor in a lead role where he was clearly in charge of the situation in a way his White co-actors were not. It mentioned one of my personal favorites, Candyman (1992), and explained why it was so controversial at the time. And of course, it addressed some of the recent horror films by Black directors with which I was well-acquainted (e.g., Get Out and Us).

Fortunately, Horror Noire also went into detail about many aspects of Black cinema with which I was much less familiar (e.g., blaxploitation horror). I was already somewhat familiar with many of the more traditional blaxploitation films, but I had only seen a couple of the horror films. I grabbed a notepad and wrote down as many of the films they mentioned as I could. I almost always enjoy classic horror flicks, and they mentioned some I had never heard of.

October 11, 2020

An Atheist and His River: Having More Nice Things

the fisherman

Doug is an atheist in his early 30s who lives in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Most of Doug's neighbors are Christians. In fact, he only knows one other atheist. It gets lonely at times. It sure would be nice to have a few others he could talk to openly about religion, atheism, and related topics. Although Doug has wanted to meet other atheists for some time, he isn't sure how to go about doing so. Until recently, he has been content to pursue his hobby of fly fishing. He can be found at a small river about 20 miles from his home on most weekends.

Doug recently read a couple of the popular books about atheism, felt inspired, and decided to start a local atheist group since there was not one in his area. He posts fliers at the public library, a local community college, and starts a Facebook page. He's worried that nobody will show up to his first meeting, but he is determined to give it a try. There have to be other atheists in the area who feel as isolated as he sometimes does and who would be interested in connecting with others.